African Savanna Habitat Diorama

Learn about the African savanna and its rich wildlife by creating an animal-filled shoebox diorama.

View more habitat diorama projects: Coral Reef Diorama, Polar Diorama, Rainforest Diorama, All Diorama Crafts
African Savanna Habitat Diorama craft


  • Shoebox or similar-sized box
  • Construction paper or card stock
  • Crepe paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Paint brush
  • Craft sticks
  • Hot glue gun

Safety Tips

  • Keep the glue gun out of young children's reach.
  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.


Step 1a African Savanna Habitat Diorama 1.

Prepare the box

Scout around for a shoebox or similar-sized box. A larger box gives you more space to work with and allows you to put in more details.
Step 1b African Savanna Habitat Diorama Ask for an adult's help. If you want to include the lid as part of your diorama, you will need to keep the lid permanently open by using a hot glue gun to attach craft sticks or any flat rigid material along the box's hinge.
Step 2 African Savanna Habitat Diorama 2.

Paint the box

Use poster paint or acrylic paint to color the box. Acrylic paint is best used when your box has a glossy finish. Paint the inside walls with whatever color you want the sky to be—you can make it blue or color it yellow/orange for a sunset-filled sky. Paint the ground green for a wet season grassland or color it yellow ochre/light brown for a dry season savanna. Painting the outside of the box is optional.
Step 3 African Savanna Habitat Diorama 3.

Draw or print out the animals

Draw the animals, cut them out from magazines, or print out online images. You can also print out these Safari or African Savanna Animals sets on A4 or Letter size card stock.
Step 4 African Savanna Habitat Diorama 4.

Color and cut out the animals

Color and cut out the animal print-outs or drawings. The paper animals should be able to stand up so use card stock for printing them out or draw them on construction paper. Magazine animal cut-outs should be glued onto cardboard or any heavy paper to make them sturdier.
Step 5 African Savanna Habitat Diorama 5.

Add background details

Paint or glue on some background details like clouds, a sun, a tree, or some animals. We've glued on strips of brown construction paper to create a rocky outcrop for the lion to rest on.
Step 6a African Savanna Habitat Diorama 6.

Make a tree

The African savanna is a grassland with widely spaced trees. Some animals like baboons live in trees and animals like giraffes and elephants feed on their leaves.

To make a tree, draw a tree trunk on cardboard or thick cardstock. You can also print out this Tree (Template #1) on A4 or Letter size cardstock. Color and cut out the tree trunk.
Step 6b African Savanna Habitat Diorama Create a bottom tab by folding the tree along the base. Make a side tab by folding an inch from the leftmost branch. Position the tree in the left corner of your diorama by gluing the side and bottom tabs onto the box. You may trim off the excess length of tree branches on top. We prefer ours to jut out of the box.
Step 6c African Savanna Habitat Diorama Cut green crepe paper into strips. Crumple them up slightly and glue them onto the branches and onto the edges of the box.

*If you are keen on making a three-dimensional tree instead of the flat one we made, you can head over to our 3D Paper Tree craft for instructions.
Step 7a African Savanna Habitat Diorama 7.

Add ground features

Glue on ground features such as a watering hole or rocks. Make a watering hole by cutting out an oval out of blue construction paper. Paint egg carton sections to create rocks or use real rocks.
Step 8a African Savanna Habitat Diorama 8.

Create paper tabs

Adding tabs will allow you to glue the animal to your box diorama.

a.) Fold a strip of thick cardstock into an L-shape. Glue behind the legs to make a bottom tab or behind the animal's posterior to create a side tab.
Step 8b African Savanna Habitat Diorama   b.) To attach an animal onto the front part of the box lid, create a front tab. Fold a small rectangular strip of paper on both ends. Glue one end of the tab behind the animal's legs and the opposite end onto the inner face of the lid's wall.
Step 8c African Savanna Habitat Diorama   c.) Draw and cut out a hill shape out of construction paper. Glue the animal's legs about a half-inch from the bottom edge of the shape. Fold the shape right below the legs to create a bottom tab.
Step 8d African Savanna Habitat Diorama   d.) For larger or taller animals, an additional side tab can help stabilize the animal.
Step 9 African Savanna Habitat Diorama 9.

Position the animals

Position the animals inside your diorama. Glue the bottom tabs onto the ground and the side tabs onto the sides of the box.

Note that some animals do not need any tabs since they can be glued directly onto the edges of the box or onto objects in the diorama. The cheetah, for instance, is glued onto the tree.
Step 10a African Savanna Habitat Diorama 10.

Create grass

A savanna is not complete without grass. To create grass, cut green or yellow ochre-colored paper into a rectangular piece. Cut blades of grass along one long edge of the paper.
Step 10b African Savanna Habitat Diorama   Glue the strip below the animal's legs or at the base of the tree.
Step 10c African Savanna Habitat Diorama   To create grass that can stand on its own, fold the strip of grass at the base to create a bottom tab. Glue the bottom tab onto the ground.
Step 10d African Savanna Habitat Diorama   Fill your diorama with lots of grass to turn it into an African grassland.

Check out more habitat diorama-making ideas in these awesome projects: