Home How-To Easy, Last-Minute DIY Holiday Decorations: Winter Sugar Dioramas

Easy, Last-Minute DIY Holiday Decorations: Winter Sugar Dioramas

If you joined us for yesterday’s post on creating homemade holiday ornaments and faux-gingerbread houses, you know that we’re holiday decorating junkies. But between all the cleaning and reorganizing, meal planning, prepping the guest rooms, and shopping for holiday gifts, we sometimes find ourselves a bit short on time. When we want a tout-de-suite burst of holiday cheer, we turn to easy DIY decorations, like these utterly charming winter sugar dioramas. Pick up the components on your next trip to Target, and you can put these sweet little vignettes together in less than an hour.

These DIY winter dioramas are a cross between traditional tableaux, like the holiday crèche, and homemade snow globes—without the dozens of loose, easy-to-knock-over pieces of the former and the leaky glycerin mess of the latter. The sugar anchors the figurines in place, and neither will budge unless they sustain a pretty hard bump. That said, they can be dislodged with enough effort, and the sugary smell may be irresistible to pets and little two-footers, so keep these holiday dioramas safely out of their reach.

With their alpine look, you can keep your winter sugar dioramas on display all season long, then disassemble and pack away the components until next year and make entirely new vignettes. (You can even reuse the sugar, as long as you store it in an airtight container during the off season, to prevent creepy-crawlies from snacking on it.) Pretty sweet, right? Let’s start building.

What you’ll need:

  • Sugar—the quantity depends on how many dioramas you’ll make, but we like to buy a large bag of the least-expensive store variety
  • Scoop or measuring cup
  • Clear or bottom-frosted glass containers with wide mouths
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Miniature figurines, like plastic or resin woodland animals, bottle-brush evergreen trees, and houses; or berries and greenery

DIY winter dioramas supplies

How to do it:

1. Place each glass container on a piece of blank white paper and trace around the line of the bottom with a pencil. For each container, repeat this up to 4 times, depending on how many layers you want. Cut out the shapes.

DIY winter dioramas 1

DIY winter dioramas 2

2. With the scoop or measuring cup, pour a layer of sugar between 1 and 2 inches thick into the bottom of the first container. Shake the container gently to create a subtle slope.

DIY winter dioramas 3

3. Position one or more of the figurines, or berries and greenery, in the front of the slope, toward the edge of the glass container.

DIY winter dioramas 4

4. Place a piece of paper over the first layer of sugar, curving it and gently anchoring the ends into the sugar slope to create the desired shape over your first vignette.

DIY winter dioramas 5

DIY winter dioramas 6

5. Carefully pour in a second layer of sugar, using your fingers or the scoop to guide the sugar toward the back of the vignette.

DIY winter dioramas 7

6. Add as many additional paper and sugar layers as desired, always curving the paper and gently anchoring the ends into the sugar slope. End with a layer of sugar on top, and place additional figurines, or berries and greenery, on top, if desired.

DIY winter dioramas 8

DIY winter dioramas 9

DIY winter dioramas 10

DIY winter dioramas 11

7. Make as many dioramas as you like, varying the number of layers and figurines, and the shape of the sugar slope and paper layers.

DIY winter dioramas 12

DIY winter dioramas 13

DIY winter dioramas 14

DIY winter dioramas 15

 

DIY winter dioramas 16

DIY winter dioramas 17

DIY winter dioramas 18

DIY winter dioramas finished

 

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5 comments

Brie DeGruttola December 2, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I’d love to make these, but I have been having a difficult time finding the mini figurines. Where did you get yours from? Thanks!

Reply
Fresh American December 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

Hi there, Brie! We got ours at our local Michael’s craft store, but you can also shop a bunch of holiday miniatures online at Factory Direct Craft: http://factorydirectcraft.com/catalog/categories/2149_2043_2150-christmas_miniatures.html

We’d love to see a pic of your finished dioramas!

Reply
Gayle December 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm

We had a blast making these. Our assortment of animals included a beluga, beaver and bears so we used blue colored sugar for water. Thanks for the inspiration! Links to pics : https://db.tt/Je4lTgdZ, https://db.tt/WS0mtuKg, https://db.tt/rSZPE29W

Reply
Fresh American December 15, 2014 at 7:36 am

These are adorable, Gayle! We love the addition of water — what a great idea. We might just have to steal that and make another diorama. 😉

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