First blog post in a series on how to make a dryad display with a tree. The finished design has a dryad emerging from a tree and will be the centerpiece for my author booth at conventions and events. A dryad is the main character in my College Fae magic book series so this art project is a perfect fit!

First, we found this foam dressmaking dummy for $10 at a vintage-junk mall. Foam was a better choice than a plastic mannequin because we the material can be shaped easily. I will be using foam over the dummy that becomes bark so these materials will play well together.

In this photo, we stacked boxes to determine the height.

foam dressmaking form will be the dryad's body

I found this resin pot for the garden at a Big Box Store. We cut off the heavy bottom, making her resin head pretty lightweight. I looked at using pre-formed masks but didn’t like any although that could be an option.

A PVC pipe in her head was locked it in by filling the inside area with spray foam. Her head is designed to be removed from the body. This makes her easy to transport the entire dryad to our event.

I cut her torso in half and gave it a slight twist to indicate movement. The crack was filled with spray foam. The body was left to dry overnight before the next step.

Once it was dry, we worked a PVC pipe through the middle of the body, from bottom to neck. This is her mounting pole (more on this in the next blog).

We used this paper towel technique to make a bark skin. You soak it into diluted white glue (we used Modge Podge) and slowly lay the paper on the body form. These videos give you the idea on how create the folds in the damp paper. This technique will make the dryad’s skin look like bark once painted.

Our bathroom is a naturally warm area (the heating vent goes under the floor) so she was dry in 24 hours. Try a sunny place on a warm day, or fans to help the glue dry. How thick the folds are and how many layers you put on, determines how quickly she dries.

A base coat of dark brown spraypaint I put down first on the dryad’s body. You want a dark coat as the first one – this allows you to build from dark to light in terms of color. Make sure you view the form from every direction, even upside down, to get paint inside all the folds and cracks.

On top of the brown I painted green colors.

Getting the body figured out first made it easier to determine the size of the tree that would wrap around her (more on that in the upcoming blogs).

This is going to be an involved project so I’ll spread out the information over several blog posts as we progress. So far I’m really pleased with how she is looking!

Byrd Nash, fantasy author using mythology, legends, folklore, and fairy tales.
Never Date a Siren is #1 in the College Fae series and features Brigit Cullen, a dryad. Sign up to my newsletter via this link to get the book free. Or find it free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple books.
Brigit, the dryad, returns in A Study in Spirits #2 in the College Fae series. You can sign up to my newsletter via this link to get the book free.

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