This is how they made the giant silly bandz props for their kids church. This same technique would be handy for any giant PVC decoration. These props were made to accompany their Silly Bands Lesson for Children’s Church.
How To Make Giant Silly Bands
- 1 inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe in 8 foot lengths (approx 2.5 pieces per shape)
- 3/4 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe (1 8 foot length cut up into 2-3 inch pieces)
- 1-2 Ryobi Heat Guns (at Home Depot for approx $60)
- PVC Glue
- Fine to Medium Grit Sandpaper
- Rustoleum Spray Paint made for plastics in various colors (also found at any home improvement store) 2-3 cans per shape (darker colors coat better)
- 1-2 sheets of plywood with some 3 inch drywall screws (this is to make the jig that will form your shapes).
- Bucket of water and some rags
What To Do:
- Take a sheet of plywood and draw your shape on it.
- Use the 3 inch drywall screws to then make a guide for your PVC pipe to form to. You will want to set a screw anywhere a bend or corner may be. Also, in the case of the fish, heart and foot shape, you will also want to use the screws to help you rounded sections stay in place.
- Decide on a starting point for where you will begin to mold you shapes. I suggest starting where there is a critical bend so that you can use that bend to hold your PVC in place as you shape the rest of the piece.
- Take 1 piece of the 1 inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe and lay it out near your starting point.
- Next, use the Ryobi Heat Gun on the highest temperature setting and begin to slowly heat up the PVC near the bend, being sure to move constantly (don’t focus in 1 spot or you will melt or burn the PVC) in a back and forth motion along the length of the pipe. SIDE NOTE: It takes a minimum of 45 sec-1 min to get the PVC hot enough to make it pliable.
- Once the PVC is ready to bend, SLOWLY bend it to whatever angle you need it to be. (90 degrees in the case of the Cross, etc) Make sure to do this slow enough as to not “rip” the PVC.
- As soon as the bend is where you’d like it to be, immediately use a wet rag from the bucket of water and begin to cool off the PVC pipe. This will cause the PVC to stay in it’s shape.
- Continue to heat up and mold the rest of your PVC in the same manner, making sure to only work on a 1-2 foot span at a time. (It will take too long if you try to heat up the whole 8 feet before shaping it)
- Once you come the end of you 1st piece, point the heat gun into the open end of the pipe. Making sure to not burn it, warm it up until it is pliable. Then take 1 of the 2-3 inch pieces that you cut of the 3/4 inch Schedule 40 PVC. Coat if with some PVC Glue and insert it into the open end that you just heated up. Make sure to only stick about half of the piece into the larger piece.
- Next, grab another 8 foot length of the 1 inch PVC and warm up one end of it. Repeat the process you just did to join the 2 pieces together. Once they are joined make sure to cool it off with a damp rag. (Do not soak the joint or the glue will not hold)
- Continue to mold your shape until finished, cutting off an excess that there may be and joining the 2 ends as we did above.
- Repeat the above steps to make as many different shapes as you need.
- When you are ready to paint your shapes, take some sandpaper and rough up the surface of the PVC to help the spray paint stick better.
- Wipe down the shape with a damp rag to remove any dust from the sanding and let it dry thoroughly.
- Choose the color you want and begin to apply the paint in smooth even strokes. Do not get too close or you will get runs and drips which will stand out in the final product. This may take several coats to accomplish the desired look you want based on color. Lighter colors take more coats than darker colors.
- Let dry for at least 24 hours to let the paint bond to the PVC correctly.