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Fun step-by-step tutorial for an autumn leaves diorama

Watching the leaves change is a sign that fall is here — help your children learn the how and why of this iconic sign of the changing seasons.

Creating three-dimensional representations of things learned in class is a great way to help your students master concepts. This diorama of fall foliage will help your child learn why the leaves change colors when the weather gets cool.

Changing Seasons - Make a Fall Foliage Diorama


  • Styrofoam base
  • Styrocraft Smoothfoam
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar Smooth Finish
  • Sticks or twigs
  • Faux grass
  • Moss (two colors)
  • Assorted green paper
  • Leaf punch
  • Fall colored faux flowers
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Elmer’s School Glue


1. Visually divide

Sticks and Smooth Finish

Visually divide the foam base into 4 parts; insert 1 stick into the center of each part.

2. Apply smooth finish

Apply Smooth Finish

Use the Smooth Finish on each end. On the left end, add a thin, smooth coat as the base for the grass. On the right end, add a more uneven coat to look like snow drifts. If you like, add some Smooth Finish on the branches over the snow drifts. Allow to dry for several hours, or overnight.

3. Ready the other base layers

Insert trees and prepare ground covering

Grab your 3 other base layers — faux grass, and 2 colors of moss.

4. Glue down ground coverings

Create Ground Cover

Add a thin layer of School Glue over the area designated for grass, then sprinkle on the grass granules. Use hot glue to add the moss to the other two quarters.

5. Punch out leaves

Cut Leaves

Use the leaf punch to create green leaves from the green paper.

6. Glue the leaves

Glue on Leaves

Glue the leaves onto the tree on the grassy quarter of the base.

7. Cut flower petals

Cut Flowers for Leaves

Cut the flower petals from the faux flowers.

8. Glue on the petals

glue petals as leaves

Glue the flower petals as leaves onto the center 2 trees. The tree on the left should be more full and have about 50 percent of the brown-green leaves, the rest yellows and oranges.

9. Finishing touches

Completed Fall Foliage Diorama

The tree to the right should be more sparse with primarily oranges, yellows and reds. Add small piles of leaves to the ground as well.

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