In the tiny world, there are several forms of miniature crafting, but when you visit my site, you might not have thought about miniature dioramas and how to make a diorama.
Although you might think otherwise, dioramas are still used in the animation world, but also for CD covers, for example.
Yes, yes, not everything is just about computers these days, the craft is still alive! 🙂
Anyway, I bought another interesting online course for you, so that I could dive deeper into the topic of how to make a miniature diorama for my new blog post. Let’s go!
This post contains Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API and Domestika
But First: What Is A Miniature Diorama?
A diorama is often a museum-worthy, 3D arrangement in which an existing or imaginative reality is shown.
The word diorama is used in a variety of forms: from miniature battlefield simulations to large-scale habitat simulations in Natural History Museums, etc..
But also dioramas are used to add to doll houses, like for example in the gardens of our little houses, to make little beach sceneries or even rivers.
Which Materials Do You Need to make a miniature diorama?
Here’s a list of the materials that you need to make a diorama, some of them are essential but a few of them are not or could become expensive.
It is totally up to you to purchase what you need or what you think you will use.
- Paint: mostly acrylic paint, there’s a lot of choice in brands. You can use these to paint on wood, paper, and other surfaces.
To paint on plastic, however, a polyurethane type of paint is more advisable.
- Woodwork dye, it’s supposed to dye any kind of wood and even paper. Which can be interesting to mimic any kind of wood, for example, walnut or sapeli, or other hardwood.
- Watercolor liquid, preferably from Ecoline. This product makes it easy to give your miniature pieces an aged look and can serve as a transparent glaze.
- metallic paint ( golden color), aka modeling paint
- option: spray paint
- Absolutely necessary and fundamental: primer!
- All kinds of paint brushes (it’s good to also have brushes with very fine tips)
- Now, this is absolutely recommended to create dioramas: an airbrush.
There are lots of types and prices available on Amazon, you might have a look at the reviews to decide on which one to buy.
- a good pair of scissors
- cutters, including a good crafting knife
- two types of pliers, one to cut wires and one to handle a wire and shape it
- a ruler
- white wood glue
- model glue/super glue, like for example Gorilla glue
- two-component epoxy adhesive
- cyanoacrylate glue, super professional glue
- A mini-drill isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you do a lot of DIY crafting, I really would advise buying it. I use it a lot myself!
- A craftsman hacksaw
- To create the frame of figurines: metal wire, thick enough to have some consistency, but easily bendable with your pliers.
- Painters tape
- clay: you have lots of choices. You can use modeling clay from Das, Fimo clay , epoxy clay, or the most expensive but superior option: Super Sculpey.
- A spatula
- Sculpting tools
- Crèpe paper
- Drawing paper
- MDF wood
- Balsa wood
- Optional: polystyrene sheets
- steel wool
Visualize Your miniature diorama Projects With The Help Of Sketching
- First, you need to think about the project that you want to create, if you already know that, you can skip to the next stage.
What’s important is not to just think about the figurines, but also the background. Is it a stage, theatre, room, outside scene, etc?
Any ideas that you are not using at this moment, you can write down in a notebook to maybe use later.
- Then, Start sketching and start visualizing the design. Don’t start too big or too detailed, because that would seem like a waste of time and energy.
Just make sure that the composition is correct and that the pose of the character looks ok.
Does the figurine wear clothes? You might change ideas while drawing. What seems like a good idea at first, could change into something totally different.
You can draw a few ideas in different drawings, and in the end, keep the one that you prefer.
Beware that figurines like this are usually on a scale of 1:10, so that is a little bit less than a scale of 1:12.
- Finish the sketching. This means it is time to think further about the details and which materials you are going to use.
This is also the time to think about the angle of the lighting, the Shadows, etc.
If you would to get more details on this, then please check out this course below.
Time To Rethink In 3D for your diorama
After sketching in 2D it’s time to 2 to reset your mind into 3D. You can easily use a 2D drawing like the sketches we saw above and turn that into 3D.
- Decide on which technique or procedure you are going to use. You don’t need special skills to create something in 3D.
An easy way to do this is to go to a store and buy figurine toys or miniatures, like in the pictures below, and then transform it into your own piece.
This costs you hardly anything but a few bucks.
You can use these as a base to form any kind of figurine that you can imagine.
- If you really want to create something from nothing, then you need further lessons.
It basically comes down to these 4 parts:
– Build the frame
– Modeling the figurine with paper pulp and cardboard
– applying the texture
– Shading and finishing
– Finishing details
How to do all of this? I will explain later in another blog post and more in detail, but you can find out in this course from Domestika for now.
Build The Set Or scenery for your diorama
Build a room box with MDF wood, so that means the walls, floor, and ceilings.
To decorate the walls, you can do this in any way you like, wallpaper or paint it, but if you would like some structure, there are so to speak, a thousand ways for doing this.
To make the floors, I have written tutorials on that too, you can create a wooden parquet floor, for example, with balsa wood.
Finally: you could decide to photograph it and make a cover for a Music CD, etc, like in the Domestika course.
How To Make A Diorama: Preseting The Teacher And The Course
Who Is The Teacher?
The teacher is called San Martin and he is also active in other fields than creating dioramas: mainly art and painting.
He specialized in painting fantasy figures and fossils, but also science fiction-related things.
It started to get a little bit boring for him and so he was looking to dive into the world of sceneries and miniatures. Thus developing an interest in dioramas.
After developing his techniques, he came to developing pictures for music covers (CDs and DVDs) with the help of dioramas and photographing those.
He is now specialized in this field.
- A few of the influences of this artist were the toys made for science fiction TV that was called “Geyperman” and it was a Spanish action figure.
The reason he likes these kinds of figurines is that he can see what kind of fabrics and textures are used to make this doll and he gets more inspiration from the details.
- Another influence to create dioramas was the model-building world.
When you head over to a model shop, you can see what lots of men are building in small sizes and it goes from model airplanes, (military) vehicles, and tanks, to space models, etc, made from plastic and you need to assemble and paint them.
- Anything that has something to do with science fiction, like books, movies, series, etc.. 🙂
There is lots more, but that would take us way too far and I would like to refer you to the course itself and his quite enthusiastic explanation 😉
At the moment of the writing of this article, the price is $11,99, but this can change.
The Good And The Bad
- Very affordable prices
- Professional classes from experienced artists or teachers
- Everything you need to know about a topic is in these courses
- this course also includes how to photograph the scenery and even retouch it with Photoshop, and it is quite interesting I must say!
- the translation from Spanish to English gets kind of bad in this course. I still could follow, but I send in a request to make it better.
Overall, this course is something I really found enjoyable and I have learned a lot of extra, like how to construct a figurine from scratch.
The latter I would like to craft one day myself, in the form of trolls, but that will be in the far future haha.
My Final Conclusion
I hope that you enjoyed this blog post on how to make a diorama.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave a comment down below and I will answer them as soon as possible.
Also, I would very much appreciate it if you follow me on my social media channels, or join me on my fantastic Facebook group.
I wish you Happy crafting!
My name is Lizzy, and I am an amateur miniaturist obsessed with everything in the dollhouse and miniature world, ever since I was a teenager.
I love to write as well about all things happening in the miniature world, hence the reason why I created this blog!
I wish you happy reading and crafting!