Here's an odd request


New Member
So a customer (marketing agency) just called.

They're looking for 25-50 6' or 8' cubes of some sort. This is for some sort of viral marketing campaign advertising an event so they're only going to be used for about a month. They plan to place them strategically around a city and every night when nobody's looking move them closer and closer to where something special is going to happen. That's all I know. Sounds weird.

Anyway, the cubes will have graphics on 5 sides, we can handle that. But I'm not sure how to go about building a cube that's inexpensive, strong and light enough that a couple people could pick it up and carry it at 3am.

My first thought was a PVC frame with banners zip-tied to it for the graphics. That may honestly be a bit too Home Depot-esque for them though. I think a fabricated aluminum tube frame would be ideal but would probably be out of the budget.

Then we thought about router-cutting a few sheets of coroplast with tabs and slots and assembling them cardboard box style, but that seems like it would be flimsy, and with either the 6' or 8' size there are going to be big seams that would be hard to reinforce or hide.

It almost seems like the easiest method would be to build them out of lumber, maybe 2x2s. Glue and nail them together, figure out a way to attach coro or PVC faces and be done with it. Strength may still be an issue since they'll be moved about 30 times.

Any ideas???

Craig Sjoquist

New Member
well your last idea seems simple enough, the aluminum one would look the best
either way you will need weight to put inside that will be easy to haul also cause people will just plain enjoy maybe tear up
maybe steel frame PVC would be strong box maybe heavy enough ... there budget might tell ya better


New Member
I would use a 2x4 sub frame with 3/8" pvc exterior. If you lift it 6" on to some harbor freight casters any one can move it. Put a couple of slots for handles and you're golden.


New Member
i'm thinking you could get some help from your awning shop, you could probably stretch a printed banner around it, could even do back lit or center lit.


New Member
I'm actually thinking 1/2" Coro more than likely. 3/8" PVC would be way too heavy. Knowing this client, more than likely they'll be hiring a bunch of college kids to go move these around at night. They'll be in parks, on street corners, in parking lots, etc., so casters are probably not an option, the terrain these will be moved over will probably vary too much. They did say that ideally they'd like something that can be picked up and carried by two people...

These things do not have to be ultra durable, just strong enough to withstand the moves. If a few of them get trashed or destroyed within the month they're out I don't think it'll be the end of the world, the viewing public won't know since they're constantly being moved around, no one cube will sit in one place for longer than 24 hours...

Ugh. I love projects like these but they're not much fun when you're already burnt out and overloaded on a bazillion other oddball projects...


New Member
i'm thinking you could get some help from your awning shop, you could probably stretch a printed banner around it, could even do back lit or center lit.

Initially that sounds great, but I'd suspect our yet unknown budget wouldn't allow for that.

Oh, regarding the budget, at this point nobody knows how much for the cubes alone. The entire promotion has a hefty budget of around $75k but that has to include a whole lot else, so we're still in the planning/budgeting phase of this.


New Member
25-50 6' cubes... good luck fitting those in a budget if they're already talkin' how its gonna be an issue.

Maybe make it out of wooden pallets, and lotsa zip-ties, so that you can break down the cubes into 5-sides for easy transport and re-assemble. Too heavy/durable to vandalize/steal, and each section is easily 1-mannable to move when broken down. Just clip the zip-ties, move the sections, re-assemble the cube and tie it back together. (you can get some, if not all of your money back for pallets, if returned undamaged).

There's companies that collect them to recycle... maybe strike a deal to loan you a few (25-50x5), instead of investing into building materials that will just go to waste after the event. Which, at that point, i'd recommend cheap banners with grommets and zip ties, wrapped around each face/sides and tied to the back (should make them look pretty damn good, for a pallet with a wrapped graphic).


New Member
Did they get permission in writing from the city to do this?

Somebody did something similar not too long ago in Boston. if I recall. and people thought they were bombs or something.

Company got into a heap of trouble.


New Member
Although only a couple of feet in size, I made a bunch of cubes a year or two back, and used ¾" ultraboard (like Gatorfoam) and put them together with a hot glue gun. Surprisingly strong and light.


New Member
I would consider building the frame from a 1" pvc piping with the all the right fittings to put it together. then simply screwing the coro faces on the sides, if they are 8' then you might be able to get away with leaving the top and bottom faces off, to lighten the load and cost. If you go 6' i would put a top on it cause people can see that hieght. Sure you would see the edges and seams, but if they are on a budget....

Mike Paul

Super Active Member
Maybe 2x2 or 2x4 framing with U/V printed Scooter Board applied as the skin.
It's Smooth, flat and light weight.

Keep in mind anything built that doesn't hold up to the first jackass jumping up to sit on it and gets hurt may be a problem for everyone...


New Member
I would consider 1/2" coroplast with a 1" alum tube frame or possibly the pvc pipe frame. Perhaps a few diagonal braces on the inside to help support the top.


New Member
This is actually for the city, so getting permission isn't an issue...

Jhill, yes, the top is one, no graphics on the bottom.

I'm liking the idea of hot gluing Ultraboard or Gatorfoam together, I never thought of that but you're right, that stuff is stiff enough to hold up fine and it would definitely be lightweight. Some triangular corner gussets would be needed to keep things square and neat, but that's easy... I think GVP is our winner so far!

Keep them coming though, I really appreciate the input!