I discovered artist Mano Kellner on Pinterest and was immediately drawn to her “art boxes”. They are very curious, quite charming, and even a bit mystical. I was so inspired by this one that I immediately started to plan how I could make something similar with my art students. I decided on making dioramas using the clementine fruit crates I had been saving!
If you don’t have these wooden crates, you can very easily use shoeboxes. The key to our dioramas was to create a little fantasy world. I think you can do this in many different ways. Our way was to use images from magazines together with little animal figurines. I’m obsessed with the way they turned out and love the dark, foresty looking scenes coupled with the brightly painted animals. Contrasts in art is what really draws you in.
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Supplies needed for dioramas with kids:
~ Wooden fruit crates of shoe boxes
~ Cut sheets from magazines of scenery and/or patterned scrapbooking paper
~ Evergreen tree mini branches (homemade)
~ Mini pinecones, or small nature objects found outside
~ Wine corks
~ Elmer’s glue
~ Plastic animal figurines (ours are from our collection, but I would buy this farm animal set because it’s fairly inexpensive for the amount of animals)
~ Tempera paints (I don’t buy small jars like this, but they do come in handy for small painting projects and they are inexpensive)
How to make dioramas with kids:
1. Begin your prep by cutting up the magazine pages and patterned paper. I put these in piles on a separate table, or on the floor.
2. Prep the little trees. I cut small clipping from trees outside, then attached them to corks. I cut the corks in half and nailed a little hole in the middle, then used hot glue to attach the tree to the cork.
3. Put the rest of the materials in jars or bowls, and set out the crates along with glue and scissors.
4. The children cut and glue so that the back and sides are covered.
5. It was all hands on deck when helping them glue in the trees, so I didn’t snap any photos. But that would be the next step! Cover the ground with moss and add all the embellishments.
6. Animal painting was over at another table. Let them dry before adding to their diorama.
7. I used hot glue to add the animals, the children told me exactly where to put them.
I really can’t stop staring at these. It feels like a mini-trip into a magical, happy world.
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Did you like this post? Here are some more artists studies with kids: