Friday 20 September 2013

D.I.Y Quick and easy rubble for dioramas

This is a little D.I.Y project that I use in my dioramas and vignettes that does not cost anything other than a little time and forward planning.

Tools required:

Old credit card or plastic card
White Glue (PVA)
Small Plastic bag

The first step is to make sure that when you are planning the diorama that will contain rubble is to decide whether you will be making the buildings and groundwork and then destroying sections of them as the rubble you will use will come from this process or whether you need to make additional building pieces of building that can be destroyed. Either way the idea behind this little project is to not throw anything away from your diorama project in terms of plaster, resin parts, wood and especially waste dust and dirt. Collect all of this "rubbish" and place it in a small zip lock plastic bag.

To make the rubble, take the plastic card and put a good amount of white glue onto it. Next take the largest pieces of the saved waste from your diorama construction and place them into the white glue. Next give the bag a good shake and you will notice that the larger pieces of rubbish will rise to the top and the smaller particles of dust and dirt will go to the bottom of the bag. Take small pinches of the top layer from the bag and drop these in between the large sections that you have already set into place. The final step is to then shake the fine dust particles all over  the glue as you will find that it will fill any areas that have not yet been covered. The last step in the process at the moment is to lightly press the dust into the glue to ensure that you have a good amount mixed into the surface. Let the whole lot dry for a good few hours. Once this is dry you can then with a little help from a scalpel, peel the rubble strips from the plastic card. The good thing about this method is that the PVA remains quite flexible so it can be moulded around terrain, raised sections, etc. You can also cut the strips to suit your needs and weather the rubble to match the buildings that it has been taken from. Below are some construction shots of the rubble strips that I made for my Vietnam shrine that will be featuring on the site soon.

I have also included a couple of shots that show the rubble strips placed onto the ground work of the Vietnam diorama that these particular strips were made for. Please take not that once they have been fixed in place I have added some additional white glue around the edges of the strips so that I can add additional rubble to blend the sections into the groundwork


  1. Great little how-to Craig! What material you got there? Brick?

    1. Thanks Jon. It's poly filler or white plaster with some raw umber acrylic paint added while mixing it. Looks great as bricks or terracotta floor tiles