Sunday, February 7, 2010

Decorating the Logbook

Not every creative cache has to be only about the container.  Sometimes it's about the presentation of the cache.  Telling a good story.  Taking the cacher on a hike through the story.  Making the cache fit the story.  It's all about the presentation.  Cache of the Lost Sunglasses is an example of such a cache.  It told the story of a geocaching family, the father of which lost his sunglasses on the trail.  The cache took you on a lengthy hike through a park, visiting different stages along the trail where the family encountered different situations during their hike.  Over the course of the hike, if you read the story that went with it, you gained clues for finding the stages.  The stages weren't spectacular, the hides weren't elaborate.  It was the story, the mood, that set the level of fun for that cache.  Unfortunately, it was archived in 2008.

Designing a good story is not something you can really tell someone how to do so we won't focus on that.  One thing we will focus on is the logbook.  Now the logbook might seem like an unlikely part of the overall cache to focus.  Yet with the right cache, it can be a valuable part of telling the story.  Decorating a logbook works best with caches where the log has a book form to it, be it a pocket notebook for a small cache or larger book in an ammo can.  So today, we are going to look at one of my own caches, Necronomicron Ex-Mortis.  In particular, how the logbook fits into the design.

If you've seen The Evil Dead movies, you might recognize the name of the cache.  It was the evil Book of the Dead in the movies, the cause of all the horrors that occurred.  Bound in the human flesh and written in the blood of souls tortured by a group of Dark Ones.  An interesting example of B-horror films that has developed a cult status among horror movie fans.

For this cache, we need a few supplies:
  • Liquid Latex
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • A logbook (preferably a hardbound notebook)
  • Fake Blood
  • Q-tips
  • Paint (or stage makeup...preferably skin tones)
  • Brushes/makeup sponges
  • Spray Adhesive
The Liquid Latex and Fake Blood will probably be the hardest items to get your hands on.  Sometimes, you'll find stores that will sell them year round.  If not, you either have to wait until Halloween supplies hit the stores or order them online.  For the paint, I happened to use stage makeup.  It sticks well, easy to apply, but a applying it takes a bit longer.  Use of a make-up sponge really helps with this.

The logbook is something else.  A basic notebook might work fine but for selling the cache you might have to splurge a bit and get a nicer notebook that is hardbound.  When you get a notebook, think about the fact that you are applying hot glue to the cover when you pick one out.

Once you have your supplies, it's time to let your imagination run wild.  It's best to do one side of the cover at a time.  The basic steps to follow:
  1. Plan out a pattern for the cover to be laid out with hot glue.
  2. Apply the hot the pattern you choose.  Pay attention to how thick or thin you apply the glue to best achieve your goal. 
  3. Let it dry, then carefully apply a thin layer of liquid latex using the Q-tips.  You can pour a small amount in spots and spread it out if desired.
  4. Let the latex dry, then apply a thin later of make-up.  Pick a skin-tone and carefully stipple it onto the cover. For those unfamiliar with that term, stippling involves patting the paint onto the surface as opposed to brushing it or smearing it on.  For stage makeup, this helps create a more natural effect on the book.  The makeup doesn't have to be fully even, opaque layer.
  5. Once the paint has dried, repeat steps 3 and 4 once more.  At this stage, begin applying any additional colors you choose to use, or even some fake blood in spots if desired.
  6. Let it all dry, then repeat the procedure for the back cover and spine.  
  7. Once finished, add a thin coat of spray adhesive.  Remember to not hold it so close that it creates weird bubbles on the cover.
So what does this look like when done?  Here is a shot of my logbook after almost completing the front cover:

This was designed to resemble a vision of the book from one of the movies.  You can see the eyes, the nose, an ear near the spine on the left, and the mouth if you look near the bottom center.  Teeth were designed into the mouth, and I later applied white makeup, some darker lines to separate the teeth, and some fake blood coming from the mouth.

Now, for a few steps that I did not have time to get too.  In the movies, the pages of the book are written in blood, containing weird languages, symbols, and drawings.  I had hoped to use the fake blood to design some similar pages inside but never got around to it.

The point of this post is to show how even the logbook can be part of making a creative cache.  Does it have to be a design out of a B-Horror flick?  Not at all.  This design was used for a night cache at my Halloween event last year, hence the horror theme.  This particular design works best with a regular size cache, but even a small cache can have a creative logbook.

If you are looking for something different to do, think about a cache with a story.  Then see how you can fit every aspect of the cache design into the story, including the logbook.


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