How to Build a House Model


Model houses are built for a variety of reasons. For the architect, it represents a set a plans, a 3-D visualization of a structure that may actually be built. For the modeler, it can be used a scenery for a model train, or a point of interest in a tabletop war game. Whatever the use, building a house model is a step-by-step process that can take a great deal of time to finish, depending on the level of detail you choose to place in it.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scale styrene pattern sheets
  • Straight edge
  • Hobby knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic cement
  • Scale miniature windows
  • Scale miniature doors
  • Scale molding
  • Scale wallpaper
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Transparency
  • Draw out the design of your house model to a commonly used scale on a piece of graph paper. The smaller the scale, the smaller the model, but larger scaled models often require more detail in the building, increasing the build time and the expense in materials. Note the placement of doors, windows, and interior walls in your model plans. Place as much detail into your house plans as possible. The more detail available when it comes time for cutting and assembling the model, the less time that assembly will take. Mark on the design labels for the materials that the house is built of, which surfaces are made of bricks, siding, wallpaper; any material that you will have to model should be noted.

  • Make measurements of the surface area of each material type for the purchase of enough polystyrene pattern sheets of the type necessary. Polystyrene pattern sheets are plastic sheets stamped to scale and colored to resemble a building material. Purchase the sheets from art or hobby shops, especially those that deal in dollhouses. Purchase doors and windows to scale, as well as any miniature indoor features you want, such as wall molding, carpeting, and scale wallpaper.

  • Paint the doors, windows, and trim. Set them aside to dry for two hours.

  • Using a hobby knife and a straight edge, cut the plastic sheets for the walls of the house, as well as a single large sheet to serve as the floor of the model. Cut the pieces to size according to the plans you created, sanding the cut edges of the sheets smooth. Cut the interior walls slightly shorter than specification to allow for intersecting walls. The length should be cut exactly half the size of the thickness of the polystyrene sheeting. Cut openings for doors and windows into the sheets. And mark interior wall intersections onto the plastic sheeting.

  • Glue interior wall surfaces to exterior wall sheets using plastic cement, leaving a gap where interior walls intersect the exterior walls wide enough to hold the interior walls in place.

  • Glue windows and doors into the openings cut for them in the walls. Glue internal decorative wall coverings to wall interiors, placing molding and wallpaper where designated in your plans. Allow them to dry for two hours before continuing.

  • Assemble the outer shell of the wall by gluing the outer walls to the plastic sheet base with plastic cement. Join the walls at the corners, and make sure they are plumb by clamping the walls into place. Allow the outer walls to dry for two hours.

  • Glue the inner walls into the grooves left in exterior wall sheets.

  • Assemble the roof, placing a small lip created from a thin strip of plastic at the point where the roof meets the exterior walls of the house. This strip should surround the exterior walls completely, slightly long enough to go over the wall tops, but not be visible when viewing the model. The addition of the lip ensures that you can remove the roof when necessary to view the interior of the model while not allowing the roof to fall off when in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • To add realism to windows, before placing in the walls, glue a piece of plastic transparency onto the window piece to simulate glass panes.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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