Let's Build! Victorian Ruins Pt 4 - Overgrown Planters

Updated: Apr 1

Written by Sarah-Anne


At the same time as I was creating the fountain for my ruined Victorian City, I was also building these planters to accompany it in the walled garden. I used the shapes from 17th and 18th century French formal garden beds as inspiration; having the sides that faces the round fountain curve around to mimic that same curve when places at the correct distance from the fountain (a 50mm based model should be able to easily pass between them). I also wanted to emphasize the fact that at one point and time these may have been well-kept with small shrubs, but now have become reclaimed by nature, complete with rootes growing out of the stone foundations.


Materials required:

  • foamcore (with the paper backing removed)

  • PVA glue

  • Mod Podge (tinted with black acrylic paint)

  • Assorted acrylic paints

  • Dark brown ink wash

  • To make it look like the trees were growing beyond the stone walls (and to add stability) I made roots out of Greenstuff by rolling into logs and then sculpting a bark pattern with the back of my hobby knife. Once I was sure the Greenstuff had cured and the PVA glue dry I added a

  • small tree armatures (such as Woodland Scenic's 2-3 inch desiduous)

  • Assorted sheets of green flocking

  • matte/satin spray sealant

  • crafting sand

  • "Greenstuff" or other 2-part putty

  • Mod Podge/PVA glue

  • small grass tufts

  • fine foam or other green flocking


Tools required:

  • hobby knife

  • Pencil/pen

  • Carving tools/cocktail toothpicks

  • Ball of aluminium foil

  • Assorted paint brushes

  • Kitchen sponge

Much as how the fountain was created, I started with three layers of foamcore. The top layer I hollowed out to create the graden bed, and the other two were kept solid to conserve the sand and other planter materials.

With my trusty ball of aluminium foil I textured the edges and tops of the foam; anywhere that would be visible after gluing together. I added seam lines between the stone 'blocks' with a toothpick and glued the three layers together using tacky PVA glue. Sewing pins again came in preventing the layers from moving until the glue set completely, and allowed me to move on to the next couple of steps before the glue fully dried.

While the glue was still drying I added watered-down PVA to the tops of of each 'bed' and covered with crafting sand. I took some small tree armatures (after removing excess flashing with a hobby knife and bending to shape, then priming brown) and glued them to the middle of each bed. In hindsite it would have been more efficient to put the trees in before applying the sand as I ended up having to remove a small amount fromhe centres so the trees would sit flush with the foam.

To make it look like the trees were growing beyond the stone walls (and to add stability) I made roots out of Greenstuff by rolling into logs and then sculpting a bark pattern with the back of my hobby knife.

Once I was sure the Greenstuff had cured and the PVA glue dry, I added an even coat of Mod Podge tinted with black acrylic paint. I didn't worry about covering the trees as they already had a coat of primer, and it would be esier to paint them if I kept them brown.


Now I missed taking photos of the next individual steps, but here they are in order:


I painted out the soil a deep ochre brown, and gane a very light medium brown dry brushing, followed by a dark brown wash.


The roots of the trees were painted to match the brown primer and the trees were given a light grey drybrushing, and I painted out the walls using the stone painting tutorials found here.


Finally green sheet flocking was used to apply foliage to the trees. I find dipping small pieces into watered-down PVA and then draping one at a time gives the most realistic effect, adding additional tacky PVA as needed. While the glue is still wet I sprinkled Woodland Scenic's fine turf flocking in Burnt Grass to just the tops of the trees.

For the beds themselves, I wanted them to look both overgrown and dying at the same time. Since the primary game I made these for is Malifaux, I wanted them to give off an uneasy, eerie vibe... that something not quite right had happened here. To that end I choose tufts that looked like dried grass, and scattered more of the Burnt Grass Fine Turf flocking both in the bed and on the tops of the stone walls. I had a thought to add some other textures but didn't want to cover up the exposed roots, so I opted to stop here. A final weathering in brown ochre around the base of each planter, and they are done!


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