Homework Helper: How to build a 3-D Plant Cell Model

We’re all heading back to school this week as I share two popular Science Fair projects – how to make a 3-D Plant Cell Model and how to make a 3-D Animal Cell Model. Almost every student has to construct a 3-D cell model at some point, so be sure to bookmark these tutorials. First up is how to DIY a 3-D Plant Cell Model. Older children and teens will be able to DIY the cell model on their own, but younger kids will need a helping hand.

Save this tutorial -- How to DIY a 3-D Plant Cell Model on CraftsnCoffee.com.

To make a 3-D Plant Cell Model, you will need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam:
    • ½” x 12” x 18” sheet
    • 2-1/2” ball
  • Acrylic craft paint in pea green, aqua, bright pink, purple and white
  • Craft foam (foamie) sheets or felt in green, blue, yellow, black, red and orange
  • Marble
  • Thick, white craft glue
  • Low-temp glue gun
  • Optional: toothpicks and white paper for labels
  • Tools needed: Scissors; ruler; marker; Xacto® knife or box cutter; serrated knife; bar of soap or old candle; stiff paintbrush; two rubber bands; optional: ¼” hole punch

Caution: Young children should not operate a glue gun or use a serrated knife!

To make a 3-D Plant Cell Model:

Note: You will want to frequently refer to the labeled photo as you construct your 3-D Plant Cell Model.

Brilliant! Save this for Science Fair -- how to DIY a 3-D Plant Cell Model! CraftsnCoffee.com.

You’ll want to reference this photo often as you construct your cell model.

1. Using the ruler and a marker, trace the following pieces on the ½” x 12” x 18” foam sheet:

  • Two, 2” x 12” strips (sides)
  • Two, 2” x 8” strips (ends)
  • One, 7” x 12” rectangle (bottom)

2. Using the ruler and Xacto knife or box cutter, cut out the pieces. (Hint: Be sure the blade is new for smoother cuts.)

3. Paint the cell walls:

  • Cytoplasm (top surface of the 7” x 12” bottom) – pea green
  • Cell membrane (interior sides of the 2” x 12” and 2” x 8” sides, and ¼” along the top edge of the four sides) – aqua.
  • Let paint dry thoroughly.

4. Create the nucleus:

  • Wax the serrated knife with an old candle or bar of soap. Cut a small slice from the bottom of the 2-1/2” ball so it will sit flat and not roll.
  • Stretch two rubber bands around the ball, dividing it into four equal quarters.  Be sure the four sections are equal and that the cut side is on the bottom.
  • Draw a line along the rubber bands marking one of the quarters. Remove the rubber bands.
  • Cut along the marker lines and cut away a quarter section.
  • Using your finger, make a depression at the center of the cut-away section to fit the marble.
The best tutorial to make a 3-D model of a Plant Cell on CraftsnCoffee.com.

Nucleus detail. The marble represents the nucleolus.

5. Paint the nucleus exterior purple and the interior (cut-away section) bright pink.

6. Assemble the cell walls:

  • Place the 7” x 12” bottom paint side up.
  • Glue the 2” x 12” sides to the base, with the cell membrane facing in.
  • Attach the 2” x 8” end pieces with the cell membrane facing in.

7. Glue the marble into the center of the nucleus. (The marble represents the nucleolus.) Glue the nucleus in the model. Refer to photo for placement.

Brilliant! Save this for Science Fair -- how to DIY a 3-D Plant Cell Model! CraftsnCoffee.com.

You’ll want to reference this photo often as you construct your cell model.

8. Cut out the following cell parts from different colors of craft foamies or felt:

  • Chloroplasts (green): Four, 1-1/2” long ovals
  • Mitochondria (blue): Two, 1-3/4” egg shapes
  • Vacuole (yellow): One, 5” – 6” pear shape
  • Ribosomes (black): 25, ¼” circles.  (Optional: use a ¼” hole punch to make the circles.)
  • Golgi body (red): One, 12” x 1” strip. Form the strip into several loops and glue loops together using low-temp glue. Place the looped structure onto the remaining red foamie sheet. Trade the insides of the loops on the foamie. Cut out these pieces and set aside. These will fill in the loops when you assemble the cell.
  • Endoplasmic reticulum (orange): Three, 12” x ½” strips.
This is the best tutorial to DIY a 3-D model of a plant cell. CraftsnCoffee.com.

You can use foamie sheets or felt to cut out the various cell parts.

9. Assemble the parts of the cell:

  • Chloroplasts, Mitochondria, Vacuole and Ribosomes: Refer to the photo and glue in place.
  • Golgi body: Glue the looped strip in place first, and then fill in the loops with the coordinating pieces.
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum: Fold the strips to create loops around the nucleus. You might need to cut the longer strips into shorter strips to work the loops all the way around the foam ball.

10. Paint the exterior cell walls white.

11. Optional: Label the parts of the cell. Print names of cell parts, cut out, and attach to toothpicks.

Bookmark this one for the Science Fair -- how to DIY a 3-D Plant Cell Model. CraftsnCoffee.com

Phew, it’s been many years since I’ve had to look this closely at the parts of a cell, and I’m feeling smarter already! Did you ever have to make a 3-D model of a cell? Or has your child made one?

See you Friday when we make a 3-D model of an animal cell.

P.S. This model is very cool, however, I cannot guarantee its accuracy, or that you’ll get an “A”. Please be sure to double check this information with your text book and teacher!

Happy crafting.



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32 Responses to Homework Helper: How to build a 3-D Plant Cell Model

  1. Pingback: 10 Dioramas to Celebrate Museum Day #FridayFrivolity | One Sage Mama

  2. I would like to be helped how to nuild a 3d plant cell project

  3. lovearti says:

    this is so easy i am going to do it thank

  4. Moni says:

    This is amazing. Literally, it helped me so much with my science project i had no idea what i was going to do and i find this! Thank you!

  5. Robrea says:

    This worked for me so good i got first place

  6. Haley forte says:

    Thanks this website helps alot especially with what I am doing

  7. Kanish says:


  8. Simranjit Dhaliwal says:

    I was just wondering if you could make a list of stores you bought these things from so then I could buy the right thing

    • Sharon says:

      Hi, you should be able to find what you need in WalMart, Jo-Anns, Michaels or Hobby Lobby. If there are sizes of balls of STYROFOAM Brand Foam you can’t find in the store, please visit http://www.TheCraftPlace.com. The Craft Place has every single size and shape available, and they are very helpful! Let us know how your Solar System turns out! Sharon

  9. Pingback: How To Build An Animal Cell Out Of Styrofoam | Asia Bank

  10. swanti says:

    very helpful for my science project

  11. sonie says:


    My daughter will be doing this model. Thanks for the wonderful site.

    • Sharon says:

      🙂 Thank you, and I’m glad you found us. Good luck to your daughter, and let us know how it turns out. Happy crafting! Sharon

  12. Jennifer says:

    found your project during a Google search for my son’s science project. It is a great project and easy for us to do together. We added a few more things that his teacher required. Wish I could send you a photo of the finished project! Thanks for taking the time to post such a helpful project to your web site. Your site is now saved to my Favorites;)

    • Sharon says:

      Hooray! I’m glad you and your son found us, and found the tutorial helpful. Thank you so much for the feedback! I’d love to see your son’s cell model, and you can e-mail the photo to craftsncoffee (@) gmail.com. Here’s to a successful end to another school year! Happy spring. Sharon

  13. LisaM6 says:

    This is a definite keeper. One more kiddo that will have to do a science project or two. Thanks

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you, Lisa. As you’re an experienced mom x 4, I appreciate your feedback! I’m sure your kids have raided your craft stash more than once when it’s time to DIY a school project. Any memorable projects you’d like to share? Sharon

  14. This is so coo! I never had to do this in school and neither of my kids had to either! I might make one of these just for the knowledge. Excited to see the Animal cell model on Friday!
    Fun and learning rolled into one is a good thing! TFS!

    • Sharon says:

      Thanks, Barb. Hang on to this one because your little grand may need it in a few years. What’s on your craft table this week? Sharon

      • I am making a mobile market stall for my Fairy Village, a bank for my newest great nephew, a few cards for RAKs and a steamer trunk! Hoping to spend most of Saturday in my craft room by myself to get some of these projects finished! TTYS~

      • Sharon says:

        Sounds like a busy, crafty weekend and I hope it was a ton of fun! Did you get through your list? Happy crafting! Sharon

  15. Angie says:

    Science Projects! How exciting! I remember doing them in school and helping my sons with them. Each year for the 5th Grade – 8th Grade our sons had to create science projects. There was a big science fair along with oral presentations by each student. I think both student and parents learned from these experiments. I remember creating an amoeba and a paramecium with all parts labeled correctly out of a bar of wax and different colors of colored paper. The bar of wax came out of my Mom’s kitchen as she made jams and jellies, topping it off with the melted wax. Styrofoam could have easily been used for the base of both products, but it was not readily available at years ago. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sharon says:

      Thanks for sharing your memories, too. I don’t remember making a lot of science projects, but I do remember making a diorama of Colonial Williamsburg. I always loved school projects that required crafting, and I bet you did, too. Sharon

  16. Wow! This is amazing

  17. Katiria says:

    This would have come in handy 2 months ago when my son did his science project. He used an 18 or 20 inch Styrofoam ball to make an animal cell. It came out pretty good he got an A and the teacher left it on display in class. I wish I could post a picture here. I put it on my pinterest page.

    • Sharon says:

      🙂 I took a peek on Pinterest and your son did a beautiful job! He deserved that A! He’ll enjoy Friday’s post . . . See you then! Sharon

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