How to Make a Shoebox Desert Project

Recreate a desert sunset in a shoebox.
Recreate a desert sunset in a shoebox. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Shoebox desert projects can be used as a classroom activity, part of a science fair presentation or as an educational afternoon activity at home. You can create an image of a desert at dusk or the sun rising over a desert plain. Keep your shoebox desert display as a reference model for other projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • White glue
  • Sand
  • Scissors
  • Card stock
  • Markers
  • Reference book on desert plants and animals

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Choose a specific desert to recreate and research its native plants and animals.

Place a shoebox on its side horizontally. Discard the lid. Paint the inside walls of the box to represent the sky at your chosen time of day. Draw and color rock formations as background if they are pertinent to your desert.

Spread glue over the bottom of the shoebox. Fill the bottom with sand.

Download images from the Internet of plants and animals that are native to your desert. Reduce the images, print and cut them out. Glue them on card stock. Or draw the images directly on the card stock and color them with paints or markers.

Fold the the cutouts at the bottom and add some glue to the flaps. Arrange them in the sand as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you live in a desert region, use pieces of real desert plants. Only use plants that have fallen on the ground or carefully selected pieces of healthy plants to avoid environmental damage.


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