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Making a Diorama - Chapter 1: Materials

You will need to gather these materials to complete your diorama. Many of the materials are optional and many materials have substitutes that are suitable. I will explain this as we go. Most of these materials can be purchased at a hobby store. In particular, a hobby store that specializes in model railroads will have all the materials you need.


1 piece of wood approximately 1 foot by 1 foot, the type of wood is unimportant. It should be sturdy enough to hold some weight. The diorama will cover the complete surface of the wood.


Diorama Making Tools

- Tools: a wide variety of handtools will make the job easier but here is a list of the bare necessities:

  • needle nose pliers/small hand cutters
  • scissors/masking tape
  • hob-e-tac glue or strong, fast setting glue
  • wood glue or elmers glue
  • bottle with holes in top for shaking out materials (this has the green material in it)
  • scenic cement
  • empty all purpose spray bottle (blue)
  • markers and pencil
  • razor knife or blade

If you are going to add electrical components to your scene you will also need:

  • electrical wire and tape
  • soldering pencil and solder
  • miniature lightbulbs
  • a switch
  • a battery appropriate to light the bulb(s)

The needed materials for wiring your diorama are covered more in depth in the relevant chapter.

The Paints and brushes

Paints - You will also need a
variety of paints and brushes.
Consider the scene you will be making.
You should have plenty of earthy colors
like brown, red, grey etc. a variety of
brush sizes is also desired.

The materials needed

Materials Needed for the Rough Landscape

To rough out the major terrain you should have the following materials:

  • lightweight hydrocal (purchase at hobby shop) you can also use plaster of paris as an alternate
  • plenty of newspapers
  • sheets of thin cardboard (cereal boxes are great)
  • pieces of sponge and styrofoam (optional)
  • several containers to hold water and plaster (various sizes)
  • Roll of paper towels (not shown)


NextContinue with the Diorama Making Tutorial...



Dinosaur Dioramas to Cut & Assemble- Step back in time to the Mesozoic era with this book created by noted dinosaur expert Matthew Kalmenoff. Cut and assemble two dioramas, then add 31 proportional cut-out figures - 19 animals and 12 plants. Complete instructions 2 assembly diagrams. 14 full-color plates. Captions. Author introduction

Landscape Kit

If you are looking for a way to get everything you need to make a beautiful diorama without spending a lot of money this kit is perfect. Available at amazon.com


Scene-A-Rama Basic Diorama Kit

This is another great basic starter kit for diorama making that will give you everything you need to get started in learning how to make a good looking diorama.



Will's Book on Diorama Making

Will's Book

How to Make Fantasy and Medieval Dioramas

This books shows you how to make fantasy and medieval dioramas using many commonly available tools and materials. There are over 100 pictures and illustrations showing you how to make great dioramas in fantasy and medieval styles. Chapters include basics, water effects, terrain tips and special effects like electricity and small motors. Tutorials include how to use foam, plaster of paris and paper mache to make great looking dioramas.