our everyday life

Tips on Making a Book Report Diorama in a Shoebox

by Christopher Cascio

A shoebox diorama represents a scene within the confines of a shoebox. When used as a book report, you can decorate and arrange figures and objects inside of the shoebox to illustrate a scene from the book. Think of the shoebox as a theater stage, and you are the director, prop-master and set designer.

Capture The Moment

When making a diorama for a book report, it is important you choose a significant scene from the book to display in your diorama. Ideally, you want people who see your project to know which book it is from without being told, or having to read the title. Furthermore, if you capture a moment of action in your scene, it will draw attention and prompt those unfamiliar with your book to ask about what happens next in that scene.

Draw It Out

Before you start crafting figures and pasting colored paper to this inside of your shoebox, take the time to make a drawing of what you plan to do. Figure out which objects will go near the front and back and so on, so you don't get to the building stage and realize you don't have enough room for the important parts of your scene. Consider your sketch a blueprint, which will let you try different ideas without having to waste materials and construction time.

Build from Back to Front

It is tempting to begin by placing objects and decorations in the foreground of your scene first, because that is what the audience sees first, and the foreground is usually where the action happens. However, it is much easier to paint -- or apply colored -- paper to the background first, followed by any background objects before placing any of the foreground objects or decorating the front of the box.

Use The Lid

The lid of the shoebox is an effective tool that can significantly enhance the presentation of your diorama. You can use it as a base to increase the area of the "ground." If it's a hinge-type lid that is connected to the box, you can stand the box on end and use the lid as additional foreground space beside the main box area. You can even use this type of lid to represent space underwater or underground: simply keep the lid attached and place the box near the edge of the table, allowing the lid to drape down in front.

About the Author

Christopher Cascio is a memoirist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literature from Southampton Arts at Stony Brook Southampton, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in the rhetoric of fiction from Pennsylvania State University. His literary work has appeared in "The Southampton Review," "Feathertale," "Kalliope" and "The Rose and Thorn Journal."

Photo Credits

  • Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images