Combining Acrylic and Wood

I’m building a model for work (I will be sharing it and the process here soon!) Basically we are making a building facade and need to have windows to see through. I’m going to be doing some testing but basically we’ve come up with a few solutions.

  1. Cut the walls out of 1/8" plywood and glue in 1/8" acrylic pieces for the windows. Any suggestions on how to do this without making a mess? we are worried that gluing in the acrylic pieces will get messy and result in glue splotches all over the acrylic.

  2. Make a sandwich of 1/8" plywood, 1/8" acrylic, and 1/8" plywood. that way just cutting out the wood reveals the acrylic. glue in areas not seen.

  3. Make a sandwich of wood veneer, 1/4" acrylic, and wood veneer. much like option 2 but the veneer would be self adhesive and would have less of a shadow box effect on the windows.

Thoughts? I feel that all have pro and cons. Anyone have any suggestions?


Check out this video from Grey Lightning:


That’s @cynd11! good stuff in there but this is going to be viewed from all sides (inside and out) so a method like that won’t be as aesthetically pleasing.

We are designing a court yard space and the model (at 1/4" = 1’-0" scale) will be of the building surrounding it so most people will be looking through the windows into the space. We need to the wall to look good from the outside and the inside.


I think there are several methods available to achieve what you need. Something to consider is that if you do something like this:

You will wind up with this:

Dialing in the engrave settings for the blue areas to achieve the height you want shouldn’t take more than three or four tries with a test piece. The nice thing about acrylic - it’s very uniform. Just remember that for the shaded areas you want all fill and no stroke or you’ll slice off your tabs. I haven’t tried this trick on a wood product yet, but I think you will wind up with something similarly consistent (even if it requires a little touch up with a sharp object.)

And one last idea, you can always “wallpaper” one (or both) sides of the model using card stock to cover up any sins.


Have you thought about cutting it all from acrylic, and then masking the windows and painting your wall details in? You could even add texture to the walls, say a brick pattern, and when painted the brick shadow would show.


Hi @markwarfel

Are you committed to using 1/8" acrylic? And is material accuracy important? At this scale that means you’re representing 6" thick glass windows.

At our office we generally use acetate or, at the thickest, 1/32" model plastic when larger spans are required. These are easy to to glue cleanly with a couple tiny dots of Elmers or Tacky glue (water cleanup with a damp qtip if you miss!)


We’re not to concerned about material thickness scale. We are a landscape architecture office so we’re less concerned about the wall thickness and more just about the views / context. But we are not committed on any material thickness just concerned with structural integrity.

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Yes and we’re concerned that it might looks grungy. Painting can get messy fast

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idk the extent to which cost of model is a factor, but what about making the facade entirely out of acrylic and just sticking the veneer to it? you could etch details onto the wood, where necessary.


Spray paint is the answer to most things, in my world view :sunglasses: What ever you do end up doing, don’t forget to post pics of the finished project, it sounds very neat!


Airbrush pieces before assembly :wink: even the $17 Badger starter set with the can of compressed air will do wonders. Paint blobs at 1/4" scale can look like boulders.


I see what you’re saying but I don’t think we’re that concerned with the height difference on the wall. I like the card stock idea. The only issue is that it has to be somewhat durable to being touched, scuffed and moved so paper might mark and deteriorate. We have also had problems with paper fading over time. These modes are usually turned over to the client and displayed for fundraising. They usually end up in an administrators office for many years so duribility is extremely important.

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Sounds like basswood (or other thin hardwood) and acrylic are the way to go then. The usual white sheets of model plastic are PVC if I recall correctly :confused: Foamcore, matboard and cardstock usually won’t make it more than a couple months, especially in humid locales.

Oh, but museum board seems to hold up rather nicely.


Could you “inlay” 1/4" acrylic flush into 1/4" plywood? I’m not sure you call it an inlay when it’s like that. Or clear casting resin in the window holes?

This was our first choice. Concerned about glue showing through

Yeah I think you’re right. Cost isn’t much of an issue so we are probabaly going to go all ProofGrade. Most likely maple.


Pretty! Can’t wait to see that (I :heartpulse:architectural models, can you tell?)

As for potential glue mishaps - would your design permit doing as in full size life: use a jamb to hold the glass in/cover any sins? You could use the adhesive veneer from your option 3


“If the glued area will be visible, however, the two part epoxy will yield a crystal clear glued area.”

From this site:


That would be amazing! I’m going to be doing a post about it! Stay tuned!


That sounds really cool! I do hope we get to see this project when you’re done (or even in-progress photos).