Rooibosch Hill's Watermill Bakery is open for Business!

Nov 12th, 2012

Sylvanian Families Custom DIY Watermill Bakery Diorama

My first project in the construction of my Sylvanian village, was to create a spot for my favourite building, the watermill bakery. This was my first building and I received it as a gift from my husband in 2011.

I started out by placing a piece of hardboard cut to the correct size for my shelf as a base. The hardboard works like a charm if you flip it over to work on the rough side, this gives the glue and paint something to adhere to.

Next I started playing around with the different items that I wanted to place in this display. I had an extra barrel and bench from my Juice bar set that came with Betty Blackberry, and I decided that it would be perfect as a stall to sell my new Scrumtious Sandwiches set from!

Layout of my Custom Sylvanian Families Watermill bakery diorama

My first idea was to build a tree for a bit of shade over the ornate table that I wanted to place in that corner, and I obviously needed a river on this shelf to make the watermill bakery work! I used a pencil to draw out the shape of Sylvania's Watermill Bakery, as well as a path leading up to it and a little river to make the waterwheel turn. The river felt a bit bare at first, so I picked my boat from Yvette's boating trip to fill it up and ended up quite liking the result of it floating there. 

Diorama layout and crafting supplies for Sylvanian Families diorama

I found a grass mat in the reptile section of my local petshop and after testing with a few Sylvanians, I found that it works great for grass. All of the members from my Sylvanian Families manage to stand on the new grass with ease and the grass also provides some "grip" to keep them from falling over. The only drawback on this grass, is that it is quite difficult to cut and I had a hard time getting the exact shape that I wanted. I used cold wood glue to stick the grass down and applied some pressure overnight. I think this is a major upgrade from my previous attempts at using model railroad grass that gets into everything and keeps shedding.

The next step was building the path leading up to the bakery. I found some smooth round pebbles at the craft store for a good price and I stuck them down with clear epoxy before filling in the gaps with outdoor crack filler that I coloured with a tiny amount of acrylic paint. I opted for a sandy-beige colour to prevent the scenery from getting too dark in comparison with the Watermill bakery. 

While waiting for the grouting to set on my path, I started painting the water for the stream with acrylic paints. I would have liked to be able to raise the grassy area a bit higher, but when I had it nicely propped up on a polistyrene hill the first time around, my husband pointed out that the water won't flow uphill to the Watermill and so it would never turn... I also did not want to risk any unexpected floods in Sylvania, so I also decided against raising the river up onto the hill. Thus, I had to be content with a very flat little scene. 

Using clear silicone as a water substitute in a Sylvanian Families DIY Diorama

After the paints had dried, I used some silicone sealant to place blobs onto my base for the water. I got the silicone sealant from the hardware store in a large tube and it applies with an applicator-gun that makes applying it much easier! I was looking around for resin water for miniatures, but could not find many options that fall within my budget. 

DIY Sylvanian Families water stream for Watermill bakery

Before the silicone started to dry, I used a plastic baggie over my hand to smooth out the silicone to create waves, resembling running water. This took some time, since I had to do small sections at a time and it is quite a tedious job, smoothing the water and preventing it from touching the grass at the same time!

Sylvanian Families DIY Water craft

By this time, all of the Sylvnians were gossiping and chattering about the new renovations to the Watermill Bakery, and it didn't take long for the first Sylvanians to come for a peek... The Silk Cat children were the first on the scene and they shyly posed for a photo in front of the new bakery.

At this stage, I was done cleaning up the excess crack filler on the path, and I was amazed that the Sylvanian children actually managed to stand on the rocky path! Although I hoped that the adults would have feet big enough to balance on the pebbles, I was sure that the children would not stand on the uneven path.

Sylvanian Families Golightly Silk Cat children at the Watermill bakery

After the Silk cat twins left to report back to the other Sylvanians, I did the last few finishing touches on the base, adding some reeds and a flowerbed with gravel beneath the plants. I decided that the Watermill Bakery needed a bit of colour, so I added some purple flowers to the flowerbed under the window. I ended up leaving the tree out of this display shelf at first, but found it way too empty without one in the end. It didn't take long for some more inhabitants of Rooibosch Hill to visit with a few pieces of furniture in tow!

Sylvanian Families mouse mother in front of the watermill bakery's diy path

Sylvanian Families mouse father testing out the diy diorama river

When I managed to scoot the over-eager Sylvanians from my shelf, I started painting the background, using craft acrylic once more. I started off with a bright sky blue and used a combination of forest green and mountain green for the mountains. Lastly, I did some clouds in the sky, they took the longest finishing this background!

I envision the Watermill Bakery in Rooibosch Hill to be on the edge just beyond the forest, to prevent leaves from getting into the crystal clear waters, but I didn't go with trees as a background on this shelf yet, since my skills are still a bit lacking. I opted to paint directly on the background of my display cabinet, since I have hinges that were in the way of placing boards in the sides and decided that this cabinet will likely never be used for anything other than displaying my Sylvanian Families and Calico Critters figures.

Hand Painted backdrop for the DIY Sylvanian Families diorama

In this photo, you can see some of the LED lights that my husband installed for me, but under normal circumstances, they are not visible, as you view the shelves from a top-down view. When the paint dried, I could finally add the base back in, and after some cleanup to the base and the items that were to go in the display, I finally allowed the Sylvanians to open the Rooibosch Hill Bakery for business!

Sylvanian Families Watermill Bakery and Appleblossom squirrels

I had an extra Appleblossom child figure, so decided to make a brother for Justine - I lovingly called him Justin.!

Scrumptious sandwiches set on display in the Rooibosch Hill DIY bakery diorama

Jane Appleblossom received a brand new stall as an opening-day gift from the Rooibosch Hill community and she is happily selling her Scrumptious Sandwiches outside the Watermill Bakery. They seem to be a big hit and all of the Sylvanian Families are happily munching away at their lunch!

Final base coat for Sylvanian Families custom cheetah figures

Inside the bakery, Christopher Appleblossom is happily baking his bread and other tasty greats while sister Justina entertains her twin brothers on the lawn behind the bakery. 

The last touches to this scene, were the little checkered cloths that I made for the bread stall, a custom sticker for the advert board and a tree to provide some shade to the hungry Sylvanian critters who spend their lunch here. 

Sylvanian Families Flower Template