Making Plants & Trees for a Diorama

Explore the many ways you can create plants and trees for your diorama using simple materials like paper, crepe paper and feathers.
Dinsoaur Diorama craft


  • Brown cardstock or construction paper
  • Crepe paper or tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Feathers
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Scotch tape
  • Flower sequins, flowers, paper or craft flowers

Safety Tips

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

1. Bushes

Bushes out of colored cotton Color some cotton green following these steps. Once dry, fluff up the cotton and shape them into bushes. Glue the bushes onto your diorama. Glue on some flower sequins or craft foam flowers if you like.

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Another simple idea for making bushes is to scrunch up some green tissue paper or crepe paper and glue them on to your diorama.

2. Ferns and Tropical Plants

A. Making Ferns out of Feathers

Ferns made out of green feathers   Bunch up about 6 green feathers and bind them at the base with tape. Arrange the feathers so that they fan out like a real fern.

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B. Making Ferns and Tropical Plants out of Crepe Paper

Step 1 Crepe paper fern 1. Cut crepe paper or tissue paper into a long strip. Mine is about 12 x 4 inches. Make a 1-inch wide fold on one short edge. Continue to fold the entire length accordion-style (back-and forth folding).
Step 2 Crepe paper fern 2. Draw a diagonal line on the topmost fold, starting from the top corner to about half-an-inch above the bottom corner.
Step 3 Crepe paper fern 3. Cut along the line.
Step 4 Crepe paper fern 4. To make a fern, cut fringes along the curved edge.
Step 5a Crepe paper fern 5. Carefully unfold. This would be how the fringed fern would look like.
Step 5b Crepe paper fern   And this is how a plain one (without the fringes) looks like.
Step 6 Crepe paper fern 6. While holding the strip on the bottom corner, slowly gather the crepe paper towards the center.
Step 7 Crepe paper fern 7. Bind the base with tape to hold the plant in place.
Step 8 Crepe paper fern 8. Arrange the leaves so that they fan outwards.
Step 9 Crepe paper fern *Instead of drawing a plain diagonal line in Step 2, try experimenting with zigzags, curly, or other lines to come up with unique leaf shapes.

C. Making Philodendrons and Other Large-Leafed Plants

Philodendron Step 1 1. Cut out heart-shaped leaves out of green construction paper or card stock. Use a pair of wavy edge or scallop edge craft scissors if you want the leaves to have wavy edges. Draw veins on each leaf using markers or colored pencils. Cut a length of green floral wire or pipe cleaner to make a stem. Glue a stem behind each leaf. Allow the glue to dry.
Philodendron Step 2 2. Twist the bottom of the stems together.
Philodendron Step 3 3. Bend each stem towards a different direction so that the leaves fan out like a real philodendron plant. Flatten the bottom end of the stems before gluing it onto the diorama.

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3. Flowers and Potted Plants

Flowers Ask for an adult's help. Cut out your own flowers from paper or craft foam. You can also use pre-made paper or foam flowers, sequins, or beads. Poke a small hole at the center of each flower. Insert one end of a pipe cleaner, craft wire, or toothpick to make the stem. Add a round paper or foam shape, or a small bead on top to make the flower center. Fold the end of the pipe cleaner or wire jutting out from the top.

>> Garden Diorama
Flowering plant Ask for an adult's help. Create a leafy plant following the steps in the previous section on "Ferns and Tropical Plants". To add a flower, insert a craft wire or pipe cleaner at the center of the plant. Place a craft foam or paper flower at the tip of the wire.

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Potted plant   Bottle caps make nice and colorful pots. Fill them with clay or dough then plant some flowers or paper plants into them. The plant in this photo was made by cutting 6 leaf shapes out of green construction paper and planted one at a time into the pot.

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4. Grass

Grass Step 1 1. Cut green or yellow ochre-colored paper into a rectangular piece. Cut blades of grass along one long edge of the paper.
Grass Step 1 2. Glue the strip below an animal's legs, at the base of a tree, or onto the box's wall.
Grass Step 3 3. 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.

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5. Palm Tree

Step 1 Paper palm tree 1. Cut brown cardstock or construction paper into a small rectangle. Mine is about 3.5 x 2 inches. The length of the rectangle corresponds to your palm tree's height. Roll the rectangle along its long side. Glue the edge in place to come up with a cylindrical tree trunk.
Step 2 Paper palm tree 2. Make the palm tree leaves by following Steps 1 to 7 for making a crepe paper fern.
Step 3 Paper palm tree 3. Apply some white glue around the base of the palm leaves and insert it into the tree trunk.
Step 4 Paper palm tree 4. Carefully open up the layers of palm leaves.

6. Tree (2-Dimensional)

Making a tree for a box diorama 1. Draw a tree trunk on cardboard or thick cardstock. You can also print out this Tree (Template #1) on A4 or Letter size cardstock. Cut out the tree trunk. Draw a straight line from the branches to the roots. This marks the straight edge where the tree will be attached to the side of the shoebox. Fold back the trunk along this line to create the side tabs.
Making a tree for a box diorama 2. Fold back along the base to make a bottom tab. Paint the tree trunk or cover it with brown crepe paper for a textured effect.

Position the tree in your diorama by gluing the side and bottom tabs onto the box.
Step 6c Dinosaur Diorama craft 3. Cut green crepe paper into strips. Crumple them up slightly and glue them onto the branches and onto the edges of the box.

6. Tree (3-Dimensional)

Making a tree for a box diorama Make a three-dimensional tree. Check out the instructions and templates for making one at our 3D Paper Tree craft.