This project was unlike anything I’ve done before! It was so fun to try replicating a prop but give it a functional purpose! I think I’ve said it here before but I LOVE the Monsters Inc ride at California Adventure! The doors have always been a favorite but these bright yellow canisters are also a huge standout, and I thought it would be so fun to try to make one! This project used styrofoam encasing a glass vase for the structure I was intimidated to use foam and thought It could be a crumbling mess, but it was actually easier than I expected! Read below for the steps to make your own, or on how to get more comfortable with this technique. It could be used for so many things!!
Below are the exact supplies I used for the structure. You could really use any cylinder for the structure. Even a soda can! You would just want to make sure you choose the right foam disc size to go around it. This was a basic Dollar Tree case and foam discs from Michael’s.
At this point I was just winging it. I thought I would have to carve a circle out of each disc and slide them on. To my surprise, I smashed the vase down into the styrofoam and it just easily cut through!! Win!!! I did this with 5 of the discs and left 2 alone.
With the 2 remaining discs I carved the edges with a plastic knife (literally a plastic disposable party knife) to look like a canister. It was so easy to do! No resistance. Those 2 cap the ends of the vase. I used a little glue to connect those edge pieces to a fully hollowed disc.
Then you start to assemble your canister by stacking them. you can see that I had 3 discs in the middle and the 2 caps on the bottom and top. At this point I also cut an opening through the top disc for flowers to go into.
The structure will be a bit off depending on how similar the disc were and where you cut the holes. No worries! Take the plastic knife and lightly shave off the high parts on the structure. You could also use fine grit sandpaper.
I thought I would just have to stop here and paint, but the structure was a bit dusty in coating and I wanted it to have a smoother finish. A few internet deep dives later, I found this awesome product for $6 at Walmart. Big Win And a game changer!
I lightly applied this product with a plastic knife, smoothing it out like icing. The product’s texture reminded me of baseboard caulking. It dried Really quickly! Get it as smooth as you can, but the beauty of the product is that it can also be lightly sanded once dried! This gives the foam more durability on top of a more convincing texture.
It smoothed out beautifully! Then, since it was becoming so convincing, I decided to go all in and make the scream/laugh leveler transparent! Just cute out a rectangle from the center. It was truly, super easy to carve this stuff! for this part I used a small exacto.
Then more fun, the paint!! I spray painted the whole canister yellow. Even in the gaps it made a great base for the black paint to adhere to. The rectangle should be taped off but I totally forgot and just went back with the exacto later to easily scrape it off.
It was starting to really become satisfying! At this point, I added black paint to the in between bands of glass. (Just regular acrylic) Then I made the leveler. A simple foam sheet with silver sharpie for the outside arrows and red cellophane behind it for the red tint!
Just attach it to the canister with some glue and TA DA!! Your very own piece of Monsters Inc! You can add the written details using a vinyl machine or just with a black sharpie like I did here.
I added some twinkling lights to light up the leveler because like I said, I was all in at this point.
Just like that, another piece of Parks magic that I get to hang onto. It feels so special having parts of the Parks in my home to enjoy. I hope these elements help my kids feel like home is a place to play!
If you’ve ever thought about working with styrofoam to recreate something, I highly recommend it! That smooth finish tool really was a game changer and made the end result much more realistic!
If you have any questions on this project, feel free to drop them below or contact me on Instagram. I’d be happy to help!