A while ago I stumbled upon upon a type of clear paint, named Distress Crackle Paint Rock Candy, that cracks while it dries and creates an interesting ice effect that can be used to make some nice wintry bases that are more then just dirt and snow. Now Distress makes more then just a clear paint and Massive Voodoo has an excellent write up that explains how they used the non-clear paint for mud and other effects. This guide will cover how to make a base like the one below as well as a few other different types of ice bases.
This is just an example of what you can do with the paint
The paint comes is a fairly large bottle, about twice the size of your normal paint pot and is thicker then regular acrylic paint--which is good since you don't want this running everywhere as your using it. You can easily grab paint from the pot or off the included brush, which I've found way to big to use in any meaningful way, and place it where you want it.
A few things to know about the paint before we start on the first base is this can take a while to dry and the thicker you paint it the more it cracks and the more brittle the cracks. Despite the brittleness you'll want to paint more of this on then you'll think you'll need and unless it's really thick you won't have a problem with this cracking when you drill through it with the pin vice. Its best to get something you don't care about, like a piece of cardboard, and experiment with some thicknesses before using it on any project.
Step 1: Making the Ice Chunks
This is the most time consuming part, but one you shouldn't have to do too often, and that's making the ice chunks that decorate the base. To do this you'll need to poor a lot of this stuff into something that's flexible so you can easily break out the "ice" once the paint has dried. You can use clay or a cheap plastic container, it doesn't really matter, just poor it in how big you want your chunks. Now the thicker you poor this the longer it takes to dry, as with anything, so expect at least 2 days for this paint to dry completely.
Step 2: Prepping the Base
Once you have your Ice chunks you can start to make your base. You'll want to take a normal lipped base, I haven't tried a non-lipped one, and cover up the slot with tape then paint the base whatever color you want your base to be. Darker colors tend to pop more with the dry brushing but using a lighter color and then staining the ice effect with an ink works quite well (the first base shown off in this guide uses P3 Frostbite with a turquoise wash).
The base colors here are Rackham Wizard Blue and GW Ice Blue
Next you'll want to glue your ice chunks where you want them and wait for the glue to dry.
Step 3: Applying the Crackle Paint
I find it easiest to hold the included brush over an open area where I want to place the paint and then, using an old brush, push it around to where I want the paint. I'll just keep adding more until I have the amount I want as it's easier to add then to remove this stuff. I haven't seen any negative effect on my brushes from using this paint but you don't want to get a nice brush in this stuff since you'll really have to wash to get it all out. Once you have the paint where you want it set the base aside and come back in 2-3 hours when it will be dry.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Once the paint is dry you'll need to decide if you want to stain the ice effect or not. I tend to always stain the ice chucks I've added with some Turquoise Ink heavily watered down (maybe 15:1) and do several coats where I want it to have a stronger color. Once the Ink is dry, if you've used it, you'll want to dry brush the ice effect with a white. This part is tricky as you'll need to have more paint on your brush then you're use to having but if you've got too much then you'll just end up painting over everything.
Your finished base
The above base is pretty simple and nothing fancy, but you can do various things with this method to make some bases that really stand out:
Combing Dirt, Snow and Ice will give you a more realistic base
Part 2 will cover how to make this base
(Edited to remove a commerce link without changing the tutorial, TaleSpinner.)