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I'm sorry this is slightly off-topic, but I was hoping this might be a fun brainstorm for some folks who are more construction-minded than I am.

Our church is taking part in a "Trunk-or-Treat", where you decorate your car, and serve candy out of your trunk. We decided to go with a pirate theme for our car, and our trunk is like a big treasure chest. To pull this off, we need a way to construct a mast that we can attach a bed sheet as a sail, and somehow attach it to the car without causing any damage.

The car has a sunroof, if that makes setting it up any easier, but I'm basically looking for ideas on materials and basic construction. Ideally, this would involve relatively cheap materials that we could pick up at Wal-Mart/Home Depot, and fairly simple setup.

Any ideas are greatly appreciated, thanks so much! -J

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closed as off topic by Niall C., BMitch, DA01, ChrisF Oct 29 '11 at 22:38

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10' conduit with a drop clothed tied to it shoved through the sunroof? – DA01 Oct 28 '11 at 21:26
How would you secure it so it stays up straight? – jeremyalan Oct 28 '11 at 21:39
Make sure you keep an eye out for ninjas! – Doresoom Oct 28 '11 at 22:06
I'd secure it with bungees or duct tape or telling my 10 year old his job is to hold it. – DA01 Oct 28 '11 at 22:47
As I've actually attached a large mast to a car (specifically, an antenna to get geostationary satellite data that wasn't designed for car mounting) ... go to Radio Shack, and get the largest magnetic base that you can for an antenna, then slip a piece of PVC pipe over it. If you have to, a little bungie cord 'rigging' will keep it held down. You can use u-clamps to attach crossbars, as I don't think anyone makes 'X' connectors for PVC ... you could always double up 'T', though. Oh, and make sure to get stiff PVC. I like the grey stuff for electrical conduit. – Joe Oct 30 '11 at 1:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

A simple mast looks somewhat like this:

  XXX  <- Christmas tree holder

So, I think you could get a few 2x4 and make one. Then just place the mast through the sunroof going in from the top (2 people). I think duct tape is your friend. Where the mast is resting up against the sun roof, just duct tape it in to hold it in place. Remove tape when finished.

A christmas tree holder could be used to add stability. Just screw in the bottom of the mast to the holder and then the holder sits in your car. Optionally the same setup could be used outside if you don't want to put it through the sunroof, just put a blanket on your roof to avoid scratches. Good luck.

enter image description here

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We were thinking PVC pipe, but based on the picture, I think 2x4 would be much easier to work with. Good call with the tree holder for stability. I'll definitely consider that if nothing better turns up. Thanks! – jeremyalan Oct 28 '11 at 21:48
PVC would be lighter, but more expensive, although I don't know off the top of my head how much it is. I think for around 10 dollar (4 or 5 boards) a nice mast could be made. The Depot sells them around here for 2.50 a piece. – Jon Raynor Oct 29 '11 at 3:18
Thanks for your help! We got the sail up, and it worked great! – jeremyalan Nov 5 '11 at 18:41

Use a patio table umbrella with stand, tape some 1X3's above the CLOSED umbrella and below. Attach your sheets. Easy , huh? Love duct tape. You can do anything with it! lol

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