DIY Dioramas: Portable Walls!

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When thrift shopping, I never pass up one of these divided shadow boxes. They are usually cheap--and definitely worth the little bit of work to transform.

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I've also used them in permanent settings, such as Vickie's Vintage below. The infamous Shoe wall. This one all I did was remove the two covers and then hinge them together. The sparkle is the mirror that backs each of the cubby holes...perfect for maximizing the shoes for viewing! 
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Upside, I can use the hinge in the middle to make a corner also, as it is in Vickie's now.
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Any of my dioramas that are not in plastic Mattel structures or Vickie's, are set up to be portable. I can break them down and pack the insides away, usually in a small tote. Flat walls are folded and set along my lower walls on the covered concrete block wall bases we have in the craft room. 

I've shared how I use foam core walls to make a 

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Storefront Parking Lot

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A Vacation Cabin/Hut in Costa Rica-there is another shadow box, which was rough sawn wood with paper cut to fit each cubbyhole.

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A huge banquet Party Venue built entirely of covered foam core pieces. I could still set this room up in less than 15 minutes. I used black contact paper for most of the walls. 

I use the same gray/silver poster board for my floors/streets/sidewalks. Bases are done on the thicker foam core  so I can move a set-up if need be, and this gives a firm foundation for pinning the walls to. Half of my doll stand bases are covered in the same silver posterbboard, making wiping the edges out easy in editing my photos. 

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Creating that venue--with blank walls and printed additions!

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Another historical setting,

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 a background for a speaking engagement, quotes from Pinterest and book covers were pasted on paper that had European architecture on. James Baldwin, though American lived in Paris most of his life! 

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A complete pumpkin farm, from upside down painted foam core and a backdrop from a toy box.

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My hand-painted Chicago skyline makes a park and used for many more! 

Now back to furniture walls!
 Joe and Vickie's Condo is set up on two shelves, a 10" deep shelf and a 12" deep shelf, one above the other in my craft room. The back walls are actually the white-washed paneling from the craft room. The grid poles are the bracket holders. Often, if I remember I can wipe these out with editing.

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Here another shadow box is used as a built-in and focal point in Vickie's living room. Again, this one had mirrors, which can be tricky taking photos, My camera is in there along with the opposite storage wall, LOL.

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Another cubby box acts as the kitchen wall and cupboards. This one did not have moveable grids, so I left it the stained finish. I filled it with colorful kitchen ware and food items! 

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Now, back to the DIY for the bedroom diorama. This one was particularly clean and cheap---and the upside was the removable grid came out in once piece. I knew I wanted a white unit for the bedroom, so I started dismantling to prepare for painting. I wiped down the entire piece with alcohol to remove oils and dust.

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Next thing was to remove all the hardware and hinges!

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Luckily these are cheaply made and just prying off the hanger was easy. Many of these pieces are stained with a light sealer. Often the stain will bleed through light colored paints. I used a spray 
stain blocker/primer and then could either hand paint or spray with a satin enamel. Why satin enamel? Because it is a tighter finish; museum wax, tapes, and scratch marks are easily wiped away. 

The cover with glass will probably become a picture window in some future diorama.

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Since the grid was removable, I added a piece of scrapbook paper behind. This is just put in with double-faced tape---
so I can change it. 
Here it matches another fake wall--the back-end of a Barbie plastic closet with the same paper. You can see a bit of pink at the top in this photo. After looking at this photo, the look of wallpaper is good and the scale is the proper. I added a strip for wall trim at the bottom and raised it to cover the closet. I've also used wrapping papers for back drops, as well as contact paper. 

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Here, Vickie and Joe on the first night they moved into the condo, and using their still unfinished bedroom!  The carpet is a placemat from IKEA, though I bought a set of 6 in a thrift store for $2.00.

Happy DIY Dioramas! 

What do you use for walls? 

Thank you for visiting, I will try and respond to every question and comment. 

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2 comments:

  1. This is all so very interesting. I love "behind the scenes" posts. I'm only doing clothes. But I do have lots of dolls which are posing atop furniture in my bedroom, the guest bedroom and the living/diningroom area. I have a sewing machine in the den, but much of what I do is in my bedroom where most of my FR and Barbie Model Muse dolls also reside along with most of their vast wardrobe. So, it's like I wake up each day in my bedroom/doll room.

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    1. Well, that wouldn't be a bad thing, lol. I have bins and bins of fabrics/ antique laces and trims...and scads of bits and pieces I've collected over the years. I have a huge piece of Nottingham lace that's too good to cut up, but I can't part with it. It would make fabulous vintage dresses, lol. I can imagine your dolls' wardrobe is huge. I have had a problem with the FR, as I just think they all look like they need a cookie, lol. But, such is the fashion world. Grins, Sandi

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Thanks so much for each and every comment, and I will try and answer any questions you may have.