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Model Building With Poster Board and Craft Paper

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.

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 one which made me feel proud and accomplished. We were studying the design and development of suburban communities, and the project assignment was to build a futuristic house.

Consider building an architectural model of a futuristic house, a fantasy structure, a duplicate of your childhood home, or a model of your current house or dream home.

What Is Model Making?

Model making is building miniature replicas of buildings, plant life, animals, scenery, and other objects. Architects build models of buildings and houses to help clients visualize a proposed product.

Why not begin a model of your dream home according to your plans to help you see what you have envisioned? Nowadays, computer programs can do this for you. However, the physical model helps you to look at “the walkthrough” more realistic.

A simple single home model structure.

A simple single home model structure.

Model Building Materials and Tools

  • Structure: The least expensive method is to use poster board and craft paper. The poster board will seem flexible and weak, however, glue the pieces into place to strengthen the structure.
  • Texture: Locate craft paper that has designs of roofing, assorted bricks and stones, wood strips, and other textures to use on, around, or about the structure.
  • Support: Toothpicks, ice cream or other assorted food sticks, and timber wood dowels, plastic eating utensils will offer support.
  • Tools: A pair of scissors, a craft knife, a scalpel or a sharp blade, a metal ruler, paste or glue, a cutting mat, and pencil and paint will be the minimum tools required. If you wish, invest in an architectural scale to help calculate model scale and dimensions.

More 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.
  • There is a need for an assortment of tools.

Materials used to make models are unlimited. Get creative and have fun!

A miniature medieval castle.

A miniature medieval castle.

Model Building Tips and Guide

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.

Windows and Walls

Using the floor plan and a picture or a photo of the completed house will assist you in determining wood, tile, or carpet to put on the floor as you move from room to room.

We may illustrate the windows with cellophane paper, a window pattern, curtains, or a window sill 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 can get most supplies at 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

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. It is important to draw a building layout.

The roof is the crowning glory. Craft paper may represent shingles or other choices of roofing finishes.

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

Model Maker measuring walls of a building to confirm accuracy.

Model Maker measuring walls of a building to confirm accuracy.

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.

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 their clients see their home, factory, and land development for business or urban development.

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

The movie industry uses model makers to build sets and props. The cinematographers will film these 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 can be more than an amusement. It is a professional career with an income of $30,000 to $60,000 a year or more.

3D Jigsaw Puzzles

As a hobbyist, I view model building as being similar to 3D puzzles.

Have you assembled a 3D puzzle? A 3D puzzle is a leisure activity for pleasure. It aids in building problem-solving skills, developing fine motor skills, and visual memory. 3D puzzles may inspire a person to become a model builder.

Model makers have skills and talents involving logic, problem-solving, detail orientation, creativity and imagination, and an eye for design. Know how to draw blueprints. If you wish to work, build models to gain experience. It is unnecessary to have a college degree as employers prefer experience and work quality. However; you may earn a degree in Model Making or 3D Designer course or Art and Design.

Miniature Models Built by Markus Rothkranz

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.


brendagram09 on August 27, 2017:

this is very cool.