Introduction: The Dark Crystal Geocache
Runner Up in the
DIY Summer Camp Challenge
This was a very adhoc project, constructed over many months only spending small amounts of time on it here and there. I didn't have any grand plan on what the final product would look like as I was making it but I tried to limit the project to only materials found around the house. The main materials I used were:
- PVC pipes and cement
- Casting resin
- Pool noodles
- Modeling clay
- Rags, sheets and freaky fabric
- Umbrella stand for the base
- Film canister placed inside a lantern to hold the log book
Step 1: Constructing the Head
The Dark Crystal is one of my favorite films so I've wanted to do a tribute cache for a while. But, I also liked the idea of not following any plan or looking at any pictures and just going off my memory of the film as a kid. I decided to base my Skeksis on Chamberlain.
The head was constructed out of a piece of pool noddle. I carved the basic shape using a stanley knife and placed a couple of dolls eyes in the eye sockets. I then made the rest of the head using modeling clay which then took about a week to completely dry. I added some extra detail to the skin using epoxy and added teeth made out of clay. I then painted the head with some of the kids acrylic paint.
Finally when I was happy with the head I coated it with casting resin to make it tough. I ended up giving four coats of casting resin.
Step 2: Making the First Hand
To make the first hand I made the fingers out of wire and tapped them to end of a PVC pipe. I then coated the fingers in modeling clay and painted them. I found that the fingers were not very durable and broke easily. So I then wrapped the fingers in bandages and coated them with PVC cement. This process achieves a result similar to fiberglass but A LOT cheaper!
This made the fingers a lot thicker than I wanted but they were tough as.
Step 3: Putting the Body Together
Now that I had a head and a hand it was time to come up with a body. For what would become the back of the Skeksis I used a think piece of pool noodle and cut out and shaped some spikes to add to the back. I cut some wire which I used to skewer the spikes to attach them to the back. I then glued them with epoxy.
For the base I used an old umbrella stand. I came up with the shape of the body with PVC pipes. As you can see from the pictures the first shape I came up with was unstable so I came up with a better design which you can see in the last picture. I pushed a pool noodle into the umbrella stand so I could thread a PVC pipe in it. When I was happy I painted the back as I intended the spikes to poke through its clothes.
Step 4: Adding the Second Arm, Some Clothes and the Geocache Container
Now it was time to make the second arm. I wanted to have it holding a staff to give the structure more stability. For the second hand I built it like the first but made it wrap around a T-shape PVC join which would connect to the two halves of the staff.
To make the staff I made a blob of expanding foam for the head of the staff then wrapped the whole thing in bandage and paint with PVC cement to give it strength. When I was happy with the staff I painted it. I also gathered some old rags and sheets to come up with a basic idea of how I wanted the clothes to look.
For the actual geocache container I simply used a cheap garden lantern and placed a film canister in it where the candle was meant to go. I attached the lantern to a chain to hang off the free hand.
Step 5: Final Construction
I purposely did not glue the final shape together so I could easily pull it apart so I could transport it and construct it in its final spot. As I put it all together for the final time I glued the parts together and also wrapped the joins in bandage and painted with PVC cement for strength.
I then covered the body with the sheets and rags. I cuts holes in the sheets to thread cord through so I could tie the whole thing in place.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Finally I added some freaky fabric which I bought on ebay for the final look. I also carried in a couple of cement blocks to anchor the stand so it wouldn't fall over. With everything in place, now all that is left is for geocachers to try to find it!
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