How to make a desert diorama [Archive] - OSW: One Sixth Warrior Forum

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Series 800
08-15-2003, 21:50
Here is my how to on making a desert diorama. Its my first diorama so if you think it turned out bad then is a what not to do.

Green "Grass" flock
Paper towels
Exacto knife

I started out but getting my piece of styrofoam

I took a figure and laid him down so I could make the length about long enough to lay him down on it. Leave extra room because you will cut the board down.

Cut off where you want it. Then break up the square shape but cutting curves using the exacto knife.

Series 800
08-15-2003, 21:56
Smooth it out and get rid of little extras that are sticking up. I used a sodering (sp) iron but be careful styrofoam buring can create dangerous fumes so dont do it for long.

This is the finished shape

Pour glue onto the foam and spread it out using a paper towel.

Pour the sand onto the glue and spread it out. Rinse and repeat making sure to fill in the gaps. If you want you can make certain areas have more sand on them so it looks more realistic.

First time the sand was put on

Halfway done

Series 800
08-15-2003, 22:01
If you cant get sand into certain areas use a sand colored paint to cover up the white. Also paint can work just as well as glue if you need to keep sand in place. Make sure to shake off excess sand regularly.

Fully sanded and painted.

Next I laid out the position of the rocks

Then I glued them in place but lost a rock :(

Then I used dabs of glue and some flock to create grassy areas. I tried using realy grass in places but it would not stand up.

Pvt. Ryan HOH
08-15-2003, 22:06
Nice job!

I use a few similar techniques, these are fast and easy to do. If you guys have time, follow this tutorial, its really easy to make one.

Series 800
08-15-2003, 22:07
Next i used glue and sand to put some sand on the big rock and flock at the bottom for moss.

All done

My figure making use of the new diorama

Pros: Real sand looks... well realistic. Dident cost me any money. Good base for standing shots.

Cons: A bit too small. Lack of glue left white spots in some areas. Stand stuck together and clumped in areas.

Lessons learned: Paint the base before hand or get colored sheet. Make it bigger. Gravel flock may not clump. Liquid startch may help grass stand up.

It was a good first try IMHO and taught me alot. Questions, comments, hate mail?

*edit* just found out you can get 5 pictures in a post, sorry.

Pvt. Ryan HOH
08-15-2003, 22:10
OOps,sorry for cutting in on your post there.

08-15-2003, 22:15
Looks great! I'll give it a try before school starts...I'll be a bit more ambitious though :-)



08-16-2003, 00:44
Awesome, S800! Thanks for the tutorial....

08-16-2003, 02:22
very nice tutorial...I gotta give that a try!

lost tourist
08-16-2003, 10:07
Thanks for taking the time for your tips on this tutorial! If I may add, using plywood, particle board, or even picture frames make for good solid bases.

lost tourist

08-16-2003, 10:22
A trip to a thrift store usually turns up some great pieces of wood cheaply to use as bases.

I usually apply a thin layer of plaster of paris, paint base first, cover in white glue mixed with water and a dash of dishwashing liquid, then sprinkle the sand over it and push in the various rocks so they stick into the base. I then repaint the sand if needed.

Good tutorial the moss and grass are good tips. If you have trouble getting figure to stand up, I cut a piece of coat hanger wire and use that as stand behind figure, propping him up or even going up pants leg if pants aren't bloused into boots.

08-16-2003, 10:39
If you really want to invest some money and get some nice realism in return, check out a train hobby store and pick up all sorts of stuff from rocks to sand to trees and grass used in making train track dioramas.

But I like cheap... more money for those 'spensive Toy Soldier vests...

08-16-2003, 11:52
I get my sand, dirt and rocks from outside, really cheap. A lot of the hobby shop stuff, I find, is very expensive.

08-16-2003, 14:37
Well done. Take it from an old long-time dio builder.

You've "discovered" many tried and true techniques all on your own. That's using the ol' noggin. :thumb

04-24-2005, 10:21
I will try this out when i have the next free time. I discovered this topic when i have come to the end of my leave. I have been on leave for the past week. Tomorrow i am starting work till god knows when is my next leave.

04-24-2005, 11:14
Thanks for the tutorial!! It looks really good!! Thanks for sharing! :thumb