Introduction: 3D Buildings on Grid Paper!

Picture of 3D Buildings on Grid Paper!

Hey guys! I'm back, doing my first post in a while: a tutorial on something cool to do on graph paper. You draw 3D models of buildings and stuff, and I think it's sorta a fun thing to do when bored. This instuctable might be more of a concept than a step by step, but it's still basic. Enjoy!

I just made a Papercraft version of this. Head on over with this link and make sure to check it out!

Step 1: Stuff You Need

Picture of Stuff You Need

You will need:

  • Pencil (a regular mechanical pencil or #2 would do well)
  • Some kind of thin marker like a Sharpie Pen (if you want to outline it in black ink)
  • Graph paper (or printer paper if you don't want the grid guidelines)
  • One of those shader things or finger (for shadows if you want them)

Step 2: Drawing

Picture of Drawing

Rotate the paper a bit so the squares are at a 45 degree angle. Start doing a basic outline of the building in pencil.

Step 3: Outlining

Picture of Outlining

Once you're sure of the final design, you can outline it with a thin pen/marker.

Step 4: Shading

Picture of Shading


1: Finger

Shade the areas that would have shade lightly, then rub it with your finger to spread it around.

2. Shader thing

Sorta scribble around that area that would have shade and use it like a pencil to make shade.

Step 5: Optional: Cutting

Picture of Optional: Cutting

This is an optional step that is for people that want to make their drawing into an anamorphic illusion. To do that, use a pencil and lightly sketch the base. Make a dot on the farthest corner from you (shown in the picture). Trace along the line that aligns with the dot where the line come out of the drawing is where you will cut. If this is confusing, the picture captions will probably help. Trace an outline for the paper that the building will be on (make room for the shadow) and cut it out. When you get to the lines that you sketched, just cut the building outline.

Step 6: Done!

Picture of Done!

You now have a cool cube-like 3D building. Thanks for reading this 'ible!


ThingEngineer made it! (author)2015-02-01

Cool idea, fun way to fill 15 minutes! I didn't have a shader thing so I used my finger. (Photo with Snapchat, b&w filter.)

Nice!! Just you you know, you can also make other buildings other that the one shown like a house or something.

I like to start with what I know, if I get board again I may go outside the box. ;) (pun intended)

LabRatMatt (author)2017-07-10

I love this! What a great little visual trick!

goldenrailmaster (author)2016-03-30

Cool! Good job! Also, this is the first project I tried out on the website.

Thanks! Can you post a picture?

goldenrailmaster made it! (author)knexinventions 492016-04-01

I tried it again. I had made a better one before, but I don't know what happened to it. I either lost it or threw it away. I might have messed this one up a little bit by accident...

It looks like you're trying to curve the line...

Shiba Inu Meme made it! (author)2015-12-23

I first tried your design and I loved it. Decided to amp I up and it took 3 pieces of printer (graph) paper to complete. I loved this tutorial it was well explained and the photos actually were helpful.

Thanks! Make sure to try other designs.

SunderOrigami (author)2015-12-10

That was an awesome tutorial. Came out great, thanks for sharing :)!

Thanks! First comment an this in a while. I think I can only do Instructables over breaks. .-.

knexinventions 49 (author)2015-09-17

Did this really just get 1,693 views in one day??

indikah11 (author)2015-09-04

but i don't have graph paper :(

NateS5 (author)2015-09-16

I'm loving how well this effect works thank u

Linkin_J_Knex (author)2015-09-06

cool! I have to try this out:)

indikah11 (author)2015-09-04

but what do you do if you have no graph paper?

indikah11 (author)2015-09-04

this is realy fun

armored bore made it! (author)2015-04-11

Oh crap... guys, help. This is too fun

Awesome! The cracked effect is cool.

Nrgdragon (author)2015-04-04


kahht made it! (author)2015-02-03

Fun project! I may need some larger sized paper... I have big ideas for another doodle.

critopadolf (author)2015-02-03

Here is my attempt, I don't know how to shade and my lines are not straight but it was fun! Awesome idea!

Good! BTW, there is a 'I made it!' button at the top of the page that makes it show up with a picture and a I made it! ribbon.

PowellMade (author)2015-02-03

Nice work!! liked it!

jlsajfj (author)2015-02-02

Nice :D time to go troll friends

sandroknexmaster (author)2015-02-02

That's nice!

jeanniel1 (author)2015-02-02

So COOOL! What a great optical illusion.

cchristopher2 (author)2015-02-01

Good example of using two point perspecive drawing to force a three dimesional illusion.

dwgrm (author)2015-02-01

very kewl. Well done. Here's the photoshop version.

evelynreiss (author)2015-02-01

Brilliant! I will try with my students tomorrow! Also, love the fact that there is little needed in the way of materials--no special shopping required. Thanks so much.

gbushta (author)2015-02-01

Very nice and easy to follow Instructable.

You could even draw five or 8 of these and have different light-source/shadow-angles. Then create an animated GIF using photos of the 3D buildings. Your project has inspired me. Thank you.

stannickel (author)2015-02-01

I always wondered how they do it. This is very good! I have to try it.

bill2009 (author)2015-02-01

Excellent! Thanks.

eilu (author)2015-01-31

Very cool. I have to try this sometime.

RusdionoM (author)2015-01-26


I'll try this. Thanks.

Kiteman (author)2015-01-24

That's a cracking illusion!

dcada (author)Kiteman2015-01-26

yup it sure is

pickle25257 (author)2015-01-25

Awesome job! I'll try this!!

tony17837 (author)2015-01-25

Great Instructables Thank You

knexinventions 49 (author)2015-01-24

Thanks to JM1999!

JM1999 (author)knexinventions 492015-01-24

That's totally fine!

p.s. you should use the "reply" button, it alerts the person who made the original comment that you have replied to them :)

knexinventions 49 (author)JM19992015-01-24

Oh, yeah, forgot to click that.

JM1999 (author)knexinventions 492015-01-24

It's alright!

grovich777 (author)2015-01-24

Thanks for instructable.

You're welcome.

JM1999 (author)2015-01-24

No, you don't have a cool 3D building.



You have an absolutely amazing 3 dimensional building!

knexinventions 49 (author)2015-01-24

Thanks to kiteman!

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi! I'm knexinventions 49, a kid who loves to build, program, inspect element, play, and more. As my username suggests, most of my 'ibles ... More »
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