The dwarves are in their cabin and have prepared everything for Snow White's visit. The table is set with sweets and just as the last plate of cookies is being set out disaster strikes. This little narrative all takes place in a small ca 7inch room box, which is meant to be displayed on a book shelve. Everything except for the dwarves is made by hand and I thought I share with you the process.
I purchased the wooden box from the Daiso store. You might have seen my Abandoned Library Diorama where I used the same box and added stained glass windows. The time with less than a week before Christmas, I needed to get creative and come up with a diorama that can quickly be put together.
The idea for this room box came to me when I spotted these garden stakes of the seven dwarves at the Daiso store. My daughter loves anything Disney related so I immediately decided to make a little diorama for her. The only problem was that one of the dwarves was missing and I needed to come up with a clever solution to explain the missing dwarf. You will see later how I solved that issue.
I put together a little video if you like to see the short version, otherwise keep on reading.
I like the Craftsmart Golden Pecan Gel Stain because it has a lovely honey colored hue. I think I picked it up at Micheals, but you could use any acrylic paint or stain to color the exterior. The Gel Stain does not have to be diluted with water and the more coats you put on the darker the color will get. Here I wanted to keep everything fairly light so only used one coat.
A very easy and fast way to make flooring is to use the Sissix Big Shot Die Cut Machine and one of the die cut templates that has an interesting design to it. In the video you can see how easy it is to use the machine. I like to use heavier card stock or watercolor paper. If you see that the design does not get embedded properly you can mist the paper with a bit of water. Here I used the embossing folder that has a basket weave and run it through 2X.
You can add chalk and acrylic paint to give the floor an aged looked. Then cut it to size and glue it down with any glue you have on hand. I needed 2 pieces of flooring, so I looked for areas that could easily overlap and cut those.
For the windows I used my Cricut Machine and a window frame pattern that you can download for free here . This time I cut six layers per each window (the room box has two windows) in white card stock. Then I used Gorilla Glue and glued 3 layers together. Some clear plastic salvaged from a food container was cut slightly smaller than the window and an image found online of Snow White and my missing dwarf were added. These were also glued one on top of each other before the 2nd triple layer of window panes finished off the window illusion. By having several layers one on top of each other the window frame ended up having some depth to it.
Thinking about narrative is important. The problem of the missing dwarf was solved by him leading Snow White towards the cabin. As I looked at each of the little dwarves with their different facial expression I needed a story line. One was sleepy, one super excited, one bashful, one that is angry and one that seems to have any idea. I figured since we are dealing with a visit from the super model "Snow White" why not create a little mishap. I usually either make furniture out of wood or design and cut them out with my Cricut. This time however I really was short on time and needed a quick solution. The solution presented itself in vintage paper cut outs that found on Pinterest. I measured the available space in the room box and then resized and printed out the images I had found. With paper cut outs you basically cut, fold and glue the marked areas and are done.
As you can see you end up with a pixelated, rather flat looking piece ( I printed this on regular printer paper). Here is where my knowledge of art supplies came in handy. You see Golden makes a Molding Paste that can be mixed with any Acrylic paint to add a nice thick texture to just about anything. Every time I work on thinner paper I like to use Krylon Workable Fixative . It protects the underlying layers and lets you add more mediums without warping the paper. The fixative dries very fast and the Gel Mix can be added right away over the surface.
For the brick look I used Arteza Paint and combined different colors. To achieve a convincing brick look it's best to apply dabs of several colors and build them up.
For the stove I used Acrylic paint (without water) and dried wash some areas. Then a premixed Resin was used to further add depth to areas like the burners and doors of the stove. The stove hardware got it's 3 dimensional look from Arteza 3D Fabric Colors . These paints straight from the tube are very thick and come out like a Spaghetti noodle.This makes them perfect for adding little lines since they retain their shape ones dry. You can also spread them with a little spatular if needed. I think the cast iron stove and brick turned out pretty convincing.
There was not enough time to make a lot of accesories for the kitchen, but I thought a tea kettle might be cute. The kettle was also printed with paper and shaped into a roundish form using a ball stylus . By dragging the paper over the round ball over and over a curvature can be achieved. Using a bead and some three D paint and even some resin the flat paper kettle can be easily transformed.
To further help with the narrative, there is steam coming out of the kettle. This step requires patience and more than one try.n The steam was created by attaching glue from a hot glue gun and shaping it as it was coming out of the dispenser. It took 5 tries until I was happy with the look, but well worth it, don't you think?!
More furniture and props were made using the same techniques as with the cast iron stove. Considering that the cabinet only measures about 3 inches I had to really enlarge the image to show you the detail. Some of the three dimensionality is lost when you zoom in that close, but it works great in the actual life size room box.
These tiny sweets sit way in the back of the room box and helped to give the room a festive look. I had made a cast of a little cake and just needed to paint and embellish it. The plate is a lid that's colored with a green marker. Using things you have around the house is a great way to repurpose and quickly fill up a scene. Whenever I find beads on sale, I buy them since they make for great little vases.
As I mentioned before a little mishap will be created. A hostesses worse nightmare is dropping the food. Here one of our dwarves has dropped the plates and cookies, which made the other dwarf rather mad. However the 3rd dwarf has a quick solution, since there are props like the broom and dust pan that will quickly help clean up the mess.
The broom is also a paper cutout. I made a mirror copy and printed two sides that I then glued over a thin stick. I colored both sides with markers and then cut thin stripes to create the broom bristles. I used tweezers to pry apart the stripes and make them flair out. Then some tiny sticks from some dried flowers were added as the stray broom bristles. Everything was finished off with a coat of hot gun glue shaped into place. When it comes to Disney scenery exaggeration is key. The tea pot, broom, dust pan (behind the dwarf) are all exaggerated and that gives the scene a toon feel.
Now only Sleepy needed to have a space, so turned the upstairs level into a sleeping chamber. There are 7 tiny beds that were 3D printed. The pillows were cut to size and glued over some this styrofoam. The blanket is a payable plastic drawer liner that was cut into shape. I love the texture as the blanket and one the bedding was glued into place it looked super cute. In the final version there is even a tiny teddy bear on one of the pillows.
This brings me to the entire scene. I hope that you were able to gain some insight on how broom box can be build using some items that you can print at home. Make sure to check out my freebie section of free printable miniatures. I will be adding more as time goes by. If you like to learn more about my custom room boxes see below or click here.