Skip to Content

How to Make a Diorama in a Few Easy Steps

Learn how to make a diorama in a few easy steps. Building a diorama doesn’t have to be difficult with these few tips.

Making a diorama is a right of passage for completing school right? If you’ve successfully graduated elementary school and primary school without making a Diorama I would be surprised.

Dioramas are a fun way to get kids involved in researching and building a certain type of environment. For this project, I’ll be sharing how my daughter and I created a habitat for a few Arctic animals.

Building a shoebox diorama doesn’t have to be difficult. Following these steps and adding these few key elements will help you make a beautiful scene for whatever project you are creating.

easy steps to build a diorama

How to Make a Shoebox Diorama

Create a plan

This includes deciding on a topic or theme. We are sharing my daughters Arctic animal project where we built a habitat for an Arctic animal.

Research the topic

This is a great way to get young kids involved in the learning process. Use kid friendly websites like Safe Search Kids and allow your child to learn all he/she can about the topic.

Diorama materials

  • Base: shoebox, kleenex box or similar box
  • Paint
  • Construction paper
  • Blocks: styrofoam, cardboard, legos, etc.
  • Figurines: legos, paper figures, etc.
  • String (if needed)
  • Glue stick or Elmer’s glue
  • Filler material: cotton balls, batting, paper, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Computer for research
  • Printer (not necessary)
shoebox for base of diorama
painting shoebox for diorama

You can see we’ve chosen to use a shoebox for the base. Shoeboxes are a great choice for a diorama because they can open up and create a deep scene with a background and forefront. This is important because you need the scene to have depth to look realistic.

Side note; If you don’t have a lot of supplies to create a Diorama check out these easy and affordable diorama kits from Amazon.

When you are choosing a base make sure the box opens up to create a scene. If you want to create a large scale diorama, wooden crates work great.

Decorate or paint the base

We chose to spray paint the inside and outside of the shoebox with blue and black to go with the “Arctic” theme.

painted shoebox for diorama
shoebox diorama

I decided this (image above) was probably the best way to display the scene.

Decorate the scene and backdrop

After the base was painted we grabbed filler material to make the “faux snow” from cotton balls.

cotton balls for snow

We pulled apart cotton balls for the bottom and tore apart styrofoam pieces to make the snow look more detailed.

base of diorama with cottonballs
crushing foam to make fake snow

We also added a large piece of styrofoam to the inside corner to build up the setting and make it seem like an iceberg.

setting for diorama

We also colored two large stars and hot glued them to the back wall.

Add the figures or foreground items

My daughter picked out a few lego characters and we printed out some free Arctic animals we found online.

My best tips to finding figurines for your diorama; search online for free printables that relate to the theme of your project. I have no doubt that you will find plenty of images that you can print out, color and use.

adding figures to diorama
printable mountain for diorama
folding mountain for diorama

You can see where I printed the mountain and then cut it out with enough slack at the bottom to fold it over so it will stand up straight. You can do this same method with any printable!

TIP: Try to keep everything to scale. I know this might be hard, but it will make the diorama look a lot more realistic if you stick to this concept. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.

After we started adding the Snowy Owl’s, we realized the large polar bear looked way out of scale. Because of this, we removed them.

We decided to keep our Arctic diorama super simple with just a few elements. Ready to see it?

Building a Diorama

how to build a diorama
how to build a diorama
artic diorama in a few easy steps

I think my favorite part of this is the hanging Owl! Hanging elements in a diorama seem to really bring it to life!

how to make an arctic diorama with a snowy owl
how to make an arctic diorama

If you enjoyed this craft you might also be interested our library of tons of other cool crafts for kids.

Thanks for stopping by and happy crafting!

Yield: Diorama

How to Make a Diorama in a Few Easy Steps

building a diorama

Learn how to make a diorama in a few easy steps. Building a diorama doesn't have to be difficult with these few tips. Building a diorama doesn't have to be hard so let me show you how!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost varies

Materials

  • Base: shoebox, kleenex box or similar box
  • Paint
  • Construction paper
  • Blocks: styrofoam, cardboard, legos, etc.
  • Figurines: legos, paper figures, etc.
  • String (if needed)
  • Glue stick or Elmer's glue
  • Filler material: cotton balls, batting, paper, etc.

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

Instructions

  1. Decide on a theme for your diorama
  2. Research the topic
  3. Create a plan and/or sketch out what you want it to look like
  4. Gather all your supplies. This will include a base, the filler material, paint or construction paper to decorate the base with, figurines to embellish with and a few items (like styrofoam) to build the terrain with. shoebox for base of diorama
  5. Paint or decorate the base. painted shoebox for diorama
  6. Build up the setting. Add dimension to the space with styrofoam blocks, cardboard cut outs for the sky, etc. base of diorama with cottonballs build up the setting with styrofoam setting for diorama
  7. Add figurines or objects to the foreground. You can add Lego's, paper figures, etc. Glue them with hot glue, Elmer's glue or attach them to the base somehow. hanging owl for diorama adding figures to diorama
  8. Finalize your diorama with the finishing details.

Notes

Make sure to use safe search engines while researching your topic. You can also find free printable figures and objects to use.

TIP: Try to keep everything to scale. I know this might be hard, but it will make the diorama look a lot more realistic if you stick to this concept. Don't worry if it's not perfect.

candis

Monday 25th of April 2022

i have to do a charroletes web diorama

craftingwithki

Tuesday 26th of April 2022

Cool!

candis

Monday 25th of April 2022

i like how you did it .

craftingwithki

Tuesday 26th of April 2022

Thank you!

Skip to Instructions