Tag Archives: dioramas

Playing with Dirt

As of last night, the arena base is finished! I’m moderately pleased with it. I think it would look better if the dirt covered the whole base (which wasn’t possible due to fence measurement requirements) and if I’d found a way to keep the cool little hoofprints I made in the dirt (alas, they were destroyed by the fixative). But for anyone who would like to use nice, free dirt in a diorama, here’s what I did.

First, I marked off the area I wanted with blue tape. If you’re doing the whole top of a base, you would only need to tape off the sides. I put toothpicks in the fence post holes to make sure no glue or dirt would clog them.

Then I slathered the area in modge podge, making sure to cover the whole surface thoroughly.

Using a sifter, I gently shook fine dirt onto the modge podge base. The dirt should be thoroughly sifted before this step so you don’t end up with big clods which are out of scale. Cover the base in a thick layer of dirt to make sure you haven’t missed anywhere.

Dump off the excess dirt. I would probably be better to do this outside than on the dining room table like I did.

The last step is to fixative the dirt in place. Leave the blue tape on for this step to avoid fixing dirt or dust in the wrong place and to keep the rest of the diorama uniform. For fixative, you’ll want something stronger than the stuff you use on horses. In this case, being gentle will get you nowhere because the dirt won’t stick. I use hairspray- the cheapest, nastiest stuff I can get. It smells awesome but it sure does the job. Use several coats. I finished my base with a coat of Matte fixative over the top to reduce any glossiness from the hair spray.

Here is the finished base with the arena fence (above) and the dressage fence (below). Sorry for the bad late-night photos- but you get the idea. Thank you to Caryn Peck of Mountain Home Models for the interchangeable fence concept.

I couldn’t resist adding my dressage letter and flower pots.

Christine asked what the dressage fence is made of. Here’s a close up:



It’s pretty simple- the rectangles are just 1/4″ square dowels cut to size with a hole drilled in them and a toothpick in the bottom for a peg. The chain is white 2mm oval cable chain from Amazon. The chain is glued into the two end fence posts and just slides through the middle two.

It sure is nice to have that crossed off my list. In fact, my to do list for the show is getting delightfully short. I have a halter to make (that’s this weekend) and some odds and ends, but nothing else major until packing day. Hurrah!

Sneeze, Cough, Craft

I am getting very sick of being sick- it’s been nearly a week now. I’m feeling a lot better overall, but it’s difficult to sleep because of my very sore throat and I am constantly coughing and letting out terrifying explosive sneezes. Blarg!

My arena base is finally somewhat presentable, and nearly finished. Here it is with the arena fence up:

The sandpaper is there because I wanted to see how it would look with some arena footing. I have decided, once it’s all painted, to add a fixed layer of dirt. And that is why this lovely Easter Sunday morning found me outside, digging in a cemetery. (There’s a wonderful old pioneer cemetery behind my apartment, and that’s where I found the nice dry dirt).

The dressage fence is done and I’m very pleased with it. And the two fences are nicely and easily interchangeable, which is great.

My other success today was making the perfect carrying case for my racehorse diorama, which I’m bringing to the show. I went to Goodwill and found an almost perfect container.


Happily, a little quality time with my dremel got rid of that annoying protuberance and some foam provided just the right amount of cushioning.


Rumble Strip and friends will travel in style and comfort, with no risk of smooshing.

Weekend Performance Progress

This is one of my few free weekends before the NW Expo, so I spent much of it working on the props I’ll need to tackle the performance division. And as per usual, I started with something ugly from Goodwill…

…And went from there. First there was a lot of measuring and cutting.

Luckily, I had help.

Then there was some sanding. And sanding, and sanding, and sanding. And glueing.

When I stopped late this afternoon, I had an arena panel fence, eight white poles, the start of a dressage fence (the little pieces on the left), and two partially painted cones.

I also have a nasty blood blister, because I am careless and clutzy and apparently you can’t cut a nail with a pair of old pliers. But I am not unfamiliar with bleeding for the sake of crafts. Whenever I’m crafting or baking, I pretty much assume that I will sustain some bodily harm. But it’s always worth it, and I have a good stash of band-aids at hand.

I won’t have any time for hobby stuff this week, but I’ll be back at it next weekend and step one will be painting over that terrifying child.

Miniature World – Victoria, British Columbia

I have been having so much fun sculpting this weekend that I haven’t yet blogged about last week’s trip to Victoria B.C. My husband needed to go for work, and I could easily (and cheaply) accompany him, but for some (stupid) reason I wavered. Until he told me about this:

That’s right, Victoria has a miniatures museum. I spent a wonderful long time there and took a whole bunch of photographs in a futile effort to capture the awesomeness of it all.  And I’ve uploaded the best ones for your perusal!

If you ever have a chance to check out miniature world, I definitely recommend it. It’s $13 (Canadian) but in my opinion well worth it, as long as you really have the time and patience to take it all in. Because there is a lot to see.

Click through to the gallery

Finally Finished!

Rumble Strip cross the finish line in the front in the Small Wonders Stakes at Aqueduct

Thank you to Long Road Home for recommending that I add dust. I think it really completes the scene! Thanks to Robyn, for the original bodies. To my husband for the lovely pictures. And to the cast and crew of Stargate: SG-1, for providing me hours of entertainment while I fiddled with tiny race horses.

After countless (let’s not count…) hours of work, my little diorama is done. I’m immensely pleased with how it turned out, and love to look at it sitting on my shelf. It was an extremely satisfying project and let’s me fulfill my dream of owning a Thoroughbred race horse named Rumble Strip.