String Theory: Our Scale Model

No, not subatomic particles…ACTUAL STRING!  After reading about how helpful it would be to have a scale model, we went out and bought some poster board and box cutters at the local hobby shop with lofty ideas of gluing small pieces of foam together to make, essentially, a tiny-doll-house in the exact proportion of the Tumbleweed framing plans.  Didn’t happen.

Instead what we ended up doing, which may or may not have been more work, was framing the house in string.  Scale? 1:1.  So now we can actually step through the front door opening and feel the space around us.   I used two walls of a room and triangulated the points from the ceiling and floor using a level and a tape measure.  It’s a little bit off here and there (by no more than 4”) due to the string bending when crossed with other string, but all around pretty functional!IMG_1357 IMG_1355 IMG_1361

Making the String Model helped us with the following :

~Is the space big enough for the two sleeping lofts? Yes.

~Are the lofts big enough to sleep and sit in?  Really? We’ve modified the work loft (our second loft) with some dormers.

~Where the heck should we put our salvaged windows?

~Kitchen orientation + sizing

~Actually feeling like “We’re going to do this!”

~Easier to show friends what exactly it is that we’re doing

~Placement, orientation, and design of the bathroom, kitchen, shelves, window seat

~Appliance sizing (stove, sinks, heating, etc.) Now, every time we have a question are wondering if something will fit in the Tiny House, we step into the first floor String Model, or climb into the loft floor String Model.  Super helpful!

We are lucky to have enough indoor space in our current home to map out our entire tiny house with string, and to leave it up.  If you don’t have that much space maybe you could do it in a backyard with rope or duct tape attached to trees, buildings, or a ladder.  You could also put up a String Model for a day inside, sort out the questions you’ve been wondering about, and take it down again.

Check out our video here to see how to make your walls straight and your ceiling flat and everything else for your String Model.


8 thoughts on “String Theory: Our Scale Model

  1. I think it is great that you solved the work-loft space with dormers. And they will look so special from outside too!

    1. Yes – both reasons. It was important to us to each have a semi-private work space so we wanted the loft to be big enough to both sit in. And we also like the architectural interest of the dormers!

  2. Ah, I’m so happy that i came to your blog today! Making a scale string model is nothing i would’ve ever thought of and it’s such a perfect idea! My partner Jaime and I are planning a build also so we’ll be sure to look at you guys for info. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words Khala! We really love the string model, and still use it for reference (even with the trailer available). Looking forward to seeing yours when you make it! 😉 Good luck planning and feel free to share/discuss any ideas you may have!

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