Mushroom Forest Tabletop Terrain




Introduction: Mushroom Forest Tabletop Terrain

Hi, in this instructable, I sculpt four, mushroom forest pieces, growing out of rocks, using oven-bake clay, foil, wire, pipe cleaner, hot glue (obvious mistake, more on that later), and acrylic paint. In the instructable, I lump together instructions that are the same for each project and separate when I did things differently.

This project had its ups and downs. I was excited to make a project for the role-playing contest and planned how many pieces would be included in the instructable, the best plans most likely will need to be altered. My great plan was to get the four projects pictured ready to paint and then move on to the next set of projects. The forest was planned to be full and diverse, with a mushroom guard, a mushroom tree fort, and walls to protect.

Day one, I had the blue and red mushrooms completed and ready to bake. Mistakes were made and in my rush to get so many projects done in such a short period of time, I failed to think. This was my first time using oven-bake clay, you may see where I am going with this. Normally I use paper clay, which air dries, it is no big deal to use hot glue to get the armature done, however, when placed in the 270-degree oven the red mushroom toppled over. breaking off at the base of the stem, cracking the arms of the stem, and leaving a beautiful line through one of the caps, from the oven rack. The blue mushroom sailed through unscathed.

Day two, forget to video or take pictures of the broken project and quickly fix red mushroom with more clay and different glue. Try baking it again with bold confidence. Don't just put it in the oven by itself, no that would be too easy. Spend a few hours making game pieces for a board game you are inventing and put it all in together so when that glue heats up and also liquefies it can topple over and smash everything in its path. Again cracking and breaking off at the base. Don't take pictures just set it on a shelf and get busy working on those game pieces as your adult kids are on their way to be testers for your new board game.

Quickly, I salvaged enough game pieces to play and slapped some paint on them. They looked horrible, but they served their purpose and that's all that mattered. Here is where the whole instructable plan fell completely apart I bought a snow cone maker, for game night. While cleaning it I managed to slice the tip of my finger clean off. I will spare you the details, but the nerves in my finger were loudly screaming, "You're not playing with clay, anymore."

Day 3 - 9, spent doing nothing, but crossing out projects that I no longer had time to accomplish and trying to convince my husband and myself that I would heal quickly and get at least the four done.

Day 10, forget to video or take pictures of the broken project yet again. Think to myself the entire time I fix it, that this thing is just begging me to put it in the garbage can. Look at garbage can many times and contemplate if that is the correct answer. I, however, got it fixed and thought about how can I bake this and just make it work out. I propped it up with canning jars and baked; opened oven and success!! It looks great no one would be the wiser that I broke it and like a genius, I take it out of the oven, set it on a potholder on my counter, and watch it fall apart as the clay has not cooled and become solid. Yes indeed, the garbage can is where this thing belongs. I take it to my office and set it where I don't have to look at it for the rest of the evening and go pout.

Day 11, I can't let it win. It wants the garbage can, instead, I insist, it can sit on my shelf until my last breath and my kids can throw it out. I fix it. Do I take video or pictures? Of course not. I prop the project back up, with canning jars and place it in the oven, in case you are counting this is the fourth attempt. Bake it and when the timer goes off I shut the oven off and open the door and don't return to my kitchen for an hour. I spend my time putting clay on the yellow mushroom thinking about if I learned anything. And I did. And this round, I won.

Step 1: Rock Bases

All four projects have the same rock bases. I started with a sheet of foil and balled it into the desired rock shape.

Step 2: Stems and Caps Armaure

For the red and yellow mushrooms, I used black wire purchased from home depot. Mistakes were made with my purchase and the wire was coated in oil. I wiped the oil off with paper towels and washed my hands before proceeding with the clay, but the other two I simply used pipe cleaner so I didn't have to deal with the oily mess.

What is this oil-coated wire used for anyhow?

I bulked out the wire using foil.

The caps on the red, yellow, and blue mushrooms were made using a square (term used loosely) of foil. I folded it in half and then again in half to make a thicker smaller square. then I folded the corners into the middle and pressed it into the palm of my hand folding the edges to create a round bowl shape.

For the caps on the purple mushroom I balled up the foil and used a plastic Easter egg to help shape it.

Step 3: Clay- Red and Blue Mushrooms

For the red and blue mushrooms, I completed the projects before baking. (more details on the caps of all four in later steps)

The stems I etched lines with my silicone tool. For the rocks I used crumpled foil to add detail.

The red mushroom's biggest problem, besides thinking hot glue would hold it together, was the top was heavy and the soft rubbery clay just couldn't support all the weight, as it cooled, so it snapped at the base. Now that it has been patched, baked, and cooled it seems to be holding together well.

Step 4: Red Mushrooms Cap

On the underside of each cap, I carved lines for the gills of the mushroom using my silicone tool.

On the top, I pressed in little balls of clay and then used a straight pointed tool (I have no idea if it has a real name, heck it could be a thingy ma bob for all I know.) Where was I, oh ya, I used the tool to poke lots and lots of holes into each little blob of clay.

Using the same tool, I drew lines in-between each hole-filled blob.

Using tiny bits of clay I made the little dots that I painted white. I rolled the clay between my fingers, and then pressed it onto the cap, forming a flattened little circle.

Step 5: Clay- Purple and Yellow Mushrooms

For the purple and yellow mushrooms, I only covered the stems and rocks before baking, carving lines on the stem, and pressing balled up foil onto the rock to give it cracks and crevices. More on the caps later.

The yellow mushroom I used jars to prop it and took it out of the oven hot and it stayed together. I found having the rock and stems baked an easier process than doing it all at once. I did not have to worry about destroying details as I worked and will use this approach again, whether I use oven-bake or air-dry.

Step 6: Blue Mushroom Caps

I draped snakes of clay on the cap. Using the silicone tool I smoothed the edges and drew little lines in the valleys.

Underneath I drew lines from the stem going out to the edge of the cap for the gills.

Step 7: Purple Mushroom Cap

I covered the cap with a thin layer of clay and then added snakes of clay in a random pattern to create peaks and valleys.

I used a silicone tool to smooth the edges and a small ball stylist to make lots of shallow indents over the entire thing.

Step 8: Yellow Mushrooms Caps

I covered the entire cap in a thin layer of clay blending the edges where the stem and cap meet. On the outside of the cap, I used snakes of clay to create ridges.

Using a ballpoint pen's cap I made lines in the ridges and circles inside the mushroom cap.

Using a small ball stylist tool I made indents on the ridges and lots of indents in the valleys. On the inside, I made indents inside each circle made by the pen's cap.

Using my pointy tool (still don't know if it has a name, If you know please leave it in the comments) my pointy tool was used to draw lines between the circles.

Step 9: Painting the Stems and Rock

I painted the stems and rocks with a base color of light grey or light gray, whichever you prefer.

Normally, I don't do too much mixing of paint colors, and you will see in the following steps that I list which color I used, but I could not decide which color I wanted to paint the stem and started mixing Khaki and white and that wasn't it and I added a splash of this and a splash of that and after a few splashes, I got this grey/gray color, that I liked for the base, even though I had no intention of it being grey/gray to start with. Sometimes, uncertain chaos brings happiness.

Step 10: Mushroom Caps Base Colors

Blue- Apple Barrel, too blue highlighted with Folk Art, Dutch Aqua

Purple-Apple Barrel, wild iris, and Folk Art, black

Red-Apple Barrel, red apple- under the mushroom cap and base of blobs with holes Apple Barrel, ripe tomato- blobs with holes Apple Barrel, pumpkin orange and around blobs in Folk Art, true burgundy

Yellow and Green- Apple Barrel, bright yellow, and Anita's all purpose glow, glow green

Step 11: Highlight the Stem

I used a mixture of Apple Barrel, Khaki, and White.

I dry brushed over the stem to highlight a few details in the stem.

Step 12: Painting the Rocks

I dry brushed small amounts of the following colors,

Apple Barrel-

English Navy

Barn red


Granite gray

Folk Art- brushed metal, brushed bronze

Step 13: Highlight the Black

I used the Apple Barrel, Wild Iris, over the top of the black to give it some dimension.

Step 14: Black Wash

Using Black paint that was really watered down with a few drops of jet dried added to it. I painted over the entire projects.

I used very little black paint as I did not want the projects to be darkened too much and after they dry only a little remains. I don't understand black wash, except I know it works like magic to make a piece look better. Mistakes were made and my plan was to use a dark green wash for the yellow caps, but as I spread the first little bit inside that mushroom cap is when I remembered that I was going to use green. I went with it and after drying it lightened up, but I still wish I would have used the darker green. I'll try again next time.

Step 15: Painting White Dots

After fully drying from the black wash I painted the little dots white using Apple Barrel, white.

Step 16: Finished Pictures and Moral of the Story

Life is short, get the snow cone maker. Wash it carefully, so you only have to wash it once.

For anyone wondering if I have had a snow cone yet, it's a no. Quite frankly, I'm just not ready.

Step 17: Videos

Since I make time lap videos and post on YouTube, I normally have a video to put here. Instead, I have a promise that I just need a little more time and they are coming. Each project will be posted on my YouTube channel separately and I post once a month, for right now. I am not the best video editor, shhh don't tell everyone, and the person who very very generously helps me, by getting it down from many hours to a manageable time, just had a surprise surgery and is very busy recovering. To the best person I know, I mean you would have to be, to help with editing for free, Get Well Soon! And not just for selfish reasons.

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    JLW Creates
    JLW Creates

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thank you!

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    8 weeks ago

    These are really neat and vibrant :)

    JLW Creates
    JLW Creates

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Thank you!!!