Barbie for big girls.

The Birth and Upkeep of a Diorama…..

I love to build dioramas.  I don’t seem to make much time to do it though.  Most of my inspiration goes in fits and spurts.  Once I start a project, I tend to finish it but it’s the getting it started that is my main hurdle.   When Robert Best did “Shop girl” I knew I needed to do a shop for her.  After thinking about it for a while and doing some research, I finally had an idea in my head and put a plan into action.  When shop girl arrived, a new home was ready for her.  Belles Choses, as it came to be known as, had it’s grand opening.IMG_2691editedsized

I was so happy with how it turned out that I decided to move it to a larger venue so the vintage fashion shop was packed up and “Belles Choses” moved in to the newer and bigger space.


When I originally did the back wall of the diorama, I used a beautiful soft blue paper and used spray adhesive to fix it to foam core to give it a nice smooth finish – like wallpaper.  What I did not take into account was that this type of adhesive will lose it’s hold over time. forward a year later…and you have this


The heavy picture frame I was using for the  inset display case was pulling the paper away from the backing and I was seeing these big voids…like the one above this frame.  YIKES!  I knew if I left it as is, the frame would eventually pull away and fall taking the paper with it…not good.  So, I went about trying to come up with a fix.

First, the space had to be vacated……so sad and lonely in there.


The displaced horde….LOTS of little pieces in this diorama….good excuse to dust everythingSmile


Let the repairs begin!  I decided to swab behind the paper gaps with adhesive and see how it went.  It’s not as smooth as the spray adhesive but…it may do.  I shored up the heavy plaster frame with an equally heavy candlestick while it dried.


et voilà!





What did I learn?  If you are using spray adhesive, you may also want to swab with some additional adhesive in key support points.  I will be doing that from here on out.  A big “Thank You” to all who commented on flickr and emotionally supported me through this weekend while I fixed it.  It always helps if you know someone is pulling for you Smile



28 responses

  1. Wow, this is so nice. Just love what you have created.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

    • Thank you Ruth! I am glad you liked it.

      September 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  2. Micheal Jarvis

    How lovely, I also love building dioramas and i also have a hard time finding the time and energy. Yours is just dreamy and i love the all the shoppers milling about.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:42 am

    • Awwww! Thank you so much Micheal!

      September 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  3. Linda Frauenholz

    Hi Rebecca – I absolutely love your dioramas!  You are so talented.  I look forward to all of your email posts! Where do you find the props, furniture, etc?  I’m also wondering where you found the spiral staircase?  My friend, Lorena Sullivan (you may know her – we both go to Barbie Cons) has been searching for one (or more). Linda Frauenholz KC, MO

    >________________________________ > From: Inside the Fashion Doll Studio >To: >Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 9:58 AM >Subject: [New post] The Birth and Upkeep of a Diorama….. > > >raberry65 posted: “I love to build dioramas.  I don’t seem to make much time to do it though.  Most of my inspiration goes in fits and spurts.  Once I start a project, I tend to finish it but it’s the getting it started that is my main hurdle.  ” >

    September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am

    • Hi Linda! The props and furniture all come from different areas. I make many of them or repaint and recover old playline Barbie furniture. I also have found many fabulous 1:6 scale Bespaq pieces through various vendors. It seems you have to be at the right place at the right time for those things. The spiral staircase was a find at a local lamp shop of all places. I think it was called a spiral trinket display stand. Hope this information helps. If you have questions about specific diorama piece, just email me and I can give more specific info.


      September 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

  4. gus stollsteiner

    Hi rebecca was wondering if you could tell me where you got your staircase and jewelry display stands (black different shapes) thank you lucy

    September 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

    • Hi Lucy,

      The staircase was a find at a local lamp store. You might try looking for one using “spiral trinket display” in your search. The jewelry display stands were made by me. I had to improvise on these and used old dress forms that I spray painted glossy black ( use a plastic fusion type of spray paint) then cut down. Just used some pieces of dowel painted black and a large round flat bead for the base. If there is enough interest, I would be happy to do a tutorial. 🙂

      September 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm

  5. Susan

    What a beautiful diorama. Very elegant.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

  6. Lovely diorama and restoration! I have had some issues with some of my displays over the years too – just like household maintenance, it is a moving target!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    • Thank you Peter! I bet you have had the same experiences. We are such diorama junkies you and I. 🙂

      September 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm

  7. omg – just watched the slide show and saw a couple of familiar items in your 2012 convention display – very exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    • I just realized I included photos of the shelves above the shop in the slideshow. Didn’t know I did that LOL! Well of course your fantastic gifts needed to be displayed. LOVE THEM!! That screen goes so well with the trunk. {{Hugs}}

      September 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

  8. lovindollz

    You have done a marvelous job on this Diorama. Beautiful!!!!! : -)

    September 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    • Thank you so much! Glad you liked it.

      September 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

  9. Congrats! it’s gorgeous! Fantastic! 🙂

    September 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    • Thank you so much Samira!

      September 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

  10. Just gorgeous, my dear! I am going to have to enlist the talents of you and Deanna when I set up my humble little doll room in my new house!

    September 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

    • Thank you my dear. Oh yes!! Deanna and I are planning on it I’m sure 🙂

      September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

  11. Hello from Spain: this store is great. You made a work of art. The store is luxurious. You have lots of beautiful furniture. Your doing a great job . In the future you have to do more dioramas. Keep in touch

    September 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    • Thank you Marta! I have many more dioramas to share in the future. Thank you for the encouragement.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

  12. annamac

    Just one word~fabulous!!!

    September 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm

  13. Joan Wood

    Rebecca I am so glad that you posted this. My struggle has always been with the walls. I have started all kinds of diorama’s but they have no walls so none of them have ever been completed. I know what my October project will be. You were my inspiration to execute all of those diormama ideas in my head. A deep thank you for all of your continued inspiration and I am so happy I finally got to meet you as well. xoxoxo


    September 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

    • Hi Joan! It’s so good to hear from you. I think you are busy enough deisigning spaces for big people 🙂 I am so pleased that we were able to meet and spend some time together at Barbiecon’s. You have a great eye for the details of these little spaces and I have no doubt that once you put some of your ideas into reality, they will be amazing…and we will all need PICTURES. I am so happy that the blog and these photos are continueing to inspire you.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

  14. Joan Wood

    PS I would love a tutorial on how you made those black jewelry forms. Joan

    September 21, 2012 at 8:45 am

    • Will try to find the time. It may be after my daughter starts driving and can take herself to dance class LOL!

      September 23, 2012 at 9:32 am

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