He then got very excited about the nice backgrounds available that people were making. So since I am a project person, I told him I would do the background for him as he watched. He has enjoyed it all very much. I will show you what we have done. I must put a disclaimer here as anything you build for any pet, do research and use all pet safe, tried and true methods so as not to kill your animal. In other words, if you are making this for a reptile terrarium, make it at your own risk.
First, I went to Home Depot and bought these square insulation boards.
Then I cut a piece to fit the back of his tank. I cut it about a half an inch shorter top and sides, because I knew I was going to use tile for the flooring and that would raise it up some. The large sheets were a lot more expensive than these small squares. I did not want to pay the price of the huge sheets of board and these were a bit short for his tank so I did glue two pieces together to make it long enough, so there is a seam in our background. Antonio and I am sure the gecko will not care. I was trying to save money and do this as inexpensively as possible.
Then I cut two pieces (the same shape) in the basic shape I wanted (like a rock) and glued them on top of each other with Lock-tite and let them dry/cure for 24 hours. I made four of these.
Once the three rock pieces were dry I took a very sharp utility knife and started to carve them into rocks.
Once I had the rocks shaped, I took the background and just randomly cut the front edge all the way around to make it beveled.
I wanted the rocks to be placed on the background so that the lizard could climb up from one to another like stairs. So I started gluing them on in order from the bottom in the pattern I wanted. William made me little lego scaffolding the right height to hold the rocks on the background straight till they dried/cured.
I understand there is many ways to go forward from here. Some people texturize the whole thing with a hot torch or heat gun. Some people use several thin layers of watered down grout to make it almost rock like. Doing that fills in any faults and cracks. I went with the spray paint approach. According to those who have done this before as long as you use water clean up/based spray paint you are ok. So I then took Rust-o-leum home accents "stone" paint and spray painted each piece with several coats. Then went over the whole thing with a thick layer of water based polycrylic. (again use at your own risk) Some people sprinkled sand onto the last coat of polycrylic for texture and to take some of the shine off it. But I figure the shinier, the easier to clean.
Antonio is very excited and has really enjoyed this project. I have enjoyed spending the quality time with him working on this for him, with him supervising, telling me suggestions and asking questions. We have learned a lot.
May everyone be settling into a good routine after the holidays and enjoying this brand new year.