Thursday, January 8, 2015

Building a Base

I hadn't meant for this to be a tutorial, I thought I'd snap a few pictures during one of my little projects today.  This is the first time I've tried anything like this and I think it turned out kind of cool.  So I figured, why not share the process and maybe it'll give someone some ideas!

Whenever I have leftover epoxy, I usually mush it flat and then save the disk to build a base later on if needed.  I have a little pile of these from over the years.

(another thing I've been known to do with leftover epoxy is make little smiley faces...)

I have a horse I'm working on who is close to being finished, but he needs a base.  Despite collecting my leftover epoxy disks for a little while now, I hadn't actually made one into a base yet.  Though I've always had an idea how I would do it.

I selected one of the disks, this one looked like a good size under the horse.

The first thing I did was stand the horse on there and use a sharpie to mark where the center of his front foot would be.

Then it was time to break out my trusty Dremel.  I've had this for 16 years!  I've used it on countless hobby projects and even bigger jobs like car bodywork.  It is still chugging along and runs great.  It was money WELL spent.

The bit for this operation would be one of my most-used, a teeny-tiny engraving bit.

I drilled a hole through the base.

Then, on the underside, I started carving a channel with the Dremel.

 Time to cut a piece of wire!

I cut a piece plenty long enough, always better to go too long than too short.

I used the wire to gauge if the channel was wide enough and deep enough for the wire to sit flush on the bottom.  Not quite yet...

Once the channel was the right size, I bent the wire at a right angle and stuck it through the hole.

 Next, I trimmed the wire to fit into the channel.

To glue the wire into the channel, I decided to wrap the wire in thread.  This is something I always do when gluing wire to something.  The thread give the glue something to adhere to and makes it hold much better than glue on wire alone.

I also "roughed up" the area around the channel, giving a surface for some more epoxy to stick to.

Then I glued the thread-wrapped wire into the channel.  I used CA glue, running a thin bead in the channel, then pressing the wire in.  I also put a little more glue along the top, to help hold it in.

After the glue was dry, I flipped the base over.  I think that wire sticking up is a bit too long...

That's much better.  I went slowly here, trimming the wire away a bit at a time and test-fitting it into the matching hole I drilled in the front hoof of the horse.  I didn't want to cut the peg too short and not have it provide the right support for the horse.

I want to give more stability than just one peg in a front foot.  I decided to go the opposite route with the back foot, by making a depression for it to sit in.  I started by setting the horse back on the base, front foot on the peg, and then traced around the back hoof with a pencil.

Dremel time again.  I would drill out a tiny bit, then check the fit with the horse, then drill a tiny bit more, and check the fit again.  I did this several times, figuring it was better to go slow and get a snug fit than to make the hole way too big.

Got it done with a good fit.

Epoxy (apoxie) time for the bottom.

A quick break to say hi to our critters keeping me company.  (don't mind the mess)  Not much room for two big dogs to hang out with me, but they make it work..

And can't forget the cat...

Okay, back to work.  I mixed up a tiny ball of epoxy and then spread it around on the bottom of the base, over the roughed up area.  This will help hold the peg even more.  ( I don't think it's going anywhere after all of this!)

I got out a piece of paper for the next part I had in mind.  Time to make a mess!

Tacky glue time, I smeared it all over the base, including the edges.  (at this point it was getting hard to operate the camera without getting glue on it)

Alright, now I wanted to put sand on it.  Hmm..  I know, just bury it in sand!  (and keep sand out of the camera...)

I pressed down on the little sand pile, trying to make sure the sand got worked into the tacky glue all over the base.

After letting it sit for a few minutes to give the glue a chance to dry, I carefully excavated the base.

(is it just me, or does the leftover sand pile look like some sort of monster...)

Yeah, I'm easily amused...  Moving on...

I tapped the base on the paper and brushed away any other loose grains of sand with my fingertips.  Wow, this actually turned out pretty cool...

A glimpse of the horse this was made for, well, his feet anyway.  He is a surprise/secret for the moment, so this is all I'll show of him.

I think this little project turned out pretty nice.  I do have plans to tweak it a bit more - I think I'm going to add more glue and do a buildup of sand around the hooves that are on the ground.  I think it will offer him more support and look more realistic, like he is sinking into the sand a bit.  I'm thinking I'll also paint the bottom, just to make it look more finished.  Also, some of the edge didn't get sanded, so I'll try and address that too.

Overall though, I'm happy with how this turned out and I'm glad I thought to take pictures to share.  Hopefully this might give someone some ideas if they're looking to do a similar project.


  1. You are so flippin' creative! Well done!

    1. Thank you!! Gotta tell ya that I was partly inspired by reading your post about making your ruby slippers. Back when I first read that, I was thinking if it worked for glitter, it should work for sand! ;) I don't have any modge podge, I just used my trusty tacky glue, but it seems to have worked well. :D