How to Build a Longhouse Out of Toothpicks

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Multiple Native American families lived together in a longhouse.
Multiple Native American families lived together in a longhouse.

Native Americans who lived in the woodland regions of the Northeast and Northwest constructed lodging called longhouses. The framework of these buildings was constructed using large logs, covered with small saplings and bark. According to Randall Schaetzl of Michigan State University, most longhouses ranged from 30 feet to hundreds of feet long. But you can construct a miniature longhouse using toothpicks. Whether for a school project, a hobby or creative play, a toothpick longhouse can replicate an authentic one from long ago.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothpicks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wire-cutting pliers
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Instructions

    • 1

      Place a pea-sized dab of glue on the end of one toothpick. Line a second toothpick at a 45-degree angle, pointing downward from the first one. Hold the toothpicks together as the glue dries.

    • 2

      Attach a third toothpick at a 45-degree angle, pointing downward on the other end of the original toothpick. Glue enough triads of toothpicks together to run the length of your longhouse. Then glue each triad of toothpicks together to create a roof for the longhouse.

    • 3

      Cover your work surface in wax paper. Lay 20 toothpicks, or enough to run the length of one toothpick, vertically in front of you on the wax paper. Apply a bead of glue along the top and bottom of the group of toothpicks. Lay one toothpick across the top of the group and one across the bottom, both horizontally over the glue.

    • 4

      Repeat the technique from Step 3, building enough wall sections to complete the length of your longhouse on both sides, as well as the front and back walls.

    • 5

      Lay the roof horizontally on the wax paper. Prop up the center of the roof so the ends will meet with the wall at a 120-degree angle. Lay a bead of glue along the edge of the roof, and then attach a wall section to it. Continue gluing wall sections until the entire roof edge is met with a wall section.

    • 6

      Cut toothpicks to the size needed, with small wire-cutting pliers, to fill in the area in the front and back of the longhouse above the wall. Glue each toothpick in place to close the gap in the front and back of the longhouse. Glue extra toothpicks, cut to the size needed, to patch any holes.

    • 7

      Cut individual toothpicks to create a door in the front of the longhouse or windows along the side. Frame the raw edges of the door and windows with toothpicks cut to size and glued into place.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

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