Introduction: How to Make a House From Foam Board

In this instructable, you will learn how to recreate a prop (house) from the Disney pixar movie, Monster House with foam board. This house is a significant part of an enjoyable movie and it is easy to place creative elements into it. Foam board is the most ideal material for creating 3D models because it is a sturdy material, lightweight and easy to cut and shape. The LEDs are incorporated into the openings, such as the windows, which would give a better portrayal of the horror of the movie, and it would add "life" to the house. The LEDs are programmed to the windows to change color to create the hunted effect and a motor on the door. Also, a pop up window and balcony are included to further enhance the 3D effect.

Step 1: Resources

This source shows the basics of arduino, what it's used for and how it works.

This source teaches about RGBs and how they are programmed. Understanding this is essential to programming the RGBs for the house.
This website gives tips about working with foam board. You can make a cylindrical shape by cutting small vertical rectangles on the whole rectangular piece and creating “curves” or V-notches

This shows how to create a tutorial for blinking an LED. This will be needed in the project for blinking the LEDs near the windows.

This shows tips on how to build with foam board and techniques with using an xacto knife

This is an instructable that goes in depth about how to use an LED

Prototyping and Modelmaking for Product design by Bjarki Hallgrimsson (pages 95-103)

Hot glue/ white glue to glue the foam board and use an Exacto/ Stanley Knife to cut

Step 2: Initial Design Plan

The final drawing includes the general shape of the house, with 2 windows and a door on the front. LEDs were drawn surrounding the window and the roof held a trapezoid shape. There is also a porch shown by lines surrounding the door on the front.

The circuit prototype includes 4 RGB LEDs with 3 resistors next to each. The resistors were the colors brown black brown gold and were placed on all pins of the LED except the seconds, longest one. Wires were connected from the resistors to the arduino.

Step 3: Gather Your Tools and Materials

For this project, you will need:


Rabbet cutter

Xacto knife

Steel cork back ruler

Self healing cutting mat

Hot glue gun

Soldering Iron



100x100 cm of foam board x2

6 5mm LEDs

1 bread board

10 jumper wires

5 skewers

Step 4: Make and Program the Circuits

For this project, you will make 3 circuits. 2 of them will include an RGB LED and a switch in order to turn the light from yellow to red. These will be placed in the windows later on to enhance the haunted effect. The other circuit includes a motor and a switch to turn it on and off. This will be placed on the door once the house is built.

The circuits with the RGB will need to be programmed with Arduino in order to put a time limit on the changing of colors. The motor does not need to be programmed.

Step 5: Cut All Pieces From Foam Board

Using a writing utensil, mark dimensions of sides of house. The front and back are 21cm x 27cm and the right and left sides are 27cm x 27cm. Two pieces for the roof are needed, both 27cm x 6c.

Once these dimensions are marked, place on top of a cutting board, and using an Xacto knife, cut these pieces out leaning against the ruler. You should have 6 pieces total

For the balcony, you will need to cut a piece of foam board about 6cm x 4cm, and 2 pieces about 2cm x 4cm and one about 7cm x 5cm.
For the porch, you will need a piece about 21cm x 9cm.

Step 6: Glue Sides of House Together

Using a rabbet cutter, cut out the top 2 layers of the foam board to create joints. Do this to both the edges of the front side and the back side of the house.

Once joints are created, glue the 4 sides of the house into place using a hot glue gun. Next, glue the pieces of the roof on top of it, so the top edge meets to create a triangle roof shape. Glue these pieces for the front and back of the roof, but do not glue the sides.

Once the house is assembles, cut an opening for the door in the front of the house. With the piece that was cut out, glue the left side to the edge of the opening. This acts as a hinge for the door.

Step 7: Assemble Balcony and Porch

To make the balcony, glue the 2cm by 4cm pieces on each end, and the bigger piece in the middle. Next, cut about 1cm inside the entire border. Cut a rectangle in the right side of the house this size.
Cut 6 small pieces from skewers about 4cm long and insert these through the top and bottom of the borders. Glue these in for stability. To assemble this in the house, insert it through the hole that was made about 4 cm in and from the opening at the top, insert the 7cm by 5cm piece of foam board and glue this to the two edges at each end of the balcony For the porch, do the same by gluing the smaller pieces at the end and the big piece in the middle. Cut inside the border. Cut 10 skewers about 10 cm long and insert these through the top and bottom of the border. Glue these to

Step 8: Paint Porch and Base of House

Using dark brown paint, paint all of the outside of the porch and balcony. Do not paint the skewers.
For the base of the house, paint dark green. When painting is done and dry, glue the base to the bottom of the house and glue the porch in front of the house.

Step 9: Solder Circuits

Using a soldering iron and solder, solder the circuit by taking out pieces from the breadboard and connecting each element with jumper wires in between. Secure the connections by adding a piece of electrical tape around each soldered piece.

Step 10: Assemble Circuits in House Model

Take the soldered circuit and insert it in the house through the unglued roof. Use tape to attach two LEDs in each window, and one by the door so that the light shines through these openings. Cut a hole in the right side of the house on the very bottom about 1cm x 2cm for the battery connector to fit through. This makes connecting the battery easier from the outside of the house.

Step 11: Cut and Glue Wallpaper

In this step, you can find an image of a brown colored cartoon wood wall for the sides of the house and a typical brown or black roof (pictures can be chosen to your liking). Then on a Microsoft Word document, you should insert the picture of just the wallpaper or just the roof of the house. Then duplicate the picture several times (do not enlarge it), so it fills up an entire page. Then print 11 pages of the wallpaper and 4 pages of the roof. Then, assemble the wallpaper onto the prop with tape of glue.

Step 12: Reflection

Something we liked most about this project is that it was made of stable material, which made it look neat with the circuits inside of it. We also liked using the technique of the rabbet cutter because it made the gluing easier

Something we would change about this project is doing the wallpaper because it was easier to paint.

We would also make the roof differently next time because in the movie is was more of a pyramid shape