How to Make Miniature Buildings

building image by Earl Robbins from

An effective and creative way to teach students or children basic design and engineering principles and the basics of scale is to have them create a miniature building. The building can be simply constructed with many materials found in your own home, or purchased inexpensively at a local craft store. Choose a building that you can easily obtain the exact proportions and measurements for the project, such as a famous building like the Empire State Building, or a local building, as inspiration for the mini building project.

Craft supplies and boxes can help create a proportional mini building.
building image by Earl Robbins from

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Small Boxes
  • Paint Brush
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Toothpick (Optional)
  • Toilet Paper Tube (Optional)
  • Paint
  • Newspapers
  • Paper
  • Construction Paper
  • Double-Sided Tape

Cover your entire work area with newspaper to limit any mess and make clean-up easier.

Convert the measurements of the building chosen for the project inspiration into a manageable mini building project. For example, convert every foot of height and width of the actual building into a centimeter for the project, or every yard to an inch.

Write down the calculated proportions of your miniature building on a separate piece of paper for reference.

Stack small boxes, such as match boxes, jewelry boxes or shoe boxes, to the desired height and width of the building. Use toilet paper or paper towel tubes for construction on rounded buildings.

Secure multiple boxes together with double-sided tape and/or trim down boxes as necessary with scissors.

Create an unusual rooftop if necessary by utilizing construction paper. Roll the construction paper into a cone shape and secure with tape to create a pointed roof. Trim the base of the cone down to create an even base. Secure to the top of the building boxes with tape.

Cover the entire building with construction paper in a color similar to the actual building, such as gray or black. Adhere to the boxes with double-sided tape.

Paint the smaller details, such as windows and doors, onto the building using an acrylic or water color paint and a paint brush.