How to Make a 3D Plant Cell Model

There is no reason to panic about making a model of a plant cell for class. There are a couple of different ways to do this. One involves food items and will have to be refrigerated. The other involves non-food items and will last longer.

The 3D model of the plant cell using food items can be constructed using the following items:

Plastic sandwich bag

Square ‘tupperware’ container

Jell-O or some other gelatin

Mandarin oranges

Grapes (green)

Uncoooked spaghetti



Other items to be the other organelles

Mix the Jell-O according to directions and pour it into the sandwich bag until it is about 2/3 full. Put things like mandarin orange sections in to be the mitochondria, grapes for the chloroplasts, pepper for the ribosomes, yarn for Golgi apparatus, bubble wrap for the vacuoles, etc. The plastic sandwich bag is the cell membrane, the tupperware container is the cell wall and the Jell-O is the cytoplasm.

After you have all of your ‘organelles’ in the bag with the gelatin, close it up, put in the tupperware and put it in the refrigerator to set.

For the non-food item model, I suggest going to a craft store and buying the green foam that florists use. You can buy different shapes. The rectangle is great for the plant cell and the half-sphere is good for the animal cell. The green florist foam is good because you can press things into it or carve out places easily. Another option would be modeling clay or play dough.

Substitute the perishable food items in the first example with non-perishables like gum balls instead of grapes. While you are at the craft store getting the foam, you may be able to find some inexpensive beads to use for other organelles. Pipe cleaners also work really well for the rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Styrofoam packing peanuts can be painted for different organelles. Yarn is also another option. Glitter works well for the ribosomes. Play-doh is inexpensive and can be molded into shapes. Pencil shavings even work for the chromosomes. Plastic bubble wrap can work for the large vacuole in the plant cell.

To represent the cell membrane, you will still want to wrap the outside in plastic wrap or similar material, and place the plant cell model in a disposable tupperware type container for the cell wall.

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