Creating Waterfalls. A Step by Step of how I Created the Waterfalls on the Slann Mage Priest Diorama

Hi everyone, this is a step by step of how I created the waterfalls on the my Slann diorama, some of the pictures in the tutorial aren’t the best, I was taking pictures as I was working, but hopefully they will be good enough for you to understand what is going on, also, because I had to rush the project at the end I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the actual waterfalls being attached and finished on the diorama, so the waterfall you shall see me finishing are is an early attempt I ended up rejecting.

Materials you shall needs are:-
0.5mm Clear fishing wire
0.15mm Clear fishing wire
Clear 5 min epoxy glue
Some plasticard
Water effects (mine is an old wasser-effekt from faller)
Super glue
Super glue accelerator (optional)
Patience :P

So first of, take your 0.5mm fishing wire, place it against the object that you want the waterfall to flow from and judge the length you will need, then you will need to wrap it around an object to create a coil of wire, in my case wrapping the wire around my hand gave me the length I required (after cutting it in half of course). Try to wrap the coil to the length you need.

One you have created the coil, cut the top and the bottom so you have 2 lengths of wire, they don’t have to be perfectly equal. Take one end of the wire and line all the ends up together, then glue that end to your plasticard, now if your looking to create a similar waterfall to mine you’ll want to glue the end of the wires close to the end of the plasticard so you have the space to bend the wire over and around the plasticard. Stretch out the wire and glue the other end down, this can be a bit fiddly and I would suggest doing small parts at a time, also, super glue accelerator (or cyano activator as its sometimes called) will help speed this process up and make it much easier. Also, bear in mind you want the the glued wire to be straight as possible, if the wire curves to the left or right it will spoil the effect. Something you’ll want to bear in mind whilst doing this is that waterfalls are never flat or even, some strands of wire you might want to glue so they stand a little taller or shorter than the other stands around them.

Once both ends are glued in place and you are happy you’ll want to grab your 0.15mm wire and create the same type of coil you did before but make sure it’s much thicker, we will use the 0.15mm wire to create the depth and detail of the waterfall. Cut the coil and place the wire to one side, then, smear water effect on to your glued 0.5mm wire, creating an even layer, then, gently and carefully place the 0.15mm wire on top of the water effects, this might be easier for you to achieve if you do half at a time. Once the wire is lying on top of the water effects use something with a straight edge (like plasticard, ruler etc) to push the wire gently into the water effects, you need to be careful at this stage, if you don’t push the wire into the water effects enough the wire will just come away, push it too much into the water effects, you lose the volume and depth as well distorting the wire so it’s no longer straight.   

Once your thin fishing wire has been pushed into the water effects you’ll want to grab something with a point (like a hobby knife, tooth pic etc), you will then start to run your point down through parts of the waterfall, dividing up the wire, this step is important in adding realism, water falls are never perfectly flat and smooth, the water is always changing and it’s important to try and replicate that. There was no rhyme or reason to how I approached this step, I just tried to exaggerate the different heights and spacing that I placed in my waterfalls.

 another example of the steps above, take note the uneven spacing of the 0.5 wire 
Once your happy, leave your waterfalls to dry, you might want to bend the thinner fishing wire over and around your plasticard (like you did with the thicker wire) then lay the plasticard on top of it to ensure the wire is curved once the water effect drys, or you could leave it and super glue it later, I ended up doing a mix of both, just bear in mind the super glue will no doubt yellow your wire, for me that wasn’t such a big deal as it happened in areas I was going to paint white later, but it’s something to bear in mind. My waterfalls took about 3-4 days to dry completely.
Once your waterfalls have completely dried it’s time to get them off the plasticard, I used my the largest blade on my pen knife, pushing the blade in to the middle of the waterfall from the sides, I slowly twisting it, easing the wire away from the plasticard. You shouldn’t have too much trouble with this stage as the waterfall set like rubber. Once the waterfall is free you will more than likely have to clean up the sides a little where water effects has spilt over, also you might need to clean the back up, as the water effects often seeps through the wire, just cut away the excess water effects with a knife or scissors. At this stage you will want to also cut away the excess wire, for me this meant cutting just above where I had glued the wire down on the front and back.

Now time for the fiddly part (well at least it was for me :P)! Take your waterfall and measure it up against where you want it, then slowly start cutting it down to size (assuming it’s too large of course), be careful to cut only small amounts away, if the water fall ends up being too short it can be very difficult to disguise that. Once the waterfall is the right length mix up some clear epoxy glue (I recommend the 5 min epoxy, because who wants to wait forever and a day for their glue to dry!), place a lot of glue where the top of the waterfall will be and also place some glue underneath the top of the waterfall, press and hold the waterfall in place until the glue dries.

Once that has totally dried mix some more epoxy glue up, then place the other end of the waterfall where you think it should be, have a good look and ensure that is where you want the waterfall to finish, ensure there is a nice natural, curve to your waterfall, now grab some of the epoxy glue you have just mixed and place the glue on the end and around the end of the waterfall and hold it until the glue has set. Once both ends are totally set we can move on to the splashes!

Now for me, this is the fun part, this is where we get to create the realism, place some water effect to one side and using a cocktail stick start to apply it to the front and back of your waterfall, once you have a decent volume down start to shape splashes into it, I find it easier to create splashes by cutting the end of a cocktail stick so its blunt, applying some water effects to it, then prodding that end into the water effects and then pulling back sharply, this helps create sharp points in the water effects that make quite nice splashes.

Once you have shaped the water effects it’s time to add a few extra details, cut up some short pieces of 0.15mm fishing wire (roughly 3-6mm long) and add a few to the water effects point outwards, away from the waterfall, once you have them in place gently brush some water effects on the end of the wire, this is great for creating small droplets of water that are being thrown away from the splash, its subtle but does really add to the detail. The 2nd thing you’ll add are some small resin (or plastic) bits, I am not going to cover how I created them, but I will give you a link so you can see how they are made. Linky! (skip towards the end for the technique) and have a couple of pictures to help ease the way.

 the resin suspended in the fibre
the resin once cut away form the fibre

The clear resin parts come in quite a few different sizes, I just cut the small pieces away and pushed them into the water effects at sharp angles just like the water effect splashes and the fishing wire drops of water. They add a great level of detail and aid the realism because they have volume in 3 dimensions rather than the flatter surface that heated stretched plastic might give, resin will be be more transparent than plastic, will keep its clarity better and the resin I use reflects light in the same way water does (ie its has the same refractive index as water, so it looks more like water, tbh this doesn't really matter, it's just me being geeky and obsessive over the materials I use!)

Having said that the resin technique is a right pain in the backside! Not only is it more time intensive, more costly but it's less efficient! So if you are going to create waterfalls using this tutorial give the Massive Voodoo Tiny Waterfalls tutorial a look, I personally think the resin looks better, but the stretched plastic makes so much sense it be daft not to at least consider it and if you splashes end up being too flat, you always add a little water effects to help.

Here are some pictures of the what the above steps actually looked like on my Slann diorama

And here are pictures of the finished results

And that's that I think! If you found this step by step interesting, inspiring or totes amazeballs, do let me know, knowing people are learning from and using my tutorials and steps by steps keeps me motivated to write more!


PS - to see more of the Slann Dio, head over to Putty&Paint and CMoN!


  1. Thanks for the Tutorial!
    I applied the effect, just in case someone cares :)

    1. Hi Anderas, thats certainly an usual application, but it's certainly very effective! Really glad to see you've applied the tutorial!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Wonderful tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  4. Great idea!!! That´s what I will do on my next base!!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Best regards, the Sgt

  5. Did you know that you can create short links with OUO and earn dollars for every click on your shortened urls.

  6. I got confused. You cut the thicker wires and lay them on plasticard and glue them? What do you mean by water effects?is that the epoxy glue? do you use the epoxy resin liquid or just the glue?
    Perhaps if you have some more photos of the steps-it may help understand better. Thanks