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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

After looking through tons of the fantastic DIY backgrounds on this site, I decided to try my hand at a background for my 55 gallon. I'm going for a more "muddy" look, not stone or rock.

I decided to use floral styrofoam, bought in small sections so that I can work out the detail and also because my mind can more easily comprehend a creative project using smaller scales and then putting them together.

Below is a picture of my first section, comprised of 3 floral rectangular blocks and 3 smaller square blocks. This picture shows my cut outs:



The next picture is the same piece after using the Bernzomatic and applying a watery base layer of Quickrete with terra cotta color. I then added a second, thicker coat of terracotta and then a third coat of the same mixture with "buff" coloring added in order to bring dimension to the piece (at least, I hope that's what it did!).



This is where I am in my project. I will continue to update as I progress and would love any feedback or suggests to help me along.

Thanks!

P.S.

I just realized that my pictures will not embed, does anyone know what I'm doing wrong??
 

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I like the background, not sure why your pics won't show here though. How many pieces of it will there be?

I use imageshack for uploading photos and it works pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, sorry - here is the original cut out image:



And here is the same piece with the three layers:



Thanks guys!!! All critique is welcome - I'm still on my first section so if anything looks like it needs improvement, please tell me.
 

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Welcome to the Forum Linasmom. :)

That should make for a very interesting background when all the peices are in place. I used some of the same colors for my background but found thier intensity distracting. Yours doesn't seem to be as bright. Did you use a flash to take the pictures or did you snap them in ambient light?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Iceblue, thanks for the welcome!

I took the pictures using a flash - funny thing though - the colors in the pictures actually look a little brighter than they actually are, especially since drying. I'm a little worried about the contrast as the light and dark colors have almost melded into one color, I'm thinking of adding another layer of just "buff" to the foreground shapes...what are your thoughts? I'm also wondering if I'm simply jumping the gun and once the background is beneath my tank lights, the contrast in color will show more vividly.

DMWave- Floral styrofoam can be found at any craft store - I bought mine at Michaels. It's the stuff people use to construct floral arrangements.
 

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linasmom said:
I'm a little worried about the contrast as the light and dark colors have almost melded into one color, I'm thinking of adding another layer of just "buff" to the foreground shapes...what are your thoughts?
I enjoy oil painting ocassionaly. A rule of thumb is that dark colors recede and light colors come forward. If you want to add depth darken the areas between your foreground shapes. If your happy with the color between them then yes add the lighter color to the foreground. The greater the contrast the more you will have the illusion of depth.

For mine I was trying to get the look of gniess and used dots of color. Not happy with the brightness I ended up putting a thin, watery glaze of charcoal and brown mixed with acrylic fortifier over the whole thing.

If you want to get a good idea of what it will look like in your tank with water you can spray the project with water and hold your aquarium lighting over it. You'll be suprised how different it can look.

Here's a pic of mine doing just that. You'll notice a difference betwwen the overall wet part and the little bit of the dry part to the right.

 
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