Skip to Main Content

Getting Started with SketchUp : Step 7: Apply materials and decorate your model

This guide will walk you through the basics of using SketchUp. Follow the steps in this guide to build and decorate a Library study room.

Apply Materials and Decorate the Model

Materials add color and texture to a model. They work like paint, carpet, siding, and basically any other kind of texture. Materials can only be applied to a face so if you want to apply a glass material to a window, there needs to be a face for the window, rather than an empty space.

  • Open the Materials tab in the Default Tray. On a Mac, this is the Colors panel.
  • Using the Select tool, double-click into the group so that you can apply materials to specific edges.

All the materials available directly in SketchUp are categorized in the drop-down menu in the Materials/Colors panels. 

  • Paint colors are found in both the Colors and Colors-Named categories. If the color you want is not shown, open the Edit tab to add your own. Once you select a color or other material, you will activate the paintbrush tool.

Step 7

  • Apply a glass material to the windows.
  • Apply an aluminum material to the walls.
  • Apply a Formica material to the door.
  • Apply a gray color to the window frame in the door.

  • Paint one of the interior walls (without windows) purple.
  • Paint the other interior wall (without windows) off-white.
  • Apply an aluminum material to the chair rails.

You may need to add lines to the tops of your walls so that you can make the two walls different colors. Just use the line tool to draw straight lines across the inside edges of the wall.

The 3D Warehouse is a place where you can find objects, materials, and other entities that you can add to your model. This is a great place to find furniture and decorative objects, as well as more unique materials and textures for your walls, floors, and windows. You can even find actual objects and materials from real catalogs.

You need to be logged in to use the 3D Warehouse so if you aren’t logged in, log in now. Help > Sign In > sign in using your Mocs google account. Go to the 3D Warehouse by clicking the 3D Warehouse icon in the toolbar. From there you can browse or search to find the thing you need. Use the sidebar to narrow down your results.

You may have noticed that we didn’t add a floor material to our model. That’s because we’re going to find a floor in the 3D Warehouse! Rather than trying to match our actual room 307, take a look through the 3D Warehouse and find a flooring material you want to use. You can choose anything you want.

  1. When you find a flooring material you like click Download to add it to your model.
  2. You will return to your model and have a tile that you can place in your model. You will probably have to resize it.
  3. Activate the Scale tool (S). Use the handles to make the flooring fill the room.

Return to the 3D Warehouse to find and place the following objects:

  1. A whiteboard
  2. An LCD screen (tip: try looking for a TV screen)
  3. A table (tip: try looking in Models if you don’t see anything you like in Products)
    • Pick any table you want, but make sure it’s round. Using the Scale tool, size it to
      1. 42” across (or as close to it as you can get -- some downloaded objects can’t be scaled with the Tape Measure tool)
      2. 30” tall
      3. Tips
        • Make sure that you’re resizing along the correct axis! To make an object taller or shorter without resizing the other dimensions, make sure you’re pulling from the handle in the center of the top/bottom.
        • If you’re having trouble resizing your object, make sure you’re working inside the object group. 
  4. 1 chair
    • Pick any straight-backed wooden chair you want
      1. The seat of the chair should be 18-20” off the ground for a 30” tall table.
      2. If you find you’re having trouble moving your objects along the right plane in the model, use the modifier keys (the Instructor tab in the Default tray or Windows menu can help).
  5. 1 decorative object of your choice. It can be anything!

Note that you may have to rotate your objects to place them on the walls where you want them.

  1. Activate the Rotate tool (Q).
  2. Click on the object, making sure to to select the correct axis. This may take a couple of tries. Zooming in can help, or trial and error.
  3. Once you have the correct axis selected, click again to select the axis on which you want to rotate the object.
  4. Now you can rotate the object. You can use the mouse to rotate it (click and release when you have it where you want it), or you can type in the degrees it should rotate.
  5. When you place the object on the wall, make sure it says "on face." Otherwise, your object will just be floating in the room.

Ask a Librarian