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How to make a Dinosaur Diorama



This is a unique Dinosaur Diorama. It isn't just a shoebox with Dinosaurs in it! It is an active diorama that shows the leading theories of why the dinosaurs went extinct. It is easy to make and kids of all ages will have fun making it. This tutorial is complete with just about everything you need to make your diorama similiar to the one shown here. I have created several sheets you can download and print out. There is a sheet with six different types of dinosaur drawings, a learning sheet that explains about dinosaurs and the theories of how they went extinct, and another sheet that has all the extra stuff like the volcano, the meteor, and the plants. I also have a video of this project


miniature dinosaurIf you are looking for a diorama kit Amazon.com has some nice dinosaur dioramas. I have created a page so you can take a look at them here: Dinosaur Dioramas


The Dinosaur Diorma

This is a picture of the completed diorama. But it is an active diorama. The volcano on the left will erupt, a meteor will come crashing out of the sky, and the background turns to black.

Dinosaur Diorama with Meteor and volcano

This picture shows what makes this diorama unique. You can see the volcano is erupting and you can see tha the meteor is streaking through the sky. You move these from the back.

Dark Sky

After these catastrophic events the sky is filled with ash, smoke and contamination. This turns the sky black as shown here in this picture. These are the leading theories as to why the dinosaurs went extinct and this diorama shows you. So it is not just a regular diorama but an active Dinosaur Diorama.

The back of the shoebox

This picture of the back of the shoebox shows you how it is done. There is a little tab at the top center. This tab pulls the black sky up. The long slash is a cut I made so the meteor could travel. The other cardboard tab with a small slash is for the volcano smoke.

You just have to make these same cuts in your diorama to get the same effect. And make a long cut along the bottom so the black paper sky can fit in.


The Materials You need to Make this diorama


Tools and materials used

  • A ShoeBox
  • Colored Construction Paper
  • A Cereal box ( glue the dinosaur cut outs to cardboard so they stand up straight)
  • Scissors, Ruler, Pencil, crayons or colored pencils
  • Glue Stick or glue
  • Cellophane tape
  • A sharp knife to cut the slots in the box (optional and must be done by an adult)
  • Print out of Dinosaur drawings, dinosaur fact sheet, Ancillary drawing sheet ( I have all of these for you to print out, color and glue together)


Tab on back of volcano eruption

The trick to making the volcano active and the meteor streak across the sky is to glue a little tab on the back like in the picture shown here.

Now you can put the volcano explosion in its slot and move it up and down. And you can put the meteor in its slot and move it across the sky.

Here is the printout: It is a Microsoft Word document and it is four pages in length. You should be able to right click, select save as then save it to your desktop. Once you have downloaded it you can open it and print it out. Dinosaur Diorama Printout

If you have trouble printing out these three parts of the package I have them embedded in a webpage so you can look at them and print them that way. 1-Dinosaur Drawings - 2 Dinosaur Fact sheet - 3 Ancillary sheet

Just print everything out, Color the dinosaurs, plants and other things then cut everything out so you can put it in your shoebox. Note: You should glue the dinosaurs to some cardboard so they will stand up straight. And you are done! Have fun showing off your active diorama!

Dinosaur Learning Sheet - The Dinosaur Drawings - The Ancillary Drawings, meteor, volcano etc


Need Some Plastic Dinosaurs for your Diorama?



Vinyl Mini Dinosaurs (92 Count)

  • Hard plastic / vinyl figures.
  • Up to 2 1/2 inch.
  • Assorted colors and styles. There are additional pictures above to show the different types.
  • Brand new in sealed polybag.



Dinosaur Dioramas to Cut & Assemble - Step back in time to the Mesozoic era with this book created by noted dinosaur expert Matthew Kalmenoff. Cut and assemble two dioramas, then add 31 proportional cut-out figures - 19 animals and 12 plants. Complete instructions 2 assembly diagrams. 14 full-color plates. Captions. Author introduction.

Zip Bin Dinosaur Set

ZipBin Dinosaur Playset ZipBin is more than great-looking storage. It's a portable play world that unzips to reveal space to play, create and imagine. And it's easy to clean up... in a zip!

The Dinosaur storage bin's dramatic exterior theme identifies the contents and will look great in your child's room. When the bin is unzipped, it becomes a dinosaur island play mat, complete with a colorful island, a volcano, and oozing tar pit and a mysterious cave. When play is done, the play mat becomes the storage bin in a zip, capturing the toys inside. Includes four dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Saurolophus, Triceratops, and Compsognathus, 4-5" long. ZipBin measures approximately 16" x 13" x 9".


Dozen Jumbo Dinosaurs up to 6 inches long   - Set of 12 realistic toy dinosaur figures. Dinos are made from slightly flexible plastic, are hollow inside. Set includes: Ceratosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Stegosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Tyrannosaurus, Spinosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Velociraptor, Apatosaurus, Euoplocephalus, Triceratops, Styracosaurus.

Dinosaur terrarium

How about a Dinosaur Terrarium?

Want to take your dinosaur diorama to a whole new level? You can add plants. I have some information about this here: A dinosaur terrarium


Pozdrav's Dinosaur Diorama

If you make a dinosaur diorama be sure to send me some pics and I will put them here on my website! Here are some pictures of a dinosaur diorama that a web visitor made and submitted. It is a good example of how to improvise with materials found around the house. You don't have to spend any money!

How about a dinosaur diorama in a television? This is a neat project submitted by a web visitor. The Dinosaur Diorama in a Television