Tips for Creating Free Standing Paper Models

One of the biggest challenges when working with paper is actually holding the model together while you assemble the sides. The finished model collectively draws its strength for all four sides and the roof. Here are a few strategies you can use to hold things together when you’ve only completed a couple of sides:

  • Use small, light modeling clamps and temporarily clamp the paper to wood
  • Attach each side of the structure to the base before combining the sides
  • Work with a solid base such as a Styrofoam or wood block
  • Assemble the model on a floor or support base
  • Assemble the model around some type of solid base during construction

When working with paper without a base material or a thin base material such as chipboard, you’ll quickly notice the sides have a tendency to bow in to the center of the model. The longer the sides, the more likely they are to bow. In this case you’ll need to provide some type of support for the model.

There are basically two options for support: build the model on some type of flooring or install cross beams through the center of the model. For the flooring you can choose any of the base types discussed in the second chapter, although thicker bases provide more support and room for adhesive. If working with a floor, start by assembling the sides and then attach the sides to the floor.

For crossbeams, you can simply use the same base type as the rest of the model. Crossbeams should be attached approximately every four inches and are most effective when they run the entire height of the sides. A benefit to using crossbeams is that also provide support for the roof structure. For pitched roofs, make the crossbeams higher than the sides and match the cut angle to the pitch of the roof.