3D Plant Cell Project – Also 3D Animal Cell Variation

Written by Sara O’Connor

Need to do a 3D plant cell model as a project for school? You aren’t alone. This is one of the most popular and common projects. Fortunately it is pretty easy to complete and fun to put together. All you need for your own 3D plant cell model is a few ordinary household objects. Additionally a few food items will be needed to illustrate the parts of the cell. We like to use Jell-O in our 3D cell model.

Here are the REQUIRED ITEMS:

  1. a plastic bag
  2. water
  3. large bowl
  4. square Tupperware style container (For the Plant Cell Only)
  5. cardboard scraps cut into oval shape
  6. small buttons
  7. 1 plum
  8. 1 small grape
  9. 2-4 small oranges – mandarin or clementine style
  10. 2-4 peas
  11. 2-4 average grapes
  12. pasta lasagna style
  13. table pepper
  14. Jell-O mix – Lemon works best


1. Place your plastic bag in the square plastic Tupperware container. The plastic bag needs to line the entire container as a cell membrane. This will create a block-like plant cell shape when completed and the plastic container represents a cell wall. For an animal cell, simply open a plastic bag and lay it on a table. No tupperware needed for shaping.

2. The Jell-O needs to be mixed with warm water in a large bowl. Follow the instructions on the box to see how much water to use for the Jell-O package. Lemon is probably the best flavor to use because it is the the most transparent.

3. Fill up the plastic bag(s) with the warm Jell-O liquid. It should be near the top of the container.

4. While the Jell-O has not hardened or firmed up, add the smaller parts of the cell to each bag. These are also called the organelles. What does each piece of fruit represent? The plums represent the nucleus, the small grape represents the nucleolus, the mandarin oranges represent mitochondria, grapes represent chloroplasts (only for plant cell in square container), some pieces of lasagna represent endoplasmic reticulum, small pieces of cardboard in oval shapes represent Golgi body, small buttons represent vacuoles, pepper particles represent ribosomes.

5. Close each plastic bag with a twist tie and place your cells in the refrigerator until the Jell-O sets up. This will not take place for several hours or longer.

Please make sure you have adult supervision while creating this 3D cell. It will be messy and you don’t want to cause any accidents. Have fun with this project. If you would like to submit photos of your completed please feel free to contact us and we may post them here!

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