How to do a project in a shoebox

Updated April 14, 2017

Creating a shoebox project, often called a diorama, gives you the opportunity to display a favourite collection, show the features of an animal habitat or recreate a scene from your favourite book. This type of project is also used in school projects, allowing the students in the class to share their projects with the teacher and their classmates. While creating a shoebox project is fairly simple, younger children should have adult assistance.

Select the type of project you would like to complete. Pick out a shoebox project that you are interested in, such as creating an ocean or rainforest scene, recreating an event from your favourite story, or a display case for your shell or rock collection.

Set up the background to your scene on the shoebox. Stand your shoebox on its side, so that the bottom of the box is now the back. Cover the back and all four inside sides with construction paper to match the theme of your project. For example, a diorama focusing on the rainforest may have a green back and sides with brown construction paper vines, while a project focusing on a shell collection may have tan and blue paper glued to the box to represent the beach sand and the ocean. Using your art supplies, such as crayons or paint, add any details you wish to your scenery, such as detailed leaves on rainforest trees or whitecaps to the blue ocean.

Design or decorate the objects to place in your shoebox. Use construction paper and crayons or markers to create the items to put in your box, such as a sloth and tree frog for a rainforest project. If you're putting a collection on display, ensure your objects are clean and decorate them with paint or markers, if you desire.

Cut out the construction paper objects from step three once you have finished with them. Be sure to leave a small piece of paper attached to the bottom edge of each item to serve as a base that helps secure it to the shoebox.

Place your items in the diorama where you feel they look best and secure all of the objects to the inside of the box. Fold the base of each construction paper item over and glue the base to the bottom of the box. Place glue on the underside of each object in a collection before putting it inside the shoebox.


Use a hot-glue gun to help secure heavy items, such as rocks, to your diorama. Add a small piece of cardboard to the backside of paper cutouts that do not stand up well.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Crayons, markers or paint
  • Glue
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About the Author

Based in Florida, Mandi Titus has been writing since 2002. Her articles have been published on sites such as Goodkin, Go Green Street and Living the Healthy Way. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Stetson University.