Miniature masterclass: how to create water

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12 October 2018
Learn how to create different forms of water in your dolls house or miniature scene in this informative masterclass, taken from ‘The World of Miniatures’, edited by Sarah Walkley.

Take a splash with this fun tutorial! Follow the simple step-by-step instructions to make your very own miniature puddle and fountain...

The World of Miniatures Cover

The extract is taken from The World Of Miniatures by Sarah Walkley, GMC Publications. If you think of dolls houses as usually being period houses, it’s time to think again! In this amazing compendium of miniature buildings, author Sarah Walkley looks at the many other styles of construction that are increasingly being created by miniatures enthusiasts including cosy cottages, modern loft apartments, churches, garden sheds, lighthouses and windmills. If you love this project you can get the book from our online shop WITH an automatic 10% off just for being you, PLUS free UK P+P! 

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If you want to give the impression of water in your dolls house or miniature garden, you'll need to use resin. The type varies depending on the effect you're trying to create. The most important thing to decide is what effect you want and then select the right product for the job. Some resins set hard and crystal clear, making them ideal for creating ponds or puddles – others are softer and can easily be coloured and are better suited to making bubbles or suggesting a splashing fountain. It takes a little practice, but after a few goes resin can be made to look like real water.

Miniatuere water masterclass

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How to create puddles

You will need

  • Resin and hardener
  • Clear plastic styrene sheet
  • Razor blade
  • Miniature bucket
  • Polythene bag or sheet


1. Mix the resin and hardener together according to the pack instructions. You'll need to measure carefully. 

Puddle step 1

2. Pour the mixture onto a clear plastic styrene sheet and put it in a warm, flat place to set for 24 hours. Try to shield it from dust to ensure it remains clear. 

puddle step 2

3. Once set, use a razor blade to prize the edge of the 'puddle' away from the sheet and lift it carefully. To create the impression of a spilled bucket, half fill the bucket with the resin and leave to begin to set and go quite viscous. Then tip the bucket over onto a flat polythene bag or sheet and gently prize the resin out to form a puddle. Once dry, the resin will set hard but won't bond to the polythene sheet, so it can be gently peeled off the sheet and placed anywhere in the garden. 

Puddle step 3

How to create water for fountains

You will need

  • Resin and hardener
  • White powder
  • Wire
  • Hot air gun (optional)
  • Colouring powder 
  • Syringe
  • Miniature fish 
  • Tacky wax

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1. Mix a small amount of resin and hardener together. Colour with some white powder and leave to cool to the point of becoming very viscous and sticky. The mix should be shaken, not stirred.

Most manufacturers of water-effect resin also make colouring powders that are suitable for use with their product. It may also be possible to find a pre-mixed product like Making Waves from Deluxe Materials that's pre-coloured. 

Fountain step 1

2. Use a length of wire to tease out the resin mix and see hoe well it holds its shape. It should create a continuous stream (not drips) when dispensed slowly from the tip. You will need to experiment with how long it takes for the resin to get to this stage, but some makes might take a few hours to reach the right condition. A hot air gun is useful for speeding up the hardening process, but also for warming hardened resin to shape and mould it. 

Fountain step 2

3. After the viscous resin to the spout of the fountain and drag it down to the bottom, at the same time extruding more. This is a bit fiddly, but ideally you want to stretch the flow out so that if it becomes any thinner, the strand of resin would break. Roughly, attach the end of the stream to the base of the pond, so that it appears to be splashing against the base. 

Fountain step 3

4. Add additional threads alongside the first one to give the effect of flowing water. You may want some of the threads to peter out halfway down to make the stream appear wider at the top than the bottom. 

Fountain step 4

5. Fix the fish in place in the basin of the fountain with tacky wax. This will avoid them moving when you add the water. Mix together some more resin and hardener as above. Fill the basin with the mixture using a syringe. Applying a clear mix over the turbulent base of the stream you have just created will give the impression of fast water breaking through stiller water. Fill the basin most of the way to the top and then leave to cool.

Fountain step 5 

6. Colour the remaining resin with some white powder. After shaking, blow air into the mix using a syringe. This will make it aerated and bubbly. Spread this mixture onto the surface of the water in the pond. The resin in the bond should still be soft and 'molten'. This will allow the two preparations to blend slightly and give the effect of bubbles on the surface. 

Fountain step 6

Top tip! You can add resin to taps dripping into an empty sink. After setting firm you can add a ‘puddle’ of resin to give the impression of the water running across the base of the sink.

Don't forget to pick up your copy of The World of Miniatures for the full range of Sarah Walkley's projects – and for more techniques, be sure to check out our A-Z series, starting with A for antiquing

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