How to Make a Simple Model of an Indian Longhouse

By Kristy Robinson
Create a cardboard longhouse model.

Native Americans lived in many different types of houses. When they intended to stay in an area for a long period of time, they might build a longhouse, providing shelter for as many as 60 people. Longhouses were typically long rectangles though some had rounded corners and domed roofs. Building a model of a longhouse requires little knowledge of crafting and can be completed in a short amount of time.

Determine how large you want your model to be. Longhouses were commonly as long as 200 feet and about 20 feet wide. The houses were approximately 10 foot high. Make your model 50 inches long, 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high for a 1 to 48 scale in which every inch of model equals 48 inches (4 foot) of real longhouse.

Add 2 inches to the width of the large rectangle and then divide by two to get the two pieces of cardboard you need to make the roof. Don't add inches to the length as there is no overlap of the roof on the front and back ends of a longhouse.

Use a ruler to draw the rectangles in the sizes needed on a piece of cardboard in pencil. Draw two rectangles for the long sides of the house, two for the front and back sides of the house, and two for the roof, based on your scale. Label each piece as you cut it so that you do not get them mixed up during assembly.

Draw one additional square, approximately 2/3 the size of the front square, to be used as the awning over the front door. The front square can be either of the two smaller rectangles cut in the previous step to be used as the front and back.

Use a craft knife to cut out the pieces.

Cut a door in the front piece, using either of the two smaller cardboard rectangles. Cut two small holes just above the door for mounting the awning.

Use tape on the inside of the structure to hold the cardboard pieces together. Tape the sides to the front and back of the building to form a rectangle.

Tape the two pieces of roof together at the center but do not place them on the house structure yet. Tape or glue twigs to the inside to form a peaked roof that can sit on top of the house structure. If you use glue, allow it to dry completely before attempting to place the roof on top of the building.

Place glue on the ends of two twigs as long as your awning piece. Insert the twigs into the holes you cut above the door. Allow to dry completely.

Place a bead of glue along the top edge of the twigs above the door. Glue on the awning and allow to dry completely.

Glue two more twigs in place to resemble support beams holding up the front corners of the awning.

Things Needed

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Craft knife
  • Packing tape
  • 20 small twigs
  • Glue

About the Author

Based in southern Virginia, Kristy Robinson has been writing for various websites since 2008. Her work focuses on tutorials and self-help articles. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from American InterContinental University.