DIY Diorama – NOT Pintrest worthy

Another diorama – another trip to Hobby Lobby. Standing in front of the tiny bags of 3 inch trees ($6.99), fake grass ($4.99), fuzz that makes bushes ($9.99), goop that looks like water ($14.99), and searching for a tube of Indians among the foot long tubes of “Prairie Settlers,” “Western Frontier Families,” “Civil War Battle Action Figures,” and “Egyptian Pyramid Builders” I had a little fit.


I can’t do this again. I can’t spend $40 on colored fuzz and realistic-looking painted plastic people. Visions of DIY-Pintrest–mother-and-son-bonding-hot-glue-gunning-glory came to me and we left Hobby Lobby with a bag of very sad looking tan plastic Indians. No outfits, no faces, just molded-tan bodies.

Notice I don’t have a picture of the finished product, because it was just “Eh.” But, I do have a few fun tips to share!

1. If you need rocks for a project, wait until your neighbors leave for work and take a “walk.” I “found” 3 different varieties of landscaping rock in my neighborhood that made our river bed look pretty darn realistic.

2. If you add Modge-Podge to a scoop of mulch and mix it up in a bowl and dump it on the floor of your diorama, in 3 days it will finally be hardened and stuck together and look like the forest floor – kind of.

3. You can hot-glue ferns to sticks and they look a lot like evergreen trees – mostly.

4. If your molded-tan-plastic Indian is holding a molded-tan-plastic bow and arrow, you can cut it off with kitchen sheers and hot glue a fishing pole (stick) onto him instead. This technique also works for unwanted headdresses and rifles.

5. Cover up the pools of hot glue required to secure a “Cedar Plank Log Home” made from tongue depressors with leaves from your yard. We thought the begonia leaves looked especially interesting – in a 100 times too large for scale kind of way.

6. Typed labels cover over a multitude of sins. Even a river bed made from blue construction paper and lined with landscaping rocks looks amazing with a neat label –  “Rivers provided food and trading routes”- hot glued to a boulder.

7. Hot glue gun boo-boos feel better after you eat cookies. Tim and I discovered this after our many attempts to secure a dug out canoe made from clay to the bottom of the diorama. No amount of hot glue can permanently secure modeling clay to paper it seems, but we tried. We sure tried, and our little fingers paid the price.

As for the mother-son bonding, I’m not sure how that went, but we did laugh a lot. We both knows his project looks very home-made, and so it is a little humbling to set it down next to the more professional looking varieties, but we had fun and I think he knows roughly the same amount about his Indian tribe as the other kids PLUS more about hot glue guns!

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