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How to Make a Diorama

A fun craft project for the kids or for a book report, history class, or science project for school, a diorama brings three-dimensional reality to any idea.


  • Step 1: Choose theme Decide on a theme, such as the ocean, the rainforest, the solar system, or a favorite scene from a book. Make a list of all the elements to include and any important action in the scene you want to depict.
  • Step 2: Decorate box Turn a cardboard box, like a shoebox, on its side. Paint the colors of the background landscape, including the sea, sky, and ground, or glue construction paper to the inside. Decorate the top and both sides. Let it dry thoroughly.
  • Step 3: Add figurines Gather your miniature figurines, or cut out figures from construction paper or cardboard painted to look like the people, objects, or animals in your scene.
  • TIP: Keep proper scale in mind for realism. The miniature standard is 1 foot to 1 inch.
  • Step 4: Glue figurines Work from the back of the box to the front, placing your figures inside. Glue them in place when you find the layout you like.
  • Step 5: Add details Consider hanging objects from the top of the box, such as birds, or fish in an ocean scene, using dental floss or sewing thread and clear tape. Those extra details will bring life to your display and wow your classmates!
  • FACT: The 2006 film Night at the Museum recreated many of the real-life, massive dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

You Will Need

  • Theme
  • Cardboard box or shoebox
  • Poster paint and paintbrushes
  • Cardboard or construction paper
  • Miniature figurines
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Dental floss or sewing thread
  • Clear tape

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