After creating a Mind Flayer for my roof (tutorials Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I knew the creature needed something more: Vines. The Upside Down World was filled with vines that hung everywhere, and vines that attacked. They were a part of the hive mind, associated with the monsters of Stranger Things.
After scouring the web for prices on vines, it was clear: My budget couldn’t afford the 100 or more feet needed.
There seemed to be a trend in the many how-to videos, I watched. Most used spray foam, paint, plastic wrap, and either rope or twine. But what many failed to mention, were the issues that can happen (and did), when making the vines. They made it look so effortless, without a glitch.
One thing is for certain: You’ll always hear about my flubs, or what didn’t go exactly as planned. But you’ll also hear, how I worked around it, too. I made four different vine types, with most of the same materials. Each were made slightly different, giving a different end result. I’ll give you the pros/cons of each method, and then you can decide, what way may work for you. I suggest making more than one type, to use in different ways.
Making Vine Type 1 (Image above)
Pros: Probably the sturdiest of vines, can be more flexible( depending upon how you lay to dry), and the plastic layer offers fewer spots of vine breakage. Cons: Some of the plastic wrap doesn’t stay in place, once foam spray is completely dried, and when moving it around. You’ll need to wire in places, to keep plastic still wrapped around the foam. If you do not wrap wire around prior to painting, you’ll be wasting paint and time. With plastic falling off in spots, paint flecks off, and/or exposes the tan foam. Clear Duct or Packing Tape will not adhere, once spray paint is applied. It seems something in the paint spray, makes the adhesive of the tape dissolve. If you know the reason, I’d love to hear it.
- Plastic wrap ( at least 100 ft. a roll)
- Twine, or Rope
- Expanding Foam Spray (preferably for gaps bigger than 1″)
- Disposable gloves
- Floral Wire (lightest gauge is fine)
- Spray Paint ( for Stranger Things theme, use black and red)
- Enough sticks/stakes, or whatever, that has weight to hold plastic wrap in place on ground
Important Tip: Do not attempt to make the vines on a windy day. Even the smallest wind gust, can make the plastic fold onto itself ( and it’s no picnic trying to get that plastic apart again). That is why I use sticks every few feet or so, over the plastic. Even in the calmest of days, the wind can surprise you.
- Roll out at least 45 ft. or more of plastic wrap, onto the ground or driveway. It’s always better to have too much laid out, than not enough. (Trying to scramble, as your spray can nozzle gets clogged, is not fun). Lay weights at each end of plastic.
- Roll out the twine or rope over the plastic, and lay the sticks across, about every few feet or so. This will ensure, that once you are ready to add the spray foam, that it’s not already folded over, from wind.
- Put your gloves on. Following the directions on the can, shake it vigorously, and add the plastic nozzle. Start spraying over the twine or rope. Remember, this shouldn’t be a uniform, even line. There should be bulges, and thinner/thicker spots, to make it more realistic. If your spray misses the twine, spray enough to the side to meet it. It will look even better, don’t worry.
- Once the spray has dried well on the outside of the foam, wrap the plastic around(without squeezing tight), and hang or drape it over an area, not flat, but in large loops to make it more flexible for wrapping around things. If you happen to forget and let the vines dry completely flat, it may break in places, when trying to wrap later. But that is an easy fix, with the wire, foam glue, or melting plastic, like in Vine 3 directions.
- Once completely dry, inside and out, take the floral wire, and wrap in places that are not sticking to the foam. At this point, you may also just pull off the plastic wrap, but I believe the wrap itself, gives more strength to the vine, and you will end up having less breakage.
- Spray paint the vines randomly in black, leaving spots here and there for red. Once the black spray is dried, spray the missing spots with red, and also on some of the black. This way, you’ll have varying degrees of red/black. You can also do the same with black/dark green, or whatever color, you need for your vines.
Pros: One of the cheapest, and fastest ways, to create vines, when using twine, or cheap thin rope. Also the most flexible. Cons: You won’t have foam breaking, but you’ll also not have any wide gnarly spots, or a variety in thickness (unless you change the twine or rope thickness along way). Also, in my opinion, it looks less realistic. While using a thicker rope can skip the plastic, the price for thick rope, can break a budget.
- Lay the plastic wrap/rope(or twine), the same as in the Vine 1 directions, above. But instead of using foam, wrap the plastic around the twine (this will give the vine a bit of thickness). Wire the entire piece or where the plastic wrap isn’t sticking, and then spray paint.
Pros: Gives another layer and texture, it covers areas you missed with painting, and could possibly eliminate black paint step. It also connects broken pieces of vine well. Cons: You’ll need a few different supplies, than original Vine 1 list, and, it is more time consuming.
Supplemental supplies, (besides some items from Vine 1 list): A Heat Gun, and cheap black plastic garbage bags (Dollar store bags work great for this)
- Make the foam vines as in Vine 1 directions.
- Cut cheap garbage bags into strips, wrap around dried plastic wrapped foam vines, and heat until melted around vines. If you’re planning on going with the red/black vine effect, make sure you leave spots not heat sealed, so the red paint can be seen.
Pros: Another cheap way to go, and is faster to make. It’s easiest, with less hassle than laying out lines of plastic/twine, and is a great alternative, when you have any spray foam leftover from another project. It can hang very easy off of trees, and such. Cons: Once it’s formed on a plastic sheet, it’s not bendable or pliable to go into another shape (such as wrapping around something) without usually breaking. So the shape you make with the foam spray, is forever the shape it will be.
- Wide pieces of plastic sheeting or dollar store plastic table cloths, to lay down, before spraying (these pieces of plastic can be used multiple times, since foam does not stick to this type of plastic)
- Expanding Spray Foam
- Spray paint of your desired color
Directions: Lay out the plastic, spray foam in shapes, let dry, and then paint. The dried foam will easily come off the plastic.
As always, anyone that has a question, can easily shoot me an email. Upcoming soon: tutorials on The Gate, Will Byers Castle, Making Eleven, The Tree Portal, and The Alphabet Wall with messages ( made easier, than other tutorials found on web). Happy Halloween!