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How to Make a Shoebox Diorama

Mukta Gaikwad
A shoebox diorama is essentially to recreate a miniature scene from the nature to understand it in a greater detail. Here are a few tips so that you can imitate some incredible three dimensional visuals to win the project competition at school.
A shoebox gives the perfect space to build three-dimensional science projects. Making dioramas, is a great way of learning some art and craft work too. With this project you can make a lot of scenes and use a riot of colors to make them come alive.
Diorama projects make your child think and research for information to support their ideas. This is a fun way of learning a subject in a whole new way. Many a time, such school projects help a child to understand a difficult concept in a much simpler way.
So, here's your chance to work with your child and make the most of this opportunity to rebuild his interest in the subject, or introduce him to a new one.

Instructions for Making a Shoebox Diorama

Things You Will Need

  • Dollhouse Dolls
  • Miniature Animals
  • Miniature Trees
  • Shoeboxes
  • Paintbrushes and Colors
  • Miniatures Animals, Foodstuffs, Vegetation and Building Elements
  • Toy Dinosaurs
  • Modeling Clays
  • Poster Paints
  • Glues and Scotch Tape
  • Acrylic Paints or Decorative Paper for Backdrop
  • Mark up a scale for your diorama. This will help you to make proportionate animals, dolls, and other miniatures.
  • Collect the required materials that are going to be the interior of your diorama.
  • As per your diorama theme, first work on your background. You may need to paint it or stick a few cut outs. Make sure the drawings have to match the scale.
  • Print out the visual of the diorama you want to create. This will help you to work better.
  • As per the picture place the objects, paper cuttings, and other materials. Thin paper cuttings will require a support. So stick them on a cardboard of a similar shape.
  • To have a floating effect, use a string to hang birds, planets or clouds from the top of the box.

Shoebox Diorama Ideas

Tropical Forests

A tropical forest diorama has layers of animals and plant life. With shades of green for tree canopies and colorful scenery of the tropics, there is a good scope for experimentation with this diorama idea. To get the effect of high tropical tress, use the long side of the box.
The highest tip of trees will be the topmost layer of diorama. This layer is known as the overstory and the layer below is known as the understory. Create a dense forest of tropical trees, so that they form a canopy on top. Paste the tall trees unevenly at the base, so that they get a depth of a forest ground.
In between the tall trees, glue some trees of medium height. Then cover the ground with shrubs, small plants and some colorful tropical flowers. On the tall trees, scatter a few colorful plastic birds. Lastly, use some decorative paper to make the big and small flowers for the ground.
You can also use some plastic animals and reptiles to make you tropical forest diorama.

Underwater Ecosystems

The underwater, has a myriad ecosystems. Pick one that fascinates you the most and get working on this shoebox diorama. Dominated by shades of blue, you can make this diorama beautiful by incorporating hypnotic colors of the underwater world.
 For instance, making a coral reef diorama, which happens to be one of the unique and diverse ecosystems of the world, will make your project standout. Search for pictures of coral reefs and pick the one that you like. Observe carefully the colors and sizes of fish, types of corals, color of water and rocks. 
Collect the materials you need to make this diorama. Use the breadth of the box to make this one, as it will allow you ample space to decorate. Paint the interiors of the shoebox in blue. Use sand to make your base and create a bed of rocks for your corals. Corals 
Corals are usually built on stones and rocks, as they provide a strong support. Now, stick your corals on the bed of rocks and paint them in the same color. To get the effect of fish, hang them from top in an uneven sequence.

Doll House

A classic doll house diorama is what every girl would treasure. So make one with your daughter or for your daughter, to make the joy of playing with dolls eternal. Divide the box into compartments, with paper strips. You need to have a living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms and a balcony.
The entrance and the garden area are optional and can be made outside the box. You need to accessorize every room with cupboards, cabinets, utensils, beds, mirrors, chairs, photo frames and covers. You can get plastic ones from a toy store or make them with cardboard. 
Decorate the doll house with some glitter and pastel shades, to give the idyllic look of a fairy tale house.
  • Some More Diorama Ideas for You!
  • Water Cycle
  • Desert Dunes
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Bavarian Castle
  • Solar System
  • Scene from your own home
  • Exotic Island
  • City Skyline
  • Air Pollution
  • Natural Habitats
  • Life Cycle (of plants, insects or animals)
  • Igloo
Making a shoebox diorama is extremely easy. A diorama is like creating a moment or a picture in your mind in reality. Thus, it has to be cut out to perfection, to make an exact representation. Visualization is the key to making a good diorama. Get your research right to execute your visualization to perfection.