How to Build a Model Yurt

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Yurts are dome-shaped nomadic huts, traditionally covered with a felt canopy. Although they are traditionally used by nomads in central Asia, yurts have recently become popular with campers and vacationers in many other regions. They are fairly simple to put together, but are stable enough to serve as semi-permanent dwellings. This model is easy to put together, and structured in a very similar way to real yurts.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal snips
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Glue
  • Cocktail umbrella
  • Paper parasol
  • Felt
  • Scissors
  • Metal sculpture mesh

Understand the parts of a yurt. Traditional yurts are not true domes. They have lattice walls that form a cylinder, and roof poles on top that form a cone. A felt cover is put over the whole thing to insulate it from the elements.

Get some sort of metal sculptural mesh (see Resources below). Wire mesh has an interlocking shape that looks very similar to the wooden lattice that makes up the walls of a yurt. It is easy to bend and holds its shape well, making it a great material for building the walls of your model yurt.

Make a cylinder out of your mesh. It should be at least twice as large in diameter as it is tall.

Cut out a door frame in the mesh. Male a small rectangular cutout in the bottom of the cylinder.

Strip the paper off of a small wooden umbrella and then break off the handle. If you are making a very small model yurt, you can use a cocktail umbrella. Otherwise, use a paper parasol. This will serve as the roof beams of your yurt model.

Trim the umbrella to size. When it is opened and placed on top of the yurt, the edges of the umbrella should just overlap the top of the wall. Glue it to the wall.

Cover your model yurt with felt. Use drops of white glue to attach pieces of felt onto your yurt until it is covered.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create a miniature little landscape with low scrub and sand to mount your yurt on.
  • Remember not to put felt over the door opening!
  • Don't use normal scissors to cut wire--they will break.
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