Water adds life to model scenery. A model of a farm on a prairie is just a couple of boxlike buildings on a rough, green surface. Add a small farm pond and instantly the scene has depth and scale. A pontoon plane looks out of place on a flat surface, but it fits beautifully into a beach scene. With practice you can make water so realistic that people will want to touch it to see if it is wet.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Safety goggles
- Plastic or rubber apron
- Rubber gloves
- Liquid plastic resin
- Enamel paint
- Stirring stick
Mix the liquid resin with a small amount of blue or green enamel paint to colour the bottom layer of water. This gives the water the appearance of depth. Add only a small amount of paint so that the gel remains transparent.
Stir in the required amount of hardener. Pour the first layer of resin into the mould. Fill the mould halfway to the desired final waterline, but no more than 1/2 inch deep. Allow the water to set until it begins to harden. This should take about 30 minutes.
Mix a few drops of paint into the resin for the top layer. You should barely be able to see that the resin is tinted. It should look like water. Stir in the hardener and pour the resin into the mould to the desired water level. This level should also be no more than 1/2 inch deep.
Stir the surface with your stick to make waves or ripples. Be careful not to stir so fast that bubbles form. If the water is breaking on a coastline, stir parallel to the coastline. If you are making ripples on the pond, stir in one direction as if the wind was blowing in that direction. Stir more forcefully for bigger waves.
Stop stirring when you can no longer move the water. Wait a few more minutes and carefully remove your mould, unless the mould is a permanent part of your diorama.
Allow the water to harden overnight in a dust-free place. If desired, add artificial grass or sand around your water.
Tips and warnings
- Your mould may be a depression carved into the styrofoam base of your diorama, or it may be a disposable plastic container.
- Glue down any props that you want to be in your water before you start. Props could be shoreline, a tree or a dock.
- Use a resin that will harden in a few hours.
- Work with resin only in a well ventilated place. Wear goggles, rubber gloves and a plastic apron whenever you handle resin.
- Protect your work surface.
- Follow all the manufacturer's instructions.
- Hardening time will vary; be sure your resin has begun to harden before you pour the second layer. Be sure your resin has completely solidified before you remove the mould. If you wait too long you will not be able to remove the mould.
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