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How to make a tropical island for a school project

Updated April 17, 2017

In school, students must sometimes create models to display their knowledge of an area of study. Often the model serves as a visual aid for a verbal presentation, while other times it speaks for itself with the details and creativity that are present. Teachers may assign a tropical island model as part of a climate and geography study. Making a tropical island is a fun project that is easier than you might think.

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  1. Find a piece of cardboard to use as a base. Use scissors to cut the bottom off of a cereal or packing box, or visit your local grocery store and ask for an extra cardboard box. One side of the box will suffice.

  2. Cover a table or other flat work surface with newspapers and place the cardboard on top.

  3. Paint the top of the cardboard piece green using a medium-sized paint brush and some acrylic craft paint. Use a bright green if possible as that is typically the colour of grass on tropical islands. Allow the paint to dry. This usually takes about 10 minutes.

  4. Collect at least three empty cardboard toilet paper or paper towel rolls.

  5. Paint the cardboard rolls with brown acrylic craft paint and stand them up on the newspaper to dry.

  6. Draw the shape of a palm tree top on a piece of green construction paper. This doesn't have to be perfectly shaped; just be sure the look of foliage is evident. Draw one of these for each cardboard roll that you have painted.

  7. Cut out the palm tree tops and glue each one to the top of a cardboard roll. This will create palm trees for your model.

  8. Line the bottom of each palm tree with clear glue or double-sided adhesive. Set the palm trees on the base, arranging them as you see fit. Allow them to set for five minutes.

  9. Cut flower petal shapes out of colourful construction paper. Colours like pink, yellow, blue and purple work best.

  10. Paste the petals onto the model's green base. You don't have to cover the entire base, just enough that it appears to have been "dusted" with flowers.

  11. Add small toys, such as miniature people or houses, for additional decoration. You can typically purchase these at any dollar or craft store. Secure them to the model with glue or double-sided tape.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Green acrylic craft paint
  • Medium paint brush
  • Brown acrylic craft paint
  • Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Green construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Clear glue
  • Double-sided adhesive
  • Colourful construction paper
  • Small toys for decoration

About the Author

Lucy Clarke has been a freelance writer since 2007, generating creative content for the publications of each college she has attended. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual art from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor of Fine Art in illustration and fashion design from the Ontario College of Art and Design and a creative writing diploma from George Brown College.

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