I’m going to show you how to make your own Tangled inspired Rapunzel tower using some recycled items. This post will focus on the main tower part. Next week I’ll show you how to make the roof.
You will need:
- An empty and clean Pringles can
- An empty and clean Sobe Life water bottle or other similarly sized bottle. Vitamin water might work. Just make sure you can fit the top of the bottle into the top of the Pringles can.
- A small plastic container — I used a parmesan cheese container. Compare the size to the bottom of your water bottle to see if it looks right. Make sure container is clean with the lid on.
- E6000 or hot glue. I prefer to use E6000 as I know I won’t be able to accidentally rip it off.
- Clean, dry sand or some small rocks.
- Creative Paperclay, 16 oz, natural white. I used two full 16 oz packages and a small portion of a third pack. You will use this for the roof as well.
- An exacto knife or other small knife — I used a tool for stamp carving.
- Clay modeling tools — see picture below for what I used.
- Paint: brown, black, grey, dark grey, purple, and Bambi brown (tan)
- Ground cover — I found this moss like ground cover in the model section at Michael’s Arts and Crafts were they have the miniature trees and what not.
When working with paperclay, remember to keep a bowl or cup of water at hand. If they clay starts to stick to your fingers or won’t spread well then you need to dampen your hands. This is an air-drying clay so you will need to wet your hands often.
Put your sand/rocks in your Pringles can. It doesn’t have to be very full. The purpose of this is to help weigh the can down as your tower will get top heavy if you don’t. Use your glue to attach the water bottle, inverted inside the Pringles can, and then attach your plastic container to the water bottle. If you’re using E6000, give it a few hours to make sure it’s dry.
Cover your work area with wax paper to prevent sticking. Make sure you have an air tight container, such as a ziplock, handy to store your clay in so it doesn’t dry out once you open the package.
Tear off a piece of clay and, starting from the bottom of the Pringles can, work around the can and up. Use water on your fingertips to help blend the clay onto the can so it will adhere.
You want the base to be thicker. Think of it as the rocky ground that your brick tower is constructed on. You can add thickness later if needed.
Work your clay up and around the can until your entire tower is covered, can, water bottle, and container (don’t cover the lid of the container as this will be done when you do the roof). This will need to dry completely and may take up to two days.
Once it’s dry (no longer cool to the touch) you may notice some cracks like the ones in the photo above. This is normal and easy to fix. I only had cracks on the bottle and container. I think the cardboard of the Pringles can helped absorb the moister as the clay dried but the plastic gave that moisture no where to go. I’m not a scientist, but I think that is why it only cracked on the plastic.
Take some extra clay and work it over the cracks like in the photo below.
Wait for the clay to dry. You can see the difference in color between the dry and wet clay. Also, remember to feel for the difference in temperature. If you feel a cool area, the clay is still wet.
Once completely dry, take a pencil and draw out the areas you want to be moss and where you want your windows and beams for the “living area” of the tower. I found some concept art images online from Disney’s Tangled and used those as a loose guide.
I also noticed while looking at the concept art that there seemed to be a “ramp” that starts at the base of the tower and disapears in the back. Google Rapunzel’s Tower texture reference painting and it’s the first image that comes up. I believe this concept art was done by Doug Rogers. I remembered that there was a door, hidden under moss and vines in the movie so that Mother Gothel could enter the tower when she came home and discovered Rapunzel missing. So I made a ramp and hidden door.
This is my finished door. I didn’t take any pictures of the process to make the ramp and door.
After you’ve drawn out your guide, it’s time to start creating the bricks. Work in small areas, adding more clay to the area you want to work on and using your exacto knife to cut the bricks into the wet clay.
Make your bricks all different sizes to give it a less uniformed look. Continue all around the can, leaving a section at the bottom where your rock foundation will be. If you try doing too big of a section, your clay will start to dry before you can get to it all and it will be harder to cut the bricks. This will take some time because you will need to let the clay completely dry before you add on the next section. If you try to do the next section before the area you previously worked on is dry, you may find that you smush the bricks with your hand while working the next area.
I spent the better part of a week just doing the bricks. Don’t expect this to be a fast project.
Once you’re done with the bricks, it’s time to start on the windows and wood beams on the living area of the tower.
I shaped my wood beams by hand then used my knife to cut them straight. Before applying to your tower, wet your fingers and run the water along the back of the clay. This will help it stick to the clay on the tower.
I used the pointed end of the clay tool, dipped in water, to carefully blend the edge of the “wood beam” onto the tower. This clay will take longer to dry because of the thickness. While it is still wet, you can lightly scrape your knife along the clay to give it a more “wood” look, adding grain.
I added a “room” that sticks out a bit from the side of the container. If you wish to add this, you will want to do so before you put your “wood beams” around the top of your tower. This was an especially thick section of clay so I left it to dry for an entire day before I continued working. You can see the painted room in the photo below.
Once all of your clay is dry, you can start painting. I made the end of my little side room a full window. You’ll notice I painted the windows black as if there aren’t any lights on inside the tower. I did this so that it doesn’t look strange not being able to see Rapunzel when I attached her braid.
For the brick, I used grey on some and dark grey on others while mixing the two grey colors on yet other bricks. I did this in sections. Before your paint completely dries in one section, dampen a paper towel and run it across the bricks, giving it a wash, in order to get the weathered look in the photo below.
Paint your rock base and door (if you made one) using the brown, Bambi brown, and greys. Find a mixture you like that gives you the feeling of dirt and rocks. Paint your wood beams using brown and the rest of the living area with Bambi brown. Paint your windows black.
That’s it for now. Next week I’ll show you how to make the roof, the braid, and you’ll attach the moss.