Crystal Creation: A Fabulous Gem Tutorial
Create you own Crystals!
A lot of people asked me how I made Taric’s crystals, so here’s a tutorial.
- Cardstock paper
I use cardstock instead of printer paper because it’s sturdier and won’t warp as readily. If your crystal architecture depends on your plastic warping, you’re gonna have a bad time.
- Clear Packing Tape
You can use hot glue instead of packing tape later on, but it will be far more difficult, fragile, time consuming, and conspicuous.
- Glitter Glue/Paint
Glitter glue bonds easily to the plastic but is especially transparent in the end and will not diffuse light from LEDs.
Glitter paint is less transparent and will diffuse LEDs somewhat. I use both.
- Clear (Thick) Plastic Sheet
The plastic should be the thick kind from a hardware store that has a thin plastic covering on both sides. But not too thick! I got 1/16″ and that was a little thicker than necessary. Find something that’s thick enough to be covered on both sides but thin enough to cut with good scissors. I’m guessing 1/32″ should do.
- Transparent Tinted Cellophane (optional)
If your crystal is thin you can use this to diffuse the light from your LEDs. I used a roll Christmas wrapping from the dollar store.
- -LEDs (optional)
I used battery-powered Christmas lights in mine. It’s a lot easier to make a prop with 64 LEDs than 1.
- -Reflective Wrapping (optional)
I used foil gift wrapping for the base of the crystals
- Straight-edge (ruler)
- Permanent Marker
- Regular Tape
- Router saw (hopefully you won’t need this)
- Hot Glue (probably)
1) Make Crystal Architecture
- Use the cardstock to make the shape of the crystal that you want. Use the straight edge before you make any cuts because if a line isn’t exactly straight you’ll notice later on.
- Essentially, the process of making a large crystal shape is to start with a triangle and then then attach another polygon to it.
- Each new piece builds upon the last. The length of one of the sides of the last piece you made will be the length of a side of the next piece you make.
- Use regular tape to bind them together, tight as possible. Don’t be sloppy with this step. Each crystal face fits into the next, so little mistakes compound quickly.
- Mark where each face meets (1 through n). You’ll need this to reconstruct the crystal later.
2) Transfer the Pattern
- Cut out each face along the sides. If possible, peel the tape off instead of cutting. This gives a better edge of trace off of.
- Arrange the cutouts on your sheet(s) of plastic and trace them onto the plastic. Be sure to include the numbers. Make them big. You’ll need these to reconstruct it later.
- Cut the pieces out. The plastic I used was pretty thick so I used a router. This is time-consuming. Next time I’ll get thinner plastic so I can cut it with scissors.
3) Paint the crystals
- The side of each piece that has the numbers on them is the “right” side, and the blank back is the “wrong” side. The right side is what faces outwards in the end, the wrong side faces inwards.
- Remove the plastic covering from the wrong sides and apply your glitter/paint to the wrong sides.
- Use a brush to even the paint out. Don’t be afraid to go over the edges. You can afford to be sloppy because the right side is still covered with plastic.
4) Reconstruct the Architecture
- Lay out the whole plan flat so the numbers match up as well as possible, and flip them so the right side faces up.
- Take off the plastic covering of the first two pieces. Remember where the other pieces go in relation to them.
- Use the packing tape to join them together in the orientation you want them to have in the end. You’ll probably want to split the tape lengthwise before you apply it. You can just tear it from end to end.
- Tip: Packing tape doesn’t stretch much, so you’ll need to tape pieces in the angle in relation to each other that they’ll have when you attach the other pieces.
- Take off the plastic covering of one more piece and repeat. Remember that each piece you uncover the harder it is to remember where everything will need to go. You can fit the sides together like a puzzle without the numbers, but it is difficult. Don’t tear off everything at once like what’s shown in the pictures above. It makes things difficult.
5) Add LEDs
- I made a little tower out of foam board, wrapped it with the reflective foil and tape, and then wrapped the LEDs over it.
- Using LEDs causes “hot spots” of concentrated LED light. You generally don’t want this. I tried to overcome hot spots by using a lot of LEDs so it has hot spots all over. You can also wrap the LEDs with cellophane and that will diffuse the light well.
6) Attach to base
- Use hot glue and packing tape over that, or your choice of adhesive. And a LOT of it. You don’t want those crystals falling off of your armor/prop, do you?
7) Conceal the attachment
- I used hot glue and cellophane to fill the spaces.
And now you have a fabulous crystal! Enjoy!