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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy Folks.
I like effects that people have to deal with such as fog and garbage bag tendrils. With that in mind, let me tell you about my swamp.

You need a flat, or slightly low, spot on the path to your door for this effect.

1. Place a ground cloth where you want the swamp.
Tent Plant Tree Shade Grass

2. Place an empty waterbed bladder on the ground cloth.
Tent Plant Tarpaulin Grass Shade

3. Fill the bladder with about 2 inches of water.
Note: Make sure you leave air bubbles in the bladder before screwing on the fill cap.

4. Place a tarp that completely covers the waterbed bladder and ground cover.
Note: you can fold excess ground cover back over the bladder.
Sports equipment Ping pong Rectangle Wood Racquet sport

5. Use 12-inch spikes driven fully into the ground to tightly secure the cover to the ground.
Note: The minimum number of spikes to use is 8, one spike at each corner and one in between each corner. You are trying to prevent a trip hazard.

6. If needed add extra grommets to the tarp for more spikes.
Note: Spikes are generally 3/8 inches in diameter, so be sure to use ½ inch grommets.
Electric blue Font Auto part Metal Circle

7. Ask to borrow your neighbors leaves and place them over the bladder sandwich you just made. (Is anyone else getting hungry?)
Plant People in nature Ingredient Tree Natural landscape

Result: When people walk over this, the ground moves and gurgles. A lot of people freak right the hell out. Great fun.
Tip: Add an arm sticking out of the ground with a sign that says, “Beware of Quicksand.”

8. Be sure to return your neighbor’s leaves after Halloween.

Questions that nobody has asked me, but they might (QTNHAMBTM):

Can I use any old waterbed bladder I find on Craigslist?
Do not get any “waveless” mattresses. These often have a thick open-cell foam block in them to dampen waves. They will not work for this effect. Try to find a plain, empty bladder with no baffles or other wave attenuation tricks.

How long will the bladder last?
It was many years ago that some kids at a family gathering were given an empty waterbed bladder to play with. It was partially filled with air. They jumped and bounced on it all weekend and the bladder never popped. I was impressed. I have been using my waterbed bladder for over 30 years with no leaks ever appearing. Of course it’s only used once a year, so that means it has really only lasted a bit over a month (not nearly so impressive sounding).

What can I do if I can’t find the right type or size of bladder?
You might try making your own using 4mil or thicker plastic sheeting from the hardware store. That’s apparently a thing now. Check out “How to Make a Leak Proof Water Blob” at .

10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Try this link - it references the original ( now dead) link given above, but provides the details within its own post.

Thank you for researching and getting that link. I’ve been a bit busy taking care of my wife after her knee replacement surgery. 👹
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