Building your diorama base

Building your diorama base – good foundations

This week we are looking at how to start your diorama using blue craft foam and sculptamold as a base.  We use hot wire tools to carve out the foam and then apply a layer of sculptamold to smooth out the appearance.

Bases are vital to any diorama and need to be sturdy and easy to make.  This is my favourite method but there are many different methods so do tell us yours in the comments below.

Tools and Materials

You will need the following tools and materials to make your bases using the method described. I’m not affiliated with any of these suppliers:

  • Blue craft foam – I bought this online and it is easy to find. I bought 1″ thick but it come in various sizes. I got mine in the UK from here. You can use insulation foam from your local DIY or hardware shop or left other builders’ foam if you have had any work done recently.
  • Sculptamold – there are various suppliers for this from Amazon to a number of model railway shops.  If you are going to a show where EDM Models is attending then it is easy to pick up from them or you can buy online.
  • Hot wire tools – there are various suppliers of these but mine are from the Hot Wire Foam Factory. There are various other brands and I got mine on Amazon.
  • Bread knife – if you don’t have any hot wire tools then any knife will do the job albeit more messily and roughly.
  • Palette knife – useful for spreading the Sculptamold because of the bend in the handle but again any knife will do.
  • White glue – I’ve used various brands and now just fill up my bottles with cheap PVA from the DIY shop.


0:00 Introduction
1:29 Building your base and using hot wire tools
4:06 Gluing it together
5:48 O scale diorama base
9:26 HO scale diorama base
9:53 N scale diorama base
10:28 Final carving
12:01 Sculptamold
15:15 Scale Kathys
17:47 Close

The whole modelling water course series can be found by clicking here.

Next week we are on to the first layer of the ground cover.




2 thoughts on “Building your diorama base”

  1. I think I first heard of you in Model Railroader magazine. I LOVE your posts and look forward to them as much as I look forward to getting the MR magazines – thanks Kathy and all the best!

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