Make a Tiny Koi Pond Inside a Mint Tin
I’ve always been fascinated by fish, especially koi. When I first found out about resin, I immediately knew that I was going to do so many underwater projects with this substance! All of my first experiments with resin involved koi or goldfish in some capacity. Having a tiny, mint tin koi pond is just so convenient!
For this project, you will need clear resin, some pebbles or gravel, decorative items (such as larger rocks, fake plants, seashells, etc.), and fish molds, as well as a clean, empty mint tin.
STEP 1: Prepare the tin
To start, you will want to tape off the hinges of your mint tin (if you select a tin that has hinges). It is easy to forget they are there. This will keep the resin from leaking and your container becoming unusable.
STEP 2: Mix resin
Mix a small amount of resin and hardener together to create the fish. You will need goldfish molds to make fish the right size to fit your tins. You may want to either use colorant or wait until after your resin fish have hardened to paint them as you would like. The molds you are using will be fairly small, so be careful not to overfill them; a pipette, patience, and a steady hand will be assets during this stage. Use a heat source to pop any bubbles that may occur.
As an alternative to this, you may wish to sculpt your fish out of Sculpey, which can also create a great effect.
STEP 3: Make the pond base
While you wait for your fish to harden, you can start work on the pond. If you are adding plastic plants, they come first. Make sure they can be added to the tin while still allowing the tin to close. You may need to trim them a bit in order to get them to fit. Use a hot glue gun to seal any plastic plants to the bottom of your tin.
STEP 4: Add pond items
Next, add some pebbles and gravel, enough to cover the bottom of the tin. Once you are done with that step, you can add some decorative accents, like larger stones, dried starfish, etc. If you would like to add dried moss as a plant, rather than a plastic plant, you can add that now.
STEP 5: Add resin to the bottom of the tin
Once you have the bottom of your pond ready, mix another batch of resin. You will need just enough to cover the pebbles at the bottom of the tin. When adding the resin to this part, it may be best to use a pipette in order to more accurately place the resin. You want to avoid getting it on the higher areas of the plants and rocks so they continue to look dry if their final position is out of the resin. Using a pipette also helps to make sure you are only adding just enough resin to the piece, rather than too much. Once you finish this layer, use a heat source to eliminate any bubbles. Be very careful when doing this, as the heat source will heat the metal of the tin.
Tip: Do not hold the heat source in one area. Move it across the piece quickly. If you have used plastic plants or dried moss, do NOT use the heat source close to these areas.
Make sure to cover your piece to protect it from dust (do NOT completely close the mint tin, as this can affect the curing resin) while it cures. Wait 24 hours for the bottom layer and fish to harden completely (depending on the resin you use). If you’re adding any paint to the fish, make sure they are completely dry before going to the next step.
STEP 6: Place the resin rish
Position your fish in your pond as you would like; I recommend using some glue in order to make sure they stay in place. Then, once the glue is dry, add resin to cover the fish. You may want to experiment with positioning fish at different layers of resin in order to make them appear a little more varied and realistic. If you are doing this, you do not need to completely cover those first fish with the second layer; simply make sure you are able to cover the top layer of fish without obstructing the hinges.
STEP 7: Finish the tin
Once you add your fish as you would like, and the resin has cured, remove the cover from the hinges of the mint tin, and voila! You have your very own miniature mint tin koi pond. You can then try doing experiments with other tins; maybe have the scene on its side, creating a diorama effect when the tin is held vertically, or use layers of paint to create your goldfish, rather than molds.
What would you put in your mint tin koi pond?
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