Save the plastic lids from Marmite, peanut butter, salad dressing, coffee and similar jars. these lids make great bases for figures and small vignettes. Fill them with plaster of Paris for stability and add a small piece of felt to the bottom to stop sliding or scratching on furniture. Drill small holes in the top to fix the figures in place and add ground foam, grass, or whatever around the feet on the model.


Many shops now have a selection of sizes in picture frames for sale. These can be used to finish your diorama, especially if you are putting it into a competition. Simply select a frame with inner dimensions to suit your base outer dimensions. Better still, make the base to suit the standard size of a picture frame you think will do justice to the diorama.


If you ever put your models on display at a show or in a competition, place them on a condiment turntable known as a “Lazy Suzan”. This allows viewers to see all sides simply by turning the turntable without the need to touch your model. And if you want to show off the underside detail to judges and other spectators, get a mirror cut to fit the turntable top and place the model on that.


Here is a tip from the family dressmaker. If you are making a scenic diorama to fit an irregularly shaped area on your layout, make a paper pattern first. Brown wrapping paper is ideal. Lay the paper over the area, draw around the edges with a pencil and then cut it out. You can then transfer the pattern to the material you are going to use for the base of the diorama.


One of the advantages that modellers have these days is the variety of different scales of people on the market. Use smaller scale figures in the background of a diorama and larger ones at the front thereby enhancing perspective and depth of field.