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The plastic around the top of my tank is horrendously chipped, and I'm considering doing some kind of art project with it. This could range from putty-ing in the chips and painting OR making some kind of elaborate clay/plaster/other media sculpture around the rims. Or anything in between. Suggestions or opinions?
 

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Is this for cosmetic reasons, or are you worried about the integrity of the tank? Glass-cages.com sells tank trim, you could just put on a new one. They're relatively cheap.
 

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How's the wood working skill's and tools? Sounds like a really good time to consider building a canopy to cover all the trim. I would not worry as far as structural value. When they break so easy, it tells me they are not very strong to start. Not much value lost. If building a full canopy is not in range, there are smaller ways to cover it maybe. One might use minimum tools to cut and fit lattice to cover the trim and hang down over. It would require cutting at the corners and gluing the lattice strips together. Lattice is a small strip of wood from the lumber yard. It comes in various sizes like 1/4" think by 1" wide in 8 foot long pieces. Painted to match the stand?
 
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