If your summer travel includes a trip to the southwest, you may be inspired to recreate your adventures and make this Southwest Adobe House. Or maybe you’ll want to make it because your plans don’t include a trip to the southwest. Bookmark this Adobe House tutorial for the school year, too – it might come in handy. While I know that kids will find this a cool project, they will need help from an adult along the way.
To make a Southwest Adobe House, you’ll need:
- STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: Two, 1″ x 12″ x 18″ sheets OR one 1″ x 12″ x 36″ sheet
- Packaged sand
- Wooden dowel, 15 ” x 3/16″ dia.
- Balsa strips:
- 1 yd. 6mm x 2mm (ladder frame)
- 1 ft. 3mm square balsa strip (ladder rungs)
- White craft glue:
- Thick, white craft glue for assembling the house
- Thin-bodied white glue for brushing on the house
- Optional: Low-temp glue gun
- Tools needed: Scissors; utility knife with sharp blades or a serrated knife*; T-square; pencil; indelible marker; toothpicks; 1” brush
*NOTE: Do not let children use a serrated knife or utility knife. Have an adult cut out the pieces for the adobe house.
To make a Southwest Adobe House:
1. Using a pencil and T-square, score the foam sheet according to the cutting diagrams (Adobe House Patterns Page 1 and Adobe House Patterns Page 2). Use the marker to letter the pieces according to the cutting diagram. Using the T-square and a utility knife with a sharp blade, cut out pieces, keeping edges and corners as square as possible (have an adult cut out the pieces).
2. Assemble the house using parts A, B, C, D and E using glue and toothpicks. Inserting toothpicks between the pieces will help strengthen the bond; add a dab of glue to each end of the toothpick before inserting it into the foam.
- A and B are the front and back walls
- C and D are the end walls for the two-story section
- E is the end wall for the single-story section.
3. Add the roof:
- G is the roof for the two-story section
- F is the roof the for the single-story section.
4. Assemble the small, single-story addition:
- H, I, J form the walls
- L is the roof
5. Glue the single-story addition onto the front of the house (refer to the photo for placement).
6. Cut the doors and windows into the house, referring to the photo for placement.
7. Add the steps: M is for the door on the right side, and N is for the front door.
8. Chimneys: Cut K in half, so each piece measures 1” x 3”. Glue in place on rooftops.
9. Round off edges of the house and steps by running the side of a pencil over the corners and edges of the foam.
10. Cover the house with sand. Several light coats of sand will cover better than one heavy coat. If too much sand is applied in a single coat, the weight of the sand will cause the glue to drip and sag.
- Working on one section at a time, paint the surface of the house with a thin layer of white craft glue and sprinkle on an even coat of sand.
- Lightly pat the sand into the glue with your fingers.
- Continue, working section by section, until the house is covered.
- After the glue has dried, brush off excess sand, repaint with glue and sprinkle on more sand.
- Repeat until surface is covered.
- When dry, vacuum lightly with small brush attachment to remove any loose sand.
11. Cut the wooden dowel into 1″ pieces and push into adobe home, following photograph.
12. Cut balsa strips and assemble two small ladders, one 6 1/2″ x 1 1/4″ and one 7 1/2″ x 1 1/2″; lean against house.
I think this Southwest Adobe House is pretty amazing, and it looks so realistic. It’s not a quick & easy project, but it’s worth the time. Especially if the kids are “so bored” this summer.
Are you travelling to the southwest this summer? You’ll have to let me know how this compares with the “real thing”.