How to Make a Mountain for a Diorama

Updated March 23, 2017

A mountain adds texture and dimension to a diorama. A mountain also allows you to show off the different types of vegetation that occur at different elevations. The mountain is not difficult to make, but it is time consuming. It is important to allow several days to complete the project. A mountain diorama can be the perfect finishing touch to a science or history project. Attention to detail and careful planning will make it stand out.

Build the base of the mountain from crumpled newspaper and packing tape. Take time to form the shape of a mountain with a wider base and narrower top. The rough texture of the crumpled paper will add texture to the mountain and make it look more real. To create a taller mountain, tape the crumpled paper to a cardboard tube. The tube will help the mountain be strong enough to stay standing once you have added the plaster.

Attach the mountain base firmly to the box in the diorama with tape and glue. If you attach it in the corner, it will be less likely to fall.

Combine 3 parts flour and 1 part water to form a paste. You do not want to make too much paste at once, because it will dry out and become lumpy. A starting point is to use 3 cups flour and 1 cup water; once you have used that up, create another batch. If the paste begins to dry out or becomes lumpy, make new paste.

Cut strips of newspaper about 2 inches wide.

Dip the strips into the paste, and then apply them to the base of the mountain. Work your way up until you have covered the entire mountain, making sure that you follow the ridges of the base you created.

Allow the paste to dry for at least 24 hours.

Paint the mountain a base colour or brown or grey, depending on the type of mountain you are creating. After the paint has dried, sponge on additional shades of brown, grey and green to show the correct colours of the mountain.

Add details, such as vegetation and animals, to the mountain. You can make the animals and plants yourself or purchase them from a model store.


Add snow to the mountain by dabbing white paint on with a sponge or spraying snow foam. Decorate the backdrop of the cardboard box as well as the base of the mountain with the same amount of detail as you do the mountain.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Packing tape
  • Cardboard tube
  • Cardboard box
  • Glue
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Poster or tempera paint
  • Sponges
  • Model plants and animals
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Miriam C has been writing since 2007. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University. Among her many jobs, Miriam C has taught middle-school students. She's written for and other clients on finances, family and education.