How to Make a 3D Plant Eukaryotic Cell Model

Plant cell models can be made from Styrofoam and play dough.
••• foglia image by Pinosub from

Making a 3D plant cell model is a common science class project. Use a Styrofoam sphere and mold shapes from play dough to represent the elements of a plant cell. All the materials needed to build a 3D plant cell model made of Styrofoam and play dough can be purchased at most local and on-line arts and crafts stores.

    Construct a chart that lists all of the elements of a plant cell; including the cell membrane, which excretes waste from the cell; the cell wall, which keeps water inside the cell and provides structure to the cell; the Golgi body, which stores lipids; the rough endoplasmic reticulum, which synthesizes proteins; the cytoplasm, which distributes nutrients and oxygen to the cell; the nucleolus, which makes ribosomes; and the vacuole where substances are stored. Also, remember to include ribosomes, the nucleus, nucleolus, the smooth endoplasmic reticulum, the amyoplast and the centrosome. to make your model complete. Draw the shape of each element of the plant cell using a colored marker next to the element's name on the list, and choose a unique color to represent each element.

    Cut a 12-inch Styrofoam sphere in half, using a serrated knife.

    Mold the play dough into the various shapes that will represent all of the elements of a plant cell. Draw the the cell wall using a colored marker around the entire outside edge of the sphere. Draw the cell membrane around the entire sphere using a colored marker inside of the cell wall. Make the Golgi body using play dough, so that it resembles a half circle, then make the rough endoplasmic reticulum resemble a half circle of a different color. Use a colored marker to fill in the entire flat surface of the sphere, as this will represent the cytoplasm. Next, make the nucleolus resemble a circle. Using play dough, create the vacuole to resemble a large square that will fill the top 1/4 of the entire sphere. The ribosomes will resemble pea-sized balls. Use your imagination to create the remaining cell elements. Every element of the cell should be represented with a unique color of play dough that matches that color on the plant cell element list.

    Glue the play dough shapes onto the flat surface of the Styrofoam sphere. Use an illustration of a plant cell to glue the play dough shapes in the correct place.

    Write the name of each element of the plant cell onto a separate label. Attach the labels to the tips of toothpicks.

    Press the label-carrying toothpicks into the plant cell element the toothpick represents.

    Things You'll Need

    • Knife
    • Play dough
    • Glue
    • Toothpicks
    • Labels
    • Styrofoam sphere
    • Color markers


    • Exercise caution when cutting the sphere in half using a serrated knife.

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