Diorama
Desert Panorama - Oasis

The Pelikan teachers’ info would like to encourage you to make your own DIORAMA and show you how easy and effective such DIORAMAS can be realized with students. For this purpose, we would like to take a closer look at the earth’s climate zones and introduce one of each extreme landscapes to you. Moreover, the students can also learn more about the common animal life of the particular region.

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Diorama: Desert Panorama - Oasis

Already in 1822, Louis Daguerre constructed the first DIORAMA of the world. However, back then darkened theater stages were used to simulate the changing of the time of the day by using a transparent separation and corresponding lights. Later on, manger scenes were also described as DIORAMAS. For more information on the history of DIORAMAS, please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Daguerre

Today, mostly modelers and admirers of locomotives devote themselves to the construction of sceneries of today’s world in order to make their fantasy worlds look as realistic as possible. Also the DIORAMAS made in schools are models of sceneries of the real world, e.g. in a primary school with the topic "child and map" that is about reconstructing a model of your own classroom, the area around the school building or of a volcano or any other type of landscape with the corresponding fauna.

 
The Pelikan teachers’ info would like to encourage you to make your own DIORAMA and show you how easy and effective such DIORAMAS can be realized with students. For this purpose, we would like to take a closer look at the earth’s climate zones and introduce one of each extreme landscapes to you.

Moreover, the students can also learn more about the common animal life of the particular region. It is also imaginable to reconstruct the animals with Pelikan Crealight. For this purpose, we would be pleased to offer you coloring templates of a selection of animals that live in the particular landscape.
 

In this issue:

Oasis: Panorama of a desert with a little lake, a palm tree and some people.

 

Climate zoneApproximate lines of latitude north/southAverage temperatures
Subtropicsbetween 40° - 25° (tropics)12°C to 25°C

 

Oasis: Panorama of a desert with a little lake, a palm tree and some people
Foothills of a rocky desert (Hamada) in Australia

Climate zone

The chosen landscape for our model is in midst of a desert. An oasis is a regionally bounded area in which water ensures the survival of man and animal. The subtopic zone reaches from the 40th to approximately the 25th latitude. The average temperatures are between 12°C - 25°C.

Deserts

There are many different kinds of deserts, as e.g. sand deserts, salt deserts, dry deserts or also ice deserts. Our example shows a rocky desert in Australia. By the way, rock deserts are a more common type of desert than pure sand deserts.

Scorpions and Camels

Despite the lack of rain and the short vegetation periods in desert regions, many different kinds of animals live here. For example, it is the typical habitat of the scorpion that has adapted extremely well to the desert climate. Also the camel can be found in desert regions and is used as a mount and pack animal in Africa.

The template of the scorpion and the camel can be downloaded to color or knead with play dough.

 

The description of the DIORAMA

In the middle of our modeled landscape is a small lake around which a lot is happening. Some women are getting water with clay jugs, carrying them on their heads; and in the distance two horses are eating the last green plants from the desert ground. With the DIORAMA colored with PLAKA paints it seems very realistic and gives the oasis a lifelike appearance.

The oasis in full size
Women transporting water in clay jugs, carrying them on their heads
 
A DIORAMA that invites to play with; a cloaked woman is surrounded by sheikhs on one side of the lake – all easily made by oneself!

You need:

A hard wooden plate (about 50x60cm), a cardboard box (about 50x60cm) and smaller pieces of cardboard, paper towels, PLAKA paints in shades of brown and beige, PLAKA blue for the water surface, a paintbrush with short bristles (sizes 5 and 12), instant adhesive, bird sand, a small spatula, wood glue for the special liquid glue, liquid dishwashing detergent, water and a disposable syringe. From the model building shop: a miniature palm tree and small figures, modeling moss, modeling cement and modeling water.

This is how you can make the liquid modeling glue on your own:

We use liquid modeling glue for the DIORAMA that is applied on with the plastic syringe. The special thing about it is that the glue is of so watery consistence that it is soaked up by the paper towel and this way all layers can be glued together. It is also suitable for gluing the sands, like the bird sand. The glue is made of common ingredients, such as wood glue, liquid dishwashing detergent and water. Please mix the ingredients together in the following order in a ratio of 2:2:1 and fill the glue into an air-tight container. As soon as you need the glue, pull the amount needed into the syringe and drip it on the spot it is needed for.

 

Constructing the oasis
(top view and side view):

For an easy construction of the model, you should plan beforehand how you would like to design your oasis. Our example might give you some ideas, but you can certainly vary your landscape according to your requirements:

The small lake is placed a bit out of the middle (blue arrow); later on the palm tree will be glued above it (green arrow) and surrounded by some bushes (modeling moss). Color the surface with different shades of PLAKA brown and beige (yellow arrow). Then glue the bird sand on the rest of the surface (red arrow) and glue the figures into the scenery with the plastic glue (black arrow).
 

 

Detailed instructions on how to build the surface:

  1. Step 1:

    You will need a hard wooden plate for the body of the DIORAMA, on which the desert landscape will be built later on.
  2. Step 2:

    Glue the cardboard onto the wooden plate. Create a diversified area with small hills on different places. Choose a spot for the lake and cut a piece of cardboard to its size.
  1. Step 3:

    Now glue the surface with paper towels. First mix the necessary amount of liquid glue together and pull it into the syringe. (see section: How to make the liquid glue). Steps and edges that have been created by gluing on the cardboard can now be smoothed with the paper towels.
  2. Step 4:

    After letting the glue dry, model the desert ground with the modeling cement. This way more uneven areas can be smoothed and slight hills can be created. Also the edges of the lake are covered with cement.
  3. Step 5:

    Now the sandy areas are signified with the PLAKA paints. Hereby you do not color the whole ground surface with paint, but only certain spots, like for example the area where the palm tree is supposed to stand. Also paint the water surface in PLAKA blue. The paint will shimmer through the modeling water later on and will make it look like real water. Now use the liquid glue to glue the bird sand on the areas have not been painted with the PLAKA paints. Use the syringe for this purpose and spread the glue with an old paintbrush. Sprinkle a fine layer of sand over the areas with the glue and shake the rest of the sand off.

    Mix the modeling water together as the recipe in the manufacturer’s instruction says and pour it into the lake. After letting it all dry thoroughly, place the palm tree, the modeling moss and the people where you would like them to stand and glue them on with the instant adhesive for plastic.

 

 

Taking pictures of the DIORAMA:

If you would like to take pictures of your DIORAMA, some of the following hints might be useful to you:
If you would like to take pictures of your DIORAMA, some of the following hints might be useful to you: Place the DIORAMA down so that some of the details reflect in the water surface, e.g. the palm tree or some of the figures. Take pictures from many different angles and use the close-up lens of your camera, if possible. This way you will get surprising effects through the depth of the focus (see right image). More options will result from using different backgrounds. In our case we decided to use the blue horizon. But a further option would be to change colors, maybe yellow, green or blue – just as you like (see bottom). You can also achieve many different effects by changing the lighting conditions. In our example, the light shines brighter in the middle of the sky.

 
The desert DIORAMA seems very real with the reflecting surface of the lake and the colorful accents with the PLAKA paints.