How to Build Paper Model Buildings

Written by larry simmons
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Paper model buildings are an easy to create alternative to expensive resin building models. These buildings are available in a variety of scales, from larger 1:24 sized for dollhouses, to smaller scales useful for model railroads or miniature gaming. With thousands of models to choose from, you'll find a building for nearly any use, from colourful replicas of country cottages to world famous skyscrapers.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Colour printer
  • Card stock
  • Self-healing cutting board
  • Metal ruler
  • Hobby knife
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Seam roller

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    Building the Model

  1. 1

    Print the sheets for your model. Set your printer for the highest quality print available for best results, and make sure all page-scaling options are turned off. These sheets should all the walls, floors and rooftops necessary for building your model. Print them on card stock for sturdy standing models.

  2. 2

    Cut the models from the card stock for assembly. Place the printed sheets, print-side up on the cutting board. Lay the metal ruler on the straight-line areas to be cut, and use a sharp hobby knife to cut through the card stock. A light pressure should be sufficient to cut the sheets completely. For curved or small, complicated cuts, scissors can be used if the knife is too unwieldy. If there are windows or other openings in the building, cut them out as well.

  3. 3

    Folding points should be clearly marked on the models. Lay the ruler at the indicated folding points and fold along the edge of the ruler in the direction indicated. Using the ruler should give you a clean straight edge.

  4. 4

    Some buildings print with both interior and exterior patterns, and must be folded to create two-sided walls. Use the ruler to create the fold and then apply glue to the inside of the walls, folding them together to join. Use the seam roller to firmly connect the wall, and then place a weight atop it as it dries.

  5. 5

    Install the floors of your model buildings. Glue points should be marked on your model or in the instructions. Place glue on these points, spreading a light even coat, and then install the floor levelly, placing the part aside to dry.

  6. 6

    Join the walls of the building together, gluing along the wall tabs. Once walls have been glued together brace the model against a flat surface to allow the glue to dry.

  7. 7

    Fold the roof to the proper angle if peaked, and glue it to the building. Make sure the roof lines up levelly with the building walls.

Tips and warnings

  • 36.3kg. Card stock is sturdy enough to create buildings for display or casual use.
  • Use a laser printer to print models if possible, as the laser fuses the image into the card stock, making the image waterproof.
  • Glue may cause bleeding of the ink from inkjet printouts, spray the printout with two coats of clear-coat to waterproof it, this also gives it added protection if the building will be handled often.
  • Glue your cut model shapes to a layer of thin aircraft plywood or Bristol board backing before parts assembly for an even sturdier building.
  • Use glue sparingly, as too much can wet the paper and cause the ink to run.

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