How to Make Realistic Trees for a Diorama

While dioramas are typically assigned as school projects, children and adults can have an educational and creative time building models of different landscapes and scenes. Building dioramas present a challenge of capturing the necessary detail to make the scene look real, while keeping the scale and difficulty down. Creating trees for a diorama depends on the type of tree needed for the scene and the type of materials available. There are different methods to make different types of trees using only a few materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Pine cones
  • Twigs
  • Green paint
  • Small paintbrush
  • Clear cellophane tap
  • Small bird feathers
  • Scissors
  • Enamel spray
  • Electric drill with a .5 millimeter or 1 millimeter bit
  • Glue spray
  • White or super glue
  • Modeling bushes


    • 1

      Gather the needed materials, especially those which come from outside, such as pine cones, twigs and feathers. The needed materials depend on the type of trees being constructed. Use pine cones and green paint (or white for a winter scene) for pine trees. For palm trees, use feathers and twigs (preferably from a fir tree). For others, use twigs.

    • 2

      Create pine trees by painting the pine cones green, leaving the center and any stem brown or gray, and set them aside to dry. Tape them to the ground of the diorama upside down so they resemble the way pine trees stand.

    • 3

      Make palm trees by using a few small feathers. Wet the individual feathers so they stick together. Use the scissors to cut the feathers so they resemble palm fronds, varying in shape and length. Apply spray enamel to lock the feathers into shape. Paint the feathers green, possibly adding a light brownish color to the tips to show damage at the ends of the frond. Glue each feather to the top of a small twig with those toward the top being shortest and most upright while the longest fronds are in the middle sticking up slightly and the bottommost being short and pointing slightly downward. Glue or tape the tree to the diorama at an angle to resemble a real palm tree.

    • 4

      Make thicker, bushier trees by attaching thin twig branches to a thicker twig trunk. Drill very small holes into the drunk using the electric drill. Apply glue into the hole and the end of the branch twig and let it set in place. While the trunk and branches dry, pour a layer of the modeling bushes into the lid of the bushes container. Spray glue onto the top of the trunk and the branches (make sure not to spray glue onto the lower section of the trunk, below the branches). Dip the tree into the bushes and slightly press down to get the bushes to stick to the tree, repeat for each side of every branch of the tree. Add more leaves to the branches using white or super glue. Allow the glue to dry and add the tree to the diorama using either glue or tape at the base.


  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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