Our sixth Peeps Diorama Contest is coming to a close with just a few days left to submit entries (you must enter by Monday, Feb. 27 at 11:59 p.m. ET).

Last year’s winning diorama: Can you top it? (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

1. Be Original. So far, “Occupy PeepStreet” is a popular theme for entries, and we’re seeing brilliant recreations on behalf of the 99 Peepcent. The Royal Wedding-themed “Peepa’s Bottom” is clever, too, and one zillion other peeps across the world tuned in to watch said bottom carry the train of the new Peeple’s Princess (Puns! We love puns!). Just remember that your diorama needs to stand out. Choose an idea that will surprise us; and if you think others may Peep-ify the same subject matter, pay attention to creative details to set yours apart. Last year we got many dioramas featuring the rescue of Chilean miners, but the details on this one blew us away — and pushed it into first place.

2. Be Gracious.

We love humor and edge, but use some common sense. Please don’t spend precious hours making a diorama you’d be embarrassed to show my mother. Yes, my mother. Your mother thinks you’re witty, but my mother simply wants to eat cinnamon buns while reading the Sunday paper without being insulted or falling ill. So think of her.

3. Take This Seriously.

Wow us. This isn’t an extra credit project, but a competition in engineering and creativity. How do you know if yours is good enough? When you’re gluing that edible palm tree to your Peeptropolis, think to yourself “Someone gets paid to judge this.” Take this as seriously as we take our jobs and build us something that makes us proud to replace Gene Weingarten's 80th Pulitzer Prize-winning cover story with your creation.

4. Don’t Take This Too Seriously

I kid; no one actually gets paid to judge this. We do it because it’s fun, and so please, make sure you’re having fun and send us something that we know you enjoyed building.

For some great examples of what we love, check out the best from five years of contests in the gallery above, or explore the photos year by year: Peeps Show I | Peeps Show II | Peeps Show III | Peeps Show IV | Peeps Show V

And before you make that clever, beautifully-executed piece of cultural criticism, please read the rules after the jump. That always helps. Ready to enter? Upload a photo of your creation here.

Entering the 2012 Peeps Diorama Contest: The Process

1. Think of a scene. Sketch some ideas. Possible extra credit given to those who deftly employ puns in their diorama concept or title.

2. Make your diorama using a shoe box or comparable item of reasonable size. To be eligible for finalist standing, the diorama must be transportable to our office by one person. Melt, mold and manipulate those fluffy chicks and bunnies to bring your creative vision to life. If you don’t know how to make a diorama, Google “how to make a diorama.”

3.Take photos of your diorama from several angles. Then, upload no more than two photos. Your pictures must be in jpeg format. You will also be asked to provide:

a. Your name, age and home town.

b. The names, ages and home

towns of anybody who contributed to the diorama.

c. A phone number and e-mail address (not for publication).

d. The title of your diorama and a blurb about its creation or significance.

If you have questions, e-mail them to peeps@washpost.com and put “Peeps” in the subject line.

4. Photo submissions are due by Monday, Feb. 27, at 11:59 p.m., but keep your masterpieces intact after submission. We’ll choose five finalists based on originality and execution. Those dioramas will be picked up via courier and professionally photo­-graphed. We will run photos of our semi-finalists, finalists and winner on Sunday, April 1.

5. The grand-prize winner will receive a $100 American Express gift check and a Peeps prize pack courtesy of Just Born, the company that owns the Peeps brand. Four runners-up will each receive a $50 American Express gift check and a Peeps prize pack.

6. The fine print. Contest is open to anyone in the United States, but the five finalists must be residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia. Contestants must be 13 years of age or older to enter. If you are under 13, please have a parent, guardian or teacher submit your entry. One entry per person. No purchase necessary. Employees of The Washington Post or their immediate families are not eligible to enter.


Read the official rules for the 2012 Peeps Diorama Contest

Submit your entry to the contest

View Photo Gallery: The winners and finalists from five years of The Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest


Videos: Take a closer look at last year’s winner and finalists