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DIY Merry-Go-Round

Halloween Lady of CDA

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My theme for Halloween this year is 3 fold. But for this section, it is "Demented Playground."

While this is not a LOR project (though it could be), I made my own merry-go-round, which I would like to share, and I must say, it looks far better than the one at SoH, for a tiny fraction of the price! (about 6x less!)

I used:
A black rotating Artificial Christmas tree stand (also has an outlet to add something electric (lights, animation besides rotation, etc... I used large spider lights. However, when MGR is placed too far away from the viewer, you really can not tell they are spiders- they just look like lights, so take viewing into consideration when placing this prop, keeping it within at least 10 feet or closer to the walking area if you plan on using similar lighting). If you have never seen one of these tree stands, the outlet rotates with the stand :P This part cost the most, finding it at Kmart for $37

A plastic round outdoor table top w/ the center umbrella hole (save the center cap (umbrella hole cover) to attach to tree stand), I spray painted mine silver on top, and black on the bottom. I got it at a thrift store for $7

A metal collar to go between the center cap and the tree stand. Drill hole in 'side' (not inside) of center cap, metal sleeve, and table top sleeve; bolt cap and sleeve to table sleeve. (It is easiest to assemble the sleeve and cap, then slip into table top and drill hole through all items at once). Bolting these together alleviates slippage/collapse once you place the table top on the tree stand). DO NOT BOLT ANYTHING TO TREE STAND ITSELF!! Rest metal collar into tree stand (no permanent attachment required. Be sure to get a sleeve that fits properly, requiring no perminent attachment to the tree stand itself. You are looking for a snug fit. if you must buy something a tad too small, you can build a tighter fit using ductape). I can't remember how much the metal sleeve was, but probably under $2 at Lowe's.

Hand rail supports-
One- 1X3, cut into 8 pieces, squared, with holes drilled in center of each block to the demention of the circumfrence of the rails. Spray paint. You can probably find a 1x3 for about $2 at Lowe's.

Hand Rails
I made my handrails from the legs of 2 small squared TV trays (not the standard oblong size). I removed the rivots to take the legs apart, then I had to make them shorter so I measured each piece separately, as each leg is slightly different in size, per set. I cut them to a more visually pleasing height then spray painted. SoH uses fat pvc for their rails AND they placed them around the outer edge. IMHO, this blocks a lot of the MGR viewing area, and does not look proportionately correct. Mine, on the other hand, have a more realistic scale (hand rail dimensions are proportionate to table top size)and I opted to face mine the opposite of SoHs, creating the 'divided into 4 sections' look. I already had this item, and square trays are not as easy to find as I thought they would be, so you may have to fabricate this item. A standard tv tray is NOT proportionately correct. Cost depends on your choice of material, but I am sure you can come up with something for $20 or less. If you choose thin pvc, and some elbows, the cost would be about $12 ( 8 elbows, 1 thin pvc pipe).

Silver and black spray paint $6 (I later found spray paint at Kmart for under $2 a can in both flat black and silver- so I could have trimmed $2 in cost here).

Additional Hardware
All-thread and 2 nuts (for bolting sleeves to center cap) $1

Assemble! It was that easy!

SoH charges $300 bucks. I made mine for about $55, with the most expensive part being the rotating stand that most of you probably already own!

Will work equally well for Halloween and Christmas displays!

Remember to keep the project as light weight as possible, but it can still bear quite a bit (Artificial Christmas Trees are NOT all that light weight. My stand will support a 7 1/2 foot tree, dressed). Also consider equal weight distribution.

I did not secure the rails to the table top. The blocks for the rails provided adequate support as long as nothing is leaning up against them. You may wish to secure for the purpose of your own display. Since my MGR is for an outdoor display, I may find that the wind will still make me adhere the rails to the top, but we have had relatively calm weather so far, so that remains to be seen...

I painted the under-side of the table top black. As mentioned, the tree stand was already black. (Black helps to camouflage the underside for Halloween. White might be a better choice for a Christmas scene).

I will be adding spider webbing to mine, to tie in with the spider lights. The semi- not TOO spooky theory behind my scene for this prop is that, while nobody is on it but spiders and cob webs, indicating no one has been on it for quite some time, is the fact that it is spinning anyway, as though it is being pushed by ghosts.

I have built an entire playground from scraps. If anyone is interested in any of my other items, and how they were made, let me know and I will post them.

Additional DIY Props for my Playground:
Swing set
Bogey Man
Skull Head Tether Ball

I woulda built a teeter totter, but ran out of space! Maybe if I re-arrange a little, I can squeeze one in...

This is my first post here. I tried to add a photo. Hopefully it appears.

Attached files 215381=11979-IMG_0133_001.jpg

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Yep, exactly the same thing I made for this year's Haunted Playground.. Last Christmas I made an Ice Skating Pond for my Peanuts charactors, but changed it to Peanuts charactors watching ice skating bears.. the "ice" is 4' plywood circle, run by a windshield wiper motor @ 5vdc to keep the speed down.. this year, with the Haunted Playground, I pulled off the bears, painted it gray and mounted pvc rails for the ghosts to hold on to (like they need too!).. I mounted a lazy-susan swivel plate between the plywood table and the mounting frame to supprt the ply, and the motor is loose-coupled between the frame and ply so there's no binding. The swing set I got off CraigsList for cheapcheapCHEAP, but had to drive across town (68mi roundtrip), so it cost gas.. the seesaw I'm building out of lumber I used for last years pirate ship.

Alongside is a wiper-motor powered seesaw, and wiper-powered swing set.. "the playground was inconviently built next to a cemetary by inept city planners, who scoffed at the idea of ghosts in a cemetary!" :P
Its a lil hard to make out the ice pond for th "snow" lining the edge and on the ground.. I "brushed off the snow" and mounted the rails, it goes out in the yard today..

I like your rails better.. I had an idea (afterwards of course) to use pvc caps, screwed into the table and just push the pvc into, no drilling holes or screwing into the top needed..

LOL! I just re-read your text.. skeleton head tether ball! Love it!!

Attached files 215384=11981-GhostMerryGoRound.jpg

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