Jump to content





PCS & Stuart M. Grant - Cichlid Preservation Fund - Details here

PCS Photo Competition 2017 - Enter Now - Details here

December PCS Meeting  - Marine Aquariums with MASWA Tues 5th December - Details soon

December Fish of the Month - Neolamprologus brevis "Sunspot" - Details here

PCS Family BBQ Fun Day 2018 - January 14th - Details here


Photo

Styrofoam Tree Roots Mkii


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Furnix

Furnix
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 04-April 11
  • Location: Wanneroo

Posted 04 June 2012 - 12:45 PM

First off I want to start by saying thanks for having a look! 2nd of all I'm sure most of you saw my first attempt at this project and saw it fail. But that's ok because I have learnt what not to do and tried a few new things that people suggested! So thanks to everyone that put in idea's and tips with the last one!

Before I get started I will say this is a very messy project so have your vacuum cleaner quite close by as you don't want to walk all the foam through your house!

Now on with the project!

Tools:
Wood saw
Sand Paper
Stanley knife (Brand new blade)
1" size paintbrush
Drill
Airbrush or various paintbrushes
Vacuum cleaner (As it is super messy!)

Materials:
Polystyrene Foam ( I used an esky)
Modelling clay
Wall plaster (plaster of parris)
Silicon
Paints (colours that are natural)
Pond sealant
Fishing Sinkers

Method :
Start by cutting up your foam into rough sizes with the wood saw. I just went totally random as that's what plants are. Obviously you will have one main "trunk" and then large ones coming from that and then smaller of those but it's up to you what look you want.


Next once you have the rough length and width now cut down each long size with the knife to give it a bit of randomness. With mine I put some curves or took chunks out or left a bump. Then shave down the corners to take that square look out of the roots.


Now take the sandpaper to it. Note this is the super messy part! All i did was rub down and sharp looking edges till it was a semi rounded look as plants aren't perfectly cylindrical you don't need to worry about flat spots or anything being super perfect!


Once you have all your roots made and sanded you can start deciding how they should all fit together (I had to make extra roots because it was looking quite bare). Start by just laying them next to each other to get a rough idea of how it will look together.


Now you have to angle the end so that they sit flush to each other. I got the root at the angle i wanted and cut it to fit against the other root. If it's not perfect just trim it a little. Once it is at the angle you like grab the sand paper and sand in a curve so it fits nice and snug.
(the better the fit the less patching you will have to do later) Now put some silicon on and stick it on. The silicon is quite viscous so it should hold itself on. For the first one you may need to rest it on something. Do the same thing with each limb until you have the amount you are after.



Once the silicon is dry you can get the clay and start filling in the gaps that are left from where they didn't meet quite perfectly and it also gives it a much smoother and natural look as if it is really coming out of the first limb.



Once they are all complete and dry you can give them a quick sand if it is looking quite rough and spiky. After you are happy with the general look of it all, mix up some plaster to a consistency that is between putty and paint as you want to brush this on but not have to run off. I like the look of the plaster as if have a rough texture but also smooths out any little dents of scratches that you may have made.


Once this is dry you can then start painting. As this will be what really sets it off it is totally up to you as to what colours you use. But here is what i did. I started with a basic brown undercoat that was mainly to cover any white.


I started with the lighter colours and then got darker as it is easier to cover light with dark then it is to cover dark with light. I used a light green in a random fashion lines and dots to simulate algae or moss, then a light brown just to give it dimension, Dark green over most of the light to add to the plant life look then spots of black in places that would normally be dark like at the joins or any holes you made. I did a complete overcoat with a mix of colours brown and black with a touch of dark green just to make them all blend together and give it a more aged wood look.





I then added weights to each limb at the bottom to compensate the natural lift foam has and reduce stress on the joints. I did this by drilling a hole the same size as the weight and then dropping the weight in. I plugged the holes with a bit of silicon over the top to stop the weight falling back out. I found this to be very messy as well so have that vacuum cleaner nearby.


Now all that is left to do is do a few coats of pond sealer and then it should be ready to add to your tank!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

If you have any comments or suggestions for my next project please leave them below!

I will do a in the tank shot once it's sealed and ready to go!

Edited by Furnix, 04 June 2012 - 12:46 PM.


#2 Anka

Anka
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 01-November 11
  • Location: Kallaroo, WA

Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:02 PM

Wow that looks sick!

What sort of tank are you putting it in?

#3 oscar m

oscar m
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 27-May 12

Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:20 PM

That's pritty cool man good work I have done 3D background In sort of the same way in the past to cover ugly heaters and power heads have u given one of these a go befor?

#4 Riggers

Riggers
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 27-November 10
  • Location: Kingsley

Posted 05 June 2012 - 12:18 PM

Mk2 looks great man! Top job smile.gif I'm interested to see if it will stay on the bottom, is it in a tank yet?

#5 Furnix

Furnix
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 04-April 11
  • Location: Wanneroo

Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:38 PM

Thanks, Its going in a 4 x 2 x 2.5 malawi tank

I haven't done a cover style one yet but i think that might be the next preject!

No its not in the tank yet but i am a little worried if it will stay at the bottom. In saying that it is damn heavy! its got over 1kg of lead in it plus 500g of clay so it feels like it would sink but only time will tell. I have to coat it about 3 times with clear coat and they take 3-4hours to dry each coat!

#6 Anka

Anka
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 01-November 11
  • Location: Kallaroo, WA

Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:44 PM

How certain are you that the lead won't come in contact with the water? Because if it does it will poison your water.

#7 oscar m

oscar m
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 27-May 12

Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:10 PM

do they still make fish sinkers from led? i just put some in my ship bubbler to hold it down how toxic are these things?

#8 Anka

Anka
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 01-November 11
  • Location: Kallaroo, WA

Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:19 PM

Fish sinkers are usually lead. You get more expensive sinkers (such as steal) which might not be toxic. However, you would be taking quite a risk by adding any substance to your tank without knowing what it is made of.

Lead is very toxic. It will leak into your water over time and will likely kill your fish

#9 oscar m

oscar m
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 27-May 12

Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:41 PM

i think i might take them out just to be safe thanks for that

#10 Furnix

Furnix
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 04-April 11
  • Location: Wanneroo

Posted 05 June 2012 - 06:16 PM

i have used silicon as a plug plus i am going to use a pond sealer over the entire thing with at least 3 coats. So i am very sure water will not come in contact with it. If it does the plaster and paint will b ruined and i will know pretty quickly.

#11 Riggers

Riggers
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 27-November 10
  • Location: Kingsley

Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:02 AM

Lead sinkers are ideal for weights, they wont dissolve and are resistant to corrosion. The biggest risk is if it is digested and it sounds like there pretty big! If your unsure coat em with resin smile.gif I've been using lead sinkers for ages to hold bits down smile.gif

#12 brado

brado
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 25-July 10
  • Location: banksia grove

Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:14 AM

well done mate that looks cool

#13 Guest_Fish-lips_*

Guest_Fish-lips_*
  • Guests
  • Joined: --

Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:01 PM

You have done a awsome job there mate very impressive

#14 Furnix

Furnix
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 04-April 11
  • Location: Wanneroo

Posted 15 June 2012 - 04:50 PM

Thanks everyone!

the clear coat is finally dry so i tried a quick dunk.... and failure! sad.gif its not even close to sinking! it goes about 10cm in and i cant even push it to the bottom!

Back to the old drawing board! third times a charm right?

#15 Bowdy

Bowdy
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 21-May 10
  • Location: Parkwood

Posted 15 June 2012 - 05:11 PM

Put it in with the tank emply and silicon it to the base then fill it up you shouldn't have a problem then.

#16 sue

sue
  • PCS Club Member
  • Joined: 08-July 09
  • Location: Bassendean

Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:12 PM

That looks like a stellar job. Well done.

#17 spite333

spite333
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 02-September 09
  • Location: Byford, WA

Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:28 PM

glue them to a flat rock/something that you can cover with sand/gravel

cheers Mike

#18 knock

knock
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 21-October 06
  • Location: wanneroo area

Posted 21 December 2012 - 02:09 PM

what was the latest on this mate..did you manage to work it out

#19 Furnix

Furnix
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 04-April 11
  • Location: Wanneroo

Posted 21 December 2012 - 03:03 PM

Nope didnt get it to work it was just way to boyent! i would have to hollow it completly out but then it would be weak. So i need to think of something that i can work with that doesnt float. As for sticking it to the bottom or to rocks to weigh it down i think the joins will just break off as they r only siliconed on and foam is pretty brittle.

#20 knock

knock
  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 21-October 06
  • Location: wanneroo area

Posted 21 December 2012 - 04:30 PM

how about doing a cast, using poly as the mold and plaster or cement as the material..could work. definitely would sink smile.gif

Edited by knock, 21 December 2012 - 04:30 PM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users