Circle Sacred Ground



Well this one started in June of 2006 as a WIP project on the Privateer Press forums. It has now made it to the Terrainthrall site as a tutorial. This was an idea that came from the thought of adding more ground to a board without taking ground from the board. This is a piece of ground that is sacred to the Circle and had to be relocated because civilization was encroaching on it. It had to be moved to a safer location. Any let us start in on making the piece.

Quarter inch foam core poster board

White glue

Half-inch dowel


Large washers


Masonite Quarter Inch

Toilet paper


Picture Wire


Tree Roots

Fine sand paper

Craft knife

Clumped foliage

Static grass








I started by cutting out a piece of foam core poster board in a circular shape. I used a half-inch dowel for the center support piece. I predrilled holes in the dowel so the screws wouldn’t split the dowel when it came time to put a screw in it. I cut some scrap foam to glue around the dowel and the foam core for the main shape. Before gluing the foam I used a screw and large washer on the topside of the foam core with the dowel on the other side and attached them together. I then glued the foam to the foam core board and the dowel with white glue. I wanted the dowel to support the structure so it had to be screwed in between the top and the bottom.

I then attached the bottom Masonite board to the dowel with another screw and washer for the support. Once I did this I used joint compound mud to slap on the foam and the top. When the mud was dry I took toilet paper dipped in watered down white glue and applied that around the edge. Once that was applied I took my craft knife and shaped it to look like it was hanging earth.

I made three foam centerpieces for the sacred stones. I put joint compound on them as well so I could carve the ruins in them. Once they were dry I sanded them and carved them so they could be attached.

When doing a tree I start by creating the main structure of the tree. I would use Cell-u-Clay (Paper Mache) for this. Sometimes I place a rock was on first so I could have the roots over top of the rock.

Shape your tree after you have the main structure finished. Smooth the surface of the tree by wetting your fingers and rubbing the Cell-U-Clay making it smooth. After every application I always put the tree in front of a fan to speed the drying process up. I can do the next step within a half an hour usually at this stage when doing that. It won’t be completely dry but dry enough to work with if I am careful.

Once the tree is shaped start adding extra roots.

Remember to add webbing in some case to the top of the tree if that is the style you are working on. This ties everything in. Remember that Nature does not like straight lines and exact patterns. Keep things the same but different if that makes sense.

The next step is to add more roots so you have depth to your tree. The Sacred Earth piece was just a one-layer root system. You will notice that I have done this tree on sheet styrene because the Cell-U-Clay doesn’t stick to it.

Once you have finished the large root system use real roots from trees or plants to add all of the small roots to the tree if that is the style you are doing. The Sacred Earth piece does not have the extra roots added.

For a rough bark wait until the main tree is done and then apply a fine layer of Paper Mache to the tree and work it with a knife to give it a bark look.

Wait until you are almost finished to apply the picture wire (already pulled apart and shaped). I added Paper Mache over top of the wire for support. I have found using picture wire is the best for holding foliage but it is also time consuming to pull apart with a craft knife.

I then glued the stones on and added Paper Mache to the dirt underneath with real small rock and a few large rocks mixed in. I also did the same to the top. On the top I made sure that I smoothed out the Paper Mache.

I painted the earth with a medium brown with a dark brown wash over top. I then dry brushed it with a lighter brown. I did the same to the dirt below. I then painted each rock dark grey and dry brushed with a lighter grey. I applied clumped foliage to the tree and some hanging roots that I had.

The Circle logo in the middle was carved out of the mud and then painted light yellow. I used a light green wash and then went back a used the yellow to dry brush the middle of the logo to help it look like it was glowing. I also dry brushed the light green on the stones to add to the glowing effect. The stones were painted with a medium grey and washed with a very dark grey. Dry brushing them with different light grays before the green highlight was added.

Another option is to make some smaller floating pieces for added effect. The step was made by putting a very thick gauge wire through the foam pieces before applying the mud.

When I did the grasses and finished work I wanted the top and bottom to be very different to show that they were not from the same place. I also used real roots and randomly applied them to the earth to give the impression that the earth was ripped from the ground. I added more roots around the tree.

If you have any question feel free to contact me at . This was a fun piece and I added the other style of tree into this tutorial that I created doing the Trollkin Village. The focus of this piece is the tree so I wanted to keep the tree tutorial to this work. This is one of my favorite pieces that I have created. Hope you enjoy.