Learn how to make dioramas for nativity scenes and other creations

Knowing how to make dioramas can come in handy if we like models or modeling, and also to make nativity scenes or just have some fun. With this hobby we will develop creativity, we will make the brain work and we can discover what our hidden manual skills are. Dioramas represent a scene that is framed within the world to scale that we reproduce when we use miniatures or models and place them in a specific environment. They are reproductions in three dimensions and are used to create nativity scenes.

First decisions

With dioramas we can create infinite scenarios, those like so many themes there are. Thus, we have them set in fantasy worlds, science fiction, landscapes, cities, historical reproductions such as the nativity scenes themselves or a battle that took place some time ago … The possibilities are endless and we are the ones who will choose what we want to reproduce.

Since there are so many options, first of all we must define what we want to represent. Depending on the chosen scene, all the necessary elements will be acquired to execute it. In order for it to be as faithful to the reality of what we want to stage, we must document us and know everything related with the fundamental aspects that must be present in our diorama based on this information.

Then it is good that take a pencil and paper and draw a sketch. Try to include all the details, as the next step is to make a list of what you will need. Write down the materials that you consider necessary, there are no written rules here, it is about using the resources that you have at your fingertips or that you go to a specialized store and acquire the required products. Imagination is the main basis of dioramas. If this is going to be based on nature, it is likely that you can collect something useful in the field itself, such as stones to simulate rocks, for example.

Diorama war

In parallel, you have to think about the size you are going to focus on to build the diorama, and on what surface. All elements have to have a proportionate scale, otherwise it will lose realism. As for the place where you are going to build it, it also depends on the space you have or what you want to invest. Sometimes just take a large box or a cardboard pallet, at least to start. These are small dioramas, but there are many of this type that are very successful because here the size does not matter, but the time that we are going to dedicate and the chosen theme.

You have to think deep down. Sometimes it is not necessary, but other times it is necessary to procure an artificial one that can be made of paper if it is a starry sky, a mountainous landscape, or if it is located in a city it is possible add a drawing with buildings to it. In general, including this aspect makes the whole more accurate.


It is important to start including items from back to front, because this is how it is possible to give more depth to the scene. Then we must think about the terrain, if it is a desert, a beach, a forest … Here we can use sawdust, artificial or real moss, sand, even … This we will have to think about when acquiring the materials.

We must always try to incorporate details, those that we have discovered in the documentation process. This makes dioramas more attractive in addition to giving them a more real vision. The more we space the elements, the better, since the different nuances will be better appreciated.

The miniatures are key to give more verisimilitude to the whole. They will always have to be in tune with the chosen theme. Some can be purchased assembled and paintedSometimes you have to assemble or paint them yourself, something that will depend on the time you want to dedicate to assembling the diorama and whether or not you like the model and the meticulousness involved.

Dirorama town


Today we can find a large number of accessories and figures to make dioramas in specialized stores if we do not have notions of modeling and do not want to invest a lot of time. However, this is also one of the most striking elements of them and it is that They allow you to make countless decorative elements with your own hands.

If we buy everything already done, the disbursement may be somewhat higher, that is why it is recommended use cheaper techniques to recreate certain effects. A very clear example is water. Since it cannot be incorporated in a real way, at least in the smallest dioramas, it is recommended to use resin. On a bluish background the product should be poured in layers one by one, waiting for one to dry before adding the next. On the other hand, liquid silicone works well for simulating lakes or ponds. In this case, you only have to add the amount that we deem appropriate in the corresponding diorama area. There are also professional glazing gels, but these are more expensive.