Forest Diorama Craft Project

Father and son working on dinosaur project
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So far I have already completed an ocean diorama and a desert diorama with my children. My nephew just got assigned a forest diorama, which is great because we hadn't done that habitat yet. We had so much fun completing this project over the weekend and my nephew was proud to turn in his forest diorama on Monday. I'd like to share with you the steps so that you can make one with your child (you don't need to wait for it to be assigned as a school project).

  • Age Guideline: 5 Years and Up
  • Time Required: 45 to 60 minutes (does not include drying time)

The age and time guidelines listed above are estimates. This forest diorama craft can be modified to suit other ages and may take a little more time if you alter the craft to fit your needs.

Materials Needed

  • Shoebox or another type of sturdy box
  • Fake grass/green felt
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Glue (both school glue and hot glue)
  • Tissue paper
  • Small figurines or clay to make figurines


Select a box for your forest diorama. You can use a shoebox, which is the most common. For our forest diorama, we went with the bottoms of two of our 24-pack of water bottles. We wanted to glue them together so that one stood up in the back so that we could add tall trees to the background. Any box will do, though.

Cover the bottom of the box with fake dirt and grass. You can use some real dirt and grass from outside if you want, or just glue some green felt to the bottom of the box. We happen to find fake dirt and grass that was rolled up like sod in the fake flower section of the craft store.

Paint the sides and back of your box blue like the sky. My nephew actually wanted to skip this step, but I think it would have looked better if we had done it. As with anything craft related, it is great to make suggestions for your children, but ultimately it is a good idea to let them be creative and decide how they want to present the craft. 

Once the paint dries, you can add trees and forest wildlife to the diorama. We did this several ways. We used felt cut-outs and glued them to the back of the box, but used hot glue to attach figurines on top of the fake grass. If you don't have felt cut-outs, you can easily make trees out of construction paper or plain felt pieces.

Some animals to add to a forest diorama include a fox, squirrels, deer, owls, wolves, birds like woodpeckers, snakes, rabbits, insects, lizards, and coyotes. This is just a small list. Have your child research forest habitats to discover more animals to add.

Next, you need to create a stream or a small lake to show how your forest creatures get a drink. My nephew wanted to cut a lake for the corner of his forest diorama from a sheet of blue tissue paper, but there is even a blue glue available at craft stores that you can use to create a river if you want.

Finally, you need to add a food source for your forest creatures. For example, if your forest is featuring a fox, then you might want to add berries to the habitat (in addition to rabbits and chickens if you don't already have them).


Give your child an old shirt to wear and spread out a few newspaper sheets on your workspace area before you begin. This will protect your child and your table from becoming soiled with paint.