Model-making Techniques Course

A 5-day intensive, practical course covering model-making skills for theatre, film, animation or spatial design. Led by David Neat. Deptford, London

‘Model-making Techniques Course Online’

I’ve been running the online version of my original course since the beginning of 2021. The next online courses in 2022 will be …

February 28-March 4,  April 25-29,  June 20-24

Back in 2020 I had to postpone all my studio courses until the future became more ‘foreseeable’. I consulted what the other larger course providers in London (such as University of the Arts and City Lit) were guaranteeing in terms of safety and, the fact is, I couldn’t provide the same .. my studio room is not big enough for ‘1metre+’ distancing for example, whatever other precautions are taken. In short, it was too risky, and unfortunately as I update this now in January 2022 .. it still is!

Having run the online course a number of times now, I’m very pleased to say that it’s working pretty well! For example, many of the participants have asked me whether I would consider doing a ‘follow-up’ course. There’s no denying that it’s a different experience from spending a week with others in a dedicated workspace, but I have done my best to make it feel as if you are.

For example all of it is real-time ..everything is live, with no recordings! The week will be the same 5-day block as the original course, starting on the Monday at 10.00 am as it usually does, and each of the five days will end around 5.00 to 5.30 pm. It’s important to retain that kind of focus! One of the most important parts is that I send each confirmed participant a Course Pack containing almost all of the materials you’ll need for the week’s work (you’ll just have to get a few other easy-to-get ones). You’ll need to have your own basic tools but I’ll be including in the parcel the special ones (such as specially made sanding tools) for you to keep, and they’ll be included in the price. The pack will also include all the worksheets and info handouts I’ve provided in the past. These are handier to have on paper. I’m very conscious of the fact that computer screens can become too cluttered if things like this are sent as files, and my aim is to keep your visual connection with the group as clear as possible, especially at times when we can discuss things, and I will be consciously enabling those times throughout each of the days. On the other hand, it’s also important in this situation to make the most of what the online ‘environment’ can offer, so I’ve set up a Course Resources folder on OneDrive which everyone can access during the course and afterwards. This contains all the illustrative photos I use, including reference photos for the practical exercises, in addition to step-by-step written accounts of these exercises for either recapping later or catching up if course time is missed.

My teaching method has not had to change very much. We will be talking together, when I am introducing a subject or explaining an activity; at other times I will be demonstrating what to do using a ‘document camera’, which provides a very clear, well-lit and undistorted view. The third resource is screensharing photos of prepared examples and other visual references. The rest of the time .. the majority of it will be working. I’ve still to fully solve how clearly or quickly I’m able to ‘look at’ what everybody’s doing all the time to offer feedback, but I’ve been working with the participants on ways to improve this. So far smartphone snapshots sent directly to my email has proved by far the best solution.

The full week’s teaching including the tools and materials I send, and the info resources I’ve set up, will cost £250. To try to preserve the feeling of ‘group’ I limit the number of participants to 10 people. If you have the kind of internet connection which has usually given you a clear image and sound when using things like Zoom or Skype, then I’m assuming there’s no problem from your side. Having a second camera, so that you can switch from yourself to your cutting mat, may be very beneficial but so far we’ve coped without them.

Here are some excerpts from the new course publicity …

David Neat is a professional maker with more than 35 years experience in theatre, film, 3D design, architecture and exhibitions. He is a practicing sculptor and qualified teacher; author of ‘Model-making: Materials and Methods’ a comprehensive, interdisciplinary book on model-making and, since 2012, his instructional WordPress site

David’s emphasis in these workshops is on accessible techniques of building, modelling/shaping, surfacing and finishing relevant to designers and makers in various disciplines. All is as live and as ‘actual’ as possible, with minimal recorded content. There is a focus on ‘realism’ in representation, geared more to theatre and film work, but the aim in keeping the course solidly materials-based is to provide just as much of relevance to model-making for other disciplines such as interior design. Each session will offer a wealth of information, supported by specially prepared examples and worksheets, and clarified through demonstrations and practical exercises.

Main areas covered include: –
methods of constructing or shaping with card, plastics and foams, for basic architecture and detailed scale furniture; modelling with soft materials and relief media; mouldmaking for casting; achieving various realistic surface/texture treatments and paint finishes.

Materials are sent in a ‘Course Pack’, including some specially made tools, but participants need their own basic equipment at home. Each will contribute their own varied knowledge and talent, making this a valuable opportunity to discuss and compare personal experience. Whether a beginner, or with more of a hobby interest, or a professional seeking more specific guidance…this unique course will help you on your way.

See also what people have said about the original course on the ‘reviews’ page in the drop-down menu attached to this one, and see feedback about the online course in online course ‘reviews’ which you’ll find in the main (black) menu bar. For anything else, including a more detailed description of the online course including the daily schedule, contact me at

79 thoughts on “Model-making Techniques Course

  1. Hi David,

    I am really interested in the course because I am planning to do a MA at related field. Shall I ask when will our next class start in 2023?

  2. Hello! I was wondering if it’s possible for an online course for the next school year? Starting in August 2023. Thank you.

    • Hello Marta,

      Thank you for your enquiry. It’s possible, yes! That’s far enough into the future. My situation at the moment is that I’ve had to suspend all my teaching (along with almost everything I normally do, in fact) while I’m dealing with family health issues. But of course I’m hoping that this isn’t permanent! I’ll email you and perhaps you could let me know more about what you’d like.


  3. Hi David,

    I’m hoping to finally get booked on a course after June when our students finish for Summer.
    I support architecture students at Sheffield University workshop and hoping to gain new/basic model making skills so I can offer the best support.
    Looking forward to hearing of further dates.

    • Hi Sara,

      Thanks, but I’m sorry to say I’ve had to halt all work for the time being due to family health commitments. I just don’t know when I’ll be able to resume. I’ll let you know.


  4. David,

    I am interested in the April course and was wondering if you still had any openings. Thank you.


  5. Hello! This course was recommended to me by a past pupil of yours and I would love to join the next online course if possible! I see that you are emailing interested peeps with the details so would love to add my given email to the list of interested candidates! Thanks a million

  6. So pleased to read you are doing your courses online. I will recommend it to my set design students, who will be very pleased to know how to continue their learning. 🙂

    • Good to hear from you Bettina! Hope all is well! Yes, please do! In truth, whereas I had loads of people interested until now, there has been a change .. I think it may re either continuing ‘uncertainty’; or a general ‘return’ to work; or, people waiting now until I can do ‘real-space’ courses again .. or just the weather! All best!

  7. I am interested for this course. Let me know about more details about course fee and date of joining online class.


  8. I’m very in interested in taking any online courses you have to offer.

    Thank you,
    Elizabeth Morgan Willett

  9. Hi, I’m an artist working with photography and small constructions. I’d been watching your site, wondering if there might be an opportunity to attend a workshop either at UAL, online as a part of a group, or online as a one-to-one session. I see that you were planning something for January, which I may well have missed, so just wondering if there are other options available?

    • Thanks Nancy. I’m looking into how feasible that might be, yes, for the aspects I’d want to focus on. I’ll post on this page if/when I get further in terms of offering something. Best, David

  10. Hello David.
    I would very much like to book a place on your next ‘model making techniques course’. Is there any availability for your October course at the moment? I understand if you wont be taking any bookings yet because things might not be back to normal by then. Could you let me know if it’s possible to book.
    Best wishes
    Mollie Cheek

  11. I would very much like to book onto the march/ april course.
    Please can you advise me if there is still availability. Many thanks.

  12. Hi David,

    I am a recent graduate from a stage design masters and have been working for a year now. I would like to improve my model making skills and your course sounds fantastic. I can see that I missed all the dates listed above, but could you let me know when further courses should become available?

    I’d very much appreciate it.

    Kind regards,


  13. Hi David!

    I’m really interested in both your model making and mould making courses and having difficulty to choose between them. I want to better my knowledge and skills for stop motion animation and wondering which you would recommend for me to take? I’m a beginner as I have studied animation. Thanks!

    • Hello Nada,
      Yes, I agree, that’s a difficult choice .. because on the one hand the ‘Model-making’ is best for set and props (and only a little useful for puppet making) whereas the ‘Mouldmaking and casting’ is essential re puppet making but doesn’t deal much with creating textures, painting/finishes etc. I would think .. if you feel you need to learn more about animation set/props making it’s the first one, or if you need more specialist knowledge applicable to puppet making it’s the second. The other fact though is .. for this part of the year (now until June) the only ‘Model-making’ course for which there are still places is the one very soon .. March 19-23! On the other hand the last ‘Mouldmaking and casting’ is scheduled for May 14-18 but I’m a bit concerned about being able to run it because the response has not been so good .. so far at least! I’m sending you the full description for both courses.


  14. Hello David,
    Could I do these things with your help on October course:
    1. Make a mould of family wax seal and caste approx 5-10 copies in pewter or silver or resin?
    2. Caste from a rubber mould already made copies of a goblet approx 12cms H in pewter?
    3. Make a mould of a tall thin statue approx 20cms H like a Etruscan figure and produce copies in pewter or resin?
    Mark Neuman

    • Thanks for your interest Mark. These are things which would be possible (mostly) on the other course ‘Mouldmaking and Casting’ and only the first i.e. 1. possible on the model-making course and then only in resin. I’m sending a course description to your email address.

  15. Hi David,
    I will do your course at Saint Martin in October because i only have Saturdays free. I would like to ask you what kind of wood would be better to built a dollhouse . I just work with balsa and probably i need a stronger wood. I also need a scale ruler 1:24 .
    best regards

    • Hello Ricardo,

      See you in October! If you mean the main construction of a dollshouse I’d guess that interior-quality plywood i.e. birch plywood would be best because lighter and easier to work with than MDF. The build would need strengthening with battens (thicker strips) of pine. It’s not so easy to get Imperial .. 1:24 .. scale rulers in the UK, best bet would be Amazon or ebay. On the other hand you don’t really need a scale ruler for 1:24 unless you’re going into very fine measurements. A normal ft/inches ruler would do .. 1/2inch becomes 1ft etc.

  16. Hi David,

    I’m interested in enrolling for Model Making Techniques in May 2017. Since I live in UAE and have to plan my days and sort out visa formalities. Could you please send me the link to proceed with the application.


  17. Hello,
    I can see that your November/december course is already booked up but please could you pop me on your waiting list? I currently work for a prop making company but this sounds like a really exciting course.
    Thank you

  18. Hi, I am interested in the November/December course. No doubt I am sure it is fully booked already. However, being a complete optimist, I am sure someone will drop out at the last minute. Either way, I am extremely interested in partaking in the course if a place is available.
    Many thanks & warmest wishes

  19. Hello David,
    I just want to let you know that I’m still interested to join you for the next course (Nov 28 – Dec 2). I would like to be sure that you will count me, so how can I book it ? Many thanks !
    Best regards,

    • Hello Daphne,

      Yes, don’t worry, I put you on the list when you first enquired in May. The thing is, there were many others who have been waiting quite a long time and for the next course late November I felt it only fair that I give them the first chance. As it was the course was filled before I got through a quarter of the list. I’m still wondering whether this is the right way of doing it .. maybe when I have dates for the next I’ll just email everybody.

      • Thank you David for your answer. I am free for the next sessions too if November is full. I really need to follow your course for begining a new career in England, so I look forward to hearing from you!
        Kind regards,

  20. Hello David, I am a technical instructor at Falmouth university and am interested in doing this course or one of your other one’s. they all look great. Did I read somewhere that they occur only on Saturdays for 5 weeks? Or do you do them on consecutive days? Many Thanks. Will

  21. Hi David,

    As you can imagine, I too am very interested in this course and would be ever so grateful if I could be added onto the list to find out the next available dates.
    Many thanks!

    Kind Regards,


  22. I’m very interested in this course but because of work committments I could not do the week starting April 20. I’ve ready and enjoyed your book Model-Making, Materials and methods and would like to try then under guidance. I’m a hobbyist, mainly building for model railways and interested in a wide variety of techniques.

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