How to Make a Model Celtic Roundhouse

how to make a model Celtic Roundhouse at navigating by joy homeschoolers
This full-size model was not made by us 🙂

Who knew making a model Celtic roundhouse could be so easy?

As our year studying Ancient History draws to a close, we’ve returned – for the first time since we looked at Stonehenge – to the ancient peoples who lived in our part of the world:  the Celts.

I like to use living books as much as possible, but I didn’t find many on the Celts suitable for younger children, so I decided to go hands-on instead.

how to make a model Celtic Roundhouse at navigating by joy homeschoolersAt our library we found Step Into The Celtic World.  I asked C which of the projects appealed to her and she chose the model Celtic Roundhouse. This tied in perfectly with my plan to visit a local Celtic Ancient Farm!

We only loosely followed the book instructions, partly because I’m not very good at following  instructions (or even reading them – ahem), and partly because the dowel rods I ordered online took several weeks to arrive.  (Big J later told me I could have picked some up at the local DIY store;  I have much to learn about hands-on project supplies.)

What you need for your model Celtic roundhouse

  • A long strip of card (for the walls of the house)
  • Straw (available from pet shops as pet bedding)
  • Plasticine (for the walls).  I found this animators’ plasticine alternative very cheaply on Amazon
  • A large, thick piece of card for the roof
  • Glue

How to Construct the Roundhouse

how to make a model Celtic Roundhouse at navigating by joy homeschoolers

1. Cover the long strip of cardboard (wall) with a thin layer of plasticine.

2. Press scraps of straw into the walls. (I forgot to get a photo of this.)

3. Stand the wall up in a circle shape, leaving a gap for the doorway. You might want to use tape or glue to attach it to a base to help it stand up. (The photo below was taken before pressing the straw into the walls.)

how to make a model Celtic Roundhouse at navigating by joy homeschoolers

4. Cut out a cardboard circle for the roof.  Make it into a cone shape that overhangs the walls.

5. Now for the messy bit.  Cover the roof with straw, using glue to stick it on. The picture in our book showed long neat strands of straw coming together in an orderly thatch. I used our guinea pigs’ bedding, which gave a slightly different effect! But as I told C and J, the Celts used whatever materials were available locally to build their houses. 😉


Our Celtic Roundhouse may not be the prettiest ever, but we were pleased with it. We had so much fun working on it together, and it enhanced our later visit to Butser Celtic Farm.

I’ve been wanting  to do more hands-on projects as part of our homeschool.  They’re memorable and fun, and this is the age to do them (my kids are 7 and 8). My lack of practicality – combined with perfectionist tendencies – has held me back in the past, so I was very pleased that we got round to making our roundhouse!

Have you made a model Celtic Roundhouse? I’d love to hear how you got on. 🙂

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34 thoughts on “How to Make a Model Celtic Roundhouse

  1. Hi
    I was wondering if you thought it work ok if you used clay rather than plastacine? I’ve got lots of clay and no plastacine!!

    1. Hi Lucie, I’m sure clay would work fine, as long as it’s warm enough.
      I’m totally not an expert though, I must admit! In fact it’s possible the original instructions called for clay, but that I only had plasticene so I made the substitution!
      I hope you have fun making your roundhouse 🙂

  2. Thank you for this simple fun craft project.

    I am 7 and currently studying Celts & Celtic round house in school.

    I had fun making this.

    I bet my teacher would be very impressed 🙂

    *disclaimer* posted under supervision by Mummy

    Thank you very much for this. I must say it is quite easy to follow and the end result is fantastic.

    I am not crafty, this simple guide enabled her to do it by herself 🙂

    Great idea and much better than other sites found.

    1. Hello and thank you both so much for your kind comments!

      We tend to find it much easier to follow photos and (simple!) instructions from real-life families’ experiences, compared with instructions from a book, so comments like yours make my day.

      I appreciate you taking the time to write 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your study of the Celts!

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  6. We made the round house today for my 9 year olds homework. Thank you so much, we had a lot of fun doing it and it looks great

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Katie. I’m glad you enjoyed making your round house. 🙂 (Apologies for the delay replying, we’re in Spain for the month with intermittent wifi!)

  7. Do you think mud would work instead of plasticine or clay? We intend to do this model project for a school project.

    1. Mindy, I don’t know. It might be a bit more fiddly than using plasticine, but I think you could definitely give it a try! I’d love to hear how it goes… 🙂

  8. fine, good and cool but what do you do if you dont have enough plasticine and you dont have time to buy one give me other options except from clay and paper mache

  9. Just made one with my son for his school project. It looks amazing, we got some moss and flint stones and added them to the outside. Thank you so much for recommending the pastersine. I was worried there wouldn’t be enough but had plenty left over to make a person and a fire ?

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