How to Build a Model Lighthouse for a School Project

By Dawn Marcotte; Updated April 24, 2017

The first lighthouse was built by the Egyptians to guide ships away from the dangerous shores. Improvements over the centuries have created lighthouses powerful enough to transmit their light over many miles. Lighthouses are primarily used to guide ships during storms or fog. Modern lighthouses use electric lights and are not usually tended by a keeper. This simple example of a lighthouse can be made quickly with items from around the home.

Lay a tuna can on brown construction paper and trace around the can to create a circle. Set the construction paper aside.

Paint an empty oatmeal box and empty tuna can white. Set aside to dry. Paint the toothpicks brown. Set aside to dry.

Draw a door and several windows on the oatmeal box with a pencil. Paint the door and windows with brown paint. Glue the tuna can to the top of the oatmeal box in the center of the lid.

Roll the brown clay into a long snake. Wrap the clay snake around the top edge of the oatmeal box so the edge of the clay protrudes over the side of the oatmeal box. Glue in place. Insert all 8 toothpicks into the clay vertically so they are equally spaced around the oatmeal box. Tie the string to one toothpick and loop it around each of the others until it comes back to the first toothpick. Tie the end of the string to the toothpick.

Set the transparency sheet on a flat surface. Measure 2 inches up from the bottom and draw a horizontal line across the sheet. Cut along the line. Bend this strip into a circle that fits on top of the tuna can with ends of the strip overlapping each other. Wrap tape over the ends to keep them in place. Glue the transparency circle to the top of the tuna can.

Cut out the previously drawn circle on brown construction paper. Draw two lines across the circle to find the middle. Cut from the edge to the center of the circle along one of these lines. Pull each side of the cut edges together to overlap and create a cone shape. Tape the overlapping sections together on the inside of the cone. Place the cone on top of the transparency circle to create the roof of the lighthouse.

Glue the lighthouse to the plywood square. Paint the plywood square if desired, or add other landscaping details, such as rocks or grass.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Dawn Marcotte has been writing for more than 10 years. Her recent writing has turned to nonfiction and includes articles on home and garden, education, crafts and automotive subjects. She currently has several eBooks published and available online. Marcotte has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Iowa.