Balsa Wood edging for Diorama

Hi, all. When using balsa wood to edge a diorama - especially a multilevel scene - do you seal the wood prior to painting it? Thanks for any tips!

Rather than using Balsa Wood, which is very soft and dents easily, I’d recommend using Basswood, which is readily available in most well-stocked hobby shops. And yes, I’d recommend sealing and sanding it prior to painting, to remove any fuzz on the surface.


Thank you! I had also thought of basswood. What would you recommend as a sealer?

Hobby shops that have RC aircraft should have sealers on hand. I have some of this I’ve used for various projects;

I build my dioramas on a rigid foam base which I cut very precisely with my table saw, then fit the basswood frame around it. The whole thing is designed to drop-fit into a picture frame that serves as the finished base. I leave the pre-finished basswood and picture frame off the foam until I’m finished with the diorama, as to keep it clean until the very last moment.

Perfect! Thanks so much. (Wish I had a table saw. . .

One option is you could use a Zona saw and mitre box to do the same thing.


Never thought of that! What size Zona would you recommend? Would be cutting 1" foam. Thanks man.

Basswood (and other types) strip and mouldings can be found in DIY stores in 6’ - 10’ lengths, and in various patterns and widths, to make your own framing.

Use the same thing you’d use for furniture, picture frames etc. MinWax and other companies sell an entire line of wood finishing products. A paint store or hardware store should stock whatever you need.

Not sure, probably any of the taller blades. I was mentioning the saw for the table saw comment. The foam could be cut with a box cutter and a straight edge, fresh blades should help avoid jagged edges.

Many thanks for all the tips!!! You guys are the BEST.