Project Idea Book

In this guide you will find 4 projects that illustrate different modeling ideas using Model Builder’s tools. These buildings are just a start to modeling with this versatile program. Use these ideas as a "jumping-off point"!

To follow this project guide, set your ruler to English Feet Actual. To Access a metric version of this guide, look in the Model Builder "Help" Menu Drop Down under "MetricProjectIdeas.pdf."


The Quonset is made in sections. The front and back of the building are squares of material with a window or door on it. Both the front and back were trimmed in an arch shape after printing to fit the sloping sides. The sides and top of the building are made from a single sheet of the metal material printed out and bent to a curve. The edges of the building are glued to a cardstock rectangle for stability. Note: We like to print a little extra material when making buildings for final fitting and trimming.

  1. Start Model Builder. Open "File" Project/Page Setup and choose Landscape orientation. Include more pages if you model a larger scale. Refer to page 2 of the User Manual for more information on page set up. Back in the Design Screen, open the "Units" drop down and choose "English Feet- (Actual)".
  2. Select any metal from the Metal Category on the "Materials" Drop-Down List. Be sure to scroll over to see all available materials by using the arrow located at the top right of the material palette. To select a material from the palette, click on the material then click anywhere on the design screen to drop the material.
  3. To resize a material without stretching it and changing the scale, make sure the Crop/Paint button is selected and then drag the white square located on the bottom , side, or corner of the image. Alternately, you can resize by typing in the measurements in the material dimension boxes. If you would like your Quonset to have "patches" then add more metal scrap pieces from the metal palette on top of your metal sheet in the design screen, or add separate metal scraps after printing the main body of the hut.

  4. Our Quonset hut has one sheet of metal for the body of the building. We used Actual Feet: 33 feet tall by 25 feet wide. This will give a Building with actual dimensions of 10 feet tall by 16.5 feet wide by 25 feet long once the "metal" is bent to shape.
  5. To make the front and rear of the building, use 2 separate sheets of metal 18.3 feet wide 10.8 feet tall. You can place these two pieces of metal on the same work screen next to the body of the building.
  6. Choose a door from the industrial doors palette. Drop the door on top of the metal rectangle that will be front of the building. Resize the door using the Stretch button. The door will have black resizing boxes on it when you are stretching it larger. We chose a door size of 4.3 feet wide by 7.2 feet tall.
  7. Now select a window from the factory windows palette. Place the window next to the door and resize the window if needed. We choose a window with a width of 4 feet, height of 4.6 feet.
  8. Make the back side of the building in this same way. We did not put a door on the back of our building, just a small air vent chosen from the Lattice/Grill palette.
  9. Now you are ready to print out and assemble your building. Select "File" "Print Set Up" and choose "Best" printer setting and Matte Photo Paper for best image quality.
  10. You are now ready to assemble the building. Cut a rectangular base of cardstock or other material. Bend the printed "metal" sheet to an arch shape. Glue the "metal" sheet to the outer edges of your cut piece of cardstock and let dry. Trim off excess paper.
  11. Trace the inside of the arch you just constructed onto the printed front and back panel of the Building. Cut out the front and back panel along your traced line. Glue the front and back panels to the building. Use rust colored chalk to touch up any white paper edges that show on your finished building. Also use chalk for weathering.

Backdrop Building:

This project creates a flat building front that you can print out and glue to a material such as a foam core. The project uses the Crop/Paint, Stretch, Duplicate, Align, and Distribute. We will be creating a 3 story brick building that can be found in older down towns.

  1. Choose a brick pattern and place it near the upper left corner of the Design Screen. The example building will be 10 feet, or 3 meters, per floor with another 3 feet on the top floor for the upper cornice. You may also want additional height to the 1st story. In the Material Dimension boxes type in a Width of 25 feet, and Height of 33 feet.
  2. To create a cornice, choose a brick style and select the "Stretch" tool. Drag the lower right black square to enlarge the brick for Cornice sized stones. Now select the "Crop/Paint" tool and crop the material to three courses tall. Next use "Crop/Paint" tool to paint the Cornice the width of your building and move it into place. To help move the cornice into place, use the "align" tool from the top toolbar and choose "align" "top". Alternatively, check the material dimension and location boxes. Make sure you have the same number measurement for the "top" of both the wall and the cornice material.
  3. Add some trim material between the 2nd and 3rd stories. We choose a trim material from the trim palette. Alternatively, you could duplicate the cornice material and crop it. After the trim is sized properly, duplicate it and place between the 1st and 2nd stories.
  4. Adding and Distributing Windows: Choose a window from a Window palette and locate it near the left side of the upper story, resize if desired. Duplicate the window twice and drag the duplicates to the center and right side of the upper story. Select each Window while holding down the shift key (a dashed line will be visible around each window). Choose "Selection" "Align Selected" and Align the windows to "Top". Keep the windows selected and shift-click on the wall to add the wall to the group. Choose "Selection" "Distribute Selected", choose the Horizontal option. Now remove the wall from the group using shift-click once on the wall. Keep the windows grouped and duplicate the group for the 2nd story to preserve the spacing. When you duplicate a group, the duplicated copy will become the selected Group, allowing you to drag that new group into location on the next story of your building.
  5. First floor details: Add some stone blocks for a foundation using the crop and paint tools. Choose a storefront door and window design from the "Store Front" palette. You can center the Store Front image by selecting both the wall and the Store Front while holding the shift key, and then use the "Arrange" "Distribute Selected" option.

Small Industrial Building

This building can be made on one piece of paper, (the roofs are printed separately) with the accompanying small shed on another sheet of paper. You can create this way, or you may find it easier to make a single side of a building at a time and glue the pieces together onto your building. The building has "real life" dimensions of 16 feet wide, 9 feet deep and 14 feet tall, measured at the peak of the roof. The top of the front wall is 10.5 feet. You can alter the size of the building from this measurement to suit your needs. To change the size of the plan, click on "Plans" then "Re-Size Line Diagram.". The attached shed has dimensions of 6 feet wide 7 feet deep and 8 feet tall at the peak.

The total board length for the main building is (16’ + 16’ + 9’ + 9’ ) = 50 total feet for all of the sides of the building. Our Building height is 14 scale feet tall.

  1. Open Model Builder and Select "Project/Page Setup" from the "File" Menu. Select landscape for your page orientation. For larger scales, you will need more than 1 page to fit the whole building. Set your print margins to include the tallest point of the building.

    In the Design Screen, change the Units to English Feet-Actual
  2. Select a siding material from the Siding Palette in the Material Drop Down List. Use the gray arrow located at the top right of the material palette to see all siding choices. Click on the siding pattern you want and drop the siding onto the design screen. Next click on the white square on the right of the image and drag the siding to the length of the building plan. To add enough siding material for the peaked roof, add another piece of the same siding (or a different siding) to the section where the peak will be.

  3. Select a foundation material from the Blocks/Stone Palette. Click on your stone and make sure the Crop/Paint tool is selected. Click on the white square at the bottom of the image and drag it up. This will crop off the unwanted stone courses. Next click on the white square on the right of the image and drag the stone to the length of the siding. Click on the resized stone and drag it to the bottom of the siding. Use the "align" tool in the top toolbar and choose "align" "bottom" to align the bottom of the foundation with the bottom of the siding. Or, use the dimension boxes in the top left corner to check your locations.
  4. Select an Industrial Door from the Industrial Door palette. Click on the door you want and click on the design area to drop the door. Resize your door if needed. For our door, we chose a Width of 4 feet and a Height of 7 feet. Drag the door to the bottom of the siding. The door will appear on top of the foundation material because it was the last object placed. To bring an earlier object to front, click the object and choose "Arrange" then "Bring to Front"
  5. Place a window and a garage door onto the siding for the front of the building. Crop and/or Resize with the "Stretch" and "Crop" Buttons if desired.
    Measuring from the left, we located the Garage Door at L=9.6 feet, the window at L=15.8 feet and the industrial door at L=20.3 feet.

This will give a blank wall to the left of the garage door.

Optional: Building Trim

  1. There are several ways to add trim. You can select a vertical and horizontal trim from the drop down material palettes labeled vertical and horizontal trim, or choose a material such as wood to use as trim, or use the trim from another object such as a window or another door (send the window or door with trim you want "to back" to put it behind your door or window). Trim on the sides of the building can be added before or after printing the building. You will get a more dimensional look if you add trim on separately, but it is easy to add trim in the program (if you do not want to do a lot of gluing) . Select either a wood material or a vertical trim from the Vertical Trim palette. Stretch the material to the right size for Building Vertical Trim. Locate your trim so that the trim is at the edges of the building.

Example: Wood Building Trim  

In this Quick example, we chose a wood from the wood palette, then crop the boards down to 2 boards with the "Crop/Paint" Tool. Next we switch to the "Stretch" tool and stretch the 2 boards to 1.6 feet total width. This gives us (2) 10 inch wide boards. When you have the trim stretched and cropped to size, use "Selection"—"Duplicate" ("Ctl D") to make more exact copies of the trim.. Place this trim at the bend corners of buildings so that after folding, one ten inch board will be on each side of the finished structure. These boards can be useful as a "folding guide" to use after you print out your structure.

  1. Print out your building on Matte Photo Paper for best detail or print onto heavy card stock if you want to fold up the building without using a backing material.
  2. Select a roof material from the Shingles or Metals Palettes and use the "Crop/Paint" Tool to bring the roof material to size. We like to print a little extra material for final fitting. For this building, we made the shingle 14 feet long by 19 feet wide (in English Feet "Actual). This makes enough shingle for a roof overhang on all sides of the building.
  3. If you are using shingles that have a directional lap,

    cut the shingle sheet in half after printing. Reorient half of the shingle sheet to face the opposite direction and glue the 2 pieces to your roof base. To make your shingles have "texture" use a sharp "exacto" knife and make cuts along the edges of some of the shingles. Then, lift the shingles you have cut out up slightly.
  4. Add more shingle of the same or different material as a ridge cap if desired. For a metal roof, you can print the entire amount of metal in one sheet and apply to the roof base since there is not a directional lap. Check out the "Rusty Metal" palette under the Materials Drop Down for some roofing ideas.
  5. An easy way to make a sloped roof out f cardstock is to make a single cut down the center of 2-ply cardstock and bend the cardstock on the cut seam. Or bend a piece of index card in the middle. Glue your shingle material to the cardstock or index card roof form.
  6. Make the small shed by selecting a stone or cinderblock. Use the "Crop/Paint" Tool to bring your material to 3 feet by 1 foot. You can easily add a bricked up window by selecting a brick material and overlaying it onto a window from the window palette. Add this to your cinderblock. Add any other windows and doors, resizing with the "Stretch" tool and using "Crop/Paint" if desired.

After printing, add chalk for weathering and over-spray with Krylon "Preserve It!" .

Service Station

This building was printed on one piece of paper. You can choose to create this way, or create your buildings one side at a time.

The service station has "real life" dimensions of 15.5 feet wide, 13 feet front to back and 10.8 feet tall at the highest point in the front. You can find "Building Plans" in the "Other" category drop down near the bottom of the list. If you want to remove the Building Plan from the design screen, click "Plans" "Clear Building Line Diagram."

  1. Open Model Builder. In the design screen, Select "File" "Project/Page Setup" and switch the paper orientation to Landscape.
  2. For Most Scales you will want to increase your project size by including extra pages. Read more about the page set-up options on page 2 of the manual. Back in the Design Screen, change the "Units" to "English Feet-Actual".
  3. Click once on the Building Plan for the service station and drop it onto the work screen. Building Plans are located in the "Other" Category drop down. Look for Plans near the bottom of the list.
  4. With the building plan on the design screen, select a material for the building. We choose stucco, other great choices for the building would be cement or metal. Add a rectangle of stucco to the short wall area and drag the white "Crop/Paint" square all the way across the whole building side.
  5. Add another square of your building material for the peak in the front of the building. Cut this to a peak after printing.

  6. Select some windows for this structure. We used a large window size for this station. If you want to have more window options, you can use two or more windows overlapped in the following manner:

    Choose a window with white trim from the residential palette. Size the window to 4.5 feet tall by 4 feet wide (in our sample) and place it on top of the stucco in the correct location. In this example, the windows are two feet above the bottom of the building. Next, select a window from the factory or storefront windows palette, drop it into the design screen, and crop off some panes of glass. Now you can overlay the factory window over the frame from the residential window to make a whole new window. Shrink or stretch the overlapped window to fit inside the window frame. Holding the shift key, click on both the window and the frame to group it, then duplicate the 2 windows together using the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl D". Move the new duplicate to the next location on your building. Continue in this manner for the rest of the building.
  7. Select any door for the center front of the building and add any side doors and a back door from the Door Palettes. Resize if desired. We made our front door large; 8 Feet tall by 4.2 Feet wide.
  8. Select a foundation and a trim from their respective palettes. Crop your chosen foundation stone down to a few courses of brick or stone with the "Crop/Paint" Tool

    then paint the foundation for the whole length of the building again using the "Crop/Paint" tool. Drag the foundation material to the bottom of the building. Continue in the same manner with your chosen building trim.
  9. The roof of the service station has multiple slopes as shown on the building plan. Use the Crop/Paint tool to add enough shingle material to completely cover the entire roof structure. After printing, you will cut on the Solid lines and fold on the dashed lines to make the roof. If you print on heavy paper, you do not need added support for the roof.
  10. Now you are ready to print your building. You have 2 choices at this point. You can print the building without the line drawing superimposed on top so that you will not print the dotted fold lines on top of the building materials. To print the building without the line drawing, just click "File" "Print" as you normally do. You can then print the line drawing separately to cut it out and use it as a guide for assembly. Or, you may want to have the line drawing superimposed on your building materials to make cutting easier. (You will see the dotted fold lines on the building this way). To print the building materials with the Line Drawing superimposed on it, choose "File" "Print Setup" and check the box that says "Print Building Plan with Building"

Warehouse Building

This Warehouse building was made using siding from the new "Industrial Siding" palette.

  1. Open Model Builder. In the design screen, Select "File" "Project/Page Setup" and switch the paper orientation to Landscape. For Most Scales you will to increase your project size by including extra pages. Read more about the page set up on page 2 of the manual. Back in the Design Screen, change the "Units" to "English Feet-Actual".
  2. Select a siding material from any of the material palettes. This building is built with industrial siding. Wood, brick, metal or cement would also be very good choices. Place your material in the top right corner of the screen, and using "Crop/Paint" type in dimensions of Width: 76 feet and Height 27 feet. Duplicate this piece of material and put the second piece lower on your screen.
  3. Choose another material for corner reinforcements. We chose a contrasting siding material. For an older building, you could use rusty metal or wood. Crop the material to a width of 1.2 feet then paint it to 27 feet height. Duplicate your corner reinforcement 3 times. Locate the corners at Left 34 feet, Left 75 feet, on the upper and lower piece of siding material.
  4. Choose a foundation material from the cement palate. Crop the material to 0.5 feet and paint to 76 feet. Move the cement to the bottom of the building, duplicate it and place it on the second half of the building lower on the screen. The cement will be on top of the siding and corner reinforcements since it was placed last. Use the "Arrange" tool to re-order items if needed.
  5. Add doors, windows, and vents. Also check the "utilities" palette in the "Other" category for electrical boxes, meters, etc. The "trees" palette has bushes also.
  6. Save your file and print it. On a new project, choose some roofing material. Locate the material at the top left of the screen. Crop/Paint to a Width 40.8 feet, and a Height 40.8 feet. Print the roof and assemble your building.

Remember, these ideas are just a starting point for using Model Builder.
Use your imagination to make some unique buildings!

Protecting Your Designs: Inkjet printer inks tend to fade after long exposure to UV light. UV light is present is sunlight and fluorescent lights. Protect your designs! We recommend KRYLON®

or other Matte UV sprays . Check your local hobby or art supply stores.