Rainforest Habitat Diorama

Learn all about tropical rainforests and the animals that live in this habitat by making this fun shoebox diorama.

Also, check out our other habitat diorama projects: African Savanna Diorama, Coral Reef Diorama, Polar Diorama, All Diorama Crafts
Rainforest Habitat Diorama craft


  • Shoebox or similar-sized box
  • Small box
  • A4 or Letter size card stock
  • Brown construction paper
  • Green crepe paper
  • Green acrylic paint
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue gun
  • Small rocks and twigs (optional)

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 Rainforest Habitat Diorama 1.

Prepare the box.

For optimal space, use a large shoebox and keep the lid attached. Positioning the box upright also provides the vertical space needed for tall rainforest trees.
Step 1b Rainforest Habitat Diorama Ask for an adult's help. Keep the box lid permanently fixed at a 90 degree angle by attaching a small box at the bottom portion of the hinge. Use a hot glue gun or tacky glue to keep the small box in place.
Step 2 Rainforest Habitat Diorama 2.

Paint the box.

Paint the box with acrylic or poster paint. Acrylic paint is best used when the box has a glossy finish.

For the inside of the box, use a single shade of green or go for several shades to create depth. You can also paint some trees. Optionally, paint the outside of the box with your preferred color.
Step 3a Rainforest Habitat Diorama 3.

Prepare some trees.

Cut a rectangular section of brown construction paper to make half a tree. The paper's height should be at least an inch taller than the box height. At the bottom of the tree and on one side, you need to add tabs for gluing. These tabs are basically excess paper around ½ inch from these two edges of your paper tree.

Draw half of a tree starting from the side tab margin and branching out towards the opposite edge. (Click the photo for a larger view.)

If you are using a smaller box or positioning the box horizontally, you may be able to use this tree trunk template as a guide.
Step 3b Rainforest Habitat Diorama   Cut out the tree. Fold the side and bottom tab towards the back to crease them. Cut out about an inch from the top and bottom of the side tab.
Step 3c Rainforest Habitat Diorama   A whole tree can be attached onto the middle section of the box. Draw one on brown construction paper, making sure that the height of the paper is at least an inch taller than the box height. Draw a bottom tab about ½ inch from the bottom of the paper. Cut out the tree.

Notice how 2/3 of the bottom tab has been trimmed off. This is because this tree will be positioned in the middle of the box, right where the hinge is. The portion of the tree with the bottom tab will lie on the main box section while the portion without the tab will be glued onto the box lid.
Step 4a Rainforest Habitat Diorama 4.

Attach the trees.

Position the tree trunks inside the box. Glue the bottom tabs and the side tabs.
Step 4b Rainforest Habitat Diorama Fold the tops of the branches and glue them to the ceiling of the box.
Step 5a Rainforest Habitat Diorama 5.

Add leaves.

Add leaves, starting from the tree at the backmost part of the box and working towards the frontmost tree.

Cut strips of green crepe paper and crumple them slightly. Glue them to the branches and to the edges of the box to add more foliage.
Step 5b Rainforest Habitat Diorama The more crepe paper leaves you add, the lusher the trees. Try placing them so they extend outside the top edge of the box. You can use different shades of green for contrast.

*If you prefer making three-dimensional trees instead of the flat ones we made, you can head over to our 3D Paper Tree craft for instructions.
Step 6 Rainforest Habitat Diorama Ask for an adult's help.6.

Make some ferns and plants.

Create some ferns, philodendrons, and other rainforest plants using plain paper or crepe paper. Step-by-step instructions can be found here. Glue the plants to the box using a hot glue gun.
Step 7a Rainforest Habitat Diorama 7.

Prepare some rainforest animals.

You can draw your rainforest animals or cut them out from old magazines. You can also print out any of these Rainforest Animal sets on A4 or Letter size card stock. Color and cut out the animals.
Step 8 Rainforest Habitat Diorama 8.

Position the animals.

Position the animals inside the diorama. You can glue them onto tree branches, behind the trees, amidst ferns and plants, or even on top of the canopy.
Step 9a Rainforest Habitat Diorama 9.

Add more detail.

Small rocks, twigs, dried leaves, and other materials from nature can be added to add texture to your diorama. Heavier materials, such as small rocks, can be glued in place with a hot glue gun.
Step 9b Rainforest Habitat Diorama   Tightly twist strips of green crepe paper to make jungle vines. To make your vines coily, wrap them around a pencil. Glue one end of each vine onto a tree branch or to the box's ceiling.
Rainforest Habitat Diorama   Check out more habitat diorama ideas here: