Red Tail Hawk Project
If you are trying to create a sandy base, here is the tehnique that I use.
Get a bag of sand box sand at Lowes. Pass it through a window screen, take the finer sand and pass it through two thickness of screen. This gives you pebbles, coarse sand and fine sand. See picture. Scatter it on your base (be sure and seal base material first if it is wooden) to desired thickness, not more than an inch. You can build up layers later. On the one pictured I put the first layer of the medium sand down up to and under the log. Then misted with water lightly, let set a few minutes, misted again not to the point it ran out of sand at the very base. If it does just let it set a while with a paper towel on the edge to wick out the excess water. Mixing Elmers White glue at a 50/50 ratio with water. Good test to this mix is it will imediately soak in. Using a eye dropper, turkey baister or a pippet apply to sand, do not drip to high up or it will creat crators and splashes. If it does you can fill these in later. When you have sturated it to the point it appears at the edge of the sand or does not soak in very fast when applied, stop and allow to dry over night. If you want the little pebbles like the one pictured, you need to add these before you add the glue. Just sprinklle them down and lightly mash into the wet sand, apply glue mix over the top at the same time you do the sand. You need a very fine mister available at a beauty supply. You do not want one that will push around the sand any.
Here is the final finished Hawk. Painted with acrylics using an airbrush and regular filbert brush. A lot of mixing of paint, basic Americana paint colors. This has been a long project taking over several 100 hours to complete over 3 years.
Second, to get riffles, use a tea spoon and make the riffles
around the log, some times a fine brissle dry 2" paint brush will help you soften the edges some. Mist with water, soak with glue mix. If you need to soften it some use the fine sand and dust over areas needed. Mist lightly again, apply glue again.
If you want a wet look to the sand, spray a satin Deft coat
after the sand has dried a week or more to make sure all the water is out of the sand mix.Now the real test, turn the habitat upside down and have someone tap it lightly, very little sand should drop off. If more falls off than you want, just do the process again, apparently you did not have enough glue mix
soaked in. I have had real success using this process. You can even use acrylic pours to get a thick pool of water. ( see my post here for this application using acrylic and hot glue to creat a shore look).
Hope this is some help.
I still have to do the final habitat. I plan on doing 5 Lady Slipper Orchids placed to the right of the hawk at the end of the log, they are yellow with medium green leaves. Pictures later.