Water Effects in Dioramas



Adding water to your scene

Sorry for the delay. (lol, a familiar statement) Okay, I saw the movie too, "If you build it they will come." ...

There are many methods of making water effects. A determining factor is ultimately what you are using the thing you are building for or it's end use.

If the thing is a diorama that is not being touched all the time, you can use different materials than if it is for just general game play. Also, how much water is in the scene and how realistic you want it to look will determine what to use.

I'll show you a few methods to make different water aspects. Streams, waterfalls, ponds, swamps, and dampness.

Low Cost (readily available materials)

  • White glue (Weldbond brand dries perfectly clear)
  • Clear silicone (stinks - use ventilation)
  • Plaster and paint with a gloss finish
  • mirror or high polished metal
  • clear plastic film
  • window cling paints (can be found in a dollar store)

High Priced (costly but still available materials)

There are several types of these available. You will have to go to a hobby and craft type store to get most of them. They all have their own instructions. The only real tip I can give you is to practice. Here are pictures of some of them. There is a new one out I am experimenting with, it is cheaper than the hobby stuff but acts a bit different. I will get a picture for you. Found some at a Walmart $7.69 vs the $18-$20 for Woodland Scenics (Our local Interior crafts store price on the high side - nor care)

Making a stream, creek or river

If you are using a product like Easy-water, where it is heated plastic chips, make sure you have a thick base coat of plaster on top of the high-density foam over the area you are pouring water on.

As the plastic is easy to overheat (which causes it to turn yellow by the way) it can cause your base material (if you are using a styrofoam) to melt. This causes a mess and is kind of dangerous as you usually get burned.

Pics should go here.

The liquid water effects type stuff that you can buy (Product Here). Works good. It takes awhile to dry if yo are trying to build up a deep river. The thick version is great for rapids and waterfalls.

More pictures should be here.

Paint your stream bed and let it dry fully before you use either of the products.

ALSO, you should seal it first. If you pour over a porous surface you will get air bubbles.


Making waterfalls

The two methods I use both cost about the same. One stinks more than he other.

Silicone and clear plastic strips

Stick the strips of plastic to the top of the waterfall. Clear plastic from the silicone package works, actually any clear plastic. (It is easier to have a ledge that the water falls from for this method.)

Then coat the strips with the clear silicone.

Don't try to put to much on at once. You'll need to let it dry over night and then add another coat.

ALSO, ya need to do this in the garage, outside in the carport, or ...a well ventilated area. This stuff stinks and I'd say toxic.


Water effects with thick clears

This stuff works great but costs a bit. You need to work in layers letting it dry overnight if you are making it thick.

It contracts a fair amount so you will have to add several layers.

The white colour WILL go away. It eventually dries crystal clear so again, paint the creek river bed bottom a greenish-blue first and let dry before you start.


Making Ponds

Same as before; paint the pond first, as best you can.

Add reeds, logs, protruding rocks, dead trees etc. before you pour the water

Pour a thin (1/8th inch) layer of either of; Weld-bond white glue or similar that dries clear, Easypour water effects type stuff, or the melted plastic type stuff.

If you use the easy-water melted plastic, have a heat gun near. A hairdryer just doesn't cut it.


Making Swamps

Add some green paint to the edge of the pond while the clear is still wet. Or paint the edge a little add pour another layer.

The melted plastic type stuff turns a yellowish colour if overheated.

Making it Damp

I like painting weldbond on the area or the crystal clear water effect stuff. On the miniature adobe buildings I touch the wall slightly with my dirty paint bush water.

Meanwhile - If you can paint, check out this guy

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