Learn how to build a super high-quality dinosaur diorama project with this step-by-step tutorial. If you follow these steps, you’ll surely have the best science project in class. Let’s get started!
If you’d like to download a printable PDF version of this project, click the image below. The pdf has been compressed as a PDF for easy downloading, so you will need a program such as WinZip to unzip it.
Printable Dinosaur Diorama Background
Here’s a large dinosaur diorama background I created for this project. This image is actually a combination of 3 Heinrich Harder dinosaur paintings, created between 1912 and 1916. Since these images are over 70 years old, they are in the public domain and free to use. I combined them using Photoshop, and applied a few Photoshop filters to make them blend together. For your convenience, I’ve cropped the image into three letter-sized (8.5″ x 11″) pieces, so you can print it on any regular color printer.
Click on the image below to download the PDF containing the background images.
Dinosaur Diorama Supplies List
Here’s a list of supplies that I used to create this project. I’ve provided links to Amazon for some of the more obscure items. Many of these items, such as the dinosaurs and plastic trees, are interchangeable, so feel free to pick out whatever supplies you want to make your project unique.
Scene-A-Rama Desert Oasis Kit
Aleene’s Tacky Glue
Safari Ltd Dino Skulls Toob
Safari Ltd Velociraptor (3x)
Safari Ltd Stegosaurus
Safari Ltd Agathis Conifer (2x)
Safari Ltd Tree Fern
Cardboard 11″ x 16″
Dinosaur Diorama Step-by-Step Tutorial
Step 1. Gather all your supplies. In the image below, I’ve laid out everything from the Scene-A-Rama Desert Oasis Kit. The canvas in the kit is 16 inches by 11 inches. These are the dimensions I used for this dinosaur diorama. The kit comes with a sandpaper-like desert canvas surface, green foilage fiber to make shrubs, glue, green grass powder, a powder sifter cup, tiny rocks, fake grass. There are also a few items I didn’t use, such as the plastic palms and the yellow powder.
Step 2. Glue the canvas onto a large piece of cardboard. The Scene-A-Rama kit includes a brush and sticky bond. First apply the sticky bond to the canvas. Then apply the sticky bond to the cardboard. Wait about 15 minutes for the sticky bond to dry, and then roll the canvas onto the cardboard. Alternatively, you could use tacky glue to glue the canvas onto the cardboard.
Step 3. The Scene-A-Rama Kit comes with a spray bottle. Fill it with one part tacky or project glue, and one part water to create a glue mist. Spray the mist onto the canvas in the areas that you want grass. Then fill the grass sifter cup with the green grass powder, and sprinkle it on the canvas.
Step 4. Now my scene has grass. Woo!
Step 5. Time to add some shrubs. Pull apart the foilage fiber and glue the pieces on using tacky glue. Then open the bag of rocks and scatter the rocks onto the scene. If you haven’t already done so, trim the cardboard to match the size of the 16″ x 11″ canvas.
Step 6. In order to make the shrubs look like they’re part of the scene, they must be covered with the grass powder. Spray the glue mist over the shrubs, and then sprinkle the grass powder on the scene. I ran out of grass powder half-way through the project, so I had to buy another bag.
Step 7. Let’s plant some trees. If you’ve purchased the Safari Ltd trees, place those in the scene. Alternatively, you could grabs some small tree branches from your yard.
Step 8. Print the dinosaur diorama background I created for this project. If you haven’t already downloaded the file, you can do so here. I pasted the images onto cardboard from cereal boxes.
Step 9. Here’s completed scene! Time to add our dinosaurs.
Step 11. Let’s change that by adding a pack of velociraptors!
Step 12. Snap some photos! Zoom in and shoot some dynamic images. While doing this project, I discovered that my camera has a “toy” setting just for this type of work.
The End! That’s the entire tutorial. I hope your project turned out awesome, and you had a lot of fun creating it. If you’d like to share your creations with me, leave a comment with an image link. Then I’ll add your project at the bottom of this post!
About Heinrich Harder
As I mentioned earlier, the diorama background was created by combining 3 Heinrich Harder paintings. Here are the originals:
And here is the combined painting:
For those of your who like to use Photoshop, I blended the images using masks. Then I applied an oil painting filter, a water color filter, and played with the colors using the levels and color balance tools.
Heinrich Harder was a German artist and professor who lived from 1885 to 1935. He painted dinosaurs and other prehistoric images for scientific and natural history magazines.
For more information about this wonderful artist, please see Wikipedia: Heinrich Harder