Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dungeon Accessories: Mirrors

Dungeon Accessories: Mirrors

As I’ve said before, recreating a map that someone else has made always stretches me to get better at what I do. When someone makes a two dimensional map, they usually aren’t thinking about logistical problems that may crop up for someone recreating the map in three dimensions. So it is as I work on recreating the Tyranny of Goblins dungeon tiles. But hey, you get this cool tutorial out of it, so who’s complaining?
The materials list on this one is a little flexible. There are a few options for different pieces, and you’ll have to choose the ones that you prefer, or that are available to you. Also, there are fewer steps if you just want to make a (non-smashed) mirror. In fact, making several non-smashed mirrors at the same time should go pretty quickly.
First, you will need a reflective surface for the actual mirror. There are three really good options that I came up with. The first one is silver wrapping paper. I wouldn’t expect to find this cheaply until after the holidays, but if you have some lying around, it’s a good option. The second possible material is silver ribbon. You’ll want it the widest you can find, but make sure it’s smooth. And finally, (my preferred option) you could use silver stickers. I found the ones I used in the scrapbooking section of my local craft store. (You can also find them here.) The great thing about using a sticker is that it already has adhesive on it.
You will also need a frame for your mirror. I don’t recommend using actual wood – it’s easier to use cardstock or paper. Easier to cut, and leaves a much lower profile on the wall of your dungeon. The best way to go is find an image of a frame online, resize it, and print it out. You could also just use the one I made.

If you want a smashed mirror, you’ll also need some paper with a wood grain already printed on it from the (again) scrapbooking section of the craft store. I will note that it’s not necessary that the entire sheet is wood grain, as long as there’s an area big enough for you to cut out a frame. I found a sheet that is all wood grain.
And finally, a few miscellaneous bits – glue (Elmer’s is fine), an Exacto knife, a brown and gray fine point water based marker (not Sharpies – go Crayola for this one), and a ruler. Tweezers are very helpful, but not essential.
The first thing we’re going to do is cut out our mirror. Stick the sticker to a plain piece of paper, and cut it down to size. You’ll want it to be slightly larger than the open space of the frame, but obviously not bigger than the outside dimensions of the frame. I just kind of eyeballed it, but break out the ruler if you need to.
(If you’re making a non-smashed mirror, skip the next step)
In the Dungeon Command dungeon tile, the mirror is broken, creating an area of difficult terrain. So I’m going to cut pieces off the top of the mirror until I have a nice jagged edge at the top. Keep those tiny pieces because we’re going to glue them to the floor of the dungeon. Now, take your gray marker and color the exposed edge of the paper at the top of the jagged mirror (this is called “edging”). Now, instead of white paper showing on top of the jagged edge of the mirror, it should be dark gray. Now, take your Exacto knife and scratch fine lines into the surface of the mirror to make it look like it’s cracked.
Next up is the frame. I’d suggest printing it out on cardstock, or at least anything thicker than plain copy paper. I am actually using plain paper in the pictures, however, and the project did turn out fine. So cardstock is merely recommended. Once it’s cut out, take your brown marker and color the white edges of the inside of the frame. (If the frame image you’re using isn’t brown, try to match the color of the frame.) Edging with a colored marker is an old trick of papercrafters to enhance the final look of models. It gets rid of the fine white line on the edge of paper.

Now, just glue the mirror to the back of the frame. I can’t stress this enough – don’t use too much glue! Put a drop on a piece of paper, and use a toothpick to apply it to the frame. Don’t just squeeze it out onto the frame. You may want to lay something heavy on it so it dries flat. In case some glue is still exposed, you may want to lay some parchment paper down. Ounce of prevention and all that.
(If you’re making a non-smashed mirror, skip the next step)
Now we need to cut out a piece of the “wood grained” paper to put behind the smashed mirror, to make it look like there’s a piece of wood there. First, lay your mirror on the wood grained paper, and slide it around until you find the right “look.” Pencil some lines where you need to cut out, and… well, cut it out. Glue it to the back of the mirror (apply the glue with a toothpick please!).
Once the glue is dry, go ahead and edge the outside of the mirror frame with your brown marker. Now you’re ready to glue the mirror to the dungeon wall. In this instance also, less glue is better. Alternatively, you could simply set it aside in your accessories box, and use it wherever you see fit.
Before edging the outer edge of the frame – note the faint white line
After edging the outer edge of the frame. Had I been using cardstock, I don’t believe there would be as much bleed. However, to the naked eye, the bleed isn’t that visible anyway.
(If you’re making a non-smashed mirror, skip the next step)
So, because I’m recreating something specific (a broken mirror with shards of glass on the floor) I’ve got an extra step. I have all these little “mirror shards” that I cut off the top of the mirror, and I need to glue them to the floor. First though, I want to create a little more visual interest to the area.
Take some Elmer’s glue, and add a little water to it. Then, paint that watered down glue onto the square where the glass shards will be. Finally, sprinkle a *small amount* of silver glitter in that square. When I say small amount, I mean take some tweezers and get five or six flakes of glitter on the square. Once the glue is dry, go ahead and glue the bigger shards to the floor. Using tweezers here will help with placement. Don’t be afraid to cover up some of the glitter with these bigger shards.
Now, not only do you have bigger glass shards, you also have tiny shards (glitter) scattered around that will catch light, and therefore the eye.
That’s it! By the way, check out the time lapse video of me making the “first draft” of the mirror:

(I know it’s hard to see what’s going on, since the mirror is so tiny. Future time lapses will be of bigger things…)
Dungeon Tile I’m recreating in the background.
Next week, I hope to do a tutorial on the bed. If you want to know how to do the oriental rug, well, I covered that almost two years ago.

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