How to make a model house of the medieval times

Updated February 21, 2017

The medieval period in European history has long been a favoured subject for model makers. Medieval homes for the peasantry during the late medieval period are enjoyable models to create because there is such a large amount of information available about them. These one- or two-room houses with thatched roofs are simple to design, but still provide plenty of room for adding details that can make a model stand out. This simple design also means that even a novice modeller can attain good results, using some wooden materials to achieve a realism that really captures the era.

Research medieval cruck houses: for examples, the wattle- and daub-thatched houses used during the period. Information, including design plans and modern recreation projects, can be found at your local library or online at sites dedicated to medieval history. Design a plan for your house, drawing it in as many angles as possible. Choose a scale for your model house and cut materials to that scale.

Build the base for your house. A solid lightweight base can be built from Medium-density fiberboard. Cut the base so that it's large enough for your house and any landscaping elements you'd wish to add to enhance the look of the model. Paint a brown primer coat onto the board.

Build a foundation for the house. Wooden houses of the time had chalk block foundations, which can be modelled using a thin plastic sheet, painted a light grey. Cut the sheet to the size of your house, paint it using an acrylic paint, and when it's dried, glue to the MDF board using epoxy.

Build cruck arches for the building frame. These wooden houses were built using a series of wood arches in the shapes of wide letter As. Carve the arches out of balsa or bass wood sheets. The size and thickness of the sheets used for the arches depend on the scale of the house you're building. Build an arch for every 6 metres (20 feet) of rooftop supported in the original scale.

Assemble the walls using balsa sheets, the cruck arches and plaster. The walls should simulate a wattle and daub wall built with interwoven branches covered by a clay mixture. Glue balsa sheets to the inside leg of the arches, connecting them and creating your main house frame. Glue two vertical balsa planks to the sheet at equal distances between the arches with two horizontal planks, one at the top of the wall and one mid-wall glued to the sheet, to complete the house frame. Layer a rough plaster coating to the balsa, extending outward to the level of the frame. Paint the plaster a muddy brown colour. Holes can be cut into the balsa for doors and windows. The front and rear of the building can be created in the same manner, with a piece of balsa covered with plaster.

Mount the Building to the foundation, gluing it into place.

Create the thatched roof. The roof will consist of a series of horizontal rods with thatching attached. Cut seven small balsa round rods just slightly longer than the house's length. Glue these rods lengthwise on the remaining arch pieces, overhanging the sides, one at the roof peak, and three down each side to the wall level. Cover these rods by gluing on model railroad thatched roof materials.

Decorate the landscape remaining on your board to taste in a medieval fashion.


Ground cover for your board can be created using model railroading terrain material glues to the board. Trees, bushes and other landscaping items can be purchased in model railroad shops as well.

Things You'll Need

  • MDF board
  • Paintbrush
  • Paints
  • Plastic sheet
  • Hobby knife
  • Balsa or Bass wood sheets
  • Balsa planks
  • Wood glue
  • Plaster
  • Balsa rods
  • Epoxy
  • Model railroad thatched roof sections
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.