light house hill – beach diorama terraforming


Hello, all! I’ve received such nice reactions on this beach town diorama from everyone, thank you so much! It’s you that keeps me going, really…just knowing that there are people out there that are excited to see what I make! I am very lucky to be able to share my love for crafting and Sylvanian Families with you!

In today’s tutorial, I’m going to show you how I made the ground and the hill in my beach town diorama.

By the way, my friend Sylvanako made a background for this diorama, it looks AMAZING!! Thank you so much Sylvanako!!

It is pretty similar to the “very green diorama” I made last year, but this one is a bit longer than last year’s.

I came to realize that for the large diorama base, I really like using Styrofoam boards sold at DIY stores for home insulation.  It’s cheap and light, what else can I ask for?

I carved out the rough shape of the terrain with a cutting knife.

I then smoothed out, and then carved out more details with a hot wire cutter.  Oh yeah, I also made a little cave into the side of the cliff.  I can make a fun story with my Sylvanians using this cave. 😉

After I had settled on the shape and placement of my land formation, I needed to smooth out the surface of the Styrofoam hill, so it’s not so Styrofoam-y instead of rocky.  A caulking gun was the cheapest and quickest way to do the job considering the amount of space I had to cover. The caulk was perfect, because it gave me an easy way to fill in gaps, and add additional and detailed texture to the surface. I just used the caulk like putty and covered up the whole hill surface, adding stratum textures on the cliff side.

Once the caulk was all dry, I painted the terrain with acrylic paint.  I just used different shades of similar colors to create stratum look on the side.

For the grass on the hill, I just spread clear drying, matte finish glue on the areas I want the grass to be growing, and then sprinkled on top, green foliage powder.  There were a couple other areas too where I used spray glue.  Spray glue is optional, though.  It is a bit tricky to use, since it blows away light weight things when spraying, and once dry, is super strong and won’t ever come off! You don’t want to make any mistakes when using it!

“Spread glue…”

“And sprinkle!”

I didn’t make this hill too green because I wanted to give it a kind of a rocky terrain.

It’s very important to coat the whole surface with watered down clear drying glue (avoid glossy finish, of course) as soon as the glue under the grass is dry, because caulk might start to crack, or your dolls’ feet might get green from the foliage powder.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Later I decided to add a small path going up the hill.  I just used different color of foliage powder (or should I say dirt powder?!).  But you can just use real sand or dirt for this, too.  (You can make a path along with  the base grass, I just forgot to do it then.)

Just spread some glue on the ground where you want the path to be, and then sprinkle the powder over it.

To seal something like this, it’s easier if you gently spray water all over the area you want to seal.  This helps the light weight powder to stay in place for the next step.

Just like other areas, I used watered down glue on it.  Instead of using a brush, I just used my hand to sprinkle the mixture gently.

Once it’s all dry, the new path should be totally blended in.

On top of most of the path, I made stairs with some balsa wood and small garden rocks from a DIY store.


That’s it for the terraforming! See you soon!


6 Replies to “light house hill – beach diorama terraforming”

  1. Oh, how gorgeous! It is exactly how I imagined a diorama for the lighthouse. I always pictured it on a white cliffs of Dover sort of set-up and so it’s like you peaked into my dreams one night and made it all come true. Kind of eerie deja-vu thing and yet totally, wonderfully awesome at the same time, ha ha! I think the only little thing I had pictured different was the stair part but otherwise, my dream come true in every detail. Wish I had the deep pockets Epoch has and could commission you to make one for me!

    1. Ha! How funny! Don’t worry I don’t have any super powers! We just like the same beach style, I guess! 😀
      It’s really not as hard as you think to make this diorama, I hope you give it a shot!

  2. Thank you for sharing. This is very helpful to know what you used and how you accomplished such a realistic rocky hill and pathway. You are such an inspiration to us all. Epoch should display this diorama as well!

    1. Thanks for liking it! Ahaha, if I had to make a diorama for Epoch to display, I’d put much more effort into making it nicer. 😉

  3. Stunning! The hill is my favorite part of this diorama I’m in awe how realistic you made it look! I love the wooden stairs and the cave! Thanks again for intriguing my imagination with your creations!

    1. Thank you! And, thank you for the photo! I’m adding it to my page later. 🙂
      I find it so interesting that you liked the hill so much! I wonder what my favorite is….hmmm

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