How to Build an Inexpensive House Model


Building a model of your house is a fun project. Having a cutaway view can give you new perspectives on remodeling possibilities. You can see where you can "borrow" space and visualize the impact it will have. Best of all, you don't have to hire an architectural designer to build a model. Foam core board will be your biggest expense. If you can handle a knife and take measurements, you have the basic skill set needed to build a model as a do-it-yourself project.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 to 3 sheets of foam core board, 24-by-48 inches or larger
  • Digital camera
  • Color printer
  • Tape measure
  • Spray adhesive
  • Knife
  • Rubber cement
  • Paper and pencil
  • Invisible tape
  • Colored paper
  • Take digital pictures of every room in your house, as well as your home's exterior front, back and sides. Print full-page copies of the pictures, and tape them to the wall or a bulletin board for reference.

  • Measure the height and width of each room and the width and length of floors. Write the measurements in the margins of the copies you made. Measure the width of the front, back and side of the house. Don't worry about climbing a ladder to measure the exterior height; you'll use your interior ceiling height measurements.

  • Use your measurements to determine the model size for each room by using a scale of 1/2 inch equals 1 foot. For example, if a room is 8 feet by 12 feet, it would have a model size of 4 inches by 6 inches.

  • Use colored sheets of paper, or print colors and patterns from the Internet that replicate the wall colors for each room. Use clip art to mimic hardwood floors and carpeting. Cut the foam core board for the walls and floors for each room according to your scaled-down measurements. Trace the corresponding wall and floor pieces for each individual room on the colored or printed sheets. Cut the shapes out and use spray adhesive to stick the papers to the foam core board pieces. Tape walls and floors together with invisible tape.

  • Lay a large flat sheet of foam core on top of your work surface. Line the rooms next to each other as they are arranged in your home. Trace around the bottom edges of the room to cut out a base and ceiling piece for each story. Use spray adhesive to connect the walls. Spray the connected room piece to the base. Spray the ceiling piece to connect additional stories.

  • Measure the width and height of the model, now that all stories are connected, to determine the sizes for the front, rear and sides of the model. Cut foam core to your measurements. Find clip art of bricks, siding or stucco to print replicas of the exterior. Use adhesive spray to glue the printouts to the foam core pieces for the exterior. Attach the left side and the front together, and the rear and the right side together with invisible tape, so the units form an L shape. This will allow you to slide the panels away to view the interior.

  • Make a detachable roof by using a tape measure and triangle to determine the dimensions. Cut foam core board pieces accordingly. Attach the front and rear pieces to the triangle by using invisible tape. Find clip art sources to replicate your roof color and pattern. Print and spray glue sheets of printed paper to the foam core pieces. Sit the roof on top of the ceiling for the top story to complete your house model project.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create a matching miniature landscape by using artificial grass. Use markers to color foam core. Use gray marker to mimic sidewalks and paths. Find pictures of trees, shrubs and flowers on the Internet to represent your landscaping. Print the pictures and cut them out paper doll-style and spray glue the cut-outs to L-shaped stands made of foam core. Use doll furniture for patio furniture.

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  • Photo Credit Stefanie White/Photodisc/Getty Images
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