Rooibosch Hill's beachfront officially open!

My second project in the construction of my Sylvanian village, was to create a beach front to display my Farthing dogs and ice cream wagon! I received the Farthing family as gifts from various friends of mine, and that makes them very special to me. :-)

Sylvanian Families Beachfront Diorama in the making

I started off by drawing my design onto the hardboard base. This one developed as I went along, but I knew from the start that I wanted a little secluded cove for my Sylvanians.

I used expanding foam crack sealant to make my rocks and it worked like a charm. It is firm enough to sculpt with ease, but soft enough to mould and shape with a knife or box cutter. The cutting and shaping was the fun part and it took some running back and forth to measure the best fit for my cabinet's shelf.

The original idea was to have some rock pools on the right hand side, but a turn of events initiated by my darling husband led to the are being flattened to make space for food vendors. After all, what is a beach without food!?


Sylvanian Families DIY Lighthouse

This is my little lighthouse made from a Pringles container. The crisps were quite horrid, but it was worth it to get the container, which is very sturdy and just the right height to fit into my cabinet! I didn't have much space to work with, as my cabinet isn't all that high, so I needed to make sure the the lighthouse didn't go too high to fit into the available space.

I used cardboard from an old veggie box that my mom had and the railing was also sponsored by her in the form of really thick kebab sticks. The roof still needs some work, but it isn't too bad for a first try!


Sylvanian Families DIY Beachfront lighthouse

This is what the lighthouse looks like when I place it on its final spot. It still had some leveling and carving, but you get the overall idea. The foam has some really big holes in places, but I decided to fill them up with exterior crack filler to make the surface seem more like rock. I think that the overall look that the foam gave to the rest of the rock was pretty authentic, so I only carved in some hilights to make the nooks and crannies in the rock more prominent.

At this stage I started going over all of the rocks with my crack filler. It also worked very well to give a texture to the lighthouse walls! I saw a photo of a really lovely little antique lighthouse on Google that had a similar finish to it, so I quite like the rough texture that I managed to get from it.


Sylvanian Families Beachfront Diorama Sculpting

This side was filled with some wood glue and excess foam cut from the other rock before being slathered in crack filler.

It took a full day to dry the crack filler thoroughly, but in the end, the finish was very authentic and rock-like. This was supposed to be the area for the ice cream van to stand, but in stead it ended up housing the ice cream cart and popcorn cart. After all, two vendors makes for more variety!

In the foreground I carved out some steps for the critters to reach their tasty treats. These steps were supposed to be cut from rock and left for sand and shrubs to take over, but ended up being clad with wooden slats in stead. My neatfreak OCD side shining through again!


Sylvanian Families Beachfront Painted

This is an overview of the board after I finished painting the sand and sea. In hindsight, I should have opted for a darker blue from the start, but I didn't realie that untill much later...

The sand, sea and everything else for that matter, is painted using acrylic craft paint. It works well, covers well and is relatively cheap. The only downfall is that it dries extremely quickly, so shading has to be done straight away, or as an after effect.

I used shades of gray and white for my rocks, but in my overeager-ness, I didn't take any photos untill the end of my project. :-( Most likely because I decided to go and make my painting mess on my parents' porch and I didn't feel like traipsing back to fetch the camera when I was on a roll, paintbrush in hand!


Sylvanian Families DIY LIghthouse fitted

This is how the lightouse looks after the texture has dried and the paints have been applied. I don't like the red at all, since it seems very shiny and doesn't paint like an acrylic paint at all! I will most likely redo the roof at a later stage because I simply hate it for no good reason. (Well, because my maths SUCK and I ended up with seven segments in stead of eight like it should have had!!!)

The second floor and new roof will also require some sort of border to finish it off and hide the cardboard squigles. The last step will be to add an LED of some sort to the inside of the lighthouse... Will need a big strong man to do that for me... The cable will have to go through the rock, so I will need to remove everything again when we do this. :-( :-( :-(

I also need to fashion some sort of cover to make the light look right, and hopefully I can convince hubby to do some sort of fancy flashing thing with my light in there... perhaps even get him to do a multicoloured light or something cool! Will have to see what he thinks about it though...




The finished Product!

This is the finished product after the local vendors set up shop on the rocks. The first few families have started to come take a look at the new beachfront, and we even had some marine wildlife coming for a visit!


Sylvanian Families Beach Front Diorama Completed

The turtles and birds are from Ocean In my pocket that I ordered with foresight to this project. (Really!) The plants on the rocks are the closest that I can get to beachy plants since a palmtree is much too clichè! Don't ask how the Sylvanians get into the top part of the lighthouse, I will just ask you how they get to the other floors of Cedar Terrace etc. as well... It's called imagination... USE IT!

The border is just two dowel sticks glued together with wood glue and clamped with my mother's extra large laundry pegs. The steps are made of matchsticks from the craft store and the handrail is some more kebab stick cut up and superglued in place.


Sylvanian Families Beachfront Vendors Ice Cream Cart Popcorn Wagon

This is a closeup of the area with the food vendors. I decided to have a wider selection of things for my Sylvanians to munch on, and that meant that I could carve the rocks some more to get better detail! Already the seagulls have come for a look to make sure that they don't miss a tender morsel dropped by an unsuspecting Sylvanian.


Sylvanian Families Beachfront Babies Playing

We have some little critters building sandcastles while their parents enjoy a beach picnic.

Overall, I think the beachfront is looking very good already!