DIY Foam Ornament - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Foam Ornament

I wanted to adopt the 3D background idea into a foam ornament as a centerpiece. I need to have it ready in 3 days, maximum.

I wanted to use polysterene foam and carve it with a carving knife. Then I wanted to silicone glue it to a piece of slate or granite. I would then wait a day or so for the silicone to slightly dry. Then I would use drylok with cement coloring added or quikrete (is this tank safe?) with a color additive, making sure to leave the silicone glue uncovered. This would sit in front of a fan for 2 days to fully dry.

Does this seem feasible? Do you guys have alternative ideas that might work better for the 3-day dry time? I could extend the dry time or add another day for an extra coat, but I aim aiming for 3 days.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 10:05 PM
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Looks like you live in Alabama, so hey fellow Alabamian, I'm in Birmingham. If it is hot and not raining where you are, maybe using the fan on them and putting them outside in the 90 degree weather, possibly in the sun. This would help dry them out quicker I would think. Maybe baking in the oven on a really low temp? but that could be overkill. Good luck, pics when they are done hopefully.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 10:08 PM
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Cement doesn't dry, it cures. Placing it outside with plenty of air movement is all you need for it to cure. Cooking it won't help at all, in fact it will probably hurt. A thin coat of drylock will cure pretty quickly. 3 days will probably suffice.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 10:18 PM
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use epoxy with sand mixed in. You can even use that to attach the foam to the rock/slate base.

It should cure in about a day, give it a bit longer, and then a few rinsings just to make sure.

Should be able to do all the work in a (slightly busy) afternoon/evening.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
use epoxy with sand mixed in. You can even use that to attach the foam to the rock/slate base.

It should cure in about a day, give it a bit longer, and then a few rinsings just to make sure.

Should be able to do all the work in a (slightly busy) afternoon/evening.
Oooh. That sounds intriguing. There is, however, a budget involved, and there will need to be 3 ornaments made. Where would I be able to get the epoxy? Which type would be aquarium safe? Have an idea of general costs? I was hoping to get different colors in case the students (this is for a camp) wanted to choose their own colors. Any idea which sorts of additives would work with epoxy?

As for curing, well, that would be my fault. I suppose it is a common misconception to assume that it dries. I had realized that it becomes stronger over the years, but I suppose that would lend credence to the "curing" argument.

Though I am in Alabama now, this will actually be done in New York. Not quite as hot, usually, so fans would be good for the drylok, perhaps? Unsure about the epoxy and cement, so that might not apply to them.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 11:21 PM
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I have been thinking about these too, I would like to attempt a floating island or hill in my tank but have no idea how to go about it

must....have.....more....moss n shrimp!!!!!!!!!!


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 11:41 PM
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I think epoxy cure times can be affected by heat, but if you are at anywhere near room temp, it should be about what is advertised.

I've used the stuff you can find in the varnish area of hardware stores (sometimes you can find it in the sculpture/mold section of craft stores, but I think there prices were higher last I checked (but sometimes you can find decent x%off coupons in newspaper flyers)). Not sure off the top of my head, but I think something like ~$20 for about a liter/quart. It's usually advertised as being equivalent to 30-50 coats of varnish, and it's what they use to make those table/bars with stuff embedded in them.

I'm not sure how much you need, it's been a while since I've done this, so I can't even remember what amount worked for me. Adding the sand or whatever will increase the volume (obviously) but also make it harder to apply, and you'll probably end up using more. I haven't tried it myself, but I've heard people talk about using chinchilla dust. I think you can add concrete pigment to epoxy mixes, but again, not something I've done, and I'm not certain about it.
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