I have seen the project of a toxic waste drum on Pinterest quite awhile ago, I had the project stuck in my head for over a year now. I needed to make it, and my kids Halloween party was the perfect excuse to try it out.
Step 1: Finding the drum/barrel.
This might be the hardest part of the project. I found mine at the Reuse Store at the University of Minnesota. It was $5.00 for any barrel they had. After purchasing it, my brother-in-law said his work has tons of them that I could have just taken. So...ask around! You may be able to find one for free by word of mouth.
Step 2: Preparing the drum/barrel.
The one I found had the lid attached. I needed to get the lid off to make it a useable garbage can. My husband used a roto-zip tool to cut the entire top off the barrel. Tip: Have somebody hold onto the barrel so it doesn't slip and makes the cutting easier. He cut around it a few times to make it even and smooth.
Step 3: Painting the drum/barrel.
I used a Rustoleum flat black spray paint. I wanted the flat black look rather than a gloss, and I like that decision in the end too. I used one can and still had some left over. I did not even pull off the labels that were already on the barrel, just painted over them. Go slow with the paint so you don't get any runs. I sprayed a little on the inside to get the top covered too. Once dry, I did a light second coat to make sure all the white was covered. The barrel takes on a whole different look at this point.
Step 4: Expandable Foam.
Fun, fun, fun! First of all, wear rubber gloves, old clothes and tie any long hair back. If you have ever used this stuff before, you know why. If you get it in your hair, you will be getting a new hair cut. If you get it on your hands, you will be seeing it for a few months from now. If you get any on your clothes, you just invested in new painting clothes. I made the mistake of buying the cheapest expandable foam that Menard's had, $2.57. The can stopped working half way through and only half the barrel got nice long "toxic" drips. Spend the extra few dollars and get a good can of expandable foam. Start at the top rim and cover the top. As it starts expanding, spray along the edge to make long drips. Make some longer and some shorter to make it look realistic. Let it expand and dry overnight.
Step 5: Painting the Foam.
Now depending on the look you are going for, you can paint green, neon colors, red or even orange. I went with a Granny Smith apple green to start with. Take a small paint brush and start covering all the foam. Don't use your best artist brush as you will be cramming the paint into nook and crannies. Cover the edges best you can without painting the barrel itself. It is quite easy to do, I used almost one full craft 2oz bottle of paint that was under $1 at the craft store.
Step 6: Glaze the Foam (Optional)
I have wanted to glaze a few more projects for Halloween, so I decided to mix a big batch and glaze the foam a little too. I feel that it dulled down the paint color and added some dimension to the paint. Just paint it on, let it sit for a few minutes and wipe off the excess glaze onto a rag. I liked the finished look, but missed the bright green color.
Step 7: Labels
Here is my hi-tech way of printing the labels for the outside of the barrel. I Googled "Biohazard label" and looked for ones I liked. Copied them and pasted them into a Word doc. Then made the label as large as the paper and printed them. Then cut them out and used spray adhesive to stick them to the outside of the barrel. I ended up with three labels, and used them to cover the few drips of foam that happened. This is also where having different levels of drips is good, because if they are all long drips, your labels won't fit in.
Step 8: Using the Barrel
I used mine as a garbage can for the kids party. I put a lawn/leaf black bag inside the barrel, but it didn't work well. I need to think of a way to clip the bag to the top so it doesn't fall in. I also have been thinking about hooking an old grill grate into the top about a foot down, and can use it for a beverage station. Thinking a fog machine underneath the grill, and a bucket with pops and ice on top. Might have to try that next year.
There you go. A fun but weird addition to your Halloween Party decorations. Best part, it is empty when not in use for the party and I can store my other decorations inside the barrel!
Check out my other Halloween ideas here.
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