How to Make a To-Scale Model of the Parthenon in Greece

I've always been kind of interested in ancient Greek architecture, so one day while I was bored, I decided to make a to-scale model of the Parthenon in Greece. This proved to be actually quite simple, only cutting out different sized rectangles, and gluing some painted wooden dowels in, and presto! you have the Parthenon! In case you didn't know, the ancient Greeks contributed a lot to our modern day architecture, like columns and friezes, and even invented porches. Ok, enough of the history lesson, lets get to building!


-Pen, pencil, scissors, etc.

-Xacto knife, and a few extra blades

-Ruler, and Meter stick (with English units)

-Lots of large sheets of foam core

-3/8" wide wooden dowel

-white paint

-ruler scale (like the kind that looks like a 3 pronged ruler, and converts say 13' to inches, GREAT for scaling)

-All-purpose tape (NOT SCOTCH)

-Cutting Mat

-Hot glue gun and a few extra sticks of glue

-Computer that has printing abilities


-1 sheet of poster board with corkboard on top

-5/8" wide balsa wood dowel, 15', or 5-3' long rods

-Saw to cut dowels

Step 1: Sketchup Model

As a guide, I used a Google Sketchup model of the Parthenon that I got off the 3D warehouse. For those of you who don't know, sketchup is a 3d program mainly used for architecture, and has lots of nice features to help with modeling. Sketchup can be obtained at Once you have this downloaded, click on "File" then go down to "3D Warehouse" then click on "Get Models...". Now search Parthenon in the search box (where else?) and find a good model that you can use. Now click import-directly into model.

Step 2: The Roof

Start out by cutting out a rectangle out of the foam core that is 2.5' by 1'. Now cut out 2 rectangles 2.5' by 1". Now cut out 2 more rectangles 1' by 1". Now cut out 1 rectangle that is 2.5' by 3". Now cut out 2 rectangles 2.5' by 7". Whew, that was a LOT of rectangles. Now that is done, time to glue it all together. Start by taking the 2.5'x1" and 1'x1" rectangles and gluing them around the largest 2.5'x1' so that they make a rim around the entire base, as shown in the pic. Next, take the 2.5'x3" rectangle and glue it lengthwise down the center of the main piece, on the same side that the edges are sticking up on. This piece should be standing straight up. After this is done, take the two roof pieces, and glue them so one long edge is glued onto the top of the 2.5x3" rectangle, and the other side glued on the top edge of the longer edge pieces. If this doesn't make sense, refer to the pictures. Lastly, cut out a triangle to fit into the gaps at either short end of the roof, and glue it in place. (PS, it may be easier to glue the triangle in place before you glue the roof pieces in, but I did it as written out.

Step 3: The Columns, URRGHH

This was my least favorite part, you have to make 50 columns. That is a lot. It may not seem like it, but it is. Trust me. To make it not sooo bad, I recommend some good music, the stuff I listened to was Winside-Reapers, found at Start by taking the wooden dowels, and cutting 50-3" sections. After this is done, take the white duct tape, and cut a 3" long section, and wrap it lengthwise around one of the dowel sections. Do this to all the other columns. Yep, all 50 of them. Once you have done this, cut a 7/8" wide, 3' long strip of foam core, and cut it into little sections 7/8" long, effectively making 50 small squares. Note that the 3' might be too little or much, but you just have to be able to accommodate all of the pieces. Take the glue gun, and glue all of these squares to the taped dowel section. Note: The tape most likely will not fit all the way around the dowel, but that is ok. To save time, I just made it so that part of the column was facing away from the outside of the model.

PS: Sorry if my attitude seems a little grumpy in this step, but this really made me angry, making all these tiny things. >:(

Step 4: The Platform

This is really quite easy. All you have to do is make another 2.5'x1' rectangle, and make two other 3 1/4" by 2' rectangles, and two 10' by 3 1/4" rectangles, and glue the shorter ones parallel 3" from the 1' long edge, and the longer ones 1" parallel from the longer edges of the base. Now glue all this to the corkboard stuff, to give the dirt effect. Now print out the included picture of the statue of Athena, and cut it out, then glue it onto cardboard, and cut it out again. Then glue it on one of the shorter sides in the center of the base you made.

Step 5: The Freizes and Pediments

Now, all you have to do is print out the provided pics, and glue them onto the listed places. Start by printing and cutting out the pics above. Next glue the long rectangular strips around the edge of the roof on the small edge pieces, so that they wrap around. You may have to reprint some of these, but that is ok. Now take the triangular pics, and glue them on the triangular part at either end of the roof.

Step 6: Place the Roof Onto the Base

Now all you have to do is put the roof onto the base. Put hot glue on the corner columns, and also one column in between each corner, and quickly place the roof onto this.

Step 7: Done!

Yays! Now you are done, and you can now proudly display your model of the Parthenon! You can add more detail to it if you want, but I was under a time constraint, so I kept it sweet and simple. This for me only took two days, but I put in a lot of hard work to get it done.



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21 Discussions


1 year ago

Can you just paint the dowels white instead of using duck tape?

2 replies

Reply 1 year ago

You could, but we discovered the duct tape gives a textured look like a real column!


1 year ago

I am sorry, where are the pictures for

The Freizes and Pediments?
1 reply

Reply 6 months ago

In google just search up Freizes and Pediments or Metopes which is the one that is the first layer.


10 months ago on Step 7

Approximately how long does this take?


Question 10 months ago on Introduction

Whats the ratio of this to the real parthenon

Thomas 12

3 years ago on Introduction

I live in aus and i dont understand what the ¨ mean, and it doesent say on internet, can u please tell me what the ¨ and ' signs mean

2 replies
doggotron3000Thomas 12

Reply 2 years ago

It doesn't matter for this how-to, but

... is when you would ramble on talking for too long to you assume the reader understands what you mean

'' is used as quotation marks. Such as: "I love cheese pizza," Mr. Brown said.

' is used as a contraction such as: Didn't instead of did not, or Wouldn't instead of would not.

Sorry that it took me soooooooo long to reply, I have been very busy lately. Are you looking at the measurements in sketchup, or in my written tutorial?


Reply 2 years ago

Not sure if you are still active to answer questions, but wondering why the call-out in supplies for two different size dowels? From the steps, it looks like all columns use the 5/8" dowel - what is the 3/8" for? Also, is white duct tape used as alternative for white paint? Is it either/or for making columns white? It's nice that you included your frieze/pediment graphics as they appear to be in scale for use, but higher resolution might be needed for printing reproduction (we'll try to find in book). Lastly, do you cite sketchup™ for reference, to credit your source or as a way of introducing young people to a modeling program? It's not clear if it's a requirement to build your model, but we've downloaded it just to become familiar with it (even if it complicates things, we're not sure which parthenon file you used, or if it's necessary to find the same one you used). Thanks for documenting your project, we're going to take a go at it, as yours is one of the top (and only) google search results in trying to find a suitable middle-school Parthenon model build. Just thought I'd provide some feedback in case you are interested in updating your steps. cheers - and thanks again.


2 years ago

Hi, where can I find the 'provided pics' for Step 5, please? Thanks!


3 years ago on Introduction

that looks amazing! I can't make it though because u need to many supplies.