Introduction: How to Make a Motte & Bailey Castle

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The method below examines how we went about the task.

There is a full list of materials used, along with downloadable 'How to' sheet and downloadable plans (6 A4 sheets) are available from our website

The plans are available as a single sheet to buy, printed onto thick paper.

These include a base board plan and all walls and buildings.

NOTE: Be careful when using the scalpel: don't put yourself, especially your fingers, in the blade's path. After cutting, store the scalpel carefully. Always use a safety rule.


Motte & Bailey base & building plans (BL00000)
White A2 foamboard 5mm thick (RF50034)
MDF sheet, 250 x 500 x 3mm thick (RW11003)
Expanded polystyrene foam 300 x 300 x 50mm thick (RF10003)
UHU Glue stick, 40g (AG00051)
UHU all purpose glue, tube 20ml (AC00009)
PVA glue, 170ml (AP00036)
Fine hair 5 paint brush (FB10008)
Steel safety Rule, 304mm long (TR10009)
Retractable Swann Morton craft knife with 5 x 10A blades (TK10080)

Brown acrylic paint
White acrylic paint
Black acrylic paint
Brunswick green Humbrol gloss paint (FO30009)

Flock adhesive, 250ml (green) (AG00015)
Flock grass mix, 100cc (LG20022)
Mid green coarse texture, 230cc (LG30059)
9-11mm green deciduous green trees, packet of 10 (LT20002)

Step 1: Making the Motte Mound

Glue the three A4 sheets of the plan together using the glue stick as indicated on the plan.

Step 2: Making the Motte Mound

Glue the plan to the foamboard using the glue stick putting enough glue on the back of the drawing so the it is held in place to cut out the moat but can be removed later.

Step 3: Making the Motte Mound

On a cutting mat or thick card using a craft knife with a new blade cut through the foamboard around the outside of the plan.

Step 4: Making the Motte Mound

Cut through the card on the top layer of the foamboard only, not cutting through the foam, following the outline of the outside of the moat.

Step 5: Making the Motte Mound

Then holding the knife at about a 45° angle and following the cut just made, cut all the way through the foamboard to create the sloping bank of the moat.

Step 6: Making the Motte Mound

Looking on the back of the board check you have cut all the way through and making extra cuts where needed. Then separate the parts.

Step 7: Making the Motte Mound

Repeat the process to cut out the Motte.

Step 8: Making the Motte Mound

And then the Bailey

Step 9: Making the Motte Mound

Remove the plan from the foamboard.

Step 10: Making the Motte Mound

Stick the foamboard to the mdf base using UHU glue as a contact adhesive gluing down the outside first.

Run UHU all over the back of the foam board, put the foam board and the base together so the glue is on the base as well then pull apart.

Allow the glue to become touch dry and then put the two pieces together again pushing down on the foam board so the two pieces are firmly stuck together.

This method will stick the two pieces together very firmly.

PVA glue can be used instead but the glue will need to be left for a few hours to dry with something heavy on top, such as some books, to hold the pieces together.

Step 11: Making the Motte Mound

Glue two plans of the Bailey onto the top and bottom of the expanded polystyrene foam using the glue stick.

Step 12: Making the Motte Mound

Roughly cut through the foam, close to the plan but not trying to cut out exactly making lots of cuts slowly working your way through the foam.

Step 13: Making the Motte Mound

Round the smaller circle in the centre of the Motte removing the outside paper leaving the inner circle.

Step 14: Making the Motte Mound

Then repeat the cutting process removing small pieces of foam working towards the centre until you have formed the cone shape.

Step 15: Making the Motte Mound

Remove the paper from the cone then stick the cone to the foamboard base using PVA glue.

Step 16: Making the Motte Mound

To form a smooth surface on the foam and the moat paint watered down PVA glue onto the cone and cover with strips of tissue paper or news paper until fully covered. Allow to dry fully for approx 3 hours.

Step 17: Colouring the Model

Using the plan as a guide mark on the roads and paths with a pencil.

Step 18: Colouring the Model

Then paint on the roads and paths in a light brown grey colour. (A brown and white)

Step 19: Colouring the Model

Paint the bottom of the moat with a browny green colour to represent water, preferably with a gloss paint. (Brunswick green).

Step 20: Colouring the Model

Using a matt green paint, paint the grass areas in the following sections, the Motte, the Bailey then the surrounding area letting each dry before beginning the next.

Step 21: Colouring the Model

Or, for a more realistic model use 4D modelshop flock adhesive and while still wet sprinkle on grass flock through a flour sieve. Allow to dry for a couple of hours then knock off the excess flock onto some paper, before beginning the next section.

Step 22: Colouring the Model

For an extra realistic look and to break up the flat look of the road areas stipple on white and brown paint.

Step 23: Colouring the Model

This is done by using a stiff brush with a flat end dipping the end of the brush in the paint and removing excess paint on a piece of paper until only a small amount of paint comes off the brush. Then using a gentle stabbing motion applying the paint all over the road areas repeating until the whole area is covered with small dots of paint.

Step 24: Walls and Buildings

Cut out the perimeter walls and glue them back to back with PVA glue.

Step 25: Walls and Buildings

Shape the wall to the curve of the moat, cut to size and glue in place with PVA glue. Work round model until all the walls are complete.

Step 26: Walls and Buildings

Then cut out the buildings, glue together and stick to the model using PVA glue.

Step 27: Walls and Buildings

A tip to get a clean fold is to use a ruler placed along the tab or fold line then make the fold by pushing the paper up with a knife blade or another ruler.

Step 28: Walls and Buildings

Using PVA glue, stick mid green texture in clumps on the grass to represent longer foliage.

Step 29: Walls and Buildings

To cover the white edges of the fences carefully paint them with a mid brown paint.

Step 30: Walls and Buildings

Add extra detail by sticking small trees around the model.

Step 31: Walls and Buildings

Cut them to length and glue in place with PVA glue pushing the tree through the card of the foam board base.

Step 32: Walls and Buildings

Finally paint the edge of the model with a neutral colour such as grey.