I'm new to these forums but decided to join upon invitation by CHEWIE and my growing dissapointment with another site's Diorama section.
Anyway, I have been a Star Wars custom diorama maker practically all my life. Even when I was as young as three, I saw the possibility of using packaging styrofoam as playsets for my action figures. Needless to say, my talent has grown and matured, and I've been churning out decent dioramas since Episode I came out.
My method is quite dissimilar to most people's. I don't make dioramas for display. Rather, I design them like playsets that can be deconstructed into pieces. In other words, I approach each diorama as if it were a real movie set. That way, there is some logic between the rooms and pathways that matches the movie the diorama is based on. One of my goals has always been to design dioramas as if I were a Vintage Kenner playset designer. That way, they work as toys, (miniature) movie sets, and, to an extent, displays.
As for materials, I keep things rather light, inexpensive, and easy. I use sheets blue packaging styrofoam. The kind I use is often used for house insulation and comes in sheets of 0.5", 0.75", and 1" widths. It's quite light but sturdy and works well for making floors and bases for dioramas.
I also use foam core (one of the best materials for dioramas made famous by Niub Niub), foamies (thin sheets of flexible colored foam that can be bought at most arts and crafts stores), styrofoam balls (for Tatooine buildling roofs) and poster board. I've also found that packaging styrofoam can come in quite handy for things from Hoth hallways to Mos Eisley buildings because of the random shapes that can be found. I also collect random pieces of plastic such as caps, straws, and the like that are often helpful in creating props and detail.
Finally, I use acrylic paint and hot glue although my earliest dioramas used tacky glue. Many of my pictures have been somewhat edited (ie. change of tint, cropping, addition of lightsabers, etc.), and I've become quite profficient at using Microsoft Picture It (used effectively by CHEWIE in his photonovels).
Over the years, I've made probably thirty dioramas. I've made several from each movie. Some are quite old now and need some work. I've photographed most, but many have not yet been seen publicly. Anyway, here are two links to pictures of my dioramas where you can enjoy scenes from all six movies:The Professor's Gallery at The JawaThe Professor's Village Photos Gallery
I hope you enjoy them, and I hope to add to this community at Jedi Defender.