How to turn a Wooden Tea box into a DIY Christmas Diorama

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Today we’re recycling a thrift store tea box and turning it into a homemade Christmas Diorama filled with (vintage) holiday miniatures.

This is such a fun and easy project to make. I’ll show you exactly how to make your own winter wonderland. So put on some Christmas music, and get in the spirit.

Back when I was a little girl I was mesmerized by miniature Christmas scenes on display in stores. And I still am. Mini makes everything cuter.

Your Christmas diorama will make a lovely addition to your holiday decor, and could also make a charming handmade gift for someone who could use some holiday cheer.

Handmade Christmas diorama from a recycled wooden tea box filled with cute vintage miniatures. Text on image: How to make a diy Christmas diorama from a thrift store tea box!

What you need to make a Christmas diorama

First, you’ll need some sort of a box to place your miniature Christmas decorations into.

Wooden tea boxes are perfect for this. These cubby boxes are fairly easy to find for cheap at the thrift store. I usually see at least one on most of my thrifting trips.

If you can’t find a tea box, look for any other wooden box or shadow box that has multiple compartments and that you can take the lid off.

Next, you’ll need a variety of Christmas miniature bits and pieces. Think bottle brush trees, cute deer figurines, or other little winter figures. Look for small ornaments and other decorations. Those old plastic Christmas floral picks often have nice, usable parts like mini packages, pieces of greenery, little bells, and more.

I used to be a vintage dealer for a long time, so I still have a decent personal collection of vintage miniatures. Go through your own holiday decorations and look for any small ornaments and figurines. Other than that, you can find many wonderful vintage Christmas miniatures on Etsy. If you don’t mind replicas, you can also buy miniatures on Amazon.

You will also need paint, paper, and glue. White paint and primer to transform your box, and regular craft glue or rubber cement for the paper backgrounds. Hot glue works great to attach the miniatures.

Gather pretty patterned papers to put in as backgrounds. Go through your stash of scrapbook papers, old Christmas cards and wrapping paper. Old Christmas children’s books are also great to find pretty background illustrations.

Tip if you need to buy paper for this project: Get yourself a Christmas-themed paper scrap pack on Etsy.

Cute vintage miniatures to make your own Christmas diorama from a recycled wooden tea box. Text on image: How to make a DIY Christmas diorama from a thrift store tea box!

If you have any spare Christmas miniatures after you finish your diorama, use them as decorations on a handmade pom pom wreath.

DIY Handmade Christmas diorama filled with cute vintage holiday miniatures.

How to make a DIY Miniature Christmas Diorama

Yield: 1 Christmas Diorama
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

This Christmas diorama is easy and cheap to make from a recycled wooden cubby tea box and vintage miniatures.


  • Empty Tea box
  • Primer
  • White Paint
  • Varnish or Mod Podge
  • Pretty papers large enough to cover the background
  • Christmas miniatures
  • Craft glue or rubber cement
  • Hot glue


  • Brush
  • Scissors


  1. Collect all your materials and miniatures. Start with a variety of anything that catches your eye. You will edit things out later.

    Step 1 DIY Christmas diorama. Gather holiday miniature figurines and ornaments.
  2. Remove the lid from your box. I could just carefully wiggle and pull off the hardware from my box, but you might need some pliers if it doesn't come off as easy.

    Step 2 How to make a DIY Christmas diorama. Remove the lid of the wooden tea box.
  3. Paint time. Make sure your box is clean and start with a layer of primer. Let dry completely.

    Next, paint your box with one or two layers of paint in the color of choice. Regular acrylic paint will work fine. Again, let dry completely.

    When fully dry finish this step with acrylic varnish or a layer of Modge Podge.

    At this point, don't worry about the back walls inside yet.

    Step 3 How to make a Christmas diorama. Prime, paint and varnish the wooden tea box.
  4. While you are literally waiting for the paint to dry, you can start working on cutting your background papers.

    Measure the insides of the cubbies of your box and cut your papers to size.

    Glue the papers to the back of each cubby. Wait for the glue to dry before moving on to the next step.

    Step 4 How to make a Christmas diorama. Add your background papers to the tea box.
  5. Take your miniature figurines and trees and all other little ornaments you gathered in step 1.

    Play around with the layout by swapping your trinkets in and out until you are satisfied with the look.

    At this point, you can hot glue your decorations into the tea box.

    Step 5 How to make a DIY Christmas diorama. Place the miniatures inside the cubbies.
  6. Finish your diorama by adding some bits and pieces to the outside of the box. Christmas ribbons, faux greenery, a few small decorations.

    Step 6 Finish your DIY Christmas diorama. Add decorations to the outside of the tea box.

If you enjoyed this project, you might also like some of my other Christmas crafts. Fun and easy tutorials on how to make pine cone elves, paper reindeer, Santa peg dolls, and more. Let’s craft!

Handmade Christmas diorama from a recycled wooden tea box filled with cute vintage miniatures. Text on image: DIY Christmas diorama.
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