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Diorama Flowers

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Many of you will agree that one of the most difficult things in the process of creating a diorama would be the vegetation. Sure it's quite easy to just spray a little glue and sprinkle some static modeling grass on the surface and call it a day. But that won't do the trick if you aim for a realistic environment in the scene you are creating. One of the difficulties is finding the right material to create bushes, plants and flowers.

Some time ago I asked myself how I could create realistic looking flowers without alot of work and with a maximum in variety and choice. The best way to start is simply picking flowers and drying them, but they would lose their shape and color once dry. The trick would be to find a method of drying that would preserve the flowers' overall look. Luckily there's been people before me that had the same problem, and they showed me the right direction to finish this quest. What you will be needing for this project is the following:

Small flowers. You can find these in your garden or simply out in the wild. Just take a reference scale figure with you to estimate the right size.

A bottle of glycerine. This product will preserve the colour and shape of your flowers. You can get this stuff freely at your local pharmacy for a low price, usually $2 or less.

A newspaper and a plastic tray.

A spraying bottle, like the type they use for window cleaning product.

The main product are, of course, small flowers. Just go out into your garden and you will find lots of small flowers just waiting to be "harvested" (especially in the midst of summer!). You can go ahead and collect a few small flowers, keeping in mind that they can shrink during the drying process. Once you have enough flowers, separate them from twigs or branches. Now take the plastic tray and put a few sheets of newspaper in it. Each flower must be put upside down on the newspaper you prepared to prevent the leaves from curling up while drying.

Now we make the glycerine mixture. Glycerine is a thick jelly which can be dilluded in water. One of the characteristics of this product is that it will replace the water in the flowers, while preserving its colour and agility. Start by making a little solution of about 1 unit glycerine and 10 units water. Put this mixture in the spraying bottle and spray this stuff over your flowers. You don't have to hold back on the spraying, just make sure your flowers don't drown. The flowers will now suck up the glycerine which will push out the water in the flowers. The newspaper will suck up this solution too and the leaves of the flowers will stick to the newspaper. This gives the glycerine the chance to get inside the flowers while they are held in the right shape. Now all that remains is letting everything dry. Of course, not every flower will end up like a perfect miniature to use in your dio, but in reality there's not a lot of perfect flowers in a field where troops and vehicles passed by.

Another plant that can be treated with this technique is moss. I have seen modelling shops that sell patches of moss for high prices, while it's fairly easy to make them yourself. Just find yourself a patch of moss and spray the top extensively with the mixture of glycerine I described in this tutorial. Now let the moss dry and you will see it keeps its green colour, and can now be used in diorama's or other projects. I hope this little tutorial was useful to you all and happy modelling!
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Over Steven Maes (KoOkiE)

Hi, I'm Steven, 33 years of age and a modeling/WWII enthousiast since i turned 16. I've had some luck since a specialised modeling shop was started in the town I grew up in just when i started modeling, and had alot of help of the shop owner during my first project. After some years of absence I sta...


That's a great old trick for preserving plants for dioramas! Thanks, Steven, for giving us a nice little guide.
JUL 31, 2007 - 02:19 PM
Just what I like, simple and easy and cheap.
AUG 01, 2007 - 01:45 AM
I guess if you want to model flowers, I guess there's nothing better than using real flowers!! I like this method and it's one I could use. I agree with Grumpy, simple, easy and cheap... Bob
AUG 01, 2007 - 01:59 AM
Excellent tip. I bought a little bottle of gylercine to experiment with, but I forgot just what I was going to do with I know
AUG 02, 2007 - 03:39 AM