How to Make an Animal Cell Model in 2D

Updated February 21, 2017

Just as our bodies have organs and organ systems that allow them to function, every cell in our bodies contains parts called organelles that perform certain functions within the cell. These organelles are vital to the survival of these cells, which are vital to our survival, so they are worth learning about. One interesting way to learn about the parts of an animal cell is to make a 2D model, which means drawing one.

Draw a circle 6 inches in diameter with the compass and a coloured pencil on the lineless paper. Draw a second circle inside the first. This circle should be 5 7/8 inches in diameter and concentric with the first circle. Draw a short arrow extending from the space between these circles to the area outside the model and label it "Cell Membrane." Draw an arrow from the open space of the cell to the exterior of the cell and label it "Cytoplasm."

Draw a third circle 2 inches in diameter in the centre of the second circle. Label this as the "Nucleus" of the cell. Draw another circle 1 7/8 in diameter inside of the 2-inch circle. Label the space between the circles "Nuclear envelope." Draw a circle 1/4 inch in diameter in the centre of the previous circle and label this "Nucleolus." Label the space between the smallest circle and the second circle "Chromatin."

Draw a long, flattened, accordionlike shape all around the nucleus. This shape should be about 1/2 inch thick and should be comprised of one curved, stacked line similar to lasagne. Label this "Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum." On this shape, draw many tiny circles less than 1mm long. Label these as "Ribosomes." They should be dotted all over the rough ER and a few should be drawn in the open area of the cell.

Draw a 1-inch long, 1/2-inch wide oval shape in the large, open area of the circles. Inside of this circle, draw two vertical, curvy lines. Label this "Mitochondrion." Draw two more of these in different areas of the large, open space.

Draw three circles, 1/4 inch in diameter, in some other area of the large, open space in the cell. Label these as "Lysosomes." Next, draw two round, freeform shapes (without the compass) each about 1/2 inch in diameter in another open area of the cell. Label these as "Vacuoles." Last, draw a 1/4-inch circle with short lines extending from its circumference (like a picture of the sun and sun rays). This should also be in the open space and should be labelled "Centrosome."

Draw a 2-inch shape in the open area of the cell close to the edge. This shape should be made of one continuous, layered, curved line just as the rough ER in step 3, except the centre should be very tightly pressed and the ends should be wide and round. Label this "Golgi Apparatus." In another open area of the cell, draw a shape exactly like the rough ER except only 1 inch long. Label this "Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum."

Draw two tight, cylinder-shaped clusters of 1/2-inch long straight lines all going in the same direction in another open area. Both of these figures should be close to each other. Label these "Centrioles." Draw three, 1-inch long, straight lines extending from the rough ER in step 3 out to the open area of the cell. Label these "Microtubules."

Use the rest of the coloured pencils to colour in the various organelles of the cell in whatever colour pattern you choose.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 sheet of white printing paper
  • Compass
  • 1 package of coloured pencils, 16-count
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About the Author

Jeremy Cato is a writer from Atlanta who graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and an English degree from Morehouse College. An avid artist and hobbyist, he began professionally writing in 2011, specializing in crafts-related articles for various websites.