How to Make a Diorama of Outer Space

By Erica Loop
Design a space age diorama.

Bring outer space into your own room. Kids can create a three dimensional diorama representation of the galaxy complete with movable moons, planets, asteroids and more. Dioramas have been used for centuries to display miniature versions of major events and places. Starting with a shoe box, students can design a planetary project as an art activity or to accompany a science fair display. Choose a specific theme such as the lunar surface, the stars, Earth from above or any other space type creation.

Make a Background

Draw the basic background outline onto the back, sides and bottom of the box with a pencil. This may include a horizon line separating the moon's (or a planet's) surface from outer space, circle-shaped planets, irregularly shaped asteroids, stars or other outer space objects.

Paint the background with tempera. Use a large or thick bristled brush to paint large areas representing space a black color. Add other colors with a smaller brush to fill in planets, a land surface or other parts of the background.

Add twinkling stars with glitter. Lay the box flat with the starred surfaces facing up. Place small eraser-sized dabs of school glue onto the box's interior. sprinkle glitter over the glue. Tap the box over a piece of scrap paper to get shake off excess glitter.

Add Objects

Create hanging planets or moons. Draw circles in different sizes on construction paper. Cut the circles out. Use a punch to make a hole in the top of each circle. Tie a three-inch section of yearn through the hole. Tape the other end of the yearn to the top of the box's interior.

Mold moon rocks, asteroids and other geological bodies out of modeling clay. Take a three or more inch section of clay into the palms of your hands. Roll the clay into a sphere. Use your fingers to make depressions and pull projections from the clay. Squirt a small dab of glue onto the bottom of the diorama and firmly press the clay into place.

Create aliens or astronauts. Cut 3 inch by 2 inch rectangles from the construction paper. Draw figures with markers onto the paper. Make a stand by cutting a paper tab that is half the size of the figure. Fold the tab and glue to the back. Position the figures in the diorama.

Tip

Use crumbled tissue paper to create extra moon rocks or make a hilly terrain.

Add a vast amount of stars by brushing glue across the background. Sprinkle a small handful of glitter across the glue and the shake off excess.

Warning

Always use non-toxic, child-safe materials. These should be labeled as age appropriate.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.