Creating scale models is a great way to learn earthbag building techniques and help visualize your future home. Tim Merritt sent me some pics of models he’s been working on and I was so impressed I wanted to share them with other readers. Tim used modeling clay for his models. Kelly Hart created models for his house using miniature sandbags sewn to scale. See his Miniature Bag Kit.

Clay Model of Earthbag Dome

Clay Model of Earthbag Dome

Tim got the idea for this dome by studying a section view of the Pantheon in Rome. One possibility for this design is to use a half vault as a buttressing wall instead of a complete vault. This would work like a flying buttress on a cathedral to provide horizontal strength. I would experiment with deleting the buttresses shown in the first picture (except possibly those against the flat, back wall). Creating buttresses on the outside of the vault is another option. The main point is modeling makes it easy to try out various configurations to see what looks and works best. Thanks again Tim for contributing this interesting and creative design.

Finished Clay Model of Earthbag Dome

Finished Clay Model of Earthbag Dome


Creating Earthbag House Models — 8 Comments

  1. Hi, I’m a big fan of earthbag building and hope to someday build my own earthbag home. I really like Adobe and the organic designs to which earthbag lends itself. I thought a scale model would help me process my design ideas toward perfection for my lifestyle. The clay and mini sandbag ideas have merit. Clay is quick and probably very easy. Mini bags can help figure exact material requirements. I’d like something you can open and look into to see both interior and exterior finished design. To this end I was thinking carved foam or paper mache. Any thoughts on this or ideas? Thank you.

    Ps. I loaned my earthbag building book with the honey dome house on front to my mom. She lost it. Now I have to buy another one!

    • Paper mache should work well for modeling. Just play around with some simple materials and see what you like best. It’s hard to beat coiled clay for modeling. Roll out ‘snakes’ of clay and push them together. Making dozens of mini bags seems like a lot of extra work to me. You don’t need to know the exact number of bags required, just a rough estimate.

  2. Excellent model. Thanks for the inspiration. I am trying to use google sketchup to combine my container cabins with an adobe earthbag home. I will instead go to hobby lobby and get myself some clay! :)


  3. Pingback: Building Tiny House Models

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