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Make a Desert Diorama


When it comes to making a desert diorama you have a lot of nice options. You can buy kits which I have listed below (These are a nice option). Or you can scratch build a diorama and on the surface of it then you can either paint the terrain sand colored or you can actually glue sand right onto it. I will show you a little bit about both these techniques.


Whether you are building a desert diorama because you want an egyptian theme with pyramids and other things or you are building a diorama because you are doing battle scenes from WW I or WW II these techniques will work well for you. The desert is still the same for both!

If you want a full tutorial from start to finish on how to make a diorama with this kind of theme you should check out my egyptian diorama. But if you are familiar with diorama making techniques I have the desert details here.


the completed Egyptian diorama



White Sand For the most realistic look you can use actual sand. It is available online at amazon.com and at just about every arts and crafts store.





How to glue the sand

How to attach the sand to your diorama

You are going to put an even coat of sand on the whole diorama but it won't be perfect. You should first paint the surface a sand color. This will cover up any inconsistencies in the sand. Use a paint that is about the same color as the sand you are using but it isn't very critical.

Once the paint has dried you mix white glue with an equal portion of water. This is in the little metal cup I am using. Then just brush it onto the diorama. Once you have an even coat then you just sprinkle the sand onto it. Get a nice even coat.


Adding tufts of grass

Adding Details

An excellent desert detail is small tufts of yellowish grass. You can buy this grass from woodland scenics or you can improvise something like cutting the bristles off a paintbrush. You bunch them together like in the picture, put a dab of glue on the terrain then stick the bunch right into the dab of glue.


Desert Diorama products and supplies


Scene-A-Rama Desert Oasis Diorama Kit

Use this kit to create a flat, sand surface for your diorama. It includes everything you need and is great for making prehistoric habitats, shorelines, wastelands, beaches, missions or desert projects where sand is your main focus.



Scene-A-Rama Desert Plants

Use this kit to add realistic-looking cacti, grasses, tumbleweed, short and tall grasses, weeds, scrub brush, ivy, vines and desert flora on any diorama or display.




Desrt Miniatures

Safari LTD Desert Toob

  • Each figure is professionally sculpted and finely hand painted
  • Excellent "carry-along" for any excursion since the figures are neatly packed in a reusable acetate tube
  • Products are phthalate-free and thoroughly safety tested to safeguard your child's health
  • Featured is our desert toob, replica size: 1.5" to 3" (4 to 7.5 cm)
  • Includes explorer, horned lizard, saguaro cactus, road runner, scorpion and rattle snake
  • Also includes coyote, big horn ram, bobcat, armadillo, mountain lion and prairie dog




Use Desert Sand to create desert or arid climates, beaches or shorelines, or as a neat, flat surface for a display.







Other Tutorials for your Desert Diorama


Miniature SphinxSculpt a Miniature Sphinx : How to sculpt a miniature sphinx. This is part of an Egyptian Diorama I am making.




Origami PyramidMake an Origami Pyramid If there are pyramids on your diorama here is a quick way to fold them out of paper. Neat little project that is easy to make. I have lots of other origami projects too. . Make an origami pyramid




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