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Picture of Halloween Garage Door Silhouette

I love Halloween, and I've been looking for an excuse to try out the Dremel tool my husband gave me. I thought an eerie Halloween scene covering my garage door would have a lot of impact. Rather than a standard cut-out pasted on, I wanted to add some extra spook factor by lighting it from behind. So a silhouette was a perfect choice.

I'll apologize up front for the photography. These photos just don't do it justice. I wish I knew how to get better Halloween photos at night. Something to work on for the next instructable!

I've no special talents with drawing or tools, just a dogged determination to make something I've envisioned come to life. This took some work, but the result is well worth it. It's a traffic stopper on my street!

Also, our garage door is an old wooden one, and we don't mind screwing things like this into it. I don't think this woul d work with a roll-up panel door. Perhaps it could be mounted on a large wall, or staked into the yard with lights behind it.

You'll need:

drawing materials

roll of paper for a pattern



2 4' x 8' sheets of material. I used a 3/16th inch thick plywood I found at Lowe's. Fairly lightweight and easy to cut with the Dremel tool.

Cutting tool such as the Dremel

Sand paper (or use the Dremel again)

Black paint

Several 1" x 2"s and screws for mounting

2 to 3 strings of lights. I used 2 70-bulb strings of orange.

plastic spider

Step 1: Prepare the pattern and transfer to pattern paper

Picture of Prepare the pattern and transfer to pattern paper

When drawing my design, I considered the size of my display space (a 2-car garage door), as well as the material I would be using. I used 2 sheets of thin plywood. One sheet runs horizontally, 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall. I had this cut into 2- 4x4 pieces at the store. Each side piece started as a 2 x 6 piece, cut from the other sheet. This gave me some height, and also frames the scene nicely.

I had the cuts made strategically, so that seams would not be too visible. One seam bisects the cauldron, one is between the 2 jack-o-lanterns, and the third is between the cat and the tree.

I drew the design on 8 1/"2 x 11" paper, then used the grid method to enlarge it to the proper size, which I drew on kraft paper, and then cut out. You could, of course, skip the pattern and draw the enlargement (in reverse) straight onto the back of the plywood. Or, if you'll be painting it black, you could draw it right onto the front, as any drawing lines will be covered by black paint.

Using a sharpie, I traced the pattern onto the back of the plywood. The entire design is 12 feet wide and 6 feet tall in the tallest places.

THBNH made it!8 days ago
Add me to the "I made it" list. Like a few others I had to shrink it down for single wide door.

VERY happy with the results, now working on ideas for the other (second) door. :D
Your #IMadeIt was featured on our social media channels for #IMadeItMonday!

You can see the posts here:

We'd also like to send you a prize, so make sure to check your PMs. :D

mcorbin (author)  THBNH8 days ago
Looks great! Thanks for posting. I like the different color at the cauldron.
I will suggest putting some white paper over the inside of your windows to minimize them. Have a great Halloween.
Henri48 made it!1 month ago
I made this two years ago, and I LOVED it! However, two seasons in, and having been set up in massive Texas heat, the plywood is bending and splintering apart, and I think I need to make it again.
I also found that with it being set up on its own, without the garage door to help backlight it, I needed closer to 4 strands of lights to make it nicely visible from the street at night.
mcorbin (author)  Henri481 month ago
Thanks for posting. It's a shame that it didn't hold up well. I broke the owl off of mine while moving and had to stick it back on. Maybe you can reinforce the back with some 1 x 2's and put a couple of nice thick coats of paint on it???? The beauty is no one sees it up too close, very forgiving for flaws.
Having the bush behind it adds an interesting texture. Maybe a couple of uplights in the back instead of more small lights? You're right, without a surface right behind it it doesn't reflect light the same.
PaulaS1481 month ago
Do you have a pattern?
mcorbin (author)  PaulaS1481 month ago
Someone uploaded a pattern maybe 3 years ago? I don’t have one. You’ll have to sift through the comments to find it.
Joecannon made the project and uploaded pix 3 years ago. His trees are fantastic, much better than mine.
RicB111 month ago
Where do you get the pattern
mcorbin (author)  RicB111 month ago
I believe someone made a pattern and pisted it in the comment section, a couple of years ago. Take a look through the comments. There is one guy who made the project who made some nice improvements to my design.
What do you suggest if I have a black garage?
mcorbin (author)  Mariapurchases2311 months ago
I moved this year, and now have a blue garage door, configured differently than my previous one. I still used the orange lights, but because of the darker background, and because we didn't leave as much space between the piece and the door, I"m not getting as much reflected light out. Next year I will experiment with brighter lights, or a different way of mounting that gets me more space.
mcorbin (author)  Mariapurchases231 year ago

I just moved into a house with a blue garage door. I think it is going to look cool with white or purple lights. Maybe you want to paint it a lighter color, or a midtone green or orange or gray. White lights would be good, or a color that will contrast, or a similar color to play it up. I think it would be really interesting on a black garage.

Infernoxan made it!11 months ago
We used this idea to come up with a glowing jack o lantern above our garage door. We love it!
mcorbin (author)  Infernoxan11 months ago
That is professional grade, my friend. Big impact!
spiderb111 months ago

So cool!

spiderb1 spiderb110 months ago
I got a Halloween Raffle here, everybody has a chance to win the Free Cash Halloween Prizes
GlueGun_RaR11 months ago

This is gorgeous and so adaptable to various Halloween themes. We're doing Coco this year, and now I know exactly how to light up my garage door with a giant guitar. THANK YOU! And I love the fact that you have a German Shorthaired Pointer. Best breed of dog ever. You ROCK!

mcorbin (author)  GlueGun_RaR11 months ago

I'll be looking for your instructable on the guitar! (Saw your Dante a couple days ago. Great. And I loved that you picked up some pallet strapping from the floor of the hardware store to use.) Our Lola is a great dog for sure. Kind of a goofball, but a really nice dog. (She's our first dog.)

Riggs51111 months ago
The dog sniffing the cat.... typical!!
Great idea. Great job.
I ,too, love Halloween. More than Xmas.
Have a great holiday.
Treasure Tabby11 months ago

Oo love this idea only if it was me I'd make it in to a Christmas theme and have a big nativity like this. Oh and it has to have some realy cool looking angels on it too.

mcorbin (author)  Treasure Tabby11 months ago

I want to see what your cool angels look like! I made a Christmas one. It's a Bethlehem scene. I have a picture in the comments somewhere.

jbrauer11 months ago
For enlarging images, I use a little Artgraph Tracer Jr. You can pull the lens out and use a section of a paint roller tube to make larger images on the plywood. The extra distance from the bulb makes a really weak image, so I sketched my cut line in a darkened room.
MarkS898 made it!12 months ago

Thanks for the great idea!

mcorbin (author)  MarkS89812 months ago

Wow, good time management! I always wait till too long to start a project like this, then I'm scrambling to get it done. You're way ahead of the game. Thanks for posting your pictures.I like your varied lighting. Your neighbors are going to love it.

Luvmymic1 year ago
Hello. Where could I find a pattern for this? Please email me. I am not texh savy and may never find the reaponse
Jord2011 year ago
Where can i get a pattern
mcorbin (author)  Jord2011 year ago

Look through the comments Somebody posted one.

myargonauts made it!1 year ago
My wife found this and wanted to add it to this year’s decoration. I love the trees but since our yard theme is a graveyard I changed up the center. I also used some Costco strip LED lights so I could change the color of needed. People loved it and they were using it as a photo backdrop. Thank you!

Hey MyArgonauts,

Love your reaper design. How many 4x8 boards did you use to make this? And how did you break it down by design? Such as, 2x6' trees, etc.

mcorbin (author)  myargonauts1 year ago

Yes, a lot of people come up to look and take photos with mine. Finally, someone has made a big variation on the design! A neighbor told me on Halloween that she would pay $$$ for something like this. I told her to stop by and we could work on one for her - but it will have to be completely different from the original. I"m going to start thinking about a new one.

shandafin made it!1 year ago

Loved your idea and had to do it! Here is how it came out. Thanks for posting your great idea!

mcorbin (author)  shandafin1 year ago

Did you make separate pieces? That's a good idea - to fit whatever space you have. Nice job. Thanks for posting.

Yes - all the pieces were separate. They were also made out of roofing felt because I had a ton of it leftover from another project. I created a frame out of scrap wood and stapled the roofing felt to the frame. #1 rule of DIY - use what you have!

kwalder1 year ago

I just made this, waiting for the paint to dry now, and to the people wondering how to draw it on plywood I say just draw it by hand. (I love that now someone posted the drawing from Illustrator, that is fantastic.) However I had to resize the image to fit my house and after spending waaaay too much time trying to figure it out, I just grabbed a pencil and an eraser and drew it all by hand. It really was not that difficult! Worth a try instead of spending a ton of time calculating and trying to draw a grid.

mcorbin (author)  kwalder1 year ago

Share your pictures with us when it's up and lit, please. Many improvements have been made to my original project, and now people don't ask me questions about it, they ask other posters. Very cool.

joecannon2 years ago
Added better photos. ??
mcorbin (author)  joecannon1 year ago

Looking through all the fantastic versions made over the last 3 or 4 years.........I can't get over the incredible detail you put into your trees and jack-o-lanterns. Really fantastic. You must be pretty skilled with tools.

Do you care to share your copy. I'd love to try this, going to have to do it the way you did. Thanks in advanced. is my email. Yours looks amazing as well. Love the faces in the tree's.

I like the scary face on the tree on the left!

mcorbin (author)  joecannon2 years ago

Your trees are great. Wonderful detail.

I did the witches in 2 pieces just to make it easier to handle and store.

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