Children seem to be fascinated by creatures like dragons, dinosaurs, and bats. This cave aims to provide the perfect dwelling for them and is a lot of fun to make. You can also consider this project a teenager in training moment. Soon enough, you’ll find your male children in particular aspiring to cave-like decor in their own rooms, favoring a dimly lit environment, piles of debris, and bad smells emanating from all corners; a bit like a Hollister store. Have fun.
- plaster of paris bandage rolls
- old jars and/or plastic containers
- masking tape
- wooden base
- container with warm water
- paint brushes and sponge
- chicken bones
The wooden base I used was 10″x10″, however the size really depends on how big you want the cave. Home Depot is a great place to buy inexpensive wood. They have a scrap section in the back where pieces are only a few dollars, and they will provide the first three cuts free of charge. Moss can be found at the florist, or you can use plant matter from a garden or park. And don’t forget to make that roast chicken. Save the bones and scrub them with soap and water to clean them.
The plaster of paris bandage rolls I had were 5″x5′. You need to apply about three layers and this cave, which is on the small side, required about 2 1/2 rolls. So again, it will depend on how big you want to make your cave. The size of your roll isn’t so important because you will be cutting the bandages into strips.
You can check out some great images of caves here: http://www.goodearthgraphics.com/virtcave/index.html
1. Things can get a bit messy making this cave, so cover your work area. Arrange your containers on top of your piece of wood. These containers will provide support for your bandages to rest on, so try and visualize what kind of shape you are aiming for and how the bandage will look lying on top of it. Taller containers in the center and shorter ones on the sides works well. The entrance should be large enough for children to easily place their creatures inside. Make sure to leave space around the outer edges of the containers for your bandage to rest on the wood. You will also need this room to decorate the outside if you choose. It may be necessary to tape your containers together if they are stacked.
2. Have a container filled with warm water. Apply your bandages by dipping each strip in the water so it is completely wet, then draping it over the containers. For the first layer, it’s best to use longer strips that go from the base on one side, over the containers, and down to the base on the other side. Additional strips going on top can be shorter. Once you have applied two layers, wait for it to harden (3-5 minutes), then carefully remove your containers. Parts of the bandage may hang down on the inside. I trimmed some of it with scissors, and left some hanging down to add a nice creepy look to the interior. Continue with a third layer, or however much you think you need to add.
3. Wipe up the excess water on your base, and allow to dry overnight.
4. Go ahead and paint the inside and outside of your cave. Sponging colours on top of your base colour adds a nice effect. For example, you could start with a medium grey, then blend lighter and darker grey on top with a sponge. My daughter chose to paint the inside with a dark grey to add depth, and make it look like a ‘bottomless pit’.
5. Once your paint is dry, you can decorate your cave and base. Stones and moss work well. And don’t forget the chicken bones! These guys had to eat something. Your home is now ready to receive your creatures.