March 28, 2004

Slotict’s Track Designs

Paper Buildings

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Create a scenery object resembling a building.


Paper, foamcore, white glue, hot glue, paste, spray paint for plastic, toothpicks. Optionally some transparency sheets.


Printer, rafter square, combination square, straightedge/ruler, pencil, razor knife, razor saw, hot glue gun, sand paper or sanding sticks.


1-10 depending on the level of detail you wish to achieve.


1-10 ditto


I will show you how I built several structures using plans I downloaded from the internet, a color printer, time and patience, and a few dollars in materials.


Please right click on links you find in this document and select “Open in new window”. The software I use to make web pages does not allow me to imbed this command.


Download a plan from the internet. Go to For this project I selected a simple pit box. It is called Boxengebäude (Box building). You will find it under the Gebäude (Building) heading. Right click the mouse in the frame containing the instructions and select Properties. Copy the URL and paste it in a Babelfish window.


Gather your tools and materials.


There are four pages of outer walls in this plan. Print just those for now.

Measure the height of the walls.



3.5” in this case.



Next measure the length of the walls. There are four walls here, two of them 6” long and two that are 5 1/8” long. I check the width of the foamcore I have and it is just over 12” so I know I can get all four walls from two pieces cut 3.5” in width. I sharpen my pencil and align the ruler with two edges and put a mark at 3 ½”.


Put a new blade in your razor knife



Align your large square with the side of the foamcore and your 3-1/2” mark. It is critical to cut the foamcore squarely.



Use your razor knife to cut the outer layer of the foamcore. Hold the square firmly and run the knife against the square. Hold the knife as perpendicular to the board as you can and pull it towards yourself. Make a second pass a bit deeper and cut through the foamcore. Take more care to be perpendicular to the foamcore.


Run it once more through the foamcore before cutting though the bottom layer of paper.


It doesn’t take very many cuts through foam for the blade to become dull. As soon as the blade begins to bind, as if you have to use is as a saw, replace it. If the blade is dull it will tear the foam.


Cut out one of the walls.


Place the printout on a cutting surface. Plain cardboard won’t leave ink on the paper. This is the inside of a cereal box. Use a straight edge to guide your blade. Once again, be careful to cut right on the line from end to end. Since we are going to glue the wall to the foamcore we are cutting off the tab on the bottom. Retain the tabs on the sides.


If it’s not perfect you can slice a small bit off.


Start cutting at the widest end. The white rectangle on top of the green wall is for …something… so we will not cut it off yet.


Compare the wall to the foamcore.


We have a perfect match so we use the first piece of foamcore as a guage for the 2nd piece.


We don’t want white walls on the interior so we will paint the foamcore.


Use a couple pieces of scrap to elevate the material above the newspaper.



I used Krylon Fusion to give each piece one good coat. It is made for plastic and dries quickly. First apply it to the edges and then spray the top.



While waiting for the paint to dry you can print out more pages and cut out the other walls. Cut off any tabs on the tops and bottoms of the walls, but leave the tabs on the sides.


Make the folds in the walls as indicated by the dashed lines on the print. Most of the folds go back but a few go forward. I find it easiest to make the forward folds by first folding them back.



Align the bottom edge to be sure the fold is square



and crease it.


Small bits benefit from using a straightedge to start the fold.


Go back to the foamcore. Touch the spray on the newspaper. If that feels dry check the foamcore by touching the edges. When it is completely dry turn it over and paint the other side, giving the edges a second coat.


Finish printing and cutting and folding pieces.

Set the walls aside until tomorrow J



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