Instructions of making a plaster antfarm

Materials used to create this antfarm

A piece of glas with sizes 130х105х3mm, 115cm3 water (1000cm3 = 1dm3 = 1l = 1000ml), 250cm3 plaster. Plasticine, a knife (not too sharp - it gets blunt fast), a box (out of styrofoam, plastic or wood), a spoon and a cup (to mix the plaster with water).

Step one

With the plasticine form the negative for the tunnels and the chambers on the glas. The height of the chambers should be about twice the height of the queen, but there should be some deeper chambers too, which the ants use to store the puppae. The walls of the chambers should be vertical with round edge - . Put it on the bottom of the box. You can additionaly make a negatice on the bottom of the box, which can later be used for moisturizing (on the left-hand side in the photo).

Step two

Mix the plaster with water (the mixture should be relatively liquid with approximately the upper proportion). Pour it in small doses in order to prevent the formation of hollows. The plaster should cover the plasticine with an about 5mm thick layer.

Step three

After pouring all the plaster, start shaking (with small diversion, but fast) the box, so that the plaster settles down. If it is liquid enough the surface will be perfectly smooth. In order to prevent dislocation of the glas, it is good to attach it to the bottom, so that this does not hinder taking the ready antfarm out of the cast. Wash the things, which have had contact with plaster fast, before it gets dry, with much water to prevent clogging of the water-main.

Step four

Leave it in peace to dry out (depending from the density - 20,30,60 minutes - there should be no water on it and it should be almost completely hard). When it gets hard enough (not completely) you should take it out of the box very carefuly (it is very fragile).

Step five

Using a knife chisel out very well the place, where the glas connects with the plaster, so that the glas can be taken out (if it is not separated well, the chance that the plaster brakes by lifting the glas is 99%).

Step six

Take away the glas very carefuly (the hardest part). Take away the plasticine and put into final shape the chambers and the tunnels. Wash the glas and put it back on its place (it should fit in 1 way only). Leave the antfarm to dry out completely before putting ants in it, because while the plaster is drying out water and warmth are being released.