Once a year I am fortunate enough to be a part of The Healing Box Project.
It is a non-profit organization that raises funds to help our disabled veterans find solace through learning to play and listening to the Healing sounds of a guitar.
With the deep-rooted history of the Guitar many are found abandoned and string less and just like so many of our veterans hurt and in despair. But with the touch of a helping hand, life, hope and glory can be restored. My project this year was a barn salvaged Guitar who had seen better days.
All this little guy needed was a change of scenery so I incorporated a water scenery inside, and completed it with an RGB, remote controlled light ,that would create a relaxing mood. Once again after all it had been through, would it find a home and could it give back to society, what it once had given even without its strings?
Stay tuned to see if this gem found a home.
Step 1: Project Tools & Supplies
Love and compassion
Shaper Sheet plaster
Various fake turfs and foliage
Fake tree kit
Tiny fake or real rocks
Water effects ( used for waterfall)
Resin for water
Led lighting kit
Drill and drill bit for wire hole.
Old bowls and spoons for mixing plaster
All the items used to decorate are found at Woodland Scenics or from other model scenery suppliers.
Step 2: The Cutaway
Gave it a little scrub- a- dub- dub, which it hadn’t seen in a long while.
It had a lot of rough areas, so I had to decide what and we’re I would cut and place the lighting and the scenery, yet still letting its history show. I really hated cutting into it even though it was already in bad shape. I just hoped that I could give it a fresh look. After the design was created, the next step was to cut away what I didn’t need. I tried to make sure that it still had adequate support.
The interior was created with Shaper Sheet. This would not only give a great backdrop but would also add more stabilization.
I traced the guitar profile onto the material and cut it out. Before placing inside I first need to drill a hole for the lighting. It works off a remote so it needed another small hole for the receiver to stick out.
I hot glued everything into place. The lights looked great just up inside the arch area. Cord ran out the back.
Now time to add more details.
Step 3: Forming the Land and Water Ways.
The piece of Shaper sheet that is the back profile piece need to be put into place and hot glued down. I drew on the location of the waterfall etc. Then i started taking little bunches of SS to create the rock cliff formations.
After I was happy with the look,it was time to plaster the back piece and work forward. This is like painting we do back ground,middle ground and Foreground. I mist the surface of the SS just to dampen this will create a suction effect for the plaster and draw it into the fibers. The plaster should be the consistency of heavy cream. Take a disposable chip brush and coat the SS. Let the back dry( I get impatient so heat gun to the rescue).
Lets move on watched pot never boils.
Step 4: Paint & Plaster
Acrylic paints and scenery paints were used for this part.
First the sky was painted, tree line established and a few birds added. The back has a wave pattern in it and this helps establish the waterfall and river movement.
These effects are all about perspective and color. Please see photo. After the background and water are laid out, we start putting in the rock formations we created earlier. Just hot glue them down. Next mix more plaster a little thicker, mist the SS with the water and start applying the plaster. Coat well and avoid the painted area.
The plaster will lock everything down creating a hard form.
This is the time you can start to add detail with the plaster. Sculpting in the texture with the brush or tools.
Do not clean or put plaster down any drain. Use an old bucket of water to keep things clean.
See the picture. The SS has such great texture and after it is stained it will look like rock.
Let it dry!!!
Step 5: Tree Time, During Drying Time.
Lots of great kits for various species of trees. Or you can purchase pre-made trees.
The instructions are simple. Choose tree armature, twist to make irregular . Apply a thin but good coat of Hobby tack glue. Let this glue turn from white to clearish. i use foam trays or togo boxes to poke my trees in while they dry. But by all means if you like holding things while they dry be my guest.
I will tell you this glue is STIC----KY so do not get it on your hands or anything else you don't want to be stuck to.
Now the the green stuff( Foliage,clump) Break off little pieces and begin sticking on the tree. Use good pressure to secure in the glue.
Set a side.
Step 6: Finishing the Terrain.
All is dry, the rest of the color can be added to the rocks and the Earth undercoat can be applied.
Start with light, med, then dark, thinned color. it will flow into all the grooves. For the areas that might have grass the Earth undercoat is a specific color developed to resemble the soil color. Apply it to the tops of rocks that are large ground area contacts.
Let dry. With scenic cement, I sprayed the areas where I wanted turf to be. Dust on the turf (avoid the water area) Glued down larger rocks and shrubs added twigs at the base.
I place a paper towel on my water area to help with this. If you ever want to learn more about model scenery there are lots of great tutorials to teach you.
After everything is dry and water areas are cleared of any scattered turf, it is time for water details. You can just paint on a clear sealer. But for this I mixed up a 2-part resin and poured it down the waterfall and into the pool at the bottom. This needs to cure 24 hours. You can embed rocks ,twigs,etc for more realism.
More water texture was added with water effects (a gel medium that stays in place on vertical surfaces) Read instructions on bottle. I applied more texture and yet again time to dry!
Step 7: The Breath of Fresh Air !!
Now the final touches are complete and the lights have set the mood.
My job was finished and so off to the Event it went.
I love being a part of events like the Healing Box Project because we truly don’t know what happened to our veterans. But what we do know is that, they come home changed in so many ways.
They did give their lives, and their families lives, so whatever we can do to help make the soil at home feel like home, I am all in. I love the world and am blessed every day to use my talents to bring joy.
Thank you, to all those who have served and that will serve.
This my friends, is the story of a healing box, who once again found a home!!