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Beginners, Training & Tutorials => Tutorials => Topic started by: Cole on July 19, 2007, 05:12:58 PM

Title: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Cole on July 19, 2007, 05:12:58 PM
I've had several PM's referring to a picture I posted some time ago wanting to know the method I used in creating dry, cracked dirt. I'm sure there are dozens of ways to do this but here is my method. As with any good idea I've ever had, this one was discovered by accident several years ago.



1st, paint the surface your wanting to cover black and let dry. I discovered this method by accident, I was trying to make mud. When the mud dried it cracked and each crack was bright white!!! ...the color of my base, so don't forget step 1.

Next, collect some dry dirt, and sift it so it's very fine. Mix some of this dirt w/ about 90% Modge Podge and 10% water. (Save some dry dirt for later) You want your mud to be thick like peanut butter. I use my hands and smear a coat of mud on the surface that's at least 1/8" thick. Tape off anything you don't want mud smeared.

Finally, crush your remaining dry dirt to the finest powder you can. I spray my mud w/ a fine mist of water and use my hands to set it nice and smooth. While the mud is still slick and damp, sprinkle the powdery dry dirt on the mud, then you can turn the base over and knock off the loose dirt. This makes the dirt look dry when finished, otherwise it just looks like cracked mud. You can dry your habitat in front of a fan and generally mine are cracked and dry the next day.
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Wayne R on July 19, 2007, 08:00:49 PM
Cole thanks for the tip!  I've mixed potting soil with a 50/50 mix of white glue and water that usually cracked, but I wasn't looking for that effect. I would put some 1/4" or 1/2" wire screen down first, and later fill in the the cracks after it has dried with some more of the mix to get a good dirt look to it, but I like the effect you created with your method.
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Matt on July 19, 2007, 11:11:54 PM
You can also acheive this by simply upping the ratio of water to elmers glue. If you want more cracking, just add more water to the mix. I accidently discovered this when I didn't want to.
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: AndyB on July 20, 2007, 02:54:25 PM
Thanks for the tips guy greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Helicity on July 20, 2007, 05:56:22 PM
I just did my first habitat and all my dirt cracked like this. I like the look after its dry.
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: utsiishi on July 08, 2008, 08:30:24 AM
gday, what woud "modge podge" be. ive never heard of it..
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Cole on July 08, 2008, 11:25:41 AM
gday, what woud "modge podge" be. ive never heard of it..

White glue, similar to Elmers brand glue
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Josh K on July 08, 2008, 11:27:58 AM
Wow that looks so neat, I will have to try that. Josh
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: utsiishi on July 10, 2008, 07:22:04 AM
like woodwork glue...? thanks cole. :)
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: mjroberts on July 10, 2008, 10:22:21 AM
the glue that I use is tightbond you can get it from Lowe's I think it was 10 bucks for a gallon
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: utsiishi on July 14, 2008, 06:25:05 AM
ive had a look around and found that elmers have quite a few glues, so im still puzzled which sorta glue would be ok...what is the white glue or modgte podge generally used for other than taxi.?  being from australia, we dont have the same brands as u guys so somtimes its hard to get right... for instance im having a hard time finding wallpaper paste thats suitable for hide paste...cheers anyhow and thanks for the help.
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: utsiishi on July 14, 2008, 07:40:51 AM
mabee this is similar stuff.pva
http://www.barnesonline.com.au/productsByCategory.asp?intCatalogID=14&strCatalog_NAME=Glues
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Cole on July 14, 2008, 09:25:58 AM
The craft glue is probably similar. This is the elmer's glue I was referring to:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/318Z6NS2VJL._AA280_.jpg)
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: utsiishi on July 14, 2008, 09:28:09 AM
thanks cole, i have a fox that needs a base. i might have a go at this...thanks for sharing :)
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Outwoods Taxidermy on January 28, 2009, 03:28:45 AM
is it suspose to work useing pva glue, if so mine dident.....
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Cole on January 28, 2009, 01:56:57 PM
is it suspose to work useing pva glue, if so mine dident.....

To be honest, I've only done it with Mod Podge, which I don't believe is a PVA glue, but Matt said in his post he uses Elmers, which is a PVA and it works for him. You may need to up the water/glue ratio and experiment with it until you get the cracking you desire. If all else fails, use Mod Podge.
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: Outwoods Taxidermy on January 30, 2009, 02:38:03 AM
ok thanks'  ive been messing with wood glue aswell also this works very well....
Title: Re: Dry, cracked dirt
Post by: RogerL on February 02, 2009, 10:35:00 PM
I've used Elmer's many times. I think the "secret" is to dry it fast. i use heat lamps.