CacheCrazy.Com: DIY Magic Mushrooms......that's geocaches of course

Monday, January 12, 2015

DIY Magic Mushrooms......that's geocaches of course

We've all found them. You know, those “magical” little geocaches that scream “originality”, bring a smile to your face and your log reflects the effort gone into the cache and the container. I have the good fortune to own a few of these types of caches and it is very rewarding. Today, I want to take a look at a simple, yet very cool little cache that will make your seekers smile all the way back to to log their find. The Magic Mushroom Geocache, and you can make one yourself with today’s DIY!

Awhile back I wrote a DYI on building a mushroom A Fungus Among Us” (feel free to reference this post for additional instructions).  I wanted to revisit this topic because I found that the previous product that I used to create these mushrooms did not hold up in the field as well as I would have hoped. Even with an epoxy skin, moisture within the finished product would work against the longevity of its composure. I have tried a few different types of products over the past several months to remedy this problem. I found an “air dry” polymer based clay that dries like iron and has very low shrink “meaning low moisture”. Today we’ll use this product in making our mushroom from start to finish.
Geocache container called, “The Magic Mushroom"

An art degree is absolutely not necessary however; your adventure for fun is a perquisite. Similar to a kid with a container of Play Dough, you should have a blast building your mushroom. Geocaching gives you a reason to climb trees, explore caves, wade across creeks and now you can play with clay too! Life is good!

What you’ll need to make a mushroom geocache:

·         A small watertight plastic container about 3 inches long

·         4 inch nail

·         Polymer modeling clay

·         5 minute epoxy

·         2 or 3 Small flat tip (disposable) paintbrushes

·         Acrylic paints

·         Paint brushes

That’s it! Let's get started!

1.       On a clean work space, pull a small portion of clay from the block and start to knead it to soften it up.

Split it in half. One half will be the cap and the other the stem.

2.       Start to round and flatten the cap. Don’t make it too thin or it will be too fragile. Folks are going to grabbing this portion of the mushroom to pick up the cache. Make it tough and about ½ inch thick.

3.       Then roll out the stem and flatten it a little thinner but still tough.
4.       Roll the container in the stem leaving the threaded area free and clear. Seal and blend the stem.

5.       Attach the stem to the cap and mold your work of art into what you kind of want it to look like.
6.       Allow to dry for a few hours reshaping your masterpiece until you are happy with the end result.  As it dries it will firm up and be less susceptible to “drooping” into a less desirable shape.
7.       LET YOUR WORK DRY thoroughly. There will be some surface cracks and shrinkage and that’s ok but it takes several “dry” days for your mushroom to dry completely.  Don’t rush it. Fine everlasting art takes time grasshopper.

8.       Now it’s time to paint. I use water base acrylics because they dry quickly and blend easily. Again,
because you are adding moisture you’ll need to dry it for a few days again. A day or two in direct sunlight does wonders. DO NOT PUT IT IN THE OVEN! This slow drying process actually adds to its strength in the long run.

9.       You’ll want your mushroom to last a good long time and keep it’s good looks so now it’s time to add the armor. 5 Minute epoxy is my product of choice. You’ll be doing this in steps to avoid a mess. Mix just enough to do the cap, hold the stem and “paint” the epoxy on the cap of the project. Let it sit for an hour and then hold the cap and paint the epoxy on the stem. Let dry overnight.

10.   Under direct light inspect your mushroom. You’ll see some “dull” spots on the otherwise shinny new surface exposing areas that were missed. Mix up some epoxy and get them covered. If you live in a “hard winter” area like me, you’ll want to do a complete second coat or at least on the cap for added durability.

11.   Take the cap of the container and drill a hole smaller than the nail diameter, add a drop of epoxy and push the nail through the cap to work as a spike for the ground. Put some epoxy on the outside of the nail area where it meets the cap as well to hold it firmly in place. Watch not to interfere with the threading at all.

12.   In the end with just a little more epoxy, make sure the plastic tube is secure, the nail is strong and the entire area of the mushroom (watch the nooks and crannies under the cap) is sealed in a skin of epoxy protection.

13.   Let the entire project rest and cure for a few dry days.

14.   I like to leave them shinny but you may want to take the shine off with just a very light sanding of some #220 sandpaper. However, it will naturally dull if left alone.

15.   Load it up with a small ziplock and a new CacheCrazy,Com log and get ready for the fun to start!
Anyone can place a 35mm film container, magnetic key box, little bison tube or Lock N Lock and they are all cool in their own way but, they lack the “magic” one enjoys when they find this type of cache.  A handmade geocache is recognized by seekers everywhere and appreciated for its originality! Make some magic of your own today!

Have fun and cache crazy!


PS ~ My friend nucci6 had a similar issue with the old mushroom cache that I sent him. So, I made a replacement and I'm sending it to him. It will reside at GC2RZP1, The Mushroom Cache at Penn State University mushroom research center. A very cool location indeed for this work of art.

Show your total cachecoolness, use a CacheCrazy.Com log


Ryan Penman said...

What an awesome container! Thanks for sharing and taking the time to put together a DIY guide. I have been thinking about these type of containers, the ones that are built from scratch and hand painted. You have given me some more ideas to think about.

Again thanks for sharing

William King said...

Great article and guide to build it yourself.

Little Vintage Cottage said...

OMG, those are so cool!!!! I would totally love to find one of those!

Thanks so much for your comment on Happy's blog about my vintage trailer! :o)


sarah saad said...

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