I have been working on the shadow box for my eldest son's birthday this week with mixed success. This is the first time I have attempted a project like this so I decided to use it as a practice for using paperclay because the area was small enough to hide any boo boos.
I started with the basic idea of the back wall and four sides. The back wall was to represent a stone wall in Hogwarts with six floating shelves for my mini Potter dolls. I marked out the frame inset on the shadow box back and rolled out the paperclay in batches fitting it into the square.
The clay was very easy to manipulate and joined together well with a little pressing and moulding by hand. You have to use glue to adhere the clay to a clean surface, it will not simply stick on its own.
To get a brickwork effect I used a very useful tool from Malcolm's Miniatures which gave me the basic structure without too much effort. To give the clay a slightly rougher look I used a stencil brush on each brick, just gently pressing into the clay.
I had already prepared the shelves and cut out a strip of clay and glued them into the clay.
So far so good, now I knew I had to wait for it to dry......
In the meantime I prepared the four walls. Two I covered in wallpaper I had left over from The Leaky cauldron. One I covered with left over ceiling paper and the fourth I painted grey and then used some roofing tiles to create a cobble-stoned effect for the floor.
......and I continued to wait for the clay to dry. I must admit this drying time was a complete surprise, it takes ages!! I knew I had to wait for the clay to dry completely cos everyone states do not attempt anything at all until the clay is dry.
And as it dried, it cracked, lots!
The biggest problems occurred where I had placed the shelves. Huge great cracks. The others didn't worry me too much because they would improve the weathered look. I also had to weigh down the edges as the backing began to bow as the clay dried.
All in all it has taken about three days to dry completely.
I filled in the really bad cracks with ordinary polyfilla, which smoothed out most of the problem but if this had happened on one of my houses I would use a more creative repair method.
I have painted the grout marks in so far. I have made these quite dark as they may become paler as I add additional colour washes.
Here the texture of the brickwork can be seen a little better. including a rather large crack before filling!
I removed a lot of the grey paint with a baby wipe as I went along which somehow transferred itself onto the clay and has accidentally provided me with a very effective start off wash!
All in all its not come out too badly. I now have to fit it all together, finish the colouring of the bricks, add some slime and greenery, make some aged labels, fix any more cracks......