A fire hydrant is the perfect eye candy to have at your booth at the trade fair or dog themed party.
But getting a real one is out of the question, and contractors ask for as much as $700 to make a fire hydrant prop!
Luckily, you can DIY a fake fire hydrant for much, much less by reusing items you already own. It’s a fun Sunday project that takes only a few hours to complete!
YouTuber ermah built a great-looking DIY fire hydrant for under $30 and documented his process for us to enjoy.
In this post, we’ll uncover how to make a fire hydrant cheaply with his video’s help.
Other than some cans and plastic water bottles, you will need:
- Styrofoam-friendly spray paint (in red)
- Plastic chain
- Contact cement
- Styrofoam glue
- Styrofoam cutter
- Cardboard tube
Steps to Make Your DIY Fire Hydrant
01 Make the Body
Stack three Quaker Oats cans on top of each other and tape the ends together to make the body of the DIY fire hydrant.
Grab an old calendar and wrap it to cover the entire body of the hydrant. Stick it in place using the contact cement. Remember to wrap with the printed side of the calendar inwards, so the body has a plain white exterior.
Don’t worry if the wrap is crinkled – the paint will cover up any imperfections. But if you’re looking to minimize the bumps and irregularities, you can use cans with less bumpy surfaces.
Skip to 0:07 on ermah’s video to see this step.
02 Make the Base and Head
Draw three equal-sized circles on the piece of Styrofoam using a pencil to make sure that they’re larger than the cans’ diameter.
Use the Styrofoam cutter to cut the discs out. In the video, ermah makes the initial cuts using a knife and does the rest of the cutting using his battery-powered Styrofoam cutter.
Make sure you do the cutting outdoors since Styrofoam bits are a pain to clean up.
Stack and glue two discs together to make the base, stick it to the bottom of the body, and stick the remaining disc to the top of the fire hydrant body.
Finally, stick the head of a plastic bottle on top to finish the body.
Go to 1:59 to watch ermah demo this.
03 Make the Water Outlets
Cut the cardboard tube in half, and curve the edges, so the tubes stick to the body seamlessly. Cover the tubes’ ends by gluing another piece of cardboard to them, and carefully use a hot glue gun to stick them in the middle of the body directly opposite each other.
Next, make the end caps for the tubes by cutting off the bottoms of two plastic bottles. ermah uses old yogurt containers. Seal the ends of the bottles using pieces of cardboard so you can stick them on with ease.
ermah also mimics the rubber gasket in fire hydrants by cutting a mini two-blade fan and sticking it between the end caps and cardboard tubes. You can leave this out, or make your own version for effect!
ermah makes the water outlets for his fire hydrant in this next segment.
Check at the 2:49 mark see view.
04 Add Finishing Touches
Melt holes into the top side of the base at equal distances, and slide in bolts in the holes. You will see the hydrant coming together!
Glue the plastic chains to the water outlets, then grab your can of spray paint and spray away.
Your fire hydrant is ready for the trade show!
Skip to 4:07 to see the finishing touches.
Watching the full video will help you understand how the pieces come together to form the prop hydrant.
You can also use the timestamps above to skip to steps you need help with.
Can I use a knife instead of the Styrofoam cutter?
Sure! But using a knife makes more of a mess, and if the Styrofoam is thick, then cutting can get tiring. The Styrofoam cutter uses a heated wire to melt the Styrofoam into shape – making cutting a lot easier and also leaving behind less residual Styrofoam bits.
I don’t have large enough cans. Can I still make the fire hydrant?
Yes! You can use a PVC pipe as an alternative to the cans. PVC pipes are sturdy, and since they lack irregularities, the wrap is neater and makes for a better finish.
I don’t have a hot glue gun. What adhesive do I use?
E600 adhesive is an excellent alternative to hot glue. The hot glue gun needs to be handled cautiously – if the glue drips on the Styrofoam, it will start to melt. You won’t have this issue with E600.
Don’t worry too much about getting the perfect, unwrinkled wrap and making clean cuts – the paint, the water outlets, and the plastic chains cover up most inconsistencies.
You don’t have to stay faithful to ermah’s blueprint, either. He repurposed cans for the body, but you can use PVC pipes and plastic containers for it. You can also use a red plastic bowl for the top, and sturdy bottles for the water outlets.
Don’t be afraid to get creative – it can save you both time and money!
And remember to check out ermah’s YouTube channel for more awesome content!