This is the pond example that I was trying to make. Note the coloring. I have seen Environtex ponds and was never impressed. The color should be able to be "pushed" for a better reflection.
Rebuilding this section a pond will be put into the area of the green circle. The piece of cardboard is the base of a dirt road.
An area was cleared out for the pond cutout.
I tried the various methods to make plaster look like water.
The creek was eventually finished with Woodland Scenics Realistic Water
This is how the pond looked when finished. It represents a runoff pond that is slowly drying out. Not what I originally intended but fits the situation much better.
A piece of Luan 1/4 thick plywood is cut for the base from this piece
The piece is hot glued to the plywood base.
A hardshell is applied using paper towels soaked in floor leveler, a Hydrocal plaster equivalent.
The hardshell is covered with Structolite a slow setting gypsom plaster containing perlite. The Structolite is troweled into land forms. Erosion lines are sculpted into the embankment.
I use paver sand for ground cover and the Structolite is painted with a matching latex paint. Paver sand is poured over the area to build up the land forms.
The areas representing bare ground areas not covered by paver sand were painted with texture paint. The texture paint is made by straining the base paver sand through a small strainer. The strained sand is mixed with latex paint at a 1/3 sand content.
I wet the area to be filled with plaster with a solution of water with a drop of detergent. This will allow the plaster mix to spread more evenly.
I never remember which to add first, plaster or water. ADD the water to the plaster. Adding the plaster to the water causes air bubbles. Not a problem when making hard shell. I made a mixture that was the consistency of heavy cream.
Trying to make an arty photograph for this article I missed the pond on the pour. I poked at the air bubbles to break them. They are tricky little devils and this appeared futile.
The plaster was near set. I rubbed my finger on the dampish plaster to close out the air bubbles.
There was some damp plaster left on the pond and the air bubbles were still there. I rubbed the excess plaster off the pond with a paper towel.
The air bubbles were still there. Instead of adding more plaster I would try Durham's Water Putty.
I mixed the Water Putty to a cream-like consistency and poured it on the pond.
I spread the mixture out and let it set.
While the plaste was drying I pondered how to paint a better reflection. I put a small piece of mirror with a piece of lichen to represent foliage. That is how the reflection appears at this point on the layout. A mirror won't work as the pond base because it will look like a mirror and not water.
I painted the pond surface with my sky color.
I put the picture in Photoshop and experimented with colors.
Back to the real thing I tried appying the Photoshop effects. The water was wrong with the light blue.
The sky blue didn't look right. I applied a medium blue. This looked better and I could apply sky blue highlights.
I daubed greens and browns onto the surface. The colors are not mixed totally. The daubs of paint are just spread out. I should have added more lite blue toward the tracks. The pond is smooth.
Put a daub of paint on the end of a brush and place it on the surface. I thought I had a picture of spreading the paint but missed that. The paint is stippled with a vertical stroke. Don't brush the colors together.
It wasn't quite what fit the area but it looked good. I applied a coat of Minwax Polycrylic Clear Gloss. Wondering if I could speed up the drying I applied the hair dryer. The gloss coat immediately became a crackled dry creek bed.
DON'T try to hurry anything.
I applied a coat of the base ground cover latex paint to the ruined pond. It looked like a runoff pond. It fit the area better. Once more PURE GENIUS!
I cleaned out the the pond hole and would start over.