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Dry, cracked dirt

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Cole, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    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.
  2. Wayne R

    Wayne R NRA and B&C Life Member

    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.

  3. Matt

    Matt Active Member

    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.
  4. AndyB

    AndyB New Member

    Thanks for the tips guy greatly appreciated.
  5. Helicity

    Helicity Squirrels – Natures Road Bumps

    I just did my first habitat and all my dirt cracked like this. I like the look after its dry.
  6. gday, what woud "modge podge" be. ive never heard of it..
  7. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    White glue, similar to Elmers brand glue
  8. Wow that looks so neat, I will have to try that. Josh
  9. like woodwork glue...? thanks cole. :)
  10. mjroberts

    mjroberts gator season will be here soon

    the glue that I use is tightbond you can get it from Lowe's I think it was 10 bucks for a gallon
  11. 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.
  12. mabee this is similar stuff.pva
  13. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    The craft glue is probably similar. This is the elmer's glue I was referring to:

  14. thanks cole, i have a fox that needs a base. i might have a go at this...thanks for sharing :)
  15. is it suspose to work useing pva glue, if so mine dident.....
  16. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    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.
  17. ok thanks' ive been messing with wood glue aswell also this works very well....
  18. I've used Elmer's many times. I think the "secret" is to dry it fast. i use heat lamps.