How to make a diorama from a shoebox

Written by jennifer pierce
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Just about anyone's elementary school career will have him making a diorama. Because dioramas are typically made from a shoebox, very minimal cost should be involved. And, with a little creativity, one could make a shoebox diorama with basic house hold items such as Legos, doll accessories, and every day craft supplies. With a little planning and adult supervision, your child will be able to re-create a favourite scene from a book and have fun while doing it.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Shoebox
  • Craft glue
  • Tape
  • Sticky tack
  • Scissors
  • Coloured paper
  • Scene accessories
  • Markers or paint

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    Make a Shoebox Diorama

  1. 1

    Gather a shoebox with a matching, fitting lid. Remove any attached tags or labels.

  2. 2

    Analyse the scene that is to be re-created. Draw or sketch out ideas on scrap paper, first.

  3. 3

    Find objects that can be used in the diorama. Consider using small toys, trinkets, elements from nature or basic household items such as cotton balls and toothpicks, or craft items such as modelling clay, beads, ribbons or fabrics.

  4. 4

    Gather the items to be used. Factor in the size of the box to the size of the items that will be used. Make sure the size of the items are proportionate to the size of the box.

  5. 5

    Establish a work area conducive to the project. Lay down a protective cloth to protect the work surface from glue or paint.

  6. 6

    Decide if the base of the box will lay vertically or horizontally. Typically, a shoebox diorama is horizontal.

  7. 7

    Paint, colour or adhere coloured paper to the outside and inside of the box before attaching the items. Let the box completely dry before arranging the items inside the box.

  8. 8

    Do a "dry" run. Arrange the items in the box before gluing in place, to see if you like the layout, and to make sure everything fits.

  9. 9

    Arrange the items in the box starting from the farthest point away from you and working toward the front, open space of the box. Glue or tape down each item as you go along. If you want to be able to remove certain items, adhere those items with nonpermanent adhesives such as tape,sticky tack or wire.

  10. 10

    Once the items are secure and dry, use the lid as a protective cover to transport the diorama to its designated location.

Tips and warnings

  • For an easy background design, try printing out a scene from the computer or using a picture from a magazine or colouring book.
  • Children should have adult supervision when using a hot glue gun or other sharp objects such as scissors or wire cutters.

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