Water Under the Bridge

Written by Glenn. Posted in Shelf Layout

{timg title:="The completed still water under the two bridges." thumb:="images/stories/shelflayout/PC_20131205_110711-200px.jpg" img:="images/stories/shelflayout/PC_20131205_110711-800px.jpg"}

The old exhibition layout Murranbilla featured a creek that had a dry bed. I was interested in having one with water and giving us a reason to try out a couple of methods of creating model water. 


The first step was to complete the scenery immediately adjacent to the water bed. This meant getting the creek bottom completed with plaster and shaping it to the required contours.

To prevent the liquid water from overflowing each end of the creek bed was sealed off with a piece of wood, and then the gaps were closed with plaster. Once the new plaster was set it was painted along with the creek bottom with a suitable colour of muddy brown mixed from the acrylic paints that we have. 

Ezi Water

The first method tried was Ezi Water which consists of small beads of clear plastic. These are melted and then poured into the prepared water space. Lacking a nearby stove I tried melting them in a small tin using an electric heat gun. It sort of worked, but even after a considerable time (about 10 minutes) the beads were not melted in the centre of the tin. After some more time they looked ok, but maybe not.

After they looked melted enough I poured the mixture onto the creek bed. It did not flow well at all and being quite viscous the edges had a distinct round shape. The liquid did not take to the bottom at all making a sort of frosted glass effect. The bottom of the fake water was clearly visible and this was not wanted at all.

I suspect that the beads need to be "cooked" for longer and with more heat; and a stove is the only way to go. All of the beads needed to be melted and joined with the others to become a homogenous liquid. Having some residual heat the liquid should flow better once cooled a bit by the creek bed.

Anyway, the failed plastic water came away only taking a small piece of creek bed with it. This was painted over ready for another attempt.

Liquid Glass

{timg title:="The product used to make the water effect in the creek, Feast and Watson's Glass Finish." thumb:="images/stories/shelflayout/PC_20131205_121445-200px.jpg" img:="images/stories/shelflayout/PC_20131205_121445-800px.jpg"}

I had seen a friend use liquid glass to cover a tray. The effect looks just like glass, and I thought this would be great for making a still water creek bed. A quick visit to the hardware shop and I had some Feast and Watson Glass Finish to try out.

It's easy to use, simply pour out the quantities as per instructions. I put marks on the bottles at the same height as the ratios of hardener to resin are hard to visualise, that is the ratio is not an easy 50/50 to see. Once mixed pour the liquid into the prepared water space. It flows easily and after some moments it is perfectly flat with only a small meniscus at the edges. The edges "wetted" a little just like the real thing, it turns out.

If the water body is not full enough I suspect that another layer can be added onto to the top straight away.

A week later at the next visit to the club house the water was set, well, like glass! We now have a realistic still water creek that is fully washable. 


{timg title:="The creek now has water in it. Still water so it's probably not safe to drink." thumb:="images/stories/shelflayout/PC_20131205_111017-ed-200px.jpg" img:="images/stories/shelflayout/PC_20131205_111017-ed-800px.jpg"}

It was good to try out two different methods of creating a water effect. One drawback of the liquid glass is that it is hard to manipulate the material once it's down. In contrast the EZ water can be reheated to add ripples to the surface.

After having seen the final result the creek bed looks a little bare and some twigs and small rocks could have been added to make it more realistic. But this will now have to be left for next time.




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