Scale Model of Historic Building: Courthouse




Introduction: Scale Model of Historic Building: Courthouse

About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

This courthouse is located in Prineville, Oregon and has been in service since 1909. I grew up there in the 50's so was very familiar with the building. Being an artist, and a nostalgic one at that, it was a labor of love constructing this project!

Step 1: Incubate an Idea

Over the years I would visit Prineville and was always impressed with the courthouse as are most residents there. Developing my art skills over the years included sketching, painting, drawing and that included this building. It seemed inevitable to go ahead and construct a scale model of the courthouse. Hence this instructable.

Step 2: Sketch, Plan, Visualize the Process

Here are some of my sketches I worked on while germinating the idea to make the scale model. I did visualize the finished product as shown.

Step 3: Gather Necessary Materials, Tools and Other Essentials

I had all tools and materials on hand as they are items that any well equipped artist/craftsman will have. Using recyclable materials such as corrugated cardboard, cereal box cardboard and styrofoam adds to the purposeful nature of the project as well as making any investment very small. Basic paper cutting tools, glue, paint, cardboard are all utilized. All my power tools as well as the hotwire cutter are called into service as well.

Step 4: Start With One Section : the Tower

At first, I wasn't entirely committed to the project as I had many doubts about being able to pull it off. But the nagging of my muses got the best of me, helped me overcome any reluctance and I started on the tower structure thinking if I could do this successfully I would be able to do the rest. The tower, as shown, uses cardboard, matboard, glue, paint AND imagination in constructing.

Step 5: Cut Cardboard for Walls and Assemble

Regular corrugated cardboard was used for the majority of the building. Pieces are cut to size and glued up in their final configurations.

Step 6: Make Walls and Attach Windows

Windows were very time consuming as there were 80 (eighty!) windows, overall. I made all the front wall windows by first cutting mat board pieces in the correct sizes and numbers (26 I believe). To simulate the wood frames, cereal box cardboard and/or mat board was cut to size then glued onto the prepared mat board "windows". I realized the enormity of doing 80 windows like that so I decided to scan some completed windows and then cut and paste onto prepared mat board pieces. I think it worked rather well.

Step 7: Paint Walls and Any Other Parts Needing It

Using acrylic paint all parts are painted in colors that match the existing hues as close as possible. As the courthouse was made out of formed granite blocks, I tried to simulate that finish. I have attached the completed tower to the painted roof as shown.

Step 8: Work on Front Steps and Portico

Following photos as shown, the front portico and steps are made. This was my first use of styrofoam and it was the dense blue insulating foam.

Step 9: Temporary Assembly Can Be Done at This Point

To judge where I was at, I assembled the model as shown. A stretch piece of fabric was tied around the walls and clamps were used in a few key points. I would later use some small bolts, 4 total, to actually bolt the walls together at the end corners. I was pleased at the results up to this point. Proportions and relationships of parts seemed pretty accurate.

Step 10: Start Working on Front Projection, Moldings and Cornices

Here the pictures tell the story. I'm sure that "front projection" has an architecturally correct name but I don't know what it is! All of the pieces are made of mat board.

Step 11: Attach Pieces Made in Previous Step


Step 12: Make Chimney

The chimney on the back of the building was made of 3/4 by 1 and 1/4 pine lumber with a 1/8 inch veneer of styrofoam glued to the surface using tacky glue. Styrofoam is used so that the surfaces could be scored to mimic the brick or block pattern.

Step 13: Make Flagpole

The flagpole is made of a 1/4 inch dowel, cut to size then sanded on one end to provide a tapered effect. I painted a piece of paper for the American flag while the State of Oregon flag was found online and downloaded and printed. A base for the pole was made with a circular piece of 1/4 inch plywood, drilled and painted as needed. Around that I made small bricks of styrofoam and distressed and painted them to resemble the granite of the building blocks.

Step 14: Do Final Assembly of Walls and Roof

All pieces are now fitted and glued into place. This was the final assembly and once glued, it could not be redone. Thankfully things fit together well and the process was successful.

Step 15: Complete Roof Structures

Four corner structures are made as shown. Acrylic paint was used to finish pieces that had been constructed of wood and cereal box cardboard.

Step 16: Make Sign for Front of Building

Base pieces are made from dense foam (blue). I scored them with a pattern of flagstone, then painted each piece with various earth tones. I printed out the actual sign in my graphic program then glued it to the painted upright.

Step 17: Do Final Touchup, Check Details and Relax, We're Done!

For the final gallery, I've included pictures of me in the scene and one with a can of coke to show size relationships. And that concludes this Instructable!

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    8 years ago

    Omg I live in Prineville. Crook County Cowboys all the way! Lol


    8 years ago

    tnx. i need to learn making maket

    tech savvy
    tech savvy

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Amazing workmanship and the detail is very lifelike ,

    just an idea maybe a in the future you could take a face from a watch ,

    to have a working clock tower to give it even more realistic look ,

    once again great job :-)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment and that's a great idea. We had thought of that, but finding one to fit becomes the main issue, let alone one with roman numerals...


    Wow! Thanks for showing that photo with you in it, this was MUCH bigger than I thought up until that point. What scale is this in? How many hours did it take to create? This is really nice work, maybe they'll let you display it in the courthouse!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Not sure of scale, I just eyeballed it. I'm thinking well over 100 hrs, but am not sure. Any thing is possible, thanks for your comment.