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How to Make a Model of the London Bridge

Updated April 17, 2017

London Bridge (really the Tower Bridge) is a well-known symbol of the United Kingdom. Craft suppliers sell lots of model kits of this famous landmark. If you enjoy a challenge and love to draw and make things yourself, the following article will give you tips and information on making your own model out of balsa wood.

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Look at several photos and drawings of the bridge so you know how the pieces fit together. Make your own detailed drawing, showing how big each piece will be and how it will be shaped.

Lay the sheet of thin acrylic over your drawing and trace the outline of each piece on to it, using one of your markers.

Double check your tracings. Remember: measure twice, cut once.

Cut out the pattern pieces from the acrylic sheet, making sure the edges are nice and smooth without jagged edges. Draw your bridge pieces on the sheet of balsa wood by tracing around the pattern pieces, or templates, with a pencil or marker.

Place the balsa wood sheet on the cutting board on a work table, not the dining room or kitchen table. Use the Exacto knife to carefully cut out the smaller pieces. Large pieces can be made by clamping the sheet with a C-clamp, being careful not to dent the wood. These can then be cut using the Exacto knife and a metal straight edge.

When you're done cutting the pieces, smooth any rough spots with the sandpaper.

Using your selected photos and drawing you have made, begin matching up the pieces of your bridge. Make sure the right piece is connected to its correct match. Once you're sure, put a thin line of glue on each cut surface and put them together. Make sure the edges match up exactly. Hold the edges together for a minute or two to allow the glue to dry a bit.

When all the pieces are put together, allow the glue to dry overnight or for a full day if you have time.

Using your pictures as a reference, cut lengths of waxed linen twine and attach them to the balsa wood model to resemble the supporting cables. If you didn't cut holes to resemble the windows in the towers, use a marker to draw them on the wood. You can use the markers to colour the roofs and trim on the bridge, too.

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Things You'll Need

  • Balsa wood
  • Sheets of thin acrylic
  • Cutting board
  • Metal straight edge
  • Cutting tool (Exacto or razor)
  • Pair of C-clamps
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Paint or markers
  • Waxed linen twine

About the Author

Susan Kerr began her writing career as a food columnist in 1987 before moving to business journalism as a reporter and managing editor in the Penn State area. Since then, Kerr has contributed content to military-related magazines, not-for-profit websites and other online media. In addition, she writes a weekly column for her hometown newspaper

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