How to Make a 3D Waterfall

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Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox

  • Scissors

  • Cardboard

  • Glue

  • Blue spray paint

  • Blue modeling clay

  • White modeling clay

  • Small paint brush

  • White acrylic latex paint

  • Shellac sealant spray

Making a replica of a waterfall can be done easily with some modeling clay.

Making a 3D waterfall model is a fun way to create a realistic scale version of one of nature’s beauties. A 3D waterfall can work for many projects from science fair projects, to art assignments. By using blue modeling clay and adding some creativity, discover how you can make a 3D waterfall of your own to fit any project that you may have planned.


Step 1

Remove the lid of your shoebox and discard, then cut out the bottom side of your shoebox. You should be left with the sides of your shoebox that make a rectangular cardboard outline.

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Step 2

Cut out a square piece of cardboard that is at least 12 inches by 12 inches in size.

Step 3

Apply glue to one of the smaller sides of your rectangular piece of cardboard you made from the shoebox, and glue it in the center of your square cardboard piece so that it stands tall.

Step 4

Spray paint your glued-together pieces of cardboard with blue spray paint. Allow about an hour to dry.


Step 5

Begin flattening your blue clay until it’s about half an inch thick. Apply to the top side of your rectangular piece of cardboard. Continue applying a layer of modeling clay down one side of your rectangular piece of cardboard, all the way down to the square cardboard base. This forms the 3D waterfall.


Step 6

Apply more blue clay to your square piece of cardboard around the rectangular piece. This will be the water around your waterfall.

Step 7

Starting at the top of your waterfall, pinch the clay in random spots going down the rectangular piece, to give the 3D shape of rushing water.


Step 8

Roll a piece of white clay into a ball about an inch in width. Repeat four or five more times in various sizes. Place the balls at the bottom of your waterfall. Pinch them as well to create the 3D illusion of gushing whitewater. Allow clay at least two or three hours to harden, depending on the brand.


Step 9

Dip a small paintbrush into white acrylic latex paint and paint random small white streaks from the top of your waterfall to the base, to give the look of rushing water.

Step 10

Spray your waterfall with a coat of shellac to give it the look of shiny water, and prevent any chipping of the paint. You now have a 3D model of a waterfall to use in any craft project.


Add rocks or stones around the edges of the waterfall, or cotton balls spray-painted green, to represent brush and rocky areas.


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