How to Build a Miniature Church

By Adelaide Tresor ; Updated April 12, 2017
Building a miniature church does not require specialized skills or tools.

Miniature churches are suitable for enhancing the landscape of a miniature railroad display or a Christmas village. They also work well as tree ornaments, and though it is difficult to find one in stores any time other than December, making your own is simple and inexpensive, regardless of the season. Church designs can be plain or incorporate more artistically challenging aspects, such as stained glass windows and steeples. Miniature architects may wish to model their craft after their own church or study examples of elaborate European houses of worship.

Measure and draw two rectangles with dimensions of eight by four inches on plywood. Draw an eight-by-five-inch rectangle for the floor of the church.

Draw two four-inch squares on plywood. Mark the centerpoint of one edge and draw a line straight out from the centerpoint, perpendicular to the square's edge and at least two inches long. Use the ruler edge to draw an angled line from one corner of the square to the centerpoint line. Repeat from the opposite corner to create a triangle on top of the square. These pieces serve as the front and rear walls of the church with roof trusses.

Cut out the five pieces marked on the plywood. Draw and cut out places for stained glass windows, if desired. Align the walls on the edges of the floor section and secure together with wood glue.

Simulate stained glass to fill the windows by drawing patterns on a transparency sheet or other clear plastic with colored permanent markers and tape against the inside walls over the places you cut out in the previous step.

Measure the length and width of each roof panel needed to cover the church. Mark on plywood and cut out.

Connect the two roof panels along their paired edges with two small hinges. Screwing hinge attachments to the inside of the roof ensures a perfect angle and allows you to remove the roof if needed, rather than gluing the roof in place and closing off the interior of the church.

Draw four one-by-two-inch rectangles on plywood and trace the roof angle onto one of the one-inch sides on two of the panels. Cut out the pieces and the angles. Glue the four sections together, with the angled pieces opposite each other. This will serve as the steeple base.

Draw four isosceles triangles on plywood, each with a one-inch base. Cut them out and place them together to form a pyramid. Glue the edges that touch each other to hold the pyramid shape. Run a thin line of glue around the top of the steeple base and attach the roof. Set the steeple base on the roof, but do not secure with glue if you want to retain the ability to change the roof's angle or remove and fold it.

Outline the features of the church, including front doors, stones or bricks, window frames and roof shingles, or thatch with a fine-tip marker.

Paint the church details as desired and allow to dry before displaying.

Things Needed

  • Model aircraft plywood
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Razor blade
  • Wood glue
  • Transparency sheet
  • Permanent markers
  • 2 small hinges with screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Black fine-tip permanent marker
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush

About the Author

Adelaide Tresor has been a technical writer and book editor since 2006. Her work has been published by Thomson Reuters and Greenhaven Press, including several "At Issue" titles. Tresor holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and is also a certified teacher with experience in English, mathematics, chemistry, and environmental science. She currently teaches AP Physics.