Introduction: Mad Scientist Creatures in Jars

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In this in instructable I will teach you how to make creepy looking organisms preserved in jars. They are fairly easy to make depending on what you have lying around however all the parts are quite easy to obtain. These are great for a mad scientist look or as Halloween decorations. Also, no Victorian study is complete without a macabre biological display in the curio cabinet.

Step 1: Procure Your Supplies

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What you will need is as follows:

1. A piece of paper. Printer paper will work but I like something with a little more texture.
2. scissors.
3. sandpaper for weathering the container and for removing paint from the lid of the jar if need be. For this I cheated and used a rotary tool but with enough time you can just use sandpaper.
4. sculpey.
5. various paints and brushes. I used a drybrush for most of the painting. The paints I used were Games Workshop Bestial Brown, Snakebite Leather, Shadow Grey, Ultramarines blue, and Golden Yellow but fewer or different colors could be used. I used Devlan mud, Gryphonne Sepia, and Baal red washes.
6. Mod Podge
7. A small jar
8. A tea bag

Optional

1. A sculpting tool
2. A rotary tool
3. A spray on sealant such as Krylon Crystal Clear

Step 2: Unleash Your Macabre

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In this step you will be making your creature. If you already have something to put in your bottle skip this step. Bare in mind that what you choose must be waterproof.

To start, get a nice chunk of sculpey and knead it between your fingers and your palm. In order to be sculpted well  sculpey needs to be warmed up and worked. Think about what what you want to make. It can be just about anything just as long as it fits through the neck of your jar. I started with a ball. I then pinched out a thin log out of one side. Then I balled up more pieces and stuck them on the log. Then I used the sculpting tool to mush the balls together. Then i textured the entire piece with a piece of foam. Once you are done double check that it fits into your container and bake it as per the directions on your box.

To paint your model I suggest starting with your base coat and working your way up to your highlights without cleaning your brush. This makes the paint job more natural.

Once you are happy with your paint job you need to seal it. In the first jar I did I used spray on sealant which was probably the best way to go. In the second jar I used Mod Podge Which might be more inclined to let water in.

Step 3: Make Your Jar

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If your jar has a painted lid you need to remove this paint. You could use paint thinner but I didn't think of doing so. Instead I used a rotary tool to sand off all the paint. I find it also helps to ding up the lid a little with a hammer. Just make sure not to dent the threaded part. Next cut a label out of your paper and put it where you like. You can use any number of methods to antique your paper including the tea method and what have you. However I decided to use citadel washes. If you aren't familiar with these they are like a thinned down paint designed to bring out the details in models.
in hindsight this method wasn't the best choice. It isn't shown in the pictures but you want to write your label out before you start if you are using the wash method. After your label is written, Mod Podge it down onto the lid of your container. Now brush on a layer of Gryphonne Sepia. While this is still wet put on a layer of Devlan mud. Wait for this mixture to half dry and then add a few splotches of Baal Red and stipple it all with a piece of sponge or foam. Once this is dry and the label is how you like it put another layer of Mod Podge over the top of the label. For this jar I decided to go for a quickly painted label like it was made by an inexperienced sailor to be sold once he got back to port.

Step 4: 1+1=1

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Now that you have your jar and your creature it is time to make the "formaldehyde." This is just a strong batch of tea. First make yourself a nice cup of tea. Take a break. You've earned it. Now fill  your jar with water. Take your tea bag and wring out the nice strong tea inside into your jar until it has the desired color. TIGHTLY screw the lid on your jar and you are done. Congratulations. Now go enjoy the strange looks you will now get from your friends.

I kind of hammered this instructable out quickly and late at night (which is never a good combination) so if you find any grammatical/spelling errors let me know in the comments.

Comments

tinker234 (author)2012-02-25

very creepy i will make one

justjimAZ (author)2011-06-05

I think a heat gun would peel away the paint as well. Or simply paint over the lid. I agree that the bare metal look does have a certain appeal.

WhyHello (author)2011-02-13

wow

AndyGadget (author)2010-12-24

I've had something similar at the back of my mind for decades after seeing Jan Svankmajer's Alice - A very strange film. When Alice is falling down the rabbit-hole she passes shelves with jars filled with various items including strange creatures and clock parts. I was planning to use a light oil to fill them instead of water.  One day . . . one day . . .

ChrysN (author)2010-11-26

Creepy, nicely done!

cdawisconsin (author)2010-11-26

This is great. I'm going to make a creepy lab for Halloween next year.

rhoddity (author)2010-11-26

This is kinda creepy, but at the same time really cool. I think I want to try this! Well, time for me to go learn how to paint...

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