How To: Hot Burning Coals

Hot Burning Coals

The Hot Burning Coals prop is a dramatic effect that is fairly simple to build.  The “coals” can be placed under a cauldron, in an open fire pit, or just about anywhere you need to have fire in your haunt without the heat.

The Supplies

  • 1 string of 50 orange LED Christmas lights
  • 1 can expanding spray foam
  • 1 12 inch square piece of wood or plastic
  • 1 can black spray paint
  • masking tape
  • assorted plastic bottle tops and/or bottoms
  • box cutter or scissors
The Build
Start out by gathering up some small plastic bottles and cutting the tops and/or bottoms off of them.  Using the masking tape, attach the bottle parts to the square.  Then, unwind the lights and “drape” them over the square.  Try shoving some of the lights up under the bottle parts for a more interesting effect.
The next step is to coat the entire prop in expanding spray foam.  Before you do this, it is very important that you double-check the Christmas lights to make certain they work.  Once the lights have been sprayed with foam, it will be impossible to access the bulbs.  It is also important to stick the power plug off to one side.  This view of the underside of the prop gives you an idea of how things look “inside”.
Go easy on the foam, spraying a little bit at a time.  If you’ve never worked with expanding foam before, take some time to get used to how quickly it grows.  You want to have the lights coated, not buried.   The goal is to create coal-like lumps in the foam.  Whatever you do, do not touch the foam with your fingers until it is totally dry.  The prop will need to sit overnight to dry all of the way through.
Once everything has dried, go ahead and plug in the lights to get a look at the coals.  If you’re happy with the shape of the “lumps”, spray everything with a light dusting of spray paint.  The paint will help to disguise the foam when it is out in the daylight or if it is hit with any of the other effect lighting in your haunt.
The final step is to find a spot to display your prop.  In our haunt, we have a small pile of coals underneath our seeping smoke cauldron, but you could place your coals just about anywhere.  Using more lights and more foam, you can create a larger scale prop to make a lake of fire, a lava-spewing volcano, or even a pit to burn someone at the stake.  The only limit is your own imagination.

5 thoughts on “How To: Hot Burning Coals

  1. Pingback: Cauldron Fire, Epic Fail, 2011 « Mr. Jingles' Halloween Haunts

  2. Anonymous

    Love it

  3. Mel


  4. Amber

    Do the lights with foam on top create any kind of fire hazard ??

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