How to Make a 3D Animal or Plant Cell Model

Updated February 21, 2017

A 3d model of either a plant or animal cell will provide a view of how the specific parts of the cell are arranged in relation to each other. The model can be simple or complex according to the level of knowledge of the student. Utilise simple items from around the home to create a model that can be viewed from any side.

Choose either a plant or animal cell to make and review a diagram of the cell. Make two servings of clear gelatin. Pour the gelatin into the large plastic jar and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Set the large plastic ball on top of the layer of gelatin. The ball is the nucleus of the cell. Make two more servings of gelatin and pour into the jar over the ball. Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Insert small noodles of various shapes into the gelatin around the sides and over the top of the ball. The noodles are the other parts of the cell. Various shapes will represent different parts such as mitochondria, golgi bodies, vacuole or ribosomes. Replace the top on the jar, and place the jar back into refrigerator to finish setting the gelatin.

Make a legend to identify the items used and what part of the cell they represent. The jar is the cell membrane. Glue an example of each type of noodle used onto the poster board and write the cell part it represents next to it in pen. Write "Nucleus represented by ball" under the last noodle.


Use a jar with a wide mouth to facilitate placing the ball and noodles.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant or animal cell diagram
  • Gelatin
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Large plastic jar (mayonnaise or peanut butter)
  • Plastic ball
  • Small noodles, variety of shapes
  • Posterboard
  • Pen
  • Glue
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About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Dawn Marcotte has been writing for more than 10 years. Her recent writing has turned to nonfiction and includes articles on home and garden, education, crafts and automotive subjects. She currently has several eBooks published and available online. Marcotte has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Iowa.