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How to Make a Diorama

This tutorial will show you how to make a wonderful fantasy diorama from start to finish. It explains everything to you from what materials you need to what tools you need. There are also many useful tips on using household materials. Diorama building is a very rewarding hobby and with a little practice you can make some wonderful scenes. The only limit is your imagination.


Start The Tutorial Here

The diorama we will build in this tutorial is called "Battle for the Treasure" And it has a wizard battling three skeletons over possession of a Treasure Chest. I even wired the wizards staff so that it lights up with a red glow when you press a button.

Here are a group of tutorials on how to make a whole bunch of different types of dioramas. Want to make a rainforest diorama? An ocean diorama? A shoebox diorama? Egyptian?

How To Use this Tutorial

If you want to follow the tutorial in order then click on Chapter 1 "Materials you will need"

You can jump to various topics in the table of contents or you can progress through the tutorial through each chapter. You may want to look over the whole tutorial before beginning the actual work. Once you have gathered all the materials the project will take you 8-10 hours to complete. This does not include painting the miniatures which varies depending on the detail you desire and your level of skill.

Materials you will need

  1. Beginning with the concept, design and layout of your diorama
  2. Rough shaping the landscape
  3. Landscape Details
  4. Creating and adding stones and rocks
  5. Creating and adding the flora and fauna
  6. Making and adding trees
  7. Adding the miniatures
  8. Wiring the scene for some special effects
  9. Moving on to bigger things

Start The Tutorial Here

Diorama making is an extremely rewarding hobby and if you are looking for a way to learn even more and expand your skills to new heights here are a couple of books on the art and craft of diorama making.

Lots of Diorama Making Tutorials, Tips and Videos

Waterfall in a dioramaA Waterfall in a diorama

Actually pretty easy to make a great looking waterfall if you know the right tools and techniques. I have it right here: Make a waterfall in a diorama

WW2 Diorama

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


Paper Mache Diorama

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


Insect Maker 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


An Empty Diorama box that you can print up and assemble. Half the fun of a shoebox diorama is the shoebox. This is a complete download that you can print and assemble so you have your own fancy box. The Printable Tatebanko Diorama Box This is the box I use in the tatebanko castle diorama shown below.

Tatebanko: The Lost Japanese Art of Paper Dioramas - This is a wonderful way to make dioramas just with paper. I have a complete download of this tatebanko castle, pictures of a professional tatebanko and a download of the empty box if you want to fill it with your own diorama. Tatebanko Paper Dioramas

foam castle and terrain
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
Water Woman Diorama 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
Miniature Tree


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

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

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

Castle inside a lightbulb diorama
This is a creative little diorama that has a castle and a dragon right inside the lightbulb. I also show you how to add a tiny light to the tower of the castle and the easy way to hollow out the light bulb. Lightbulb Diorama

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

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

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

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

New Video - I have made a video of my 6 foot medieval castle with working waterfall diorama. Video of a medieval castle 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
Making Rubber Molds 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
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.
A Beautiful Polymer Clay Diorama 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
Painting Miniatue Tutorial is complete! I have just begun a new tutorial on how to paint miniatures. Painting Miniatures Tutorial


How to Build Dioramas





diorama making book

From Graves to Caves:: Modeling Your Diorama!




I will teach you all the tricks and techniques you need to build a landscape just like this one. But I encourage you to be creative! Don't just copy this landscape. Use these tips and techniques to design and build your own landscape.

Many of the materials used in this tutorial were purchased in a hobby shop. They are the same materials that amateur train landscape builders use. You can purchase and use these materials but I also offer many alternative solutions that you can employ. This will increase your creativity, increase your skill and decrease the cost of the diorama.

We will go step by step through the whole process from design, landscape building and creating the rocks and foliage.

Make realistic trees

Want to take your diorama making to new heights of realism? I have put together a selection of materials you can buy from These are great materials that hobbyists use to make really life like dioramas. The trees you see here are one of the kits. They look real don't they?

Woodland scenics Trees and more at They have all the materials you could need.

All materials in this tutorial are copyrighted© including writing and photographs. All Rights are reserved. If you would like to reprint any portion of this then contact the author. Will . -You may freely add a link to this page from your website.



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