Polar Habitat Diorama

Learn all about Arctic and Antarctic animals and their natural habitat by constructing a shoebox diorama.

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


  • Shoebox or similar-sized box
  • Construction paper or card stock
  • Acrylic paint
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Paint brush
  • Cotton (optional)
  • Paper bowl, styrofoam chunks (optional)

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.


Step 1a Polar 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 Polar Habitat Diorama Ask for an adult's help. If you're using a box other than a shoebox, cut out the front panel. Use tape or glue gun to fix any open flaps in place.
Step 2a Polar Habitat Diorama 2.

Plan the landscape and paint the box

Paint on a snowy background and additional details such as clouds or falling snow. Paint the ground white for a snowy landscape and include a body of water to show how integral the sea is to polar life. You can also paint the outside of the box if you like.
Step 2b Polar Habitat Diorama Instead of painting the box, you can also cover the inside of the box with colored paper. Details such as snowy mountains or bodies of water can also be cut out of paper and glued onto the background or foreground.
Step 3 Polar 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 polar animal sets on A4 or Letter size card stock.
Step 4 Polar 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 Polar Habitat Diorama 5.

Background animals

Plan where to position the animals in your diorama. You can glue on some of the animals onto the background.
Step 6a Polar Habitat Diorama 6.

Create paper tabs

Make side, bottom, or center tabs for the rest of the animals. These will allow the animals to be attached to the bottom and/or sides of your box. There are a number of ways to make the tabs:

a.) Make L-shaped paper tabs and glue these at the back of the animal's legs (bottom tabs) and/or sides (side tabs).
Step 7b Polar Habitat Diorama b.) Incorporate the tabs into foreground elements such as grass, rocks, or snow. Draw the foreground element, including the tabs (shown in shaded area). Cut out the whole piece and glue it at the base of the animal's legs. Fold the tabs towards the back.

c.) Not in photo: Draw side and/or bottom tabs before cutting out your animals in Step 4.
Step 7a Polar Habitat Diorama 7.

Position the animals

Position the animals inside your diorama. Glue the tabs to the bottom and/or sides of the box.
Step 7b Polar Habitat Diorama Without tabs, you can still position the animals on your diorama by gluing them atop objects like paper bowls, styrofoam chunks, paper cups, paper egg carton sections, and small boxes. This seal was glued on top of half-a-paper bowl, making it look like it is resting on top of a slab of ice.
Step 8 Polar Habitat Diorama 8.

Finishing touches

To complete this Arctic diorama, cotton was glued onto the foreground to create a snowy ground.

More Ideas

More Ideas for a Polar Diorama There are many creative ways to make a shoebox into a diorama. For instance, the lid for this box was not removed. Instead it was used to create an underwater scene, showing how important marine life is to the Antarctic.

Check out more ideas in these habitat diorama projects: