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I'm in Illinois,  which would be better for rain and snow? Ply or coro?

How do you make the cuts so smooth with coro?

What paint with coro? Plastic spray paint?

 Lastly,  with winds,  how to attach coro to the ground?

 

 

 

 

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Marine grade plywood will last for years without delaminating.  It is not cheap though.  Menards with stores in Wisconsin (maybe IL too?) sells a 4' X 8' X 1/2" sheet for $50.  It is a lot easier to anchor things to plywood as you can screw ordinary wood to it.  I see coroplast sheets for political signs and they push a steel rod into the ground and run wire through the sign to anchor the sign.  I used discarded political signs for some DIY LED lighting and I can attest to the difficulty of shaping it to anything that is not square or rectangular.  I see a fair number of coroplast Christmas displays in the Goodwill outlet store and they are almost always cracked after a few years of use.  They don't hold up well in our sunlight and fairly hot storage conditions. 

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I use plywood, anything from 3/8” to 3/4” depending on the piece. I’ve had good luck making lighted pieces out of Coro, but cutouts I’m not a fan. I use regular plywood from Home Depot, a good outdoor primer and latex paint samples from Home Depot that are for house exteriors. The paints hold up well, they are designed to hold up to weather 365 days a year on the outside of a house. de8aa5c3276913649ac05ac2f913b70f.jpg


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Wow! Nice display! Do you use a jigsaw?
Do you do anything to the sides of the ply,  too?

 

How do you make them stand in the air? Also,  are you using 2x4s to put them in the ground?

 

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Wow! Nice display! Do you use a jigsaw?
Do you do anything to the sides of the ply,  too?
 
How do you make them stand in the air? Also,  are you using 2x4s to put them in the ground?
 


Yes we use a jigsaw, they sell different blades. You want a fine cutting one.

We prime the sides and then when we paint we also paint the sides with the matching color of the area on the front.

The reason mine are off the ground is we live in Florida and the ground is always damp at night so I use bricks to hold them a couple inches off the ground. It allows the bottoms to dry off and not stay damp all season. I use 1/2” metal conduit pipes to install them in the ground, then I use conduit clamps to hold them to the pipe. You can see in this picture that I install 1x2” boards on the back for extra support and a place to screw the pipes to.ed3e1f06e6903d50dbc3e90e870cc024.jpg


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Hey Playful_Puppets -

 

The plywood displays look great!

But I'd recommend that you, at least, take a look into using Coro.  I've been doing cutouts for about 27 years now.  I used to use wood based products and the cost (for me) was much greater using wood based products and they are much heavier to move around (important for an old man like myself).  I started using Coro about 7 years ago and LOVE it!  It is fairly inexpensive ($14 per sheet in my area), easy to cut (jigsaw with a metal cutting (fine) blade).  And MUCH easier for me to move around!

I build a frame for each character out of 2x2 pressure treated lumber.  I wipe the Coro down with Naptha (or paint thinner) to remove the oils from manufacturing, then give it a coat of FLAT exterior water based primer.  I either draw or trace my images and paint using FLAT exterior latex paint.  The Coro is attached to the frame using exterior screws and washers.  To set your characters, you can use either 1x2 pressure treated stakes and drive screws through the stakes into the frame... or use electric conduit as stakes and strips of metal hanger strap to attach the stakes to the frame.

I wrote an article for the Planet Christmas magazine in the November 2016 edition that gives you a bit more detail on creating cutouts using Coro if you'd like to give it a read.  https://www.planetchristmas.com/Magazine/November2016/#p=14

 

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Thanks,  jrbryant.  I have to admit that I'm around 50 and have a bad back,  so the lightness is a welcome relief.

I think the ply would be more sturdy,  but the coro definitely lighter!

I love that there are choices in materials.  Each has pros and cons.

Do you have problems with the wind ripping the coro or them flying off or getting turned around?

 

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The only problem I've had with the wind is that I used to make huge background pieces (8' tall by 16' long - 4 sheets of Coro attached side to side) and they'd act like one large sail and go flying when the wind got too strong.  Sadly, I had to stop making my backdrops just for that reason.  The Coro is exceedingly durable and holds up GREAT in the wind... I've not had one tear off the frame and we get winds up to 50 mph in our area.  I have them blow over ALL the time... but that would be true no matter what material I use.  I used to animate my characters and had two animated limbs blow off... one wood and one Coro.  So I chalk that up to weak joinery (on my part) rather than the material.

Not trying to talk you out of using plywood... just offering another suggestion!  I'd LOVE to see pics of you creations... regardless of the material you use.

 

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Thank you for giving me more ideas in my Arsenal.  I'll talk to my wife and we'll decide what works best for us.

Btw,  I just finished reading your article and saved it.  Wonderful job,  as it answered many questions regarding coro!

How long do you make the ground stakes? Have you tried an angled arm (tripod) in back to help with winds?

 

Also,  do you use outside wood for the frame,  or it doesn't matter?

 

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1 hour ago, jrbryant said:

Hey Playful_Puppets -

 

The plywood displays look great!

But I'd recommend that you, at least, take a look into using Coro.  I've been doing cutouts for about 27 years now.  I used to use wood based products and the cost (for me) was much greater using wood based products and they are much heavier to move around (important for an old man like myself).  I started using Coro about 7 years ago and LOVE it!  It is fairly inexpensive ($14 per sheet in my area), easy to cut (jigsaw with a metal cutting (fine) blade).  And MUCH easier for me to move around!

I build a frame for each character out of 2x2 pressure treated lumber.  I wipe the Coro down with Naptha (or paint thinner) to remove the oils from manufacturing, then give it a coat of FLAT exterior water based primer.  I either draw or trace my images and paint using FLAT exterior latex paint.  The Coro is attached to the frame using exterior screws and washers.  To set your characters, you can use either 1x2 pressure treated stakes and drive screws through the stakes into the frame... or use electric conduit as stakes and strips of metal hanger strap to attach the stakes to the frame.

I wrote an article for the Planet Christmas magazine in the November 2016 edition that gives you a bit more detail on creating cutouts using Coro if you'd like to give it a read.  https://www.planetchristmas.com/Magazine/November2016/#p=14

 

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I got a question about using Coro JR. Are you able to make intricate cuts using the jigsaw on the coro? I like cutting out all the negative space of my cutouts.  I noticed that you black out all of your negative space is that by choice or just easier ? 

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Hey Bucsfan15 -

You CAN make fairly intricate cuts in the Coro... but I chose to black out the negative space because it gives me more area onto which I can make a frame for the backside of the characters.  For example, if you look at the image of the Grinch above and thought about cutting out just the figure itself... you'd end up with a very narrow little foot and leg onto which you would try to fit a frame.  In my opinion, that just gives you too little material with which to work.  I had that same situation with quite a few other characters that I was working with... very skinny legs... or very skinny antlers ending in points, or the stick arms from the snowman in Frozen.  So I made the decision to just black out the negative space and make the characters more stable by giving myself more surface area.

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1 hour ago, Playful_Puppets said:

Thank you for giving me more ideas in my Arsenal.  I'll talk to my wife and we'll decide what works best for us.

Btw,  I just finished reading your article and saved it.  Wonderful job,  as it answered many questions regarding coro!

How long do you make the ground stakes? Have you tried an angled arm (tripod) in back to help with winds?

 

Also,  do you use outside wood for the frame,  or it doesn't matter?

 

You're welcome... and thank you for the compliments on the article.

As far as the stakes go... I usually plan on driving the stake about a foot into the ground... then I'll add onto that whatever length I need to go as far up on the character as I need.  So if I have a character that has an upright piece on the frame that is 5' in length, I'll made a stake that is 5' to 6' in length... drive it into the ground and then attach it to the frame as close to the top as possible and then again at the bottom crosspiece.  (Attaching at the bottom keeps the bottom from being blown out from underneath)

Yes... I use a tripod setup on some of my pieces and I also screw eyescrews into the front top (painted the proper color of course) and one in back (top) and then run guy wires to stakes in the ground.  I have found that the guy wires help quite a bit with my larger characters.  Fortunately the wires pretty much disappear at night when the flood lights are on.

And yes, I use pressure treated lumber to make my frames and stakes (though I'm using more and more 1/2" metal conduit for stakes).  The pressure treated 2x2's got to be a bit expensive, so now I buy 2x6's or 2x8's and cut them down to make my own 2x2's (actually 1 1/2 x 1 1/2).  Some of them are fairly warped... but I always cut those into short pieces where the warps in the lumber really don't affect anything.  After all, the frame is in back and nobody sees that your frame might be a bit wonky!  😯

I'm guessing you're going to be fighting the wind where you are there in Illinois? 

I never had to bother with wind issues until we moved out here about 7 years ago. I put my display up out here the first year and the wind just wreaked HAVOC on it!  I had my backdrops blow down the street... my characters were in the neighbors yards... it was a MESS!!!  I ended up not being able to use my backdrops and I became MUCH more diligent in staking down my characters.  Each year we'll get 2 or 3 REALLY bad wind storms during the time I have my display up and I'll end up having 10 or 12 characters blow over.  I've even had the wind bend the conduit stakes in half.  I'm kind of used to it now and plan for it to happen and plan to spend an hour or so afterward putting my characters back up.  Not a lot of fun... but just something I know I'm going to have to deal with.

BTW... do you have ideas of what characters you're going to make?  Planning on making them for this year?

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40 minutes ago, jrbryant said:

Hey Bucsfan15 -

You CAN make fairly intricate cuts in the Coro... but I chose to black out the negative space because it gives me more area onto which I can make a frame for the backside of the characters.  For example, if you look at the image of the Grinch above and thought about cutting out just the figure itself... you'd end up with a very narrow little foot and leg onto which you would try to fit a frame.  In my opinion, that just gives you too little material with which to work.  I had that same situation with quite a few other characters that I was working with... very skinny legs... or very skinny antlers ending in points, or the stick arms from the snowman in Frozen.  So I made the decision to just black out the negative space and make the characters more stable by giving myself more surface area.

Ahhh ok makes perfect sense. 

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Jr- yes,  we get quite a lot of wind in December where I am. Nice to know someone else has that challenge,  too.  Heh

I'd like to do cut outs this year,  but being in college and still trying to find a job makes spending $$$ just not feasible right now which is why I make/sell puppets to help with bills.

If I can find a job soon enough,  I'd love to do cut outs and have my kids help.  I think it would be a great family bonding experience!

My two boys are into video games,  so maybe I can do a Mario theme or something.  😁😁😁

 

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My girls enjoy getting to painting the characters with me.  Fortunately, both of them attend an art school... so they're probably a LOT better at artwork than I am!  Hopefully you will be able to get some cutouts made for this year... and, of course, if you do... make sure you post pictures!

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They do have3/8 thick Coro and it works great especially for detail pieces. 

If you do use wood, a great primer is glidden gripper. ( comes in white or can have it tinted dark) Now i personally hate glidden paints but this is probably the best primer ive ever used. Was actually recommend to me by the behr paint rep when i told him what i was wanting it for. 

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10mm (3/8") Coro has considerable strength and very light weight.  I have migrated over to it for my few cutouts.  You can purchase it in black as well and then you won't get the light that comes through white and you don't have to paint the negative areas black.  Contact a local sign or printing shop and they can order the coro in 4'x8' sheets.  As for staking down...I use pvc pipe.  1/2" works great and slips right over the rebar stakes.  I use a 2" on the tall characters and that will slip over the cheap landscape stakes sold at the home improvement stores.  To attach it to the coro I use zip ties through the back layer and around the pvc.  For cutting, use a fine tooth blade in a jig saw.  To ensure paint adhesion, I go over it with a fine sandpaper and then shoot it with the plastic adhesion promoter spray paint. 

Edited by qberg
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2 minutes ago, qberg said:

10mm (3/8") Coro has considerable strength and very light weight.  I have migrated over to it for my few cutouts.  You can purchase it in black as well and then you won't get the light that comes through white and you don't have to paint the negative areas black.  Contact a local sign or printing shop and they can order the coro in 4'x8' sheets.  As for staking down...I use pvc pipe.  1/2" works great and slips right over the rebar stakes.  I use a 2" on the tall characters and that will slip over the cheap landscape stakes sold at the home improvement stores.  To attach it to the coro I use zip ties through the back layer and around the pvc.  For cutting, use a fine tooth blade in a jig saw.  To ensure paint adhesion, I go over it with a fine sandpaper and then shoot it with the plastic adhesion promoter spray paint. 

So JR says he makes a frame with wood to the back of the coro. Do you do this as well?

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5 minutes ago, Bucsfan15 said:

So JR says he makes a frame with wood to the back of the coro. Do you do this as well?

Nope...but it would make attaching the pvc tubes a bit simpler.  The beauty of no wood is I don't have to worry about moisture or warping due to moisture.  On my large coro snowglobe screen, I ran 2" strips of 10mm coro down the center of the back with the grain horizontal so I could use large zip ties to secure it to the pole.  As far as wind, my coro snoglobe is 6' x 6' and it has held up fine with a couple large zipties around the 20' steel pole supporting my flying sleigh.

Edited by qberg

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21 minutes ago, qberg said:

Nope...but it would make attaching the pvc tubes a bit simpler.  The beauty of no wood is I don't have to worry about moisture or warping due to moisture.  On my large coro snowglobe screen, I ran 2" strips of 10mm coro down the center of the back with the grain horizontal so I could use large zip ties to secure it to the pole.  As far as wind, my coro snoglobe is 6' x 6' and it has held up fine with a couple large zipties around the 20' steel pole supporting my flying sleigh.

Hmm interesting. Im going to look into it. As for cost. Have you noticed a difference between plywood and coro? I usually pay about $45 canadian for a sheet of plywood sanded. 

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