I bought two glass and metal containers (similar to the one above) at JoAnn's in the clearance section; one for myself, one for my friend and fellow miniaturist Tayna. Since they had no bases, the price was a real bargain. Having already used corrugated cardboard as a base many times, I knew we could make our own.
I invited her to spend a long afternoon at my house and since both of us had a garden bench we used them as the focus of our little fall scenes. (This is my finished scene, sitting on the halltree.)
We made the base from corrugated cardboard, painting the bottom side first with water to keep it from buckling, then painting a glue and brown iron oxide acrylic paint mixture on the top side. Next we sprinkled a fine model railroading grass mixture as the basic ground cover. Rocks were made from brown floral foam painted with the glue/paint mixture, then various washes of grey and black. The trees were made from dried stems my husband brought back from one of his hikes.
We used leaves from fall miniature garlands, lichen, gravel, and both dried and silk materials in our scenes. Tayna's bench, from Michaels, shown above, had predominantly brown tones.
Mine, a table gift at a Roswell Roundup, had a faux marble finish in mostly greys and whites. Our color schemes evolved more or less from those brown and grey shades - hers had more reds, yellows and golds to complement the browns, mine more muted greens, browns and purples to go with the grays. As we worked, I did decide to dry brush a tiny bit of the brown iron oxide paint on my bench to warm it and give it a slightly more weathered look.
This is the back of Tayna's scene. "You know," she said, as she looked at her seemingly-complete scene, "What
this needs is an animal! I'm going to look for something
when I get home."
After she left, I examined my setting and decided it lacked something, too.
I rummaged through my stuff and found a little squirrel. He added the final touch on the bench.
Yes, that scene needed something living to make it complete. Since we plan to use these same glass and metal containers for other seasonal settings, we should probably start looking for more animals and birds to suggest other times of year.