If you are planning a Greek-themed toga or costume party and you want a look of authenticity, you will need columns. If you don't want to spend $100 on huge plaster or faux marble columns you will only use once, make cheap, realistic-looking columns out of the cardboard cylinders used to hold rugs.
Things You'll Need
1 cardboard rug cylinder, any length (see Tips)
Retractable razor or utility knife
1 very tall cardboard box (see Tips)
1 tube strong craft adhesive or hot glue gun with 100 glue sticks
1 can white primer spray paint
1 can white spray paint (matte, satin or gloss)
2 8-inch diameter plastic foam discs
2 12-inch diameter plastic foam discs
2 10-inch diameter plastic foam discs
1 small bag playground sand
Remove any dust or hanging pieces from the cardboard cylinder, then decide how tall you want to make your column. This, of course, depends on the length of your cylinder, which will probably be over 6 feet. If you want a tall column, use the whole cylinder. If you want it shorter, measure and mark how much of the cylinder you want to cut off, draw a circle around the cylinder at that mark and use the razor or utility knife to cut off that piece.
Cut 1-inch wide strips from the cardboard box that are the exact length of the column. The box should be large enough to provide strips this long and the cardboard should be thin enough to cut easily with the razor.
Glue these pieces vertically onto the cylinder. Space them about one inch apart and attach as many as will fit onto the cylinder. Allow these to dry and set.
Put on the gloves and painter's mask and, in a ventilated area or outside, spray the cylinder completely with the white primer, leaving no space uncovered. Allow this to dry. Then spray it with the white paint completely. You may want to apply more than one coat and it is likely you will use most or all of both cans of spray paint. Allow to dry between coats and after the final coat.
Glue one of the 8-inch plastic foam discs to one end of the column. On top of the disc, glue one of the 12-inch discs. Make sure it is centered on top of the first disc. Lastly, glue one of the 10-inch discs on top of the 12-inch disc. Again, it should be centered as best you can. Allow this to dry and set.
Turn the column over so the plastic foam pieces are at the bottom and the column is upright. Pour enough of the playground sand inside the tube to allow it to stand on its own. It should be stable enough to not topple over and can be picked up without the sand falling out.
Repeat Step 5 with the remaining plastic foam pieces for the top of the column.
A good source of cardboard rug cylinders and large boxes is, of course, a rug or furniture warehouse store.
Though these instructions produce only one cardboard column, five columns can be made just as easily. If you need more, double or triple the raw materials and repeat the steps. If possible, get help from family and friends and start an assembly line with a cutting station, a gluing station and a painting station.
Adorn the columns as you see fit. Purchase fake ivy or moss to make them look like ancient ruins or cut one in half to imitate a broken column.
For a different look and to reduce the amount of work, leave the cardboard strips off the column and just spray paint it.
Always handle paints in a ventilated area or outside to avoid intoxication by fumes.