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How to Make a Diorama
Projects for Students
Materials Needed

How to Make a Diorama

A diorama is a self-contained, little world—an entire landscape or environment in a box, carry case, window, or anything else you can think to build it within. Here is how you can build your own!


1. Decide on a scale. This is important because a diorama becomes believable to the extent that it looks realistic. If you've got a focus (a doll, a plastic dinosaur, or any other figure), use that as the scale. If not, try 1 foot to 1 inch. It's pretty standard.

2. Collect your materials - human and/or animal figures, palm trees or sugar cubes to build an igloo, dollhouse furniture and miniature foods for an interior scene. Use your imagination!

3. Decide on a background - you can paint or draw your own or use wallpaper or wrapping paper (or anything else you can find). Remember that the background images should be consistent with the scale you've chosen for your diorama.

4. Choose a container in which to build your diorama. Many children's school projects use cardboard boxes or shoe boxes, but you can use just about anything. It should be light but fairly sturdy, especially if you will need to move the diorama around.

5. Build your diorama working from the back to the front - start with the background (don't forget the sky/ceiling and ground/floor). Then place large objects such as trees. The smallest objects should go farthest forward. Use glue or putty to secure the objects.

Projects for Students

• Ocean Diorama

Create your own ocean scene in a box. Just print out sharks and whales, draw some seaweed, corals, and your favorite fish. Paste, color, cut, hang them in a decorated box, and enjoy the ocean.

Build an Ocean Diorama

• Forest Diorama

This diorama of a forest is fun to make and shows the animals and plants that live in a forest.

Build a Forest Diorama

• Dionsaur Diorama

Create your own prehistoric dinosaur scene in a box. Just print out the dinosaurs, paste, color, cut, arrange them in the box, and - welcome to the Mesozoic Era, the "Age of Dinosaurs."

Build a Dinosaur Diorama

• Book Diorama

This diorama is a scene from a child's favorite book. After the child reads the book, the child makes a diorama of a favorite scene from the book.

Build a Book Diorama

Materials for Making Dioramas

poster paints
glues or putty
acrylic paints s or paper for backdrop
cardboard boxes or other container
hobby paintbrushes
toy dinosaurs
miniatures animals, foodstuffs, vegetation and/or building elements
miniature animals
miniature trees
modeling clays
dollhouse dolls
whatever else you can think of that works!