Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Build of an Epic Adventure

Epic Adventure is a rave series put on by B.A.D.A.S.S Raves that takes on the Adventure Time Cartoon theme. I designed their 3rd installment in Baltimore this past Spring as well as their 1st installment in Richmond this past weekend. Both were equally awesome and a ton of work. I built 28 custom candy pieces from the cartoon, a 22' Furry Lady Rainicorn, glowing cotton candy trees, giant eyeballs and other various pieces to bring the themes to life in different rooms.


Candy Kingdom was the most detailed theme as it required a lot of specific visuals to bring the world to life. This was done by making 3 dimensional candy pieces that I personally handcrafted out of foam blocks and foam board.
If you are near a Tractor Supply, pay them a visit and ask if you can take away their foam blocks that they use for trailers. Many stores spend money to dispose of these or end up paying fines from the city when it's windy. I stuffed as many as I could in my Jeep.
Carving foam can be a daunting task and requires serious skill for free hand situations. I knew I needed to make cylindrical candy people so i bought this Hot Wire from Hot Wire Foam Factory. My husband made me this super handy mechanism to stick foam blocks in. You just spin it slowly and out comes a perfectly sculpted cylinder.
With some paint, glitter and soft foam, you have adorable little Jelly Rolls.....
.......Or Marshmallows! 
To make the flat Candy people, I used 2" foam board from Lowe's. 
I use a Bosch Jigsaw to cut foam with a long blade to make sure it cuts all the way through. I use the blades for cleanest cut wood. It cuts smooth like butter.
I, luckily, had round flat mirrors laying around and used them to trace the perfect sized circles, but you could just make a compass with a yard stick and a pencil. 
My very good friend, Robin Kovzelove came in to do the freehand painting on the Peppermint Butlers. She is an amazing artist. Definitely check her out http://www.robinkovzelove.com/
Once the outlines were done with several versions of Peppermint Butler, we added paint and glitter. Up next were their arms and legs.
This was done using tension wire from the fencing section of Home Depot and some serious wire cutters.
Once wire is cut to size, I covered them with these sections of pipe insulation, found at Home Depot. 
I drilled holes in the foam board, then, after painting of course, hot glued the wires, stuck them inside and let them dry for a few minutes.
For the feet, I used the 90 degree pipe insulation connector pieces from the same department, then painted and glittered them.
I added bow ties to give them more dimension.
The Tug Me Hearts were made the same way.
Using soft foam from Michael's, I cut out the letters and faces in a similar fashion as the actual characters from the show.
Tug Me feet
We also made Popsicle Magician and Purple Popsicle! I gave the magician hair to bring him more to life as well as a hat (not shown).
Happy and Sad Lollipops were wrapped in cellophane. I used a heat gun to seal them.
Giant Candy canes from the foam cylinders
The Candy People were a ton of work but were a huge hit at the shows! That wasn't all though. We had much more to do! 
Next up was creating atmosphere for the Evil Forest. I decided I would make a ton of giant eyeballs. This was done using various sized beach balls and sharpies. Simple, affordable and adorable. I used random bowls from my kitchen to create the circles that I then traced on to the beach balls, then filled in with Sharpie. I liked the way it looked "drawn". It was very cartoon like. Without even realizing it, these came out more like the Power Puff Girls, but I was fine with that. Power Puff Girls rock and they all come from the same universe.
The Evil Forest was located under a tent outside, so I added fresh bamboo stalks that I cut down from a local that was giving them away (since Bamboo is invasive). Check Craig's List for free bamboo. It makes a great filler. We also hung branches in the ceiling for added effect. It was a great vibe out there.
Up next was creating effects for The Nightosphere room. The Nightosphere is the fiery underworld of Adventure Time. To bring this theme alive, I used a 50ft roll of mylar, cut it into curvy strips and hung in the ceilings to create a fire feel to the room. 
Once cut, I rolled them up with tubes and paper to cover for transport. 
This keeps them nice and clean.
You can hang these with tape and fishing line. Mylar takes on whatever color it is illuminated with, so we used a ton of red l.e.d. lights and fans in the ceiling to create the real effect. 
Up next was my insane idea to build a 22 ft long Lady Rainicorn. I was sitting in my workshop and it dawned on me. Why not? It's totally doable! Plus we really needed a "Go Big or Go Home" piece. 
Then I found this amazing fabric online. It was perfect!
The challenge was that this not only needed to be big, but also transportable and lightweight. I knew I could make this entire thing out of chicken wire and wire and it made sense to do it in sections. So i got crackin'. 
First I made tubes out of chicken wire. I cut sections and then strung the wire through to give it support. This was tricky. I went in at an angle to create the slinky like pattern through the chicken wire. 
I used zip ties to attach ends together.
Then I just started wrapping the sections of chicken wire tubes in the fabric. I used hot glue to connect the fabric to the spines of the tubes, as well as the perimeters of each end.
I made sure to line up the fabric with each section......
.....and stop for pictures along the way.
Ok, I got the body done so I brought the sections inside and hung it in the ceiling. Time to make a head. 
I brought the 1st section down on the table so i would have something to attach the head to. Using the tension wire, i formed the basic shape of a horse head. Then wrapped it in chicken wire, folded, bent, cut myself and zip tied everything together. 

Because my imagination got away with me, I forced myself to figure out how to give Lady a spinning, mirrored horn. I put a piece of wood at the top of the head and attached it to the tension wire and chicken wire with screws and zip ties. 
Then mounted a tabletop mirror ball motor that I got online.
Using a foam cone from the craft store and self adhesive mirror squares, I made a mirrored horn.
I Velcroed it to the motor.
Up next were the arms and legs. I used threaded rods and these super awesome pool noodles with pre-drilled center holes. I got them at toys R us of all places.
I mean really, I don't think they could be MORE useful. 
I wrapped them up with the fabric and glued.
I added fur to the head, soft foam for eyes and mouth, and a bunch of gold shiny glittery fabric to the top for hair. I attached the arms and legs using zip ties. 
And she was up! Everyone loved the 22ft furry Lady Rainicorn with Disco Horn! 

Last but not least were the Cotton Candy Trees for Candy Kingdom. This was the most recent build  for the 1st installment of the theme in Richmond, so I took on the challenge with my newest Junior Artisan, Addy Catbug Kururugi! She rocked these out over the span of 3 days and did such a good job! 
This was achieved using pillow stuffing (bought as a 25lb bulk box), chicken wire and spray paint. 
That is Addy. She made cylindrical forms out of chicken wire to wrap the stuffing around. We used a combination of spikey pieces from the chicken wire and spray adhesive to get it all attached. 
Using dead tree limbs from around my property, we made actual trees. We painted them white with purple stripes and added some fabric to attach limbs together.
Now I knew these trees wouldn't be good enough as is, not to mention they were going in a nightclub, so I ordered these l.e.d.s on copper wire to string through the cotton.
They light up and even blink with remote.
Before these trees went up though, I sprayed them all with a flame retardant, as this material is quite flammable. This is very very important if you work with this stuff. Once sprayed, i tested and all was good. Time to party.
A super fun theme to create for! 
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To see the build in action, check out a 5 minute video i made with tons of footage of the making of the Candy, Lady Rainicorn and more.