Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hi! Long time, no post.

Well, things have been crazy busy for quite some time, but I'm finally back in the swing of things... just in time for the upcoming show!

This year, I've got something a little different: a vignette. This is a very simple structure consisting of a pair of foam core (aka paper-backed foam board) walls and a round, "flagstone" floor cast from, of all things, spackle. Sounds like fun, yes?

Let's start with the floor. I would love to tell you how to cast one but, unfortunately, I'm not the one who did it. I can tell you that spackle-cast pieces are flat and flexible; mine came glued to a circle of foil-faced insulation. Obviously, the pallid color of the spackle wasn't going to cut it, so I painted it a nice, flat slate gray.

Nice enough, but not very interesting.

There are ways that you can spice it up, though. The instructions say to use acrylic paint to dry-brush some other colors onto it. I, however, am a cheapskate so I just used some pastel chalk that I already had lying around. I rubbed the chalk over the surface of the stones and then used a stencil brush (though any stiff-bristled brush will do) to blend the color in. I then gave the whole thing a good coat of varnish and let it sit for a few hours.

After it was nice and dry, I added some plain old sand-based mosaic grout, waited 15 minutes and wiped off the excess with a damp paper towel. Then I let it cure overnight before giving it a more thorough wiping with another damp paper towel. I want this vignette to look a little dilapidated and the pristine look of the dove-gray grout didn't really work, so I made a 1:1 mix of black acrylic paint and water to serve as a wet wash. It dirtied the grout up nicely.

So here's the finished floor. The colors are actually more subtle than the photo depicts:

Next up: the walls.

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