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How to Make a Wooden Model House

Mark P. Cussen

Whether a dollhouse or an architectural model, building a wooden house can be a challenging yet satisfying accomplishment. Taking your time and doing things in the proper order can make this task easier. Be prepared to take a few hours to to do the job right and include the proper details.

Vintage Triang dollhouse
  1. Draw a detailed diagram of the house you intend to build. Be sure that your drawing is done to scale, and create a specific bill of materials. Also create the base for the house to sit on at this point if there will be one; you may want to lay an actual-size diagram onto the base for a template.

  2. Cut the main pieces of the house out of sheets of balsa wood. Etch or score any detailing into the sides of the pieces, such as siding or shutters, if you not adding those separately. Cut all outside walls, the roof, and any gables or other pieces. Also cut the inside floors and walls if you are detailing the inside. Be sure to use a metal straightedge for your cuts, and you may want to print off actual-size diagrams on paper to trace onto the balsa sheets for maximum accuracy.

  3. Glue all the pieces together, starting with the inside walls and floors if you are finishing the inside. Make sure that the joints are straight and flush. Use balsa dowels for window bars and door and window frames. Allow at least a few hours for the glue to dry.

  4. Spray the entire house with a spray sealant to prevent paint from softening the wood. Then apply paint, such as acrylic, to all surfaces. You may want to seal and paint before gluing the house together, for easier access to the pieces.