Scratch-built Stalagmites

After viewing, and joining, DM Scotty's web blog, I decided to give his stalagmite building techniques a go.  Here are the final results.

Just three examples. They are mounted on vinyl floor tile pieces (two pieces glued together, for strength), cut to size.

Same pieces, opposite sides shown.  Each side is unique, as is each piece -- they never turn out the same, which is a very great thing!

The technique involves using toilet paper tubes, and Hot Glue, to create the stalagmites.  An instructional video can be found here.  After the Hot Glue cooled, I painted the stalagmites, dry-brushed them (a first for me -- I have never dry-brushed before), then I sealed them with an application of Minwax's Royal Walnut Polyshades urethane-stain.  Because I want them to represent a 'living' cave system, I left them with a semi-glossy finish (no matte clear coat), to show that they are moist.  While there could be more done to them for detailing (i.e., dry-brushing copper, or some other metal onto them, to make them look like they are formed in a mineral-rich mine vein; or by dry-brushing some lichen, mold, etc., onto them), I chose to keep mine very simple, as these were my first attempts at this.

Another pair, one side here, the opposite, below.

Same pair, opposite side.  All have the same type of vinyl floor tile basing.

Overall, I feel the techniques are quite useful, with the construction being even simpler than what I imagined it would be.  The only down-side to these, was that I had to let the Minwax Polyshades air-dry, as opposed to putting them into my crock-pot/slow cooker, to heat-dry:  the lowest setting (Warm) would melt the Hot Glue texturing, so patience was required.

Another example.  Note the variation in the shape of the crushed/crumpled cardboard tube, as well as the texturing accomplished with the Hot Glue Gun application of molten plastic.

It's important to fill in openings, to a point, to cover the cardboard base material (in my opinion).  The texturing is always different, as is the whole of the finished product.  They are inexpensive to make, easy to build, paint, and plop down in your games, whether RPG, or mini's game, requiring Stalagmits.
While the techniques are the same, with different applications of both Hot Glue texturing, and painting techniques, and colors, no two will ever be the same.  I used both a large Hot Glue Gun, and a small Hot Glue Gun:  the smaller Gun requires far more effort, as it applies much smaller, more detailed strands of Hot Glue plastic, to the surface of the object.  Unless you have a need for more details in your application, I would highly recommend using the larger (largest?) Hot Glue Gun you can find.  Cheers!

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