D&D Mimic

9Flame Cosplay created this amazing Mimic treasure box, a blast from our D&D games of past. She shared her process below!

The final project!
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This is my starting point. A plain wooden box bought from a craft store. (This particular one is from Micheals).
This is my starting point. A plain wooden box bought from a craft store. (This particular one is from Micheals).
In my bathroom, I painted the wooden box with a wood stain (from a department store, like Home Depot).  This only needed 1 thin coat of stain, and it brushed on just like paint. This can easily be done outside, however it was snowing so much I needed to do it indoors (and since it's inside, I had the door closed, fan on, and wore a mask).  The box stayed in the bathroom with the fan on for 2 days to completely dry and fully air itself out of fumes.
In my bathroom, I painted the wooden box with a wood stain (from a department store, like Home Depot).
This only needed 1 thin coat of stain, and it brushed on just like paint. This can easily be done outside, however it was snowing so much I needed to do it indoors (and since it’s inside, I had the door closed, fan on, and wore a mask).
The box stayed in the bathroom with the fan on for 2 days to completely dry and fully air itself out of fumes.
The chest now that the wood stain is completely dry.
The chest now that the wood stain is completely dry.
The eyes are glass cabochons with 4 coats of nail polish on the back side. The black layer underneath helps the color pop. The teeth are cut from foam sheets and glued into the box. Each tooth has 3 layers of foam, to give a rounded 3D effect. Every tooth is the same size. The teeth are only glued at the base, so they don't stick to the other lip and prevent the box from opening.
The eyes are glass cabochons with 4 coats of nail polish on the back side. The black layer underneath helps the color pop.
The teeth are cut from foam sheets and glued into the box. Each tooth has 3 layers of foam, to give a rounded 3D effect. Every tooth is the same size. The teeth are only glued at the base, so they don’t stick to the other lip and prevent the box from opening.
I took a square sheet of worbla, cut a slit through the middle, and put it over the eyes. I then opened the slit like an eye lid and let the worbla bunch at the top and bottom of the eyes.
I took a square sheet of worbla, cut a slit through the middle, and put it over the eyes. I then opened the slit like an eye lid and let the worbla bunch at the top and bottom of the eyes.
I placed some more foam on the box where I wanted features to pop out, and then covered in another sheet of worbla, leaving holes for the eyes to come through.  Instead of worbla, this could also work with clay or even paper mache!
I placed some more foam on the box where I wanted features to pop out, and then covered in another sheet of worbla, leaving holes for the eyes to come through.
Instead of worbla, this could also work with clay or even paper mache!
Shape the face until happy with the look. I ended up adding more worbla to the eyes for extra wrinkles.
Shape the face until happy with the look. I ended up adding more worbla to the eyes for extra wrinkles.
Cover the teeth individually, and also add lips. The lips angle in at the front, covering almost all of the middle teeth, and angle out at the sides wich leaves almost the whole tooth exposed. Make sure there's room in the lips for the top and bottom teeth to slide into when the box is closed.
Cover the teeth individually, and also add lips. The lips angle in at the front, covering almost all of the middle teeth, and angle out at the sides wich leaves almost the whole tooth exposed. Make sure there’s room in the lips for the top and bottom teeth to slide into when the box is closed.
Optional* Prime (if you want the worbla to be smooth). I used 2-3 layers of wood glue for a medium texture but it was not needed. Paint a base coat of paint in the brightest colors. Add the darker colors in layers using a bristly paint brush. My first dark layers were with a wet brush, and I let the water pool where I wanted to emphasize wrinkles. The more scratchy and patchy the brush is, the better this will help simulate a wood grain. If you get too much dark paint in one area, wipe it off with a rag or paper towel before it dries.
Optional* Prime (if you want the worbla to be smooth). I used 2-3 layers of wood glue for a medium texture but it was not needed.
Paint a base coat of paint in the brightest colors. Add the darker colors in layers using a bristly paint brush. My first dark layers were with a wet brush, and I let the water pool where I wanted to emphasize wrinkles. The more scratchy and patchy the brush is, the better this will help simulate a wood grain. If you get too much dark paint in one area, wipe it off with a rag or paper towel before it dries.
Don't be afraid to smudge parts with your fingers too. Keep getting in those cracks but don't cover up the light color completely. You can see my brush stokes on the back of the head here. I kept doing this with darker and darker layers, using less and less paint each time. If the paint is too thick, water it down.  I tried to match the look of the wood stain as much as possible.
Don’t be afraid to smudge parts with your fingers too. Keep getting in those cracks but don’t cover up the light color completely. You can see my brush stokes on the back of the head here. I kept doing this with darker and darker layers, using less and less paint each time. If the paint is too thick, water it down.
I tried to match the look of the wood stain as much as possible.
I chose a light/yellowish brown for the teeth. I painted some onto the base of each tooth and smudged along the rest of the tooth with my fingers before the paint was fully dry. The trick is to be messy with this. Mimimal paint on the brush, and let it go randomly and uneven.
I chose a light/yellowish brown for the teeth. I painted some onto the base of each tooth and smudged along the rest of the tooth with my fingers before the paint was fully dry. The trick is to be messy with this. Mimimal paint on the brush, and let it go randomly and uneven.
I did not fully stain the inside of the box. Instead I glued in some soft, black, fabric only on the bottom and the bottom sides.
I did not fully stain the inside of the box. Instead I glued in some soft, black, fabric only on the bottom and the bottom sides.
Here you can see the black fabric I glued inside, along with some gold that the mimic is using to lure unsuspecting players.
Here you can see the black fabric I glued inside, along with some gold that the mimic is using to lure unsuspecting players.
Close up the eye and some folds/wrinkles. Also notice how the paint looks inconsistant in color to look like highlights and low lights. The most shadowed areas have been brushed over with only the darkest color. If your box is too dark in too many places, go back with your light color and gently brighten the areas that need it. Anything that bumps up should be light, and any deep inner crease should be dark.
Close up the eye and some folds/wrinkles. Also notice how the paint looks inconsistant in color to look like highlights and low lights. The most shadowed areas have been brushed over with only the darkest color. If your box is too dark in too many places, go back with your light color and gently brighten the areas that need it. Anything that bumps up should be light, and any deep inner crease should be dark.

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Thanks to 9Flame Cosplay for sharing this with us. Remember – always roll for perception!