The Best Diorama Ideas

Updated March 23, 2017

The creative magic of a diorama lies in the potential to tell a story, capture a moment in time, display a scene or provide a peek inside the imagination. The best diorama ideas include effectively telling a story about a place using different objects in a specific scene. Not limited by size, dioramas may appear as large as a house or as small as a shoebox or eggshell. Museums create huge dioramas to provide a realistic background for different animals, rocks or trees in their exhibits. Whether created for fun or used to educate viewers, creating dioramas excites the imagination and provides for hours of family together time.

Start with a Sketch

The best diorama ideas begin with an enthralling story. Find a story that has deep, personal or historical meaning, and then imagine it in a freeze-frame scene. Next, create a simple drawing to get an idea of the finished diorama. Include any trees, mountains, people, animals or any other subjects in the drawing. The types of material used to construct a diorama include rocks, string, Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, plastic characters or animals, craft foam or anything else. Foamular insulating panels (available at most home improvement stores) work great for specific shapes or terrains. Create realistic-looking water with "Realistic Water," a product used for making lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and waterfalls. Any type of material may prove useful in creating a diorama.

Under the Sea

Dioramas have the power to transcend reality and present any scene imaginable. A diorama may depict life and creatures under the surface of the ocean. Colour and cut out fish or other sea creatures to hang in the diorama space suspended with clear fishing line. Paint the back and sides of the box different shades of blue and attach some green-coloured paper cut in the shape of undersea plants to the bottom. Cover the front, open part of this shoebox diorama withe clear cling film for a total underwater effect.

Moon Landing

Imagine what it would look like to walk on the moon's surface. Begin making this diorama lining the bottom section with a thin layer of styrofoam. Crush the styrofoam and push different size holes into the surface to simulate how moon's surface appears. Add black paint or black paper to simulate space, using silver paint to paint in some stars. Colour and cut out a paper image of the Earth and place that among the stars. Create a moon lander or lunar rover vehicle from simple items such as a matchbox and toothpicks. Adding an astronaut or two placing a flag completes the scene.

Historical Event

Dioramas that depict a scene or historical event can bring that history to life. A diorama may help the viewer step into an actual scene in history such as the Lewis & Clark expedition meeting Sacagawea and her Shoshone tribe for the first time. Paint snowcapped peaks as a backdrop for this scene while adding various types of trees, bushes and rocks. Paper cutouts wearing buckskin could serve as the actual characters in this story. A few buffalo or deer and some Shoshone tribesmen complete this diorama.

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About the Author

Mark Kayo has been a writer for over 30 years and has work published on various websites. He has over 25 years experience writing copy for advertisements, marketing projects, catalogs and television commercials. Kayo has a bachelor's degree in advertising and marketing.