Introduction: Concrete and Resin Terrain Sculpture Light
Growing up one of my favorite things to do was to walk the creek .
I loved the clarity of the water and all its beauty, it contained.
As a model builder, I always thought that modeling cross sections of land and water would be unique. This project is my slice of the lake and a little light. Perfect for Home or Garden ( put solar lights for outdoors)
No matter where you live, this model nightlight can reflect the water and land in your area. Creating small scale models can transcend you, to a dream location every time you view it.
So let’s take a walk!
Step 1: Supplies
A sketch and level work surface.
12" x 4' Sona tube (you cut rings from this) Used for concrete piers.
Saw to cut the tube
Shapecrete (for outdoor or indoor) This is a nice solid piece, as a good weight to it.
Model scenery items (turf, twigs, gravel, foliage, shells, etc.
Disposable cups and mixing sticks
2- 14" x 14" tempered glass pieces, Plexiglas, or Masonite.
Hot glue gun
LED lighting kits (battery operated, Solar or electric)
Step 2: Mold Frame
Clean the surface of the glass with alcohol.
Place the half ring onto your glass piece. Hot glue all around the bottom edge. (do this very well, if the glue job is bad resin will go everywhere)
I flip my piece around so that i can see any places the hot glue may not have sealed.
Just do one side for now.
You can use Plexiglas or Masonite if you wish. I prefer glass and being able to see the resin as it is being poured.
Step 3: The Land Formation
In this step, you should be thinking of land formations, in regions with water.
Look at pictures or step out into the great outdoors to take a gander. It is this part that truly creates realism in your sculpture.
The sediment layers are just filled with lots of wonderful and not so wonderful things.
I had planned on doing a piece for earth day that would give a glimpse at just how dirty our bodies of water are. We simply say out of sight out of mind were water is concerned. The trash under water is horrible. But time fell short this year for this sculpture, however I will do for next year.
Think layers and years.
With your piece laying down you can place rocks, glass, twigs whatever you like. (this is the time to add polymer clay fish, shells, sunken boat, pirate ship, treasure chest and so on. (some resins get hot, when there is a large volume so be cautious and read your labels)
We then mix up our shapecrete, to a clay like consistency (instructions on the container). Just add water and mix.
Then you start to form rock or land mass into your curve. Remember you are creating a channel, water washes away a center levying higher edges. you want to feel the area up to the front edge of the ring.
If some is above, it is OK. We will add another piece of glass to the top to compress the formation and allow us a mold box for the resin. I covered both sides of my piece. one side can be done but you must seal the top edge.
Please refer to the pictures in this step and the others.
Step 4: Drying and Forming Cradle Base.
Let the land mass dry.
Next mix up another small batch of shapecrete this will be your base that will cradle your sculpture. We take a lump of the mix (should be like clay). put it down on cardboard or glass piece.
Then with the other half of the circle press down to create an indention pattern. I have taken rocks, sand, broken branches and embedded them into the soft concrete.
This gets set aside to dry.
I proceeded to glue the other piece of glass to the face. If left open remember to cap the top very well.
Step 5: Filler Up!
This step is done when the shapecrete has completely dried a couple of days. We do not want any water or moister present when we pour resin.
If you put some silicone release on the glass after the hot glue it will come off much easier. I prefer not to because it may cause you to get leaks if it seeps under the hot glue.
Mix the clear resin per instructions. (38oz. of resin) (it will vary depending on how much space you leave open)
The great thing about the resin is you can color it if you like. This was designed for a night light so I added blue color. The resin from Woodland Scenics is very nice and so is The Epoxy Resin Stores Liquid Diamonds.
You can do this in layers to create lots of interesting effects. My Sister Donna said I should do one in layers of the rainbow. I think that would be lovely. Working on Tropical scene next.
Do a little at first, tilt side to side to check for leaks. Leaks can happen so have paper towels ready and a container to let the resin pour into just in case. I had a small area that leaked. Hot glue gun was ready to nip that right in the bud.
By this point if your anything like me, you’re in a wow state, it’s like you just reached in the creek and took out a piece to call your own.
Step 6: Ornamentation
Well 24 hours later, depending on your epoxy resin of choice.
Everything should be cured and ready for un-molding.
I use glass panels if this is your first time you probably used Plexiglas. We need to be very careful with this process. I gently take my putty knife and remove all the hot glue. Then place the putty knife flat against the edge and tap the end of the handle with a small hammer to release the resin from the glass.
You will do this for both sides. Please be very careful in this step, the tempered glass can break and then you will be picking for hours, do I sound like I have experience? I do!!!
Now comes more fun. With your tuffs, grasses, rocks, sticks and well just about anything that makes your piece unique. Start gluing it on. This is where it comes to life. The prospective is in your hands. Nature isn’t perfect and neither does your piece have to be.
I just sprinkle on the turf and it sticks right to the water based glue. Real moss can be used .
Step 7: Lets Light It Up!
There are several ways you can do this. You can create your own LED's and electronics, you can re-purpose lighting. The RGB LED strand with remote is very nice. I am saving that for another project.
Here simple LED with light HUB and Power supply from Woodland Scenics was used. I like the just plug system because I can add or subtract lighting when I want and the potentiometer (mini dimmer)lets me dial each LED up or down in brightness. Lots of color choices and easy to change out. The branches on top of my design are what house the LED. You can drill a hole in the resin and affix the light but it looks better from the top.
Solar panel can be placed on top for outdoor lighting.
Make all the necessary adjustments and clean up the water with a little alcohol on a cotton swab to remove any turf and glue that may have gotten on the surface.
That is it, you now have your very own slice of the Lake and a nightlight to boot. Enjoy! The Juliart