How to make a realistic model of a castle

Updated July 20, 2017

Castles have provided shelter and beauty for diverse groups of people for thousands of years. They represent one of the great architectural achievements of mankind and say a lot about the history of the people who lived in them. Following these simple step-by-step instructions you can make a realistic model of a castle with little time and money. Building a model castle will help you to appreciate what life was like inside one of them, while creating an attractive display for your home.

Get an image of a castle to copy. Castles came in so many different shapes and sizes that there is really no single generic one from which to build a model. Perhaps try a basic rectangular castle without any fancy details, such as the Bodiam Castle in England (see Resources).

Draw a basic floor plan onto a sturdy piece of cardboard or plywood. Leave plenty of room for a moat and or garden. The basic rectanglular design has a large tower at each of the four corners of the castle with walls in between. Towers should be taller than the walls by a proportion of about 3:2.

Include a large gate house and drawbridge in your floor plan. The interior of the castle does not need to be complex. Include one large rectangular building (the great hall) and a few smaller ones for storage and servants.

Cut the cardboard tubes at the same length. Cut the top of the tubes in an alternating square pattern to create battlements (see Resources). Glue tubes directly onto the floor plan to create towers and allow to dry before doing anything else.

Purchase a bunch of long and narrow rectangular boxes (the type used for flat screen televisions should work well). Cut the boxes so that they fit snugly between the towers. Glue the walls to floor plan as well as to the sides of the towers. Create battlements for the tops of the walls by cutting a strip of cardboard in an alternating square pattern and attach with glue (to both sides of the wall).

Place the gate house between two of the towers, in the centre of the wall. Cut a large, pointed dome onto opposite sides of the gate house to serve as a gate. Glue the gate house to the floor plan and fill in any space between the gate house and the towers with sections of wall. Cut out battlements for the top of the gate house and attach with glue.

Place a large rectangular box inside the walls of the castle to serve as a great hall. The great hall needs a steep, pitched roof, which can be built by gluing three pieces of cardboard together into a triangle and attaching it to the top of the box. Finally, cut small arched holes for doors and windows throughout the castle with a utility knife.

Decorate your castle to give it a realistic appearance. Castles were built from heavy stone in multiple layers. Sketch layers of stone with a pencil on all surfaces of the castle. Use markers or paint to then colour the stones, leaving a thin dark line between stones to show the separation between layers.

Glue small coloured flags (made easily with tooth picks and paper) to the castle. Build a drawbridge with a thick, rectangular piece of cardboard roughly the size of the gate. Draw pathways leading between various doors on the castle floor. Colour in blank areas with green to represent grass.


Add a little more realism to your castle by cutting out small outlines of guards and glue them in defensive positions throughout the castle. Colour the moat blue and the area surrounding the castle green to represent vegetation.

Things You'll Need

  • Several sheets of sturdy cardboard
  • Small sheet of plywood (optional)
  • Cardboard tubes of varying length and thickness
  • Utility knife
  • Wood glue
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard boxes of varying size
  • Pencils, markers, paints
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