Dioramas don’t have to be complicated!
I’ve been making these paper dioramas since I was a child! This one little trick is so useful for dollhouses, class projects, and so much more!
The best part?
All you need is 5 sheets of plain paper, scissors, glue, and some writing utensils (crayons, markers, etc). Construction paper and card stock do make it nicer, but it’s not necessary!
Start by folding a corner of one sheet of paper up to the opposite edge so it makes a right triangle (there will be a rectangle left over on the top)
Cut off the rectangle;
And fold the triangle in half.
Unfold it. You will notice that one of the folds should “bump up” while the other three are sunk into the paper. Cut along the “bumped up” fold to the center of the square.
Then you can slide the two bottom triangles over each other and you’ll have a corner of a room that stands on its own!
You will eventually make it permanent by gluing the two bottom triangles together.
(It’s not as much fun.. but if you want a mini diorama, you could stop here, decorate the walls and floor, glue it together, and be done!)
Repeat the process to make a second corner.
Have your child decorate the other three pieces of paper- one to be the floor, one as the inside wall, and one as the outside wall. You can also color one side of the corner you made to match the wall color.
Once they’re colored, spread glue on one of the triangles to make the corner of your diorama!
To Assemble the Diorama;
Place the two triangular corners you made side by side. Spread glue on the bottom of both, and place the floor on top.
You’ll have to tip it on it’s side to do the same with the inside wall;
Now you should have a nice little room! For added sturdiness, it helps to glue another sheet of paper- your outside wall- to the back-
If you’d like, you can cut a doorway!
And a window!
Now you’re ready to add some more 3D elements to your diorama!
These dioramas are a great home for all sorts of little toys (playmobil, action figures, animals, etc!) but if you don’t have toys that work with your theme, making your own is easy and fun!
You can make furniture or other structures by folding paper- just make sure you leave tabs to glue them to the floor or walls.
If this will be a static display (meaning you don’t want your people/animals to move), just leave a tab when you cut them out, fold it back, and glue to the floor so they stand up!
Moving dolls are only a little more complicated- leave a wide bottom, and cut a little slit near either side, then make a stand out of a folded piece of paper, and cut slits in the top of the stand so you can slot it together. (It’s the same method I used with my Jack-o-lantern Bean Bag Toss!– but on a very different scale!)
To make four-legged creatures,
you can fold a rectangle of paper;
Cut a “U” shape out of the bottom;
And use the scraps from the “U” to make a head and tail (depending on what your creature will be, of course!)
Here’s the cat in action in a “vet’s office” diorama my friend’s daughter made;
And that’s it!
Kids love these dioramas because they are so easy to make! I taught my first graders how to make these last year- they made them to depict their ideal school at the end of our “schools around the world” unit- and making dioramas became one of their favorite activities at choice time! (As a bonus, they looked awesome in the hallway display case!)
A true story- I made a couple of these as houses for my second cousin’s toys when I was about ten years old and he liked them so much that he kept them for years! (His mother was a little annoyed about having to store them so long- so is this a success story or a cautionary tale for people who want uncluttered houses?)
I’ve also been dying to make these for different stories to teach the concept of “setting”, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet! I bet it’ll be effective, though!
So what will you use your diorama for?
- A dollhouse?
- Small world play?
- A book report?
- A science fair display?
Will it be a garage for toy cars? A firehouse? A forest? A pet shop?
Leave a comment and let me know!
If you want to get a little fancier with your paper houses, make sure to check out my Free Printable Houses- perfect for sensory or small world play!
Check out another method for making your own dollhouse-this time with a cardboard box- here; Cardboard Box Beanie Baby House! Looking for one more simple, no-fancy-supplies way to encourage your child’s creativity? Go On a Story Adventure with your Child!