Making a hard foam building playable from the inside

There is more possible than you think

Increase the play value of your ZITERDES tabletop model house with a simple conversion!
This workshop is about working on a hard foam model so that it becomes playable from the inside. It will be shown how easy it is to work with the material and with which steps you can achieve this goal. Of course, this is not only possible with the example model used here.

Step-by-step instruction

Instructions from Thomas (Thommy) Doll

atom/icons/craft Medium
atom/icons/time 60 min.

You need that

Tinker's knife or carpet knife
Ruler (geo-triangle)
Mark dividing line
I look for a suitable dividing line on the gable side and then cut into the house wall, starting as straight as possible under the roof. This can be done quite easily with a sharp craft knife. It is sometimes quite useful to pre-cut the cutting line first with a sharp scalpel.
On the sides of the roof, I prefer to cut a little diagonally from underneath the roof so that I don't accidentally damage the roof. You can leave the overhangs, then the roof will always fit perfectly later, or you can cut and sand the wall smooth, just as you like. However, you shouldn't sand too much when embellishing the cut surface so that you don't see the cut later.
Windows and doors
For some play systems, the current state of the building would be quite sufficient for it to be considered "playable from the inside". However, I would like to go a little further and show how easy it is to create the interior. The simplest method would be to press the windows and the door into the wall of the house using a biro and a knife.
I will do the same with the door later.
The whole thing becomes a bit more plastic if you cut out the windows and work on them as I did here in the workshop.

I start on the outside and cut as straight as possible in the joint through the wall.
Attention! Before cutting out the block, you should make sure that the cuts on the inside are really continuous, otherwise you will end up with unattractive broken-out areas like I did (see arrows).
But rigid foam is a great material, so I was able to fix the mistake by cutting it off at the window and gluing it to the wall.
The break lines are very clean with hard foam, so that after gluing and painting there is rarely any sign of a possible mishap.
Edit window pane
Now I cut two slices about 2mm thick from my detached window block. The more carefully and precisely I cut now, the better it will look later. The first pane (i.e. the former inner wall) can go, I cut a rectangle out of the second pane. The distance to the edge should be about 2mm.
On the cut surface of the remaining window block, I now draw the frame and the window cross with a scalpel and biro. It is also advisable to use a ruler here.
After I have traced the edges of the future window panes with the knife, I carefully press the panes in with the biro to create a recess. Then I glue the frame back to its old position on the window block.
Alternatively, you can cut off three panes and cut the window cross out of the innermost pane before gluing the cross and the frame back onto the block.
Glue the "window block" back in place
Now you can push the window block back into the house wall and glue it in place. You should not see any change on the outside, but something has changed on the inside!

Now I repeat these steps for the other windows, which admittedly takes some time, considering the number of windows.
It is of course also possible to open the windows completely by leaving only the window cross and cutting out the original window panes. It is even possible to divide the window block in such a way that a grille or a foil is installed, thus obtaining "real" panes. This looks particularly good with lighting.

Pull in floor
It is also very easy to build in a floor. To do this, I place the house on a thin Styrodur board and draw the interior. The one I use even has a structure reminiscent of a wooden floor.
Now the board can be cut, patterned and glued in place.

ATTENTION! Before gluing in, pay attention to the next step.

TIP! As Styrodur, unlike rigid foam, reacts very sensitively to solvents, you should be careful with your choice of glue here.
Designing the inside of the door
Before I glue in the floor, however, I draw the door on the inside of the house wall. I transfer the measurements to the wall and draw (or press) a door with a biro and knife.
Even the door handle and the hinges are very easy to make from the scraps of hard foam from the windows. 
With the craft knife I can also create a grain in the wood of the door and the frame.
Painting and possibly lighting
Now the painting and then the whole thing looks like this!
Of course, you can decorate the interior even further by drawing/pressing wooden beams, for example, or you can take wooden stirring sticks and use them to make beams on the inside. Or you can light up the house with LEDs, diodes or an electric "tea light".
As always, there are no limits to your imagination...

I hope you have fun making and painting your house.
Your Thommy from the ZITERDES team

Your crafted results

Thommy (then still at Thomarillion) at the craft workshop at the SPIEL in Essen

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