What you’ll need...
Paper and card
Scissors or craft knife (you may need adult supervision when using these)
Coloured pencils, pens or paint
Dry herbs or twigs
Tissue paper or other thin paper or material
Suitable for ages 8–14
Time guideline: 60 minutes
Start by watching this video, in which theatre designer Ruth Paton offers some top tips on how to make trees in a model box.
Next, decide if you want to make 2D or 3D trees. As you design, think about how you can use the different areas of the stage to create your forest:
Stage right and stage left – you can layer-up trees from the sides of the stage to give the impression of depth.
Upstage – create a backcloth to give your stage a boundary at the back wall as you look into the model. A backcloth is a piece of fabric or paper that you can hang at the back of your stage. This is useful for adding more depth to the scene, as the backcloth can be painted or lit to give the impression the forest continues into the distance.
Floor – never forget that the audience sitting in the balconies to the side of the theatre will be looking directly at the floor of the stage, so try to make your forest continue across the floor.
Flies – these are the bars above the stage that pieces of scenery can hang from and be moved up and down to come in and out of scenes. You can add more layers up above to make your forest seem denser without taking up valuable floor space.
Practical things to consider:
How will your performers get on and off the stage?
Is there enough room on the stage for your performers?
Will all the audience have a good view?
Use your card and paper to work quickly and sketch how you want your forest scene to look, then go back and refine your drawing once you are happy.
Remember that your model theatre is in 1:100 scale, which means that 1cm in your model = 1m in real life.
A really effective way of creating a great forest effect is to create framing layers that work a bit like a pop-up picture book.
On a piece of A4 paper, draw a frame of trees on two sides and from above, and cut out the blank space in the middle.
Then make another layer that sits behind this one and can be seen inside the first frame of trees.
Draw as many layers as you can fit into the model, and finish with a forest backcloth. When you look into your model, it will look like the forest continues into the distance.
Make a small 1:100 figure to bring your stage alive, or find some small toy figures you might have. Try lighting your forest with a torch or desk light to get shadowy effects.
What I have learned...
How to make a scale model MATHS
How to use precision cutting to make models in 3D DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
How to design your own theatre set ART AND DESIGN
We would love to see your enchanted forest model, so please ask a parent or guardian to take a picture and share your work with us on social media! #kuuoliving