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So I'm going to be making a diorama for a friend soon. I have a pretty solid idea of what I want to do but no idea how to go about it. I've never worked with cork before and am going to be using quite a bit of it. I want to pour water effects(?) into it but don't want the cork to soak it up. My questions are (photos to be added below for reference):

 

  • How do I seal the cork so it won't absorb the resin water effects?
  • Do I need to seal the wood I am basing it on as well?
    • If so what is the best way to do that?
  • What is the best glue to put the cork on the wood, sealed or not?

 

ETA: 

  • How do I fix the small hairline cracks in the cork (not sure if they're visible in the picture)?
  • Kind of related but what is the best glue for plastic to wood (I'm going to be putting the wood on top of a painted Tropicana lid)?

 

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Edited by SparrowMarie
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I haven't done any water effects myself, but I would try a coat of superglue on the inside ring of the cork.  The cork will absorb the glue but will cure hard.

 

Also interested in what other have had success with.

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The one time I've done water effects I used air dry clay as the barrier so it wouldn't run everywhere. Can't remember if I sealed that or not though.

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I've only rarely done water effects resin or built things out of cork and never both together. I would think you could use Modge Podge to seal the cork. I use it a lot as glue and sealer for terrain pieces. With various wood pieces I've used it generally works better to seal before painting but isn't always necessary. I've used different Varethane/varnishes as well but prefer the Modge Podge. It won't fill large holes but should make something like your cork ring pretty smooth.

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I don't know what your total diorama is going to look like, however, I would like to recommend either Liquitex modeling paste, or Golden modeling/moulding paste. Both are available at places like Hobby Lobby. You can use them to amazing effect to create textures, mix rocks, aggregate and sand into it to literally join together your whole 'natural' surface. The paste dries and is then readily paintable. You could easily use it to adhere the ring and then around the inside edge of the ring, and base of the wood to have a solid later into which you can pour your water effects.

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As mentioned by @Zink Mod Podge works well.

For attaching the cork to the Tropicana Lid I would rough up the plastic slightly to give it more tooth and then use the waterproof version of wood glue. Make sure to coat the cork with a thin layer of glue across the entire surface of contact in order to have the best bond and then do the same to the lid.  Let them sit for about 3 to 5 minutes before pressing together and weight the cork for half an hour to an hour to assure a solid bond. 

GEM

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The best glue options I've used for bonding plastic to wood is either a hot glue gun, or 2-part 5 minute epoxy. Both are usually very solid. I'd probably go with the 2-part since you're using water effects. Should be easy to get a flat, even, full contact bond with 2-part. Some people recommend Gorilla glue but I've only used that to bond wood to wood. If you go with Gorilla glue or hot glue it might be a good idea to clamp or weigh the pieces down while the glue sets.

 

I've used superglue and Mod Podge to seal cork. I usually prefer Mod Podge simply because I feel like it uses a lot of superglue to seal cork (I'm cheap). Mod Podge comes in a big honkin container. You can seal a boatload cork with one jar. It doesn't make the cork quite as hard as superglue though. If you want hard sealed cork superglue gets that job done. Either one should work with your water effects.

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I use tacky glue and sand to smooth and seal cork before doing water effects in it. Be generous with the glue, cork has a lot of pesky little holes that the resin will not fail to find. And yes, seal the wood too. Resin will soak into that as well. A couple coats of glue there will do fine. It is rare, but be careful using super glue on cork; certain kinds produce an exothermic reaction (heat to the point of smoke and fire) when exposed to cyanoacrylates.

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I've worked with cork on miniatures before. I used Minwax Polyurethane floor sealer, although I've not combined it with water effects.

 

For glue, I'd use Elmer's wood glue. It's meant for somewhat porous surfaces such as this.

 

Good luck!

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16 hours ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

As mentioned by @Zink Mod Podge works well.

For attaching the cork to the Tropicana Lid I would rough up the plastic slightly to give it more tooth and then use the waterproof version of wood glue. Make sure to coat the cork with a thin layer of glue across the entire surface of contact in order to have the best bond and then do the same to the lid.  Let them sit for about 3 to 5 minutes before pressing together and weight the cork for half an hour to an hour to assure a solid bond. 

GEM

 

I will definitely weight things down but I'm gluing the lid to the underside of the wood if that makes much difference on how to do things.

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IMAG0258.thumb.jpg.2fd75ea0282caf0274d8632d3a43768a.jpg

 

This is my most successful use of water effects over wood and cork. The base is wood and the large walls on either side are cork covered in a combination of milliput, tacky glue, sand, other rocks and some dirt flock mixed with glue to form a paste. I can happily say that there were no leaks, this time. 

 

I am very excited to see how yours turns out! Good luck!

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