Diorama building techniques for kids

Last weekend, we visited the Greenberg Train Show as it rolled through town, and I was particularly interested in learning some tips and tricks that the model train enthusiasts use for building their train layouts. We have some diorama projects lined up for cub scouts this year, and I can’t wait to show the scouts how to build their own projects using some of these techniques.

cub scouts diorama building tips

By using styrofoam boards as the base structure, it’s easy to stack and carve hills or valleys. An added advantage of this material is that it is extremely light and easy to carry around.

Once you have the styrofoam carved, you can coat it with a layer of Plaster of Paris to smooth out all the joints and rough edges. Then you paint the whole scene with different earth tones, and before the paint dries, sprinkle on some ground foam, which you can buy at hobby shops. The paint acts like a glue and adheres all the small particles of ground foam to the base.

Now, all you need to do is add some props — maybe some sticks for trees, or small action figures or Matchbox cars.

model train scenery

Who knows, maybe the kids will get really ambitious and create a work of art like this model train set up!