View Full Version : Turning barrels into columns- advise wanted

06-06-2011, 02:02 PM
*advice* I meant... wow, I speller so weller...

I have a bunch of great, straight-side cardboard type barrels I want to turn into dungeon columns, but I'm coming up short on inspiration for cheaply doing so.

Ultimately I'd like them to look like "castle" stone columns, and I've been debating carved foam, but foam board is sort of hard to bend around a round surface- even if you cut the stones individually and stick them to the sides. I've also been debating some kind plaster coating with the grout lines carved in that, but I'm skeptical of its adhesion unless metal lath is applied first and skeptical of its overall finished appearance.

Anyone ever pull this off?



Jim Warfield
06-06-2011, 10:38 PM
Large cardboard tubes. At Home Depot and other places. They use them in concrete work and will take dampness very well.
They come in various diameters and lengths.

Allen H
06-06-2011, 11:03 PM
He already has the barrels Jim,
I think I know the kind your talking about while I havent used them Im sure this technique will do fine.
Use ultracal 30 and dip burlap in it and wrap the columns with them. That will give you a good base to attach to.
Then you could use a template to put the bricks on with more ultracal.

If you wanted to use foam the easy way would be to bend the wire of the foam router from hot wire foam factory

to the same curve as the column and carve the backside so you dont have to bend it.
Allen H

06-07-2011, 08:42 AM
Hmmm... I wish there was a supplier for ultracal near here- I'd try it in a heatbeat. Maybe I can come up with a decent substitute...

I have the the burlap...

I have a hot wire.... although the thought of carving curved backs in THAT much foam does not really appeal to me...


Thanks fellas.

damon carson
06-07-2011, 10:33 AM
If it was me I would use the sonotube or how ever you spell it like Jim said. You can always use the barrels for other things! Toxic waste barrels. Gore toppers w the barrels. Barrels arent easy to come by around here. But thats what I would do with them. I wouldnt want all that weight with the possibility to fallover on someone.
www houseoffright com

06-07-2011, 11:20 AM
Well if you had a truck and a bit of time I could prolly get you quite a few barrels. Again, they're cardboard- but very heavy duty, and perfectly clean- pretty much just like the sonotubes.

I can also get shit-tons of awesome plastic barrels with screw lids for about 10 bucks each- these are not straight sided though... These I will use for toxic waste props.

Not terribly concerned about toppling over as we will attach them to each other via overhead archs and to the concrete floor- but you're head is in the right place on that.

I was considering a concrete roller stamp to make block impressions, but really don't know how well, or heavy they will turn out. I have a link to a concrete plasticizer additive to keep the set flexible, but that stuff is pretty high-dollar as well...

06-07-2011, 08:51 PM
I've basecoated them with color you want, then Mix cheapest flat latex paint with sawdust. I add chunky sawdust from old osb plywood. trowel it on, or paint with a big cheap brush. Stipple the surface to get concrete/rock texture. Ages wonderful, and wears like iron. Swim noodles, pipe insulation sliced in half on table saw can be wrapped to give added contours. Hope this helps.

Jim Warfield
06-07-2011, 11:08 PM
I snapped together a piece of tin pipe, sawed out two wooden "plugs", one for each end, screwed them in through the tin and painted them=done.
Well, I also sawed out some bigger round pieces of wood, stacked them up stair-stepping them on the top and botom, the bottom one sat on a woden box I made to start this with.
Don't forget to keep the seam in the tin pipe at the back, for "looks".

06-08-2011, 03:27 PM
You really use a table saw to cut pool noodles? There are a lot of people out there that think I'm crazy. Some have good reason. But I don't think even I wood try that one.

Jim Warfield
06-08-2011, 07:03 PM
I have used a table saw to cut a piece of 2 inch pvc in half lentgh-wise. I can't fathom any safer way to make such a cut. Set the blade as low as possible of course. Cut it twice, opposite from each other.
I used the pvc to cap a wooden wall, keep the rain, moisture and bird poop out of it.

06-09-2011, 05:57 PM
yes Jim I can see sawing pvc , but a pool noodle? and yes I said see sawing.