Miniature Movie Set Diorama - The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson

budapest border
I have finished a miniature Movie set Diorama of the Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson in 1/12 scale. The diorama is a wonderful gift for any film student or lover of Wes Anderson movies. I am a huge fan of the Grand Budapest Hotel movie and find the directors approach to this movie really fascinating. But let's start at the beginning how this project came about. 

You might have seen my recent blog post "Lets Go to the Movies" in which I explained that I am making 1 12 scale miniature movie props for a group project on Facebook. As one thing let to another I got the idea to make a miniature diorama of a movie set hat could sit on a desk or on a bookshelf. 

movie set idea


I watched a lot of videos about Wes Anderson's style of shooting movies and learned that he likes symmetry. He is also a stickler about positioning the main camera in the center of a scene, a perfect clue to how to position the props for the miniature movie set. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a fictional building that was build in miniature on a set in front of a green screen. I had to chuckle about it being a miniature, it is gigantic when you make things in 1/24 scale! Since I am working on several portrait commissions this was a weekend project and there was just not enough time to actually try to build the hotel itself. So I did the next best thing and found an image of the hotel, scaled it to size and printed it on Canon Glossy Photo paper . The image was cut out and then glued onto layers of foam board to that it could stand on its own. 

disassembling a frame


The diorama has to sit on something and I thought an old frame would work really well to keep the scene contained. The backing, glass and hardware were all removed. Pliers come in very handy to get the more stubborn bits off.

craft wood

Next the actual base had to be made using crafting wood.I happened to have a circular shaped wood on hand and just traced the frame over it and cut it with a sharp Exacto knife to size. Using wood glue, the base was attached to the frame.

building ground and walls with embossing folders

I have a collection of Sizzix Embossing Folders and use them with my Sizzix Big Machine all the time. For the ground I wanted a cobble stone pattern and for the walls the Sizzix Brick pattern worked great. The Cobble stone pattern seems to be hard to find, but I found it as part of a vintage set. If you have never used the embossing folders, I can only recommend them. I used them for all sorts of miniature projects. They work very well with regular card stock and can be cut, glued, aged, etc. to fit your mini needs. I also recommend buying sets when they go on sale. It's cheaper that way and believe me once you start using one of them you wonder why you didn't get other patterns.

gluing the base


Sizzix embossing folders are 6" wide and I needed two for the base. I used black card stock and later on aged it with whiten and grey chalks and colored pencils. To keep the chalk in place I sprayed it with a coat of workable Fixative .  On a side note when you spray the color will disappear and reappear when the Fixative has dried.

brick paper wall

The same steps were repeated with the brick wall. Then it was time to glue it down. The cobble stones were glued onto the wood base and the brick wall to foam board that was also cut to size. 

gesso on frame


I did not like the gold color on the frame, so I applied a couple of coats of white Gesso and aged it with Metalic Rub on Paint  .

Movie set props

The props were designed in Fusion 360 and then 3D printed.  I used Acrylic Metal Paint to add embellishments and to give the pieces more character. 

For the Green screen I cut a piece of green paper and rolled and glued it onto a wooden skewer. I glued that to the wall behind the hotel cut out. 

The table that the hotel sits on was made out of coffee stirrers that were then painted black. I forgot to take photos of that process and will share it some other time. Once all the pieces were on hand it was just a matter of placing them in place and adding some Woodland greenery for models.

miniature Grand Budapest Hotel movie set diorama

I still need to fix the back of the diorama and then it will become available for sale in my shop. I love to hear what you think about this project in the comment section below. I will be working on several new dioramas, the next one will be a tiny bakery. So make sure to subscribe to see the next posts.

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"My Name is Enzie (NC) and I am a multi disciplinary artist based in southern California, USA.

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