Introduction: Dinosaur Play Table "JURALEX PARK"
.....when I was 7 years old on Christmas morning ....i woke up to see my very own crafted dream house, it had all my favorite colors and so much detail in , I later learned my mom had made it all by herself, she worked very hard on it making me my very own world, filled with curtains, pillows and pink wallpaper ......just to see me smile .... And that wonderful memory of my mom working and painting and sewing Ive always carried it with me and and knowing Christmas is soon approaching this year I want to recreate that special bond and feeling it with my own son.... So Ive decided to make him something unique and from the heart this Christmas for his BIG present , something of his very own.....a land far far away where he can play, discover and learn..... and because he's a dinosaur know it all fanatic....I decided to make him JURALEX park (dinosaur land) , where we can play and laugh and make TONS of memories like I once did with my mom, and maybe one day .... ( far far away from today) he too will be inspired to make something for his own kids ..... And recreate that very special feeling you get (that I now get ) by sharing something you made for them just.....to see them smile ......
Water bottle( empty)
Elmer's glue ( lots of it)
Vinegar ( about a tsp) this prevents mold growth in your paper maché
Flour ( to make paper maché)
Acrylic paints ( brown,red ,black, white,gray, greens)
Empty 3 liter
Garland ( nest)
Small branches from your trees
Green foliage( hobby lobby)
Green mat ( hobby lobby)
Hot glue gun and sticks
Holly leaves ( dollar store)
***Styrofoam to help with making the rocks different textures and sizes
A strand of battery operated lights preferably red but multicolor will do
*** this whole project cost me under 26 dollars but does require lots and lots of time working on it, I worked on it a little everyday while he was asleep ( very early mornings or very late at night) it took me about a month to be completely done with it.
Step 1: The Making of a Volcano!
Okay let's start by mixing our paper maché mixture, flour,glue,salt, water and vinegar. ( remember there is no perfect recipe for this , so you gotta experiment with the recipe and see what works for you) now cut strips of newspaper and let the mixture rest for 3-5 minutes, while you do this lets start building the model to our volcano.
Grab the empty bottle of water and cut the top off ( don't make it too tall) , start balling up plastic bags and taping them to the bottle to get a rough model of the volcano, now that you've secure it into a mountain like figure , start dipping the newspaper strips to the paper maché mixture and stick on your model/ figure, keep in mind the bigger the pieces, and the more you ball up the paper, the more texture it'll have , continue doing this, all the way to where you cut the bottle opening , , when your done adding the desired amount of paper maché , let it sit in a sun lit, well ventilated area for 24 hours ( sometimes a little more) mine didn't take very long.
Now for the paint job, you have a couple choices here, you can spray paint for an easy prime , color and seal in one , or you can paint it with acrylic colors you may have around the house, use a brown vase all over the volcano, add black for a dramatic effect and then add red and orange to the rim of the volcano and sponge all over the volcano model to create lotsa detail in it, remember you can go crazy here and paint it the way you like, there's no limits to your imagination!
Alright after I was happy with the paint job and it dried, I made openings all over the volcano to create a fun, lava like effect ( and I did this by adding the battery operated lights in the center of the volcano, now this was something I kinda ran with because my son has a fascination with lights and dinosaurs so I wanted to incorporate both , and voila you got yourself a pretty cool little volcano that lights up!!
Step 2: Making Rock Formations , Caves and Greenery
Start with your styrofoam piece, I like to use these things to kinda have a nice leveled base and then start to get creative towards the top....
Mix your paper maché mixture, start by crumbling up your paper.... Dip it into the mixture and pile up on the styrofoam , go crazy or keep it simple , it's really up to you , I made 3 " rock-like" structures including a little cave that I simply made by making a upside "u" and placing it with a lot of the mixture and started molding by adding a lot of layers on it,
Let it set for about 16 to 24 hours , it will harden and set , now paint it, and remember start with a very pale gray , slowly add, slate and black for dimensions and use the white to brighten up the structure, at this point you can add foliage, bushes , trees to your liking.
Remember to build mini trees, use little branches, paint them brown and hot glue some green foliage and you got yourself some tiny trees
Step 3: Waterfall ( Water Source)
I started off with a piece of styrofoam, then I added large pieces of crumpled paper with paper maché mixture on both sides , once you paint and add foliage around any corner you don't feel too great about, cut a piece of wax paper and crumple it all up, make sure it's long enough to reach the bottom of your water fall , adhere the very top with a lot of hot glue, then the rest, I just did a little here and there as it felI , now cut a piece of clear plastic ( 3 liter top half) and customized it for the size of the water fall , now place on top of the wax paper as if it's a shield ( it really is though my son is crazy curious lol ) , but it will give u a 3D water effect of falling water now seal w hotglue, make sure the sides of the plastic are smooth and tucked into the waterfall , hot glue the sides sealing the plastic, wax paper , and structure, when completely dry, start applying hot glue streaks on top of the plastic ( trust me) make sure you do the top too, when dry.... Take your brush, dip it in white and add a couple highlights to this , now your done with the top portion of the water fall now on to the bottom: add a small u shaped styrofoam and attach it to the end of the structure, right where the water "falls" this is to give the effect of the foaming effect of water, now build a structure around the fall this can be any shape you want , I wanted something small to give my son more playing room. Once dry paint the inside a greenish blue, just to make it a little more accurate, moss, vegetation,water equals green bluish water . Make sure to seal the structure that will be holding the realistic water , needs 24 hours to dry and set.
(NOTE: make sure this is done on top of a newspaper that you can later cut out to adhere to the table)
***also make sure the inside structure where your pouring is completely dried and solid, otherwise the water WILL sip out, I learned the hard way :( , but learned from it :).
Step 4: Trees, Plants and Vegetation
Making your big tree, I found a couple sticks from a tree outside, I hot glued together, and put in between the structures , start dipping your tissue and start forming your tree ( tissue will give it more details and it's a little easier to mold) let it set, paint make sure to put extra material on the top branches so it can dry and harden you don't want them to be weak and break , again wait 24 hrs before painting this it has to cure and harden before we mess with it,
After it's completely dried and hardened paint the base brown and move on to foliage, for this I got 2 holly bushes from my dollar tree store took all the leaves off and hit glued them strategically around the tree , be creative add as many or as little as you wish
Step 5: Dinosaur Nest
Use a small soup plate , wrap it with wax paper, start dipping the paper on your paper maché mixture , leave it to dry overnight ,
Now take it off the plate and take your wax paper off slowly , it should come right out, now color the whole thing brown , hot glue some garland underneath it , as if it's resting on a patch of grassy area, now use your remaining garland and color it brown , it should dry in a bout an hr or so , start hot gluing it on the inside of the best as if it were a real nest,
Now place your eggs on top of the nest, you can use Easter eggs for this or you can order some like I did online which have baby dinosaurs inside already
Step 6: Palm Tree ( Addition )
Cut a wire hanger into 3 sections ( as big or as small as you'd like) play with the shape, most palm trees have a slight - exaggerated curve to them. Once you decide on this, adhere to a styrofoam base , put a little hot glue on them to prevent them from moving around too much, start dipping your newspaper on to your paper maché mixture and on to your structure , cover it completely, including the hanger pieces , make them as thick as you want this will make them stronger, just remember to let the layers dry completely in between 24-36 hours, after its dry adhere to the waterfall with a thicker mix of the paper maché mixture and create a little seamless wall between the 2 and let dry, now paint!!!
For the leaves, I took the holly leaves cut them on the sides , and hot glue them on, you can add foliage to the rock itself and around the trees , and on to the next step!
Step 7: The Dinosaur Keeper Bin
So this is pretty easy, buy a big bin from your local dollar store or supermarket and decorate it with dinosaur stickers, I found mine online for under 6 dollars and I had a Tupperware bin I wasnt using , just make sure it's big enough to store all of his toy/ dinosaurs and that it fits nicely under the table you use.
Step 8: Putting It All Together
Start by sanding down the table, use 50 to clean off the first layer, then you can use the 150 to sand it completely and prep it for staining , make sure this is done in a well ventilated area, using a mouth cover and goggles ( safety first ) coat the table with a thin layer and let it dry, you can completely forgo this step if your table is in good conditions mine needed it pretty badly,
Now after it's been completely dried , I used my dremel tool and carved "JURALEX park "
Because his favorite movie is Jurassic park and his name is Alex so yey lol.
Now your pretty set, I then glued the green grass mat on to my table waited 24 hours to adhere completely ,
Now i " glued" the paper maché forms into the table by making more paper maché mixture and using long pieces of newspaper to adhere them to the paper mat/ table for a more permanent play table, wait 24 to 36 hours to completely dry
Step 9: Painting and Setting
Paint all the visible paper maché and glue , and add as much shrubbery as you like , , I added more on little spaces I wasn't throughly happy with or seams that are still sticking out after you paint , make sure and touch up anything that's Come off , has glue on it on etc
The remote for the volcano ( light) I added Velcro too and stuck on the bottom of the table
Let it dry, and soray some clear gloss sealant, after its dry about 3 hours it's readyyyyyyyy!!!
Now test it out, look it over and you are done!! Buy a big bow add dinosaurs and it's ready for Christmas morning!!