How to build a model Japanese house out of matchsticks

Updated April 17, 2017

The elegant simplicity of a Japanese house's design lends itself as a good concept for any matchstick craftsman. Matchstick houses only require a few tools, but the result may put a smile on the face of even the harshest craft critic. Start off by finding an image of a Japanese house that inspires you.

Cut off the sulphur ends of your matches. You may also want to scrape the sulphur. Removing the sulphur will give you an even piece of building material.

Draw or print an image of the Japanese house design you want to build. Place the image in plain view while you are building.

Lay down a piece of cardboard or wood as your base. This will prevent glue from leaking onto your table top. You may also choose to attach the house to your base for added support.

Build the house from the ground up. The rooms in traditional Japanese homes are usually simple rectangles. To make a larger room in the house you may attach two matches together using the bicycle valve tube.

Create a flexible joint using a bicycle valve tube by cutting a small piece of tubing and inserting match at each end. The ends of the matches should touch each other inside the tube.

Cover one side of the match in a thin layer of wood glue using a cotton swab. Lay the matches on top of each other to build the walls. The matches should be flush on the exposed side of the wall.

Attach larger pieces or heavier materials with a glue gun. You may use heavy materials such as cardboard or plastics for the rooftop or base.


It may take some time to master the precision of a matchstick crafts. Practice patience and take breaks if you are feeling frustrated.

Things You'll Need

  • Matches
  • Bicycle valve tube
  • Cutting tool
  • Wood glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cotton swabs
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About the Author

Tiffany Ross is a writer and actress who has been working in Chicago since 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting and is completing her Master of Science in Oriental medicine. Ross is a world traveler with experience working overseas.