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Luis' Shadowbox Diorama:
"Are You A Spy or a Peeping Tom"


A shadowbox or a diorama depicts a moment in time. But it also can depict a mystery -a series of clues that get you guessing as to what the story is. And this is what Luis' shadowbox depicts -a mystery. Can you look through this scene and understand the story it tells?

Luis has contributed many wonderful dioramas to my website. You can check them out right here: Dioramas by Luis


Luis tells us about this shadowbox and the making of it:

This shadow box diorama came about from Ronin Miniature tin metal figures - a female 54mm figure I had brought from Ukraine and a plain unfinished jewelry box I found in a garage sale. For some time I wondered what I was going to with her and the box. And this thought came to me after bingeing on some 1940s and 50s spy thrillers on a rainy Sunday afternoon three months ago. This work in 3D art is called "Are You A Spy or a Peeping Tom" Take a look at the diorama and see what catches your eye first -the GIRL (then you are a peeing -tom LOL) or the EVIDENCE THAT SHE IS A SPY (perhaps you should look into joining the CIA). By the way can you identify the Octopus on the wall by the door from which SPY MOVIE that is from?  



Closeup of the spy



Detail work

The Jewelry Box - was a plain oval shape design. THE OUTSIDE - What I did was I painted it light brown then dry brushed it with almond. Once dry I drew with green paint vine on the side followed by red to give it flowery look. I also drew in some crumbling cornerstone bricks to give it a somewhat old looking building.


THE INSIDE -  I used decorative duct tape that I brought at AC Moore Arts and Crafts store as wall paper. For the celling I used dollhouse celling wall paper by Dollhouse Miniature based in Ontario, California (Can be found on ebay).

Also do you notice the side boards along the wall? They are thin popsicle sticks!

The lights which are battery operated for now (until I can fix a mini circuit board with an on and off switch) are also from AC Moore dollhouse collection.

The mirror was from a makeup box my wife had and was about to throw it in the garbage. So I decided to take it

Detail of the bed

The furniture came from Verlinden's 1/35 scale Bedroom set


The dress

The bedroom door is scratch built out of cardboard and soft balsa wood; the door handle was made from a pin head. The hook on the door is a staple bent into an S shape.


The Persian Rug is from Superior Dollhouse Miniatures from Janesville, WI.      

The miniature bookshelf

The two bookshelves (one on the wall, the other above the bed) were made from large popsicle sticks. Holding up the bookshelves are the tips of the popsicle sticks that I cut off and glued them to the bottom. I then glued the shelves to the walls.   On the shelves are a number of items from books, ornamental items, tissue box and a radio and book ends.

Another bookshelf with miniature books

The Books - I went on line and found all type of dollhouse printable books of many different genres or sets of books (these sets of books are paper cuts out that you fold at the creases and then form them and glue it together) NOTE: The majority of these books are 1:12 SCALE so you will have to copy and paste them onto a word document and manually shrink the size to 1:35 Scale. Or you can select your favorite books from Amazon and cut and paste them too the same way as I mentioned above. But for individual books, what I did was I cut out the covers (front, book spine and back cover and glued them to a cut to size popsicle stick or small scrape pieces of wood trimmed to size.   


Ornamental Items - went to the Dollar Store and bought a number of necklace charms for dirt cheap, also my wife used to make jewelry and had a lot of tiny items in her box which I used.


Tissue box

Tissue box and radio - were printable dollhouse items, but again you have to cut & paste them on a word document and shrunk them down to 1/35 scale. As for the tissue paper I torn a tiny piece of paper napkin and stuffed it in the cut slit I make on the tissue box. Book ends - I used the ends of thin popsicle sticks. Finally there is the vase which is a mid-size colorful bead. The flowers are from JTT Scenery Products.


Miniature perfume bottles

The perfume bottles - were made out of an assortment of beads and necklace accessories.


Miniature suitcases

Below the wall shelf is a suit case and a type of travel storage box - there are also dollhouse printable. As for the stickers on the suit case and box, I went online and looked for travel decals and stickers and found all kinds of stuff. So I just cut and paste a number of them on to a word document and shrunk them down to 1/35 scale. I also made a handle for them out of paper.

Portrait frames - are from picture necklace frames. As for the picture I download a few pictures and cut and paste them and shrunk them. The picture by the mirror is a WWII family portrait while the portrait over the bed is a Vietnam Era Navy SEAL.

Dress, Shoes & Purse - the Dress is actually hand made from an old T-Shirt I was going to throw out. The waist belt is a waste trimming for an actual dress my wife was making for our daughter. The high heel shoes are made from paper and plastic. The high heel if from a heat and stretched out thinly model spur. The rest of the shoe is paper painted in black. The purse in a dollhouse printable shrunk to 1/35 scale.   I also made a robe (which is laying on the bed) from a piece of cloth.

Once again the furniture is from Verlinden, but instead of just painting which would make it look fake I decided to give it a realistic touch. The bed sheets and pillow are painted, but what is real, is the bed cover. I used a yellow cloth. I then add the dots and flowers with a thin blue maker.


Closeup of the bed

What else do you SEE laying on the bed and on the bed side stands? If you see a Top Secret files, a CIA dossier, and a pistol on the bed and money in a lot of $20 bills and an CIA ID card that you are observant and would make a good spy and not just a peeing -tom. LOL for your eyes can't escape "THE GIRL"


Miniature chocolates

By the way do you know what chocolate candy company that is?   (See the pic) How do you think that was made? If you said cut and paste onto a word document and shrunk it. Then you read my-how-to. So now you can do it too.


So what SPY Movie is the Octopus from?  (Scroll down for the answer)


The answer is "Spectre" the latest James Bond Movie.


Swing Design Chroma Shadow Box Frame, 5 by 7-Inch, Charcoal Gray





Swing Design Display Shadow Box, Black, 12" by 12"






Will's Book on Diorama Making

Will's Book

How to Make Fantasy and Medieval Dioramas

This books shows you how to make fantasy and medieval dioramas using many commonly available tools and materials. There are over 100 pictures and illustrations showing you how to make great dioramas in fantasy and medieval styles. Chapters include basics, water effects, terrain tips and special effects like electricity and small motors. Tutorials include how to use foam, plaster of paris and paper mache to make great looking dioramas.