A diorama captures a scene in miniature. The scene can come from a book, the natural world, history or your imagination. Dioramas are often thought of as children's crafts, but depending on the materials used, they can also be of the quality of a professional craftsman. The scene can be as simple or complex as desired.
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Basic Craft Supplies
Diorama-making requires basic craft supplies: Scissors for cutting background and foreground elements, paints and brushes, and paper in assorted colours. A craft knife allows you to make more precise cuts than you can with scissors, which is especially important when cutting out wall coverings. You also need glue. A clear-drying craft glue is sufficient, though hot glue helps attach items that craft glue doesn't adhere to well.
The case holds the entire scene. Cardboard or wooden boxes are ready options for the case. Other case options include shadow box picture frames, a book shelf or a small aquarium. The size of the case determines the size and complexity of the finished diorama. For example, small Easter holiday scenes can be constructed inside half of a real or artificial egg shell.
The walls of the box rarely blend into the scene in their natural state. Paint and paper allow you to quickly blend the walls in, especially if the scene is set inside a building. Natural materials, such as dried grasses, can also be glued to the inside of the case to cover the walls and give an illusion of depth. When painting outdoor scenes, remember that the sky shouldn't reach all the way to the bottom of the case. Paint the terrain along the bottom third of the back wall to give the illusion of a natural horizon.
Model train stores offer a huge range of landscape materials, from trees and bushes to flowers and grass. Alternately, construct your own landscaping from twigs, dried mosses and dried grasses. Only the smallest silk flowers fit into a diorama, but wire floral stems can be added to dried plant materials to help shape them in the scene. Glue sand, soil and rocks to the diorama to make the landscape even more realistic.
Small animals, people, furniture and other design elements add to the realism of the scene. Find nearly any miniature needed from model, toy or dollhouse suppliers. Create your own models from clay for hard-to-find pieces or to add a more personal touch to the design. Polymer clay bakes hard in a conventional oven, making it a suitable choice for diorama miniatures.
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