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How to make a California Mission Model.

Learn how to make a California Mission Model at home or in the classroom. We made this project as part of the California Public School Fourth grade requirement in a group setting. Continue to read on to get the supply list and instructions for a successful mission model.

CA Mission
On an ordinary day, I was reminded how amazing kids really are when there are no limits. Just as equally amazing are the teachers who guide them and teach them everyday.  I am very thankful for the opportunity that I was given as a parent volunteer.  The day was like a beautiful dance where parents, teachers and students came together for a common goal. The goal was to make models of California Missions from a simple picture and lots of cardboard.  I can honestly say the goal was reached and everyone deserved an "A".
CA Mission

Below, I share with you the supply list and tips that were used to complete this project. Please note that I did not personally make the missions. My assignment was to assist with tools like the hot glue gun and large scissors. All of the missions were built  by fourth grade children.
Days before the build, the teachers made floor plan outlines of the different missions on particle board.

Supply List:
  • Pre-made floor plan drawn on 1/4" particle board or plywood 24" X 24" 
  • Picture of the Mission you are making   
  • Cardboard cut into small pieces  
  • All-purpose spackling paste
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Spray glue
  • Miniature farm animals, dried flowers, plastic grass, bells and other items that you can use to decorate the mission. 
  • Toothpicks 
  • Styrofoam balls
  • Paint (brown, red, blue, black and green)
  • Cardboard utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Spackle tool (consider popsicle sticks as a putty knife) 
  • Dirt

The directions are as followed:
The first step is to draw a floor plan on the wooden base.  These floor plans can be found below or at the following website.  Mission Floorplans.  You will need to scale the floor plan image to match the size of your base.  For example, if the side wall of the picture is 6", you can easily make it 3 times larger or 18" and still fit the model on your base.  Ensure that all of your walls can use the same multiplier so the scale is correct.  If not, adjust accordingly.  Students can do this step with adult assistance or you can pre-draw ahead of your project build. 

Make a plan on how to create your walls. The next step was to decide the height of mission.  Unless you are going to paint the doors and windows, cut them out of the cardboard walls before you glue them together. Once you have cut the pieces spread them out to make sure they fit well and make adjustments as needed.
Then, like a puzzle, arrange the walls near their correct locations on the base.  Apply glue to one edge of cardboard and join the piece next to it.  Make sure you press with pressure to make sure the walls are stable.  When gluing them together, have several 1" x 2" pieces of cardboard handy.  After placing two walls side by side, consider gluing a 1" x 2" piece of cardboard to the top and bottom inside of the walls to help keep them even more stablized.    See below.  Glue all of the walls together and start the roof.
Once the walls are glued and the building is stable, start spackling the outside walls. This is called frosting the building. Okay. I am calling it that because you want to smooth out the spackle just like frosting on a cake. The spackle dries a little quick, so work fast. Finish the spackle and start painting the walls inside the model. Let the paint dry and work on the small details like the grass, plants, animals and bells. Use the toothpicks to support the bell on the model.   

A few small tips that will help you make this a fun experience.
Tips 1: Create a roof for the model from cardboard by scoring it and then removing the first layer. This will make a textured looking roof.  Paint it red or brown to give it a great look.
Tip 2: Have a bucket of water nearby to wash your hands, because spackle can clog your sink.
Tip 3: For a class environment planning and coordinating with all the students works best. Everyone needs to know what they are doing, otherwise they will lose interest.  Assign everyone a task and make sure they understand how their task fits into the overall goal.
Tip 4: If you are cutting out windows and doors, please do it before gluing the walls together. It is easier to cut ahead of time.
Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are all my own. This is not a paid sponsored post.

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