Old West Building Tutorial 2: The Side Walls
by Gisby

The Front The Side Walls The Floor The Back Wall Finishing the Building Pack's Emporium

All the notes from Old West Building Tutorial 1: The Front apply here.

I will be using the same three kinds of wood, colour-coded for clarity.

The first type is the 'popsicle stick' AKA Craft stick, lolly stick, etc.

The second type is the coffee stirrer:

Last, we have the matchstick:

Please read the instructions through before starting, (duh) both so you can understand what I'm doing, and so that you can see any areas where you can do it better.

Although in my mind, the walls are a lot easier than the front, somehow they seem to have more steps, and more illustrations. Go figure.

STEP 1: Make a Plan

On a piece of light cardboard, lay out your side walls, ideally both the same. (But remember that in shape they must be mirror images of one another. This will not matter until Step 5.)

I chose 6" wide and 2.5" tall, to match the already-made building front.

So I drew a box, 6 x 2.5 inches.

Remember, you have to make TWO (2).

STEP 2: Build the Frame

This part is built from Popsicle sticks.

You just glue one to each end of the box, flush to the outer edge.

NOTE: Although I have shown them trimmed, you can leave them full length, and glue the section that's outside the box to the cardboard. This will make it easier to remove the cardboard later.

STEP 3: Plank the Face

Plank the front of the assembly with coffee stirrers, starting at the bottom.

Use the straightest pieces you can find, of course.

If they are warped along the flat plane, just straighten them out, the frame will keep them straight.

If one end is bent, cut it off and use the straight part.

You wind up with THIS: A wall of boards on a frame, glued to some cardboard.

Place the assemblies under stacks of books to dry, this helps prevent warping. A couple of hours will do, but overnight is better.

STEP 4: Remove the Cardboard

Peel away and discard the cardboard.

You will also have to peel/cut/sand away any remaining glue on the back of the piece, UNLESS you left the uprights full-length and only glued them outside the box.

STEP 5: Draw your slope

Draw a line from the front edge of the front upright, at the height chosen for the wall, to a point at the back edge 2 boards lower. (My front point was 2.5" high, to the rear edge, about .5" lower.)


STEP 6: Add Braces

Glue a brace along the line: It will strengthen the edge and give the top boards a second attachment point.

Add a brace along the bottom of the wall.

NOTE: The braces may need to be joined from 2 lengths of popsicle stick, even though I have not shown the joins.

Place the assemblies under stacks of books to dry, this helps prevent warping. A couple of hours will do, but overnight is better.

STEP 7: Trim the Walls

Using the uprights and braces as guides, remove the excess planking and uprights. Check that the two walls have the same dimensions and slope. They should be mirror images of each other.

Add a central upright. (If you are adding a door or window near the centre, you can reposition this upright accordingly. It's mostly needed in a plain, unadorned wall.)

This is the outside view. If you want, it is finished, but the building will be more interesting if there are windows and doors on the sides.

Although the walls should be the same size, they don't have to be the same: One can have windows, the other a door, or nothing at all. It's up to you.

They were the main source of light, so think of where they'd be handy for the people inside.

STEP 8: Add Doors or Windows.

Add upright bracing wherever you want a door or window. It doesn't have to be popsicle stick, coffee stirrers will do.

I have added upright braces near the end uprights. Ideally they should be left to dry overnight under books, etc.

STEP 9: Open the Doors or Windows.

Using the uprights as a guide, cut through the planking.

I started the side window one board higher than the front display windows, as side windows would be smaller. I removed 5 boards and didn't have to do any cuts on the top or bottom.

In my real example I removed 3 boards: Apparently my real boards are wider.)

Glass was expensive and often hard-to-get in the Old West: Side and rear windows should be smaller than front windows.

When opening the door you cut through the brace at the bottom. It does weaken the wall, but the floor will supply the needed strength.

This is the outside view before finishing the door and windows.

STEP 10: Finish the Doors and Windows

THe windows and doors are framed with matchsticks,

On small windows, a horizontal bar looks good enough, but you can always add vertical pieces if you want.

Old West Building Tutorial 3: Floors and Walkways