How to Make Plastic Roman Decorative Columns

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Simple Roman columns
Simple Roman columns (Image: roman columns image by Mograph from Fotolia.com)

Roman columns are perfect for adding an authentic touch to your next toga party or as stage props for a classical play. They also make elegant touches for formal gatherings, fraternity parties and weddings. Real columns are far too heavy and unwieldy to use in a temporary setting, though. Fortunately, with the variety of inexpensive plastics on the market today, you can achieve the effect of real Roman columns without breaking the bank or your back. This 12-inch diameter by 8-foot tall column makes use of both sheet and flexible corrugated plastic in its construction.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 mm corrugated sheet, 36-by-36 inches
  • Metal yardstick
  • Permanent marker, fine
  • Drawing compass
  • Sharp craft knife
  • 4 mm corrugated strips, 4-by-73 inches, 2
  • Hot glue gun
  • Low melting temperature hot glue
  • 2 mm flexible corrugated plastic, 8-feet high by 38-inches long
  • Duct tape
  • Sand (optional)

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Lay the 36-by-36-inch sheet of corrugated plastic on a firm, flat surface such as a work table or floor and use the yardstick and fine permanent marker to divide it into 4 equal parts of 18-by-18 inches.

Find the center of two of the 18-inch squares by laying the yardstick corner to corner, diagonally across the square. Make a reference dot at the center point of that measurement. Check for accuracy by repeating the procedure with the opposite two corners.

Use those dots to draw a 12-inch diameter circle with the compass within each of the two marked 18-inch squares, leaving a 2-inch border on each side of the circle.

Cut out both circles carefully using a sharp craft knife. Do not damage the plastic on either side of the squares.

Lay one 18-inch square—without a cut-out circle—flat on a table and use hot glue to adhere one 4-by-73-inch strip around the perimeter of the square, bending the strip at each corner for a crisp edge.

Cut off any excess from the strip where the end meets the starting point. Repeat with the other uncut square and strip. You should now have two shallow, open boxes.

Follow the same procedure in Step 5 to glue the squares with cutouts on top of the two boxes formed previously. You will have two completed boxes with 12-inch holes in the tops. Set aside temporarily.

Use the same center hole to draw a new diameter of 11-1/2 inches on each of the 12-inch cutouts. Cut down to that size with the craft knife.

Roll the 8-foot-long flexible corrugated plastic into a tube shape and tape both edges together from the inside with duct tape. Do not overlap the edges—they should just meet.

Place one end of the tube into each box through the cutouts to test the fit. If the tube is too large for the circles, unroll it and cut a slender strip off one edge until the tube fits snugly into each hole.

Slide one circle cutout into each end of the taped tube and check to ensure that it fits well without distorting the tube. Adjust as necessary until it fits.

Remove the circles and tape from the tube. Fasten the edges together along the entire length with hot glue. Do this a few inches at a time so the glue does not harden before you get the edges fastened.

Return the circles to the ends of the tube and tack them in place with hot glue.

Glue the boxes onto the tube to complete the column.

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