Simple water splash bases
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Tutorials  |  Topic: Simple water splash bases « previous next »
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Craig W
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« on: May 22, 2008, 07:07:31 PM »

I do at least 30-40 water splash bases a year and thought I would show some of the ways of doing it.This first one only takes about 30 minutes total working time and its cheap.
You need a piece of plexiglass or lexan glass,a paint stripping gun,cracked ice plexiglass,hot glue gun,green paint.
For the glass base I like Lexan better if you can get your hands on some.You can cut it without the stickers on it and it wont bust like plexiglass sometimes will when youre cutting it.I usually cut my shape out with a jigsaw or sawzall.I have about 300 4 x 4 sheets of Lexan and will never run out.If you can get in good with someone thats works for a glass shop,they throw a lot of good pieces away that can be used.Even if it has scratches on it,you will cover them up with the resin in the last step and usually it wont be seen.
The cracked ice you can usually find at Lowes Home Improvement.Its usually $3-5 for a 4 x 4 sheet.You break that into strips then heat the strips with your paint gun and stretch it or bend it however you want it.Make a bunch of different sizes.You can get the paint guns at Kmart,Lowes,etc...and they usually run $20-30.I bought mine about 8 or 9 years ago and its still working good.
Once you have made your splash pieces glue them into place on your glass base.Its good to have the fish your going to use in the base because you can get the pieces set on the base where you need them.If your guessing with out the fish you might not have them in the right spot.
Once I have the splash pieces on,I use my artifical water/resin mixed with green paint to cover the glass.You can also drip it down the splash pieces.This will give color to your base and will cover the scratches on th glass if there are any.If your out of artificial water you can just use regular fiberglass resin mixed with green paint.If you use this,you will have to to spray gloss on it after it dries because it dries dull.Its good to spray gloss on your water anyway to seal it if its sticky and also give your water a wet look.

This base in the pics is made for sitting on a table or hanging on the wall.I will put the driftwood towards the back of the base and put a hanger on it,if this is want the customer wants.For the driftwood,I just attach it with a couple screws.

You can take this idea and run with it.You can add on whatever.I usually add some art rocks and a few pieces of grass,cattails,etc..You can also add duckweed to the resin to help with a natural look.
Here is some pics of this stuff.
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Craig W
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 07:10:47 PM »

Heat gun,strips of cracked ice,lexan glass
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Craig W
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 07:11:30 PM »

Strips that have been heated
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Craig W
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 07:12:17 PM »

The base after I added the fish and cracked ice.
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Craig W
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 07:18:37 PM »

I finished base
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Craig W
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 07:25:02 PM »

You can also take your heat gun and bend the edges of the base up if your wanting to make your resin thicker.There are a bunch of different ways of doing these.This is just a way I do some of my commercial mounts.I usually make these for largemouths.This is the first smallmouth I was asked to do one for.
I also do a lot of bases with the fish underwater,underwater cork in the base,fish halfway out of the water,etc....I will post more when I have time.
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Craig W
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 07:45:26 PM »

This is one of the underwater/cork bases.I will post how I do these,sometime.I will also get some btter pics of the splash bases.
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Craig W
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 07:47:18 PM »

This is one of a fish halfway through.I will list out all the steps,etc...when I get a chance
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Craig W
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2008, 07:02:59 AM »

Another way Ive seen people make simple splash bases is take and cut a 3/4" sheet of plywood into a shape that you want.Then you take spray can foam and put a little bit all the way around the edge to hold your resin in.The foam can give a dirt of rock appearance to the edge.Let the little bit of foam expand and then rasp it down or cut it if needed.Then you spray the wood with green or brown paint.You want to color your foam with paint to,to help it look natural.When I did some like this,I used grey and brown paint on the foam.Then you make your splash pieces like I talked about earlier.To anchor the fish to the base you can use a piece of driftwood attached to the base or use a clear acrylic rod.You will find those in most supplier catalogs.Cover the top of the wood base with resin.It gives a wet water look to the top of your base and it will help hold your water splash pieces in place.Remember that you attach the splash pieces with hot glue but the resin will lock them in for good.


One thing I also do for most commercial plain driftwood mounts is add a couple cattails and pieces of grass behind the fish . I buy up a bunch of pencil cattails and bundles of grass.I order the cattails because I cant usually find them local,then I buy the grass at Walmart.The stuff I use says its onion grass(I think).Its not the dried stuff,its artificial.I usually put a couple between the fish and the driftwood and it adds a little something extra to the mount.Its not much but most people love it.

I'm still planning on adding more ways of doing these bases and will add some pics when I get a chance.
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Craig W
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2008, 06:45:25 AM »

Take what Ive done before and add this to it.This is how I do a water splash with the fish halfway through.I draw a pattern like this on the glass.I drill a couple holes within the football shape and that allows you to be able to get your jigsaw blade in there and cut it out.The 2 cuts away from the football shape allows the anal fin and dorsal to slip through.I usually have the fish there with me to adjust the cut once Ive made the initial cut.Start small and just keep adjusting it.One I have the cut the way I need it and I'm getting ready to attach the fish,I break up small pieces of the cracked ice and hot glue them tight in spots around the fish and this helps support it in the hole.Then I run a bead of hot glue all the way around it.
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Craig W
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2008, 06:48:07 AM »

Here is a pic of one I did a few years ago.I didnt have time to clean the dust off of it.I will post more details and pics when I can get a chance to make some bases.
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Craig W
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2008, 06:49:28 AM »

Here is anotherpic.I thought these pics were better till I brought them up.I will add to this post soon.
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Lisa M
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2008, 04:01:36 PM »

Craig, thank you so much for taking the time to show your method of doing it.  ;)  Good job!
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Craig W
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2008, 07:04:11 AM »

Here is a better pic of that one base
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Craig W
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2008, 07:07:45 AM »

You can make these type bases to where they can hang and sit or just hang.I wanted to make this one both ways so I put the sand bottom on there.If you have never put sand on a base.The easiest way is to mix water/Elmer's glue 50/50 and sprinkle the sand into it on the base or mix the sand with the glue/water mix.
I use a lot of the art rocks on my bases.I'm going to add to this post in a couple weeks.I have a 2lb crappie I'm going to make the underwater/cork base with.
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