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How to Make a Shoebox Diorama



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I have a new section on the website that is all about viking books both historical viking and norse fantasy.

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HBO is producing a series based on the George RR Martin A Song of Ice and fire series of books. To be released early next spring and starring Lena Headey and Sean Bean.

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As judged by the Science Fiction Book Club. Nice explanation and list of the books. Good Guide for the best reading in SF&F.

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How To Make A Shoebox Diorama

How to make a shoebox dioramaThe Fantasy Diorama we will be making is called "The Battle With The Dragon" and it is pictured to the left. It shows a fire breathing dragon battling with a knight. The knight has his shield up to protect him from the fire. In the background you can see a castle.

This is an easy and fun project and you should be able to complete it in 1-2 hours. But take your time! There is no rush. Enjoy it!

I have included a printable page with this project. It has the dragon, the knight and the dragons wings right on it. You can print this out and color it yourself.

Some of the unique things about this shoebox diorama: It is laid out in the vertical position. Most diorama's are laid out horizontal. This vertical layout is good for the dragon. It allows us to depict the whole dragon and bring the energy of the battle into the scene.

This diorama also takes advantage of the space in the box and this is one of the most important things about a diorama. It is not flat like a picture, it has three dimensions. The dragon is suspended right in the middle of the box it is not laid flat against the back. It gives the dragon a sense of flying.


Let's Get started - The materials you will need

  1. 1 Shoebox
  2. An assortment of Construction paper (I used Green, blue, and black)
  3. Scissors (If you are too young for scissors or are unsure about scissors ask an adult to help with cutting)
  4. Crayons or colored pencils
  5. Glue (Elmers glue or something similar works great)
  6. some cotton swabs (Q-tips) to apply the glue (optional but neater)

Step 1. Create your background

Glue two pieces of blue construction paper together then draw clouds on them. I used colored pencils but you can use crayons if you prefer. Artists notes: Clouds are darker on the bottom than on the top so use a darker color and highlight the bottoms of the clouds. This will also make the scene a little bit more ominous. It is a battle after all.

color the background with clouds

Remember that this is your project so you don't have to do everything exactly like I do it. Here is an example. You could make your clouds out of white construction paper then glue them to the background. You could even suspend them in the middle of the diorama later. Here is a paper cloud I made. I used colored pencils to touch it up a bit. Remember that the bottom of the cloud should be darker.

use paper clouds


Continue on with the tutorial



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