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How to Do Sand in a Diorama

Updated February 21, 2017

Dioramas are popular craft projects that allow ideas and information to be creatively displayed in a visual way. There are no strict rules or guidelines to making a diorama other than ending up with a final project that you are satisfied with. Depending on the type of diorama you are making, you will need to represent different landscapes. One of them, sand, is also an actual component of many dioramas, especially those set on beaches or deserts.

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  1. Using the paint brush, spread a mixture of glue and water onto the surface of the diorama where you want sand to be.

  2. Sprinkle sand over the top of the glue/water mixture until it covers the entire area that you want to look like sand. The best way to represent sand in a diorama is to use actual sand. Special craft sands are sold at crafting stores. If you don't have access to sand, try other fine, grainy materials such as dirt or sawdust.

  3. Shake the diorama gently over a dustbin to remove any excess sand and then let the diorama dry. Once dry, if the sand layer is not thick enough or there are missing patches, repeat the first two steps until you have the look you want.

  4. Add finishing touches and detail to the diorama sand to make it stand out more and look more realistic. Adding figures of plants and animals or other natural elements such as rocks will enhance the effect of the sand and give the diorama a more finished and refined feel.

  5. Tip

    If you prefer not to have the actual texture and graininess of sand in your diorama, glue sand-coloured construction paper to your diorama base. Make small dots on the paper using paint or a marker to make it look more convincing.


    Most dioramas are delicate and need to be treated with special care. Getting overanxious or frustrated with a diorama will often lead to destructive or harmful mistakes.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sand
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Glue
  • Construction paper (optional)

About the Author

Ariel Phillips is an editor and writer living in Portland, Ore. He has written for "n+1 Journal" and "The Rumpus Magazine," among others. He maintains an interest in a variety of subjects, including art, culture, the environment, media, the sciences and sports. He earned bachelor's degrees in art and philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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