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How to Make Miniature Water Features for Terrain or Dolls House Displays

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Materials Used to Make a Simple Miniature Pond or Water Feature
Sand, pebbles and artificial plants set into a metal tin to begin a miniature pond from e-z water.

To form a small pond or pool in miniature, basic elements for the base of the water feature are set into a disposable metal pan.

Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

To make a miniature pond you will need a foam base, made either from dry floral arrangement foam (sold in blocks at florist's and craft stores) or high density insulation board or insulation foam from the DIY home store. The foam is used as a base for the pond, and is an easy material to add plantings and landscaping to.

In addition you will need Artist's Gesso or a thick acrylic paint medium to seal the foam surface and a range of acrylic paints to color the bottom of your 'pool' and your 'ground'.

You will need small stones and sand or fine gravel (budgie grit), as well as bits of artificial plants or other items to decorate your pond. The area around the pond will need sterile plant soil for 'dirt' or dried coffee grounds, as well as an assortment of landscaping materials of your choice.

To make the water I will use this tutorial to show you how to work with thin pours of E-Z Water pellets by Woodland Scenics (available from model railroad supply houses) or you can use a thin sheet of acrylic over top of your landscaped 'pool' and texture the water surface with tar gel artist's medium (available from art supply stores) or a thin application of clear acrylic floor wax.

I suggest you read through the instructions thoroughly before you start on your first water feature. There are many ways you can make a small water feature, using a dollhouse metal pail, a small stoneware plant pot, or any item that will either support the acrylic sheet for the water surface, or which will stand up to the heat of melted E-Z Water (up to 180 degrees F).

To Begin Making a Miniature Pond or Water Feature

As I am going to begin my pond by casting a layer of E-Z Water over a pond 'bottom' I will start by setting up the base of my miniature pond in a small disposable aluminum tart pan. If you prefer a different shape you can either break up the cast when it is finished (how I made my pool) or you can make a free form shape from aluminum foil, having walls at least 1 inch high, and from thick, doubled foil, taped securely together at the ends of the shape to prevent the E-Z water from escaping. If you try this method, make sure you pour your first layer of E-Z Water into the aluminum foil form, which you have set into a disposable tray, in case the E-Z Water finds a way out of your shape.

If you are going to use E-Z Water pellets, check that all the items which will come in contact with the E-Z water will withstand hot water. You can heat water in a disposable container in the microwave up to the boiling point, then drop samples of your pond materials in to see how they do in the heat. Watch what happens to the small plasticized fabric 'fern' leaves in my pool once they are covered with E-Z Water.

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