Before Beginning your shoebox diorama - some things to think about
Its a three dimensional work - A shoebox diorama is a complete world and it is three dimensional. This is one of the appeals of a shoebox diorama. When you are designing and making it keep in mind that it is not a flat piece of art. It is three dimensional. Don't be afraid to take up all the space from front to back. This adds a level of excitement to it.
It should tell a story - A shoebox diorama is not just a pretty scene. You should try to take it to another level and create a story with it. Picture in your mind one particular moment in time in the life of the character or characters in the scene. What is happening? What is the story? Adding a story to your diorama gives it a little something extra that people will enjoy. It gives them something to think about.
You're only limit is your imagination - There are no real rules with making a shoebox diorama. Use whatever materials you would like to use. Create whatever kind of scene you would like to create. Don't be bashful.
You can't just start making one - Before you can start making your diorama you have to have a plan. And this means you have to draw out some rough sketches. Get a sketch pad and pencil and start drawing ideas of your scene. Move the objects in the scene around. Remember that it is three dimensional. Look for unique perspectives.
A good tip - Draw a variety of objects for your scene then cut them out. Lay them out on a piece of paper and rearrange them to see what the would look like. Remember that you are making a three dimensional scene so overlap items. Look for unique perspectives.
Ideas About the Unique layout of your Diorama
One of the great things about a diorama is the variety of ways to display it. What I mean is that you dont just put your scene in a box. The Display is part of the fun and appeal of a diorama. Here are some Ideas for Making your diorama Display unique.
Using a box or shoebox:
- Use the box horizontal
- Use the box vertical - I like this option
- Put the cover on the box and then cut an observation hole in it so people can peek into it. You will have to cut some holes in the top or back to let light in or put a little battery operated light inside.
- Put a layer of plastic or Saran Wrap over the front so it becomes an enclosed project that people look into
- Cut the box in half so it hinges open and people can look inside. Some tape on the back makes a nice hinge
Ideas on the Subject of your diorama
- A Mummy scene
- A Desert scene
- An underwater scene
- A jungle scene
- A castle scene
- A moon scene
- An astronomy or solor system scene
- An alien scene
- A scene from a video game or movie
- A treehouse scene
- A scene of a room in your house
- Your favorite animal in its natural habitat
Let's go to Make a Shoebox Diorama Part 1: Designing on paper
If you are looking for some creative Diorama Ideas I have a whole bunch of dioramas that I have made and they are complete with tutorials and videos! Here is an overview of them.
Lots of Diorama Making Tutorials, Tips and Videos
I have started a whole new section on WW2 Models, miniatures and dioramas. This section is currently growing and it will feature a How to make a WW2 tank Battle diorama tutorial. WW2 Models, Miniatures, and Dioramas
Don't have the materials for a diorama? You can make one out of paper mache which is just flour and water. I show you how in this tutorial where I make a scene from the Lord of the Rings Castle Helms Deep. How to make a paper mache diorama
Here is a stunning diorama made by a guest artist (Alberto A.) It is called "Insect Maker" and Alberto calls his work "Visionary Chambers". In this tutorial he lays out how to preserve insects and other natural objects like plants and leaves to use them in your diorama. He also gives us some great tips on making miniature furniture and fabrics: The Insect Maker Diorama
New Tutorial on how to use foam to make wargaming terrain or a diorama. This tutorial, which includes a video, shows you types of foam, good and bad foam, the tools used, including regular tools and hot wire tools. And it shows you the process for making terrain from foam. The project shown here is completely made out of foam -castle and all. How to use foam to make wargaming terrain and dioramas
Here is a great single figure diorama submitted by a web visitor. (Heather D..) She gives us some tips on how she made the rocks and the water. Water Woman Diorama
Here is a great diorama of a Giraffe and baby Giraffe. This is a great example of simplicity and beauty. If you are thinking about doing a diorama but have never done one you might give something like this a try. Just a couple of figures and maybe a tree and some grass and you have a beautiful display piece. Learn more and see a bigger image of this diorama here: The Giraffe Diorama
Intermediate: How to make realistic miniature trees - This tutorial (with a video) shows you how to make great looking miniature trees. The focus here is on using clay to sculpt the trunk. Make realistic Miniature trees
The Castle in the lightbulb diorama
Make this unique little medieval scene inside a lightbulb. It also has a magical little light on the top of the tower that is activated by a magnet. I show you how to make it and how to hollow out the bulb safely. A miniature Castle diorama inside a lightbulb
Interested in Miniatures?
Want to make them? Sculpt them? Paint them? I have a whole section devoted to the art of sculpting and painting miniatures. Miniatures -
D & D, Ral Partha and lots more. No diorama is complete unless it has some fantastic miniatures!
Make a spectacular Wall diorama for your miniatures
This is an on going project that takes you through the construction of a wonderful wall diorama How to make a Big Wall Diorama for your fantasy miniatures
Make a Trench Warfare Diorama
This is a wonderful little trench warfare diorama submitted by a web visitor (Alika). I show you the diorama and also show you a tutorial on how to make trenches for your diorama. If you like Military Dioramas this is for you. Trench Warfare Diorama
Make a foam based diorama with a river
This is a great diorama submitted by a web visitor. It shows all the steps taken to make this wonderful scene from the past on the Mississippi River. The Diorama
How to use cork to make great looking rubble on your diorama
This is terrific for battle scenes, or broken down and run down towns and areas of your diorama. Cork is very useful and looks great. Here is the complete tutorial including painting tips and a video. Rubble Diorama
Make a cemetary Diorama
This is a nice spooky diorama with gravestones, a creepy fence and a small mausoleum. I show lots of tips on using everyday materials like popsicle sticks and toothpicks. I also have a video with this tutorial. Cemetary Diorama
A Wizards Tower Diorama that I also made a video game of! This is a tutorial on using foam to make dioramas. Here is where the tutorial starts and here is the video that also shows about a minute of footage with me playing the video game. I have to get into the tower, get the fire staff, and slay the dragon.! Fun, multi-discipline project.
A Motorized Drawbridge I used the motor from a ten dollar remote control car to automate the drawbridge. It goes up and down. Neat project and I show you how to do it. I also have a video that shows it in action. Motorizing a Diorama Tutorial
How to Make a Dinosaur Diorama - This is an active diorama - The meteor flashes across the sky and the volcano erupts. Easy to make and teaches about the theories of dinosaur extinction. Nice learning shoebox diorama. The Active Dinosaur Diorama
How to make rubber molds for your diorama. A great way to make rocks, cliffs, cliff formations and castle walls. Easy to do with latex rubber. You just brush it on. How to make rubber molds
How to Make Miniature Trees for Dioramas and Model Railroads. I show you the traditional method using Woodland Scenics materials and I show you some improvised methods using wire and materials found around the house. How to make miniature trees
A user submitted creative suggestion. Being creative when using materials to make landscapes. This diorama landscape came out superb. I have more pics and suggestions on being creative with your diorama making here. Creative Diorama Making
How to make trenches in a Military or battlescene diorama.. This is a quick and easy video tutorial that gives you the basics of how I make diorama trenches.
Halo and Xbox Diorama: I didn't make this diorama but I do show some great tips on how you can make one like this The Halo Dioama
300 Diorama - The battle of Thermopylae: This diorama is a big 2 feet by 3 feet and has a lot of great stuff including lights and sounds. Here is the tutorial on how I made it and in how you can make a big and dramatic diorama The 300 Diorama Step by step
A Polymer Clay Diorama - This is a very creative diorama submitted by a web visitor. The fairy is made from polymer clay which is a very creative way to make figures and characters. Check out this diorama and how it was made Polymer Clay dioramas
New Video - I have made a video of my 6 foot medieval castle with working waterfall diorama. Video of a medieval castle diorama
A guest artist has combines his love of painting with the art of Diorama making. He has put together a nice tutorial on how to take a painting and transform it into a shadowbox style diorama. But this isn't as far as he goes. He also shows us some really nice trick of the eye techniques for making the diorama extra special Dioramas from your paintings
Ocean Diorama. It's a porthole view underwater called finding Atlantis Ocean Diorama
Desert/Egyptian Diorama A visitor to my website, gentleman from Israel, sent me some pictures of his dioramas and they are just fantastic! Fantasy Dioramas
Shoebox Diorama I have completed the shoebox diorama tutorial. It is a fire breathing dragon and a knight. You can check it out here. Shoebox diorama
Shadowbox Diorama. You can hang it on the wall. It looks great and is a nice way to display your miniatures. Shadowbox diorama
Rainforest Diorama - This diorama is a teaching tool that shows the ecosystem of the rainforest. All the artwork is done so you can print and color it. -Rainforest Diorama