Tutorial: Big trees

If you have some room on your diorama, it’s a fun and a fairly easy project to add some big trees to your scenery.  I don’t really like using train set diorama trees, since they are not really the right scale for Sylvanian Families.  So, here is what my trees look like.  There trunks are rather big, but that is because they are self-standing tress that you can move around

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I use fake plastic plants from the craft store to make these trees.  Depending on how the plants look like, you will have to shape your trees a bit different ways, but it isn’t so hard to figure them out, I hope.

<SHAPING METHOD 1>

If your greens come in like flowers, Just bunch up the stems like the picture below with some tape.

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Wrap the stems with aluminum foil to give it more thickness. Stick it in a flowerbed filled with air drying clay like below, or form the roots of the tree with aluminum foil.

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Cover the trunk with some air drying clay. You can use any color for the clay, but it is a bit easier if you use brown.

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With a tip of a toothpick, draw lines all over the trunk to make it look more realistic.

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<SHAPING METHOD 2>

If you happened to have just some leaves, then you might want to try this way to shape your trees.

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I happened to have some stems leftover from an old project, so I just used them, but you can just use some thick wire for this part.

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Using some heavy duty aluminum foil, form the trunk and roots of your tree.  With a glue gun, attach the branches (thick wire) like the picture below.

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Cover and shape the trunk and roots with air drying clay.

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Draw bunch of lines with the tip of a toothpick.

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At this point, you can color your tree.  I tend to put the leaves on while I wait for the clay to dry, but it’s really up to you. It is, however, much easier to paint the tree brown before you add the leaves.

With a glue gun, stick the leaves onto branches. at this point, I trimmed the extra branches I didn’t need.

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Trim the leaves with scissors so the whole tree is well balanced.

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<COLORING YOUR TREE>

Once the clay on your tree is dry, color the trunk with some shades of brown acrylic paints, .

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This is just an additional step, but you can put some glue to the trunk, and then sprinkle turf powder to give it a mossy look. (I bought my turf powder from a craft store.)

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That’s it! It really doesn’t take too long to make these trees.  Give it a shot!  You’ll be surprised!

Tutorial: pansies and violas

In the last post, I wrote about how to make color gradations with your clay.  In today’s post, I will make pansies using the same technique.  Pansies use multiple colors and are pretty complicated, but once you get used to making them, you can actually make violas, too.

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In this tutorial, I will make a purple pansy flowers. Because my camera has poor quality, in order to take good pictures I’ll be making these on a much larger scale than I would normally when making them for my diorama.

First, make a gradation clay like below.  For the gradation tutorial, please go here.

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Separate the clay into 3 logs.

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Make a slit in one of the logs and put dark purple clay inside, attach some white on top.

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Make a heart shaped petal (right log in the picture below) the same way. Top it with some yellow.

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Shape the logs so that when you slice them, your slices look like petals.

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With the tip of a toothpick, draw some lines very lightly to stretch the colors. Add some angles to the petals with your fingers.

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Stick the completed petals together.  Please refer to a real flower for details as each type of pansies have slightly different petal formation.  The flower on the left in the picture below is the actual size.

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You can me different colors like these too.  Spreading the dark purple with the tip of a toothpick for the middle part (kind of like using paint) works quite well for pansies.

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To make violas, just do the same thing as pansies a lot smaller.

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You can now make a nice, spring garden!

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Tutorial: Making color gradation with polymer clay

It’s spring, your Sylvanian town needs some flowers.  I know my town does.

People use different materials to make miniature flowers, but so far I have only tried polymer clay.  I like poly clay flowers, they are tough so my son can play with them without breaking.

You’ll notice when looking at flowers very rarely does any given pedal stay the same color throughout; there is usually a color change somewhere along the way.  To achieve this when making your own flowers, you can either paint your clay afterwords, or do as I do and make gradation color clay for the petals.  Here I will show you what I do to make a simple 2 color gradation.

First, get 2 colors out.

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Roll out or flatten each colors and make shapes like below.  Put the two colors together.

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Fold the clay sheet in half vertically like in the picture.

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Roll it out or flatten with your fingers.

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Fold and roll out, fold and roll out – you’ll want to repeat this process at least 15 times.

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Below is what I got after repeating the fold and roll out process 20 times.

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With your fingers on all sides, gradually shape a cube. Push from the directions of the arrows in the picture below, first from left and right, then top and bottom…repeat this process until it becomes a cube shape.

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This is how your cube should look like now.  The top is pink, the bottom is white, and 4 sides have the gradations.

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Stretch your cube into a very thin stick. Keep the square shape as much as you can as it will prevent colors from going all over the place.

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Shape your clay log in a shape you want. Here I made the log slice look like a narrow petal. Just slice out the petals as you go.

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This is so far worked the best for me, but if you know a way that works better, I would love to hear about it!