Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My favorite folly

Over the years I have created (and had people create for me) many Chris "frog queen" follies.  These are things that rarely end up in the yard that I just want to make for myself - just a folly.  No real purpose other than to make me smile.

To date, this is not only the most expensive folly, but in turn, the most complicated.

May I present my luminary.

This was inspired by my many years for catholic school, not a big fan of churches, except I like the decor and the architecture.  So when I saw that EFX-TEK had this very realistic flickering light controlling system, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

After three years of building and unbuilding this prop, I think it is finally done.  I currently sits in my soon to be remodeled office.   When that is all done I will share a video so you can see how great it looks when it is plugged in and working in a dark room.

Yes, this is definitely my favorite folly.



Here is a rough "how it was done" - not enough info to call it a "how to"

First you go to the Rocky Mountain Haunters Gathering in Salt Lake City.  Great haunters, great time.  Well you don't "have to" - but that is how it started for me.

They you go to a workshop at one of the haunters house where EFX-TEK preaches the gospel according to BASIC stamp :)

You see on their price list they have this candle kit.  Since you are not a programmer....except a bit through osmosis....your mind wanders and you think of ideas.

Ideas like I wonder if I could build one of those candle things they have in churches.

I as Jon and he says he thinks it would work.  We talk about what we would need and I end up buying a ridiculous amount of WickLED lights and a handful of prop controllers.....this going to be fun.

I spend the next couple months tracking down white votive candles and drilling holes in the bottom of them so the WickLED lights can fit in them.

Husband makes me the base, and makes me a collection box for the front and a small box on the side for matches. After a bit of programing on the Prop SX.   I have my luminary.

At this point I am happy with the drippy wax candle....but not really happy.

I want the candles to be in red candle holders like in church.

So we try drilling through glass candle holders.....one out of four survived. :(

One friend recommended that I trade Halloween props with a glass maker to make me the votive cups.

Nice idea....that gives husband the idea that he can just mold them out of clear resin tinted red.

So he takes the first holder....the most is too small and complicated and is a disaster.

We try again....with the actually holder I really wanted, but thought it would take up too much resin.  He molds it with a bit of clay at the top to make a void in the pour for the light to fit through.

Perfect.

Except this is February and the resin is taking all day to cure.  At this rate it will take 48 days to pour all the holders I want.  :(

The sun comes out and it gets warmer....we can maybe mange two in a day!! Woohoo!

By May I have all the moulds poured and read to go.

I see the many, many hours we have put into this prop and think....we should really do it right.

I would like the piece to look like iron rather than metal....which would be difficult, so I will go for just creating some scroll work and cutting it out of 1/8 thin wood.

I design some scroll work and we cut four copies of it with the scroll saw - two for the front and one for each side.  I sand them all out with a dremel to get off the rough edges.

We attach them to the existing frame.  I then clean up all the excess wax from the last version, tape off all the lights and their small circuit board and got to town on it with a can of black gloss spray paint.

I take dark gray and lightly dry brush it to bring out some details in the scroll work.

Then I remove the tape (I used frog tape :D) from the lights and circuit boards and put the candles in the votive cups and hot glue them down to the base.

It is about as perfect as it is going to get.

Like I said when I get to remodeling my office I will take video of it in action...just need a bit of incense some priest speaking Latin, nuns in habits and some church music and I will be back in primary school :D

Oh, and don't tell husband yet, but I have one more idea before this is perfect :D

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