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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi my name is george im new here and will use this thread to just quickly saying hello :) as this should be an ongoing thread for the build process i took for my 4ft x 2ft x 2ft vivarium / background project :) i have no reptile as yet but will very shortly have a baby beardie :D so if theres any trusted breeders on here please PM.

i will be getting a bearded dragon soon but first i want to get her/his home completely finished and supplies bought before i do anything like bring him/her home. :D

first of all i obviously needed to collect my materials for the viv so off i went to trusty BnQ. i bought :

- 8ft x 4ft x 10mm ply wood = £20+
- a 5 pack of small round vents (think ive changed my mind on actually using these as my vents)
- 2 x 8ft decorative beading
- 2 x 8ft 15mm wide plain beading

which all came to a total of £47.odd plus the burger i bought :) £50

the good thing about BnQ if you don't already know which im sure most of you do but BnQ cut the wood to your exact measurements, which extremely time saving and will be true straight cut !!!

After messing about at BnQ i cracked on at home, building the planks of wood together.












Then i whilst searching ebay i discovered a vivarium background, so i thought wow i will have that, so i stopped building for a few days because i thought its going to alot easier if i fit this background with the lid off. WELL when it came in the post in a tiny ! tube i thought hang on this is defiantly not the 3D background unless is some blow up one haha ! anyway it was just a picture with a sticky backing, and i was gutted so because i had it in my head that i was going to have a 3D background i decided to have a go at making one my self :D as you do :)

so back to BnQ for some tile grout, polystyrene, and paints. but BnQ couldn't help me with these products so i went to wickes who had an 8ft x 2ft x 50mm for only £6.99 so i had one of them and then went to get some paints and grout and the prices were terrible soooo i went to a brilliant outlet place near where i live called brooklyn outlet and basically its all dented and dropped building, painting, decorating gear at amazing prices, and i got a bag of grout which covers 6.5square meters for £3.99 and to medium tins of paint both £3.99 each :D sadly they dont have polystyrene because they only have "broken" products from bigger building stores like BnQ but in my opinion their products are perfectly fine and not! broken :D

here are some pictures of starting the background / whole desert scene up until were i am now :) basically i just chopped polystyrene up with a little imagination and progressed :)


this image is showing the first step of how to get the texture and looks that i got :) first cut your shape then cut off the straight edges (corner) of the shape which will be the front then i went over lightly with a lighter all around the edge then all over the top. hope this makes sense.


this is it for now thank you for looking please comment :) thanks

MORE TO COME SOON
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
couldnt fit all pics on one thread so heres the rest of my first thread carried on .....



















then after i had cut and shaped and burnt all my peices i stuck them together and to the viv with silicone any will do to be honest, i used a cheap silicone from work and it stuck as they say "shit to a blanket", the grouting needed doing .... all i did was mix some grout abit more watery than normall than covered the whole thing and i will do this for about another 3 coats.

pictures







 

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wow! I am impressed! very nice :), what substrate are you going to use on the floor?
Looking great so far!
: victory:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
hi thank very much for the comments and i will defiantly be putting vents in very soon but i think i might be just drawing a circle and drilling small holes with in that circle big enough to make a difference but small enough not to allow bugs out :)

this project should move along fairly quickly but the next few will be no visual difference because it will just be layers of grout.

i serious stress to those who are thinking of doing this to DO IT, its so easy u just need a bit of imagination, this is my first time doing anything like this project and im really enjoying it. the way i have been thinking about this is ...... would your reptile like what shapes you have chosen to make would he use the space you have made because at the end of the day its your reptile that ha to live in there for the rest of his/hers lovely life :D

i will be using calcium sand as my substrate many will disagree but i think it is the most realistic for my beardie which is what matters :)

FOLLOW FOR MORE UPDATES AND IM HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MY BUILD :D
 

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Looks amazing. You have inspired me. Are you gonna paint it? What paint will you use?? What would you use to seal the paint in. I would do a lot of drybrushing on that to make it look realistic. Plenty of videos on YouTube about it.
I might pva my one when i build it and stick sand to it all then drybrush it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
i will be using normal paint :/ simply because i have read and looked for safe paint but had no luck, i might be varnishing the paint afterwards to seal it with a flat matt plain varnish. i will defonatly be dry brushing after my base layer and hopefully it should get even better, im glad ive inspired you my advice seriously is GO FOR IT what is there to loose :/ i have only decided to do the background work within a few days and it seems to have worked out well.

and as for the sand comment i think i will be going for the calcium sand only because at the end of the day im not looking to go the cheap way for my beardie i dont want to cut any corners :) but thank you very much for the advice :)

thanks again for the comments :)
 

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Wicked, very well done.

Shows you don't have to go out there and buy stupidly expensive Vivs.

Love the fake rock look, keep it up.

My brothers bearded dragon has been on calci sand since it was a baby but it does clump together when wet and can still cause impaction.

Consider play sand or even tiles! Yours will look brill with a loose substrate though, I think loose substrates look great but didn't want to take the risk.

Awaiting more pictures :)
 

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calci-sand is not cutting corners it can be more dangerous than play sand as it clumps together when wet which could cause impaction. This is why play sand was recommended. Anyway nice viv build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
hi just a quick update ive put my second thick coat of grout on and taken a few pictures no visual change to be honest just different angled pictures :)
enjoy :









this is the grout i have been using, the only reason i chose this grout was because it says its waterproof, rustic brown colour which is along the lines of my colour code which helps and it was cheap :) pic :



i will be putting another layer on early afternoon and might start to give it a base coat of paint depending on how sturdy the grout has made the polystyrene :)
 

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calci-sand is not cutting corners it can be more dangerous than play sand as it clumps together when wet which could cause impaction. This is why play sand was recommended. Anyway nice viv build.
What do you think normal sand does? have you never been to the beach and made a sand castle? i'm pretty sure you didn't use dry sand as it wouldn't CLUMP TOGETHER unlike wet sand.
I do not agree cali-sand isnt the best product and shouldn't really be sold, you'll find you only get problems with calci-sand is if you don't have a decent dusting routine, they'll eat the sand to replace that, if they do have a decent routine then they'll feel no need to ingest it, so imo it's safe as long as you know how to dust properly.
Bearded Dragons are not from the desert, they're from arid area with HARD floor with a light dusting of dust where the wind and other things have eroded the floor. So OP if you want a realistic Viv then go for some Rock effect lino tiles with a light dusting of play sand or some of that excavator sand
 
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