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How to Make a Model Bridge

Subject: Tutorials

Description: In this tutorial I will be making a model truss bridge out of matchsticks, the bridge is suitable for science homework, model railways, war games and dioramas

Posted by David Caldwell on 23/12/13 at 20:50


In this tutorial we will be making a type of bridge called a ‘Truss Bridge’, this type of bridge dissipates the load of the bridge through the truss structure and gains its strength through the triangular arrangement of beams.

See our tutorial on how to make a model arch bridge from card

Materials Needed

  • Matchsticks
  • Paper
  • PVA Glue
  • Matchstick Cutter or Sharp Craft Knife


Draw a horizontal line along the bottom of your page and mark a 20cm long segment.

Divide this line into 2.5 cm intervals, using a protractor or set square draw vertical lines up from each 2.5 cm interval at a 90 degree angle.

Mark each vertical line at 3cm and draw another horizontal line 3cm above your first, start this line indented 2.5 cm from each end so that it is a total of 15cm in length.

Draw parallel lines between where the vertical lines cross the horizontals until you have your diamond pattern.


Repeat the above and then draw a rectangle above it measuring 20cm by 4.3cm (or whatever the length of your match sticks is).


With PVA glue stick the matchsticks along the inside of the horizontal lines making sure you apply glue to the ends of the matches and that they are touching.  You may have to cut the end matchstick to fit.


Apply glue on top of the horizontal matchsticks where the vertical lines cross and place the matchsticks along one set of parallel lines forming one side of the diamond.

Allow to dry and then glue the matchsticks across the other parallels to form the other side of the diamond so you have three layers of matchsticks, the short and long horizontal, one set of parallels and the opposite set of parallels.


The ends of the truss sectjion can be a bit fiddly, cut a end to form a cube and use it as a support, a shorter match section will need to be glued underneath the outside edge as shown above.


Repeat the above and glue matchsticks vertically along the rectangle you drew earlier this will be the deck of the bridge.


Allow to dry for a few hours and then either tear or cut the paper away from the matches so you will have three pieces, the sides and deck of the bridge.

Glue the deck so that is resting on the lower parallel line of matchsticks and leave to dry.

The bridge is now finished and ready to test.  To read about the folklore of bridges visit this link.

Do you have any ideas for making a model bridge?  Share your ideas below by leaving a comment.

Keywords: model bridge, truss bridge, test, homework, railway, matchstick