Introduction: Scale Model House Smaller Than a Sheet of Paper

Scale model buildings are a necessity on most dioramas and railway layouts. They also display really well on their own.

This project was done in the 1:64 scale (think diecast dinky cars) for a farm scene diorama. The framing isn't done accurately to real-life carpentry (I didn't carefully space 2x4s or mimic building codes etc.) but hopefully the end product is convincing.

Maybe this project will inspire you to build a replica of your own home or even dream house! Or one step further, a complete diorama!


1) Miniature lumber
Coffee stir sticks, skewer sticks, toothpicks, popsicle sticks etc.

2) Basic tools
Side cutter pliers, scissors, utility knife, ruler, pencil (basically you'll need to cut and measure materials).

3) Card stock paper (or index cards) & Sandpaper sheets
Great materials for siding and roofing (you'll see).

4) Paint and Glue
Acrylics work great for adding colour. A hot glue gun works fine for the structure and Elmer's glue for the siding and roofing.

Optional: Pre-made windows and other accessories are acceptable in my opinion. Feel free to make everything from scratch though.

Step 1: Don't Be a Square

Get a blank sheet of paper. You can go two directions with this, either:

A) Draw out an elaborate blueprint


B) Simply cut out what shape (I went this route) you want your house to be or make it a simple square

Then start gluing your wall base/sills (coffee stir sticks) directly to the paper!

Take note: If you want to be exact to the scale you are using, you may want to scale your lumber accordingly. I simply compared the size of house and size of building materials to a 1:64 diecast truck.

Step 2: Time for a Raise

Start raising the walls. Skewer sticks were a bit thicker than the coffee stir sticks and made great wall studs. The most important part in this step is to keep everything square (unless you want a rickety looking house), temporary braces can be very helpful.

Step 3: We Have a Few Openings

This is the point where you should decide where any windows and doors will be going. If you're using pre-made windows* like I am, you will need to make sure they fit in the openings for when they are installed later on.

* I found pre-made 1:87 windows online that were originally made for model railway builders. I simply chose large sizes that still looked normal for my 1:64 scale.

(You may also notice that I added blocks underneath the entire structure to replicate a foundation. This is optional, depending on the style of house being built.)

Step 4: Hit the Slopes

Start creating your roof slope. You may want to build accurate roof trusses or just frame it out like I did.

Notice a difference between the two photos? I lowered the front wall. Don't be afraid to make alterations as you go along.

Step 5: Are You Founded on the Rock?

The blocks I decided to add underneath the entire structure needed a little character - So I glued gravel to them and painted them with a concrete tone. Your house might not need this look.

Step 6: I Hear You Paint Houses

Card stock works great for siding! I simply used some blank index cards that I had laying around. Cut them into strips and glue them on with Elmer's glue. Make sure to overlap and stagger accordingly.

It likely would have looked like vinyl siding if I left it blank - but I got a little crazy with the brownish/yellow/yucky paint.

Step 7: What's Under There?

Frame out the edges of your roof. Make sure there is appropriate overhang if needed. Then glue card stock down to create a base for your roofing. This is the same idea as plywood sheathing in real life.

Step 8: The Nitty Gritty

Sandpaper can make very convincing asphalt shingles. Of course you might not want to use too coarse of a grit for small scale.

Take a ruler and graph out the shingles on the backside of the sandpaper sheet. Cutting it into strips is much easier than cutting them out individually. Simply cutting halfway up between each shingle to create the illusion of individual shingles.

(I went with a 36" x 14" shingle, that I of course reduced to 1:64. It didn't have to be exact so, each strip is about a 1/4" thick)

Step 9: Window Shopping

This is when you can install those nifty little windows. I simply painted mine white. If you're more creative and ambitious than me, you obviously made your own windows.

Step 10: Shameless Plug

If you want to keep going, you can add decorative shutters, gutters, etc. (I think I forgot to mention a door, oops)

and TA-DA! You have a house ... in desperate need of an interior decorator.

Printing out wallpaper patterns and gluing them to card stock makes easy interior walls. So if you made yours in the cut-away style like I did, you now have lots of opportunity to be a tiny interior designer.

Oh and here's the shameless plug: Check out the video of this build from my Youtube Channel where I build other neat little things for my 1:64 Farm Diorama. There are also cool little diecast replicas of tractors and other farm equipment. Thanks!