session 2 c
Mr. Icekiss gives two paws up for the idea of a small cavern!

With very little experience of building with foam, it’s a challenge to know where to start with this diorama. The answer seems to be to start at the bottom, build upwards with rough shapes, then work from the top to the bottom for gluing layers together and shaping them in one big chunk. There are frequent breaks to cool off hot-wire tools and to vacuum up the foam debris. There are other breaks for playing consulting with my Sylvanian Families Polar Bear, Mr. Icekiss, to see if he likes the work so far.session 2 a

This weekend I started by sawing my inch thick pink insulation foam board into rectangles. To make sure that the curved layers were the right size, I cut my layout board along the drawn lines to make templates. I used two different heated tools for cutting the curved outlines. I also hacked wildly with a craft knife for tricky bits like steps, but didn’t cut Mr Icekiss’ toes off, thank goodness.

session 2 d
I checked that the steps were deep enough for regular-footed Sylvanians to stand on. The rabbits will have to tiptoe as their feet are sooooooo long!

Even after sinking the new ice rink into another layer of foam, I still felt it dominated the diorama. So instead I cut a smaller, mitten shaped pool into the second foam layer. With the extra space, I tried out the idea of having a little cavern. When I was a kid I loved building papier-mâché islands with cliffs, tunnels, and caves. It was useful to have a Sylvanian Families figure with me today in the workshop so I could gauge the cavern ceiling height.

session 2 b

This is where we are at the end of this weekend island building session. I cannot believe I thought this would be a quick project! Of course, it would be faster if I could stand up more often. I still need to consider how to construct the backdrop as I now want it to wrap around the sides as well as having space for lighting. But first things first, next session will be to cut the cavern mouth and start gluing/shaping the horizontal landscape. Hopefully this is the worst it’ll ever look!!!

Session 1 – planning
Session 2 – rough cutting of ground surfaces
Session 3 – gluing layers and hot-wire detailing of ground surfaces
Session 4 – initial sealing and painting of ground surfaces
Session 5 – rough and detail cutting of backdrop and island perimeter
Session 6 – sealing and painting of backdrop
Session 7 – fine detail work and resin pours

I currently spend a lot of time lying down, so it’s slow progress despite having all the time in the world. Last week I worked on some more crochet clothing and furnishings. I made some “ice candles” and I sewed a simple, rounded roombox from felt to match the felt igloo that I’ve used in some of my photos. The roombox is so I can take interior shots. In between last weeks activities, I spent a lot of time entertaining myself with the emerging characters and stories of Wintermitten Island 🙂


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