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Model Building With Poster Board, Craft Papers, and More

This is both an art and craft project which anyone can do. I enjoy creating miniatures. I've constructed my dream home, now it's your turn.

Mediterranean Houses

A miniature model view of Mediterranean houses.

A miniature model view of Mediterranean houses.

Model Making

An art teacher introduced me to model making in a high school art class. It was a fun project and fulfilled me with pride and accomplishment. We were studying design and development of suburban communities, and the assignment was to build a futuristic house.

Architectural model makers build models of commercial buildings and residential houses to help clients visualize a proposed product. You may do the same by building a model of your present house or dream home, a revolutionary house, fantasy structures, or a duplicate of your childhood or dream home.

What Is Model Making?

Model making is designing and building replicas of any object. A model maker may replicate a variety of structures, such as vehicles, the human body, the universe, animals, plants, and more.

Many of us are aware of manufactured kits. These kits are available for different age groups and interests. They make kit replicas with plastics, foam, wood, and paper. There are many categories of models.

Make a model of your dream home with your plans to help you see what you have envisioned? Nowadays, computer programs can do this for you. But, the physical model helps to visualize “the walk-through.” The model will show errors or weaknesses in the design. This prevents expensive errors in the “authentic” house.

Apply finishing details upon completion of the model. Paint the interior and exterior. Make miniature household furnishing and décor. Landscape with trees, shrubbery, plants and flowers.

Model Train Railway

Model buildings are very popular for use in model train railways platforms. The train, all types of buildings, vehicles, and people are also built to scale whenever possible. This picture is an illustration of a train depot with its miniature people.

Model buildings are very popular for use in model train railways platforms. The train, all types of buildings, vehicles, and people are also built to scale whenever possible. This picture is an illustration of a train depot with its miniature people.

Model Building Materials and Tools

  1. Building: The least expensive method is to use poster board and craft paper. The poster board is flexible and weak, but glues hold pieces in place to support the attached pieces.
  2. Texture: Locate craft paper with designs of roofing, assorted bricks and stones, wood strips, and varied textures to accent or decorate selected pieces.
  3. Support: Toothpicks, ice cream or other assorted food sticks, and timber wood dowels, plastic eating utensils, sewing straight pins, and paperclips offer support.
  4. Tools: A pair of scissors, craft knife, scalpel or pointed blades, cutting mat, metal rulers, and pencils. Paste, glues, and adhesive tapes need to be added. An architectural scale to aid with calculations and dimensions when working with scale models.

Alternative Materials for Building Models

  • Use plywood, balsa, chip wood, and other hard and softwoods.
  • Insulation and foam board are popular, along with assorted paper and cardboard, plastic sheet products, Polystyrene sheets, plaster of Paris, modeling clay, and mesh fabrics.
  • Tools vary with material types.

Six Building Materials

A model house is a miniature version of a physical house. Many of the construction steps are similar. The materials of choice are your particular preferences.

  1. Self adhesive foam core allows the floor plan to be attached. It eliminates tedious hand tracing or cutting time. This foam is not waterproof.
  2. Gator board is multi purpose and is waterproof. It has a foam interior coated with plastic. Apply water colors, acrylics, and varnishes to its waterproof surface. Use this board for model building and sculptures.
  3. Foam boards are plastic foam covered with paper stock and easy to use. Its surface is not waterproof. Apply scrapbook, decoupage, origami, craft, and tissue papers as substitutes for paints.
  4. Balsa is the choice of wood for forming and accessorizing models. They slit the wood with hand-held tools. Apply water-base paints and varnishes to its surface. Plywood, book board, craft strip wood and scale lumber are alternative choices.
  5. Use paper boards such as corrugated cardboard, chip wood, construction, and a variety of packaging containers to make models. There are a variety of thicknesses applicable to any project.
  6. Paper clay, Paper Mache, and plaster coat exterior walls, build landscape pathways, interior and garden sculptures, mountains, rocks, and add texture where needed.
A miniature medieval castle.

A miniature medieval castle.

Organize Construction

Build a model on a foundation for mobility or to provide a landscape platform. Insert floors, walls, windows, and roof. The last step is to refine the building and landscape.

  1. House plan
  2. Floor
  3. Walls
  4. Windows
  5. Roof
  6. Finish refinements
Scroll to Continue

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House Plan

Generate a copy of the authentic blueprints or make a set of house plans. Determine the scale. For example, one inch may suggest one foot. The scale governs the work surface and display area.

Establish scale and mark or adhere the plans to its work surface. Setup an identifying system for correct placement of pieces. Cut one piece at a time and place it into position.

Build a model on a foundation for mobility or to provide a landscape platform. Insert floors, walls, windows, and roof. The last step is to refine the building and landscape.

Christmas Display of Log Cabins with a Train

A Christmas display of Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, United States. Log cabins circled by a train called White Christmas Express.

A Christmas display of Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, United States. Log cabins circled by a train called White Christmas Express.

Model Building Tips

Building a model replica follows similar steps in building a real house. Start with an idea, draw the house plans, build the foundation, include the walls, and top the building off with a roof.

Building Steps

  1. House plan
  2. Floor
  3. Walls
  4. Roof
  5. Finishing refinements

House Plan

Make a copy of the actual blueprints or house plans. Decide on the scale. For example, one inch may illustrate one foot. The scale has much to do with the work surface and display area.

After determining scale, draw the plans, label, and then section cut. Cut one piece at a time and place it into position. Cutting all the pieces at once will create confusion. Mark dimensions and develop a code labeling system to avoid placement errors.

Build a platform to reinforce the house and illustrate landscaping. The platform affords mobility. Or, just build the house on its flooring.

Duplicate the house plan to be your guide for the structure. Cut the walls and paste to the floor layout. Brace the glued walls with a metal ruler or any object on hand which will hold the wall corner in place until the glue dries. Just as an actual house needs accurate measurements, the model it requires the same.

Model Maker measuring walls of a building to confirm accuracy.

Model Maker measuring walls of a building to confirm accuracy.

Walls and Windows

I made the futuristic house I built in high school with construction paper. The next step is to trace the floor plan onto the construction paper. I added extension tabs to the walls and floor, allowing paste to adhere the pieces together. The tabs are like adding seam allowance to fasten two strips of fabrics together.

Review the floor plan along with a picture or a photo of the completed house. Visual aids help decide to wood, tile, or carpet to apply on floors.

Cardboard is a budget favorite. Foam board is popular. Adam Savage has an excellent video on You Tube showing foam board construction. Visit https://youtu.be/ssxCQuv3KzE for details.

We may illustrate and dress windows with cellophane paper, a window pattern, curtains, or a windowsill with flowers. Are you considering brick, decorative stone, or wood on the exterior walls? Craft paper with these designs can fasten with glue to the poster board cutouts as you join the pieces. We may use watercolor paints or acrylics to paint and add artwork.

Supplies are available in arts and crafts stores or hobbyist model shops. Use your imagination to discover materials in your familiar surroundings. It’s amazing what we can find when searching with a fresh mindset.

Flooring and Roof

The building plans are for the entire building. Additional flooring may be necessary for a two-story house or a multi-floor commercial building. The structure may have a basement or an attic. Double check to verify the complete set of building plans.

The roof is the crowning glory. We may choose various materials to represent shingles or other choices of roofing finishes.

Paint the interior or the exterior. This is your building design. See it to its completion.

What Is Scale Modeling?

The technique of scale modeling is duplicating the size of an actual object by reducing it to a workable miniature. It may be a scale of 1:8, 1:12, 1:24, etc.

This is a system used by architects to help clients visualize their home, factory, and land development for business or urban development.

Model Engineers use this system for building metal bridges and other mechanical structures to display or to serve as an actual working model.

The movie industry uses model makers to build sets and props. The cinematographers film reduced-scaled models to have them appear large and lifelike. Do you recall a movie clip featuring King Kong climbing a skyscraper? It looked real, didn’t it?

Model construction is more than an amusement. It is a professional career with an income of $30,000 to $60,000 or more, yearly.

A Scale Model of Houses and Wind Turbine on Cardboard

A scale model of houses with a wind turbine made with cardboard.

A scale model of houses with a wind turbine made with cardboard.

What Is Scale Modeling?

The technique of scale modeling is duplicating the size of an actual object by reducing it to a workable miniature. It may be a scale of 1:8, 1:12, 1:24, etc.

  1. This is a system used by architect model makers to help clients visualize houses, factories, and land development for urban or business developments.
  2. Model Engineers use this system for building metal bridges and other mechanical structures to display or to serve as an actual working model.
  3. The movie industry uses models in their sets and props. The cinematographers film reduced-scaled models to have them appear large and lifelike. Do you recall a movie clip featuring King Kong climbing a skyscraper? It looked real, didn’t it?
  4. Miniature sales samples are popular with sales agents to sell a product.
  5. War gaming models scale models of military commands vehicles, buildings, soldiers, warfare equipment, and ordinance supplies.
  6. Hobbyists enjoy building models representing their interest.

Model construction is more than an amusement. It is a professional career with an annual income of $30,000 to $60,000.

Skills and Talents

Model makers:

  • Are logical, problem solvers, and pay attention to details
  • Have artistic qualifications, creativity, and imagination
  • Knowledge of design and blueprints
  • Work experience education

Architectural Model

A spatial planning architectural model.

A spatial planning architectural model.

Education

A college degree may not be necessary as employers prefer people with experiences and work quality.

It’s an intimate decision to get a college degree in Model Making or 3D Designer course or Art and Design.

How to Make a Beautiful Dreamhouse Cardboard

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

brendagram09 on August 27, 2017:

this is very cool.