We were asked by Keep Britain Tidy to make giant models of cigarette butts to place into a tank at Sea Life Manchester for a photo shoot to launch their latest campaign #BinTheButt to stamp out cigarette litter, which causes significant damage to marine life.
The clay sculptBecause we needed 3, and as we wanted to make them hollow so that they could be weighted with stone, we decided to sculpt one in clay and moud and cast in fibreglass.
3 cast cigarette butts3 sanded butts out of the mould
Painting the cigarette buttsThe butts were painted white and a burnt effect was spray painted on
Filled and ready for lacquerThe cigarettes are now full of very heavy stones and the vinyl filter paper finishes the effect.
The aquaristsHere are the aquarists positioning the butts in Manchesters Sea Life aquarium ready for their big moment
The inquisitive turtleOne of the turtles inspecting our props during the shoot
What we had to do
There were a few challenges to this project, we had to be sure that what we created didn’t poison the marine life in the tanks and also that the cigarette butts we made were heavy enough to stay at the bottom of the aquarium and not float away.
So how did we do it?
We knew that to weight the props we would have to fill them with something heavy and so decided on sand, however, after some research we discovered that sand bought from a store has elements in it that is dangerous to marine life, so we researched pebbles, but found that these too weren’t ideal. The obvious choice therefore was stones used to decorate aquariums. Because the cigarettes were 1 metre high, and there were 3 of them, each one took a lot of stones to fill but at least we knew that they would be heavy enough to stay at the bottom of the giant aquarium. Once painted, we coated the cigarettes with a water proof lacquer and sent them off 3 days early so that hey could be bleached prior to going underwater with the sharks and giant turtles.
The client loved the props and hopefully they helped to raise awareness in the fight against litter and the devastating effect it can have on our wildlife. Check out the YouTube video with our cigarette butts underwater:
What our client said
“The props arrived perfectly and they looked great – thank you for making them so swiftly for us”
Nicola Boon, Marketing Manager, Keep Britain Tidy