Building A Scale Model House

By | January 19, 2017

There are several methods of building a model of a house or building. When I designed modular homes in the early nineties, they had to be built quickly so that the client could get a better feel for their proposed home. The method I used was to take a one quarter inch scale plan view of the house and paste it to a piece of plywood.

Then I would use the same scale elevation drawings, (exterior views of the home) and paste them to cardboard. Once pasted, I would use felt tip pens and color the different elements of the home. Afterwards, I would cut out the individual views and paste them together using glue over the plan pasted to the plywood. This way the model stays square and accurate.

The roof would be a thicker cardboard. The edges would be taped over with masking tape to simulate the fascia of the roof. I would thence draw a shingle pattern and glue it to the body of the house.

The following step would be to paint the tan colored concrete driveway and walkways, and then paint the green grass on the plan. To do the landscaping, I would use lichen for the shrubs and model trees bought from a hobby shop to finish up the model. The entire process would take less than four or five hours depending on the complexity of the home.

Interior walls are built using the same method if the interior was to be part of the model. In this case the roof would not be glued to the exterior walls. If I wanted to get real fancy, I would take a surgical knife and cut out the window panes so you would be able to see inside the model.

Another method I have used was balsa wood. Of course this method takes a bit more work than the cardboard but the detail would be much greater. Not to mention more time consuming.

How to Build an Architectural Model

2 thoughts on “Building A Scale Model House

  1. Susan Barker

    I am interested in designing my own house but am not interested in becoming a home builder as a profession. I have been a graphic designer for 30 years and am retired now looking to build an aframe near or around the beach in South Carolina or Florida. Would it help me to sign up for your program as I need a small home with an art studio involved. Can you please give me some suggestions on how to develop what I am wanting to build and if it would behoove me to take your classes? Your website is extremely interesting to me and you seem very knowledgeable in your field. Any suggestions to help me solve my “house plan” problem would be so appreciated. Thank you, in advance, for any advice you could give me.

    1. Tim Davis Post author

      Well, of course I’m going to recommend you take the courses. Once completed, you’ll have the knowledge to draw mostly what’s needed to layout your home.


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