How to Make an Iceberg Diorama

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Things You'll Need

  • Empty shoebox

  • Scissors

  • Blue acrylic or tempera paint

  • Newspapers

  • Plaster cloth

  • White styrofoam tray

  • Clear and blue cellophane (optional)

You can use a diorama to create a compact replica of a massive iceberg.

Taking a real iceberg to show and tell would make for quite a presentation, but even if you could fit one through your classroom door, you'd have to venture to faraway waters to retrieve it. These floating pieces of ice were formerly part of glaciers or ice shelves, and they come in all different shapes and sizes, the largest of which are closely monitored to prevent collisions like the one that sank the Titanic. Although it may not be as impressive as the real thing, an iceberg diorama can help you condense a mighty structure to fit inside a small box for a convenient, organized display.


Step 1

Remove the lid from an empty shoebox. If you can't find a shoebox, you can use another box provided it is of a similar size and shape. Cut away one of the long sides from the box, remove this piece and discard it.

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Step 2

Coat the remaining areas with blue acrylic or tempera paint, including the bottom and sides of the box interior. and then allow the layer to dry. These painted parts will represent the water and sky.

Step 3

Wad up newspaper pages to form the basic shape of your iceberg. Both the size and shape of the iceberg are entirely up to you, but you'll want the structure to be able to fit inside the diorama box. Arrange the wads inside the diorama, and then cover them with plaster cloth.

Step 4

Cut up a white styrofoam tray. This could be a clean, dry meat package tray or a disposable cafeteria tray. The pieces you cut will represent ice floes that you can scatter over the bottom of the box, leaving spaces in between to maintain the visibility of the painted water beneath.


Step 5

Cover the iceberg and ice floes with clear plastic cellophane to create a shiny effect. Use blue cellophane to create a sleek-looking surface over the painted water.


For a little extra detail, create your own plasticine figurines of Arctic animals like polar bears or penguins, or simply use cutouts of images from magazines. For another finishing touch, glue cotton ball clouds to the sides of the diorama.


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