Diorama Tips

Taken from: http://www.wamp-forum.com/content.php?267-How-to-use-Real-plants-in-your-miniature-bases
This quick tutorial will show you how you can use real plants in your bases and dioramas and open up a real treasure trove of unusual materials that add interest and are free to use.

: Very Easy

Tools and Materials needed:
Absorbant paper (ie kitchen roll)
Small container

First a couple of little pointers. This technique can be used on any type of plant but results can vary. Generally the more 'woody' the plant the better. Normally once you cut a plant the cutting will begin to dry out losing its water, this kills it and destroys the structure. This process solves that problem by replacing the lost water with glycerin which acts like an embalming fluid and retains the plants structure.
Results can vary even with the same type of plant so I recommend you do this in advance of when you need the plants. I do batches every now and again and keep them in my bit box, no special requirements. Some have been in there for well over a year and are still as good as new. If you do it in advance like this then any plants that it hasnt worked on can be removed. This prevents the risk of using plants then later finding they wither away. If its going to fail it will happen with 48 hours generally so after this your safe!

Step 1
Collect some plants! I like to use mosses as they scale well and you can just pull them from the rock but try anything, small herbs like thyme can be good. For this tutorial I just popped in the garden and grabbed some moss - took me about 1 minute and found a good variety.

Mosses are great for this technique

Step 2
For this stage you need some Glycerin. It is available from chemists over the counter (its often used as a childrens medicine) It isnt harmful and you need no bio-hazard suit for it!! Its pretty cheap, the bottle pictured was about £1.20 and lasts an age. You will also need a small container and some water.

Glycerine is available at most chemists
You need to mix roughly 1 part Glycerine to 10 parts water in the container. Give it a good stir so its properly mixed. Next take your plants and dip them in the mixture, make sure they are well covered then remove and place on some kitchen roll or newspaper. This will soak up the excess. Some plants you may want to turn over after an hour to soak both sides. Then simply leave to dry (overnight if possible) After 24 - 48 hours most plants that didnt succeed the process will have wilted by now so you can discard these. The rest you are free to use. If you do a batch every now and again then you will always have a stockpile at the ready and any that are good by then will remain good.

Leave to dry on absorbant paper

Step 3

Now the fun bit!! Stick them on your bases and give them a real wow!

50mm base

Any questions feel free to ask


HMS Astute - Hobbyboss 1/700

The resin shrunk and the heat from the reaction damaged the stabilizers at their thinest edge. I'm guessing the polymerization happened too quickly due to excess catalyst and low ambient temperatures.

I covered these mistakes by creating some cavitation with acrylic gloss gel medium and by pouring another layer of resin, this time half as thick as before.

Please take the time to read this article by http://www.resin-supplies.co.uk about casting resins:


Casting is the process of producing a part in a mould. Resins can be cast as a pourable liquid/or they can be "laid up"; laminated by hand with reinforcing cloth of glass or carbon fibre. Here we shall deal mostly with poured casting technique, since lay-up is rarely used by artists. Resin properly filled can cast solid figures 36 inches tall-most sculpture is within those parameters.

Most resins can be cast in properly-separating flexible moulds made of polysulfide and urethane, but the best results are obtained from RTV silicone moulds, which require no release coat. They can also be cast in rigid moulds that have draft