Papercrafting with coated / silver card

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Revell-Fan, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    Howdee, fans! :wave:

    In this tutorial I give you some tips and infos which you might find useful when you are working with coated card.

    When I was building my 1:6 scale Crichton figure I found out that working with it differs a bit from working with ordinary card. I therefore documented every step which might be crucial and tried to find an easy solution to overcome possible problems.

    This little tip collection does not claim to be the ultimate guide which has to be obeyed to the letter. There are many ways leading to pleasant result. Choose whatever works best for you. And if you come up with an easier solution - just go for it.

    Coated card is available in different colours, formats and weights. It is used by paper-crafters to achieve a special realistic metallic finish which is impossible to create using regular card. Regular card lacks the shine of the real thing. A good texture can fool the eye but on a closer look it is easily noticed that the model has a printed surface and no metallic one.

    I’m using my build of my 1:6 scale Crichton figure for reference to show you which problems you may encounter and how you can solve them.

  2. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator


    OK, now you have found this dazzling paper model and want to use silver or gold card for it. So what do you do? Normally you would head for the nearest supply shop and grab a box full of this shiny, super glossy, ultra cool looking card you need for your little project. Back home you fire up your machine, put the card into your printer, launch the PDF reader of your choice and hit the “print” button - only to see that this highly expensive, ultra shiny, cool looking card does not go through your printer, or that the ink won’t dry even if you leave it unattended for three weeks! Bad thing.

    To prevent this the first rule is: Check the card before printing. It is best to test one sheet in order to find out if the card is able to meet your expectations. If the card is not available as single sheets talk to the shop assistant and ask him if you could get one from a damaged box or so (it is recommended to be very friendly and / or send your ultra-sweet girlfriend for asking). If that doesn’t work, take the smallest box or continue your search.

    If you haven’t been able to test the sheets before printing and see that they and your printer are not best friends, print the parts pages on normal paper and laminate the pages to the back of the coated sheets. This might be a bit more labour-intense but could save your day.

    I was lucky to find some suitable silver card sold as single sheets at my local book store. Unfortunately they were not labeled so I can’t tell you their brand or their weight. I bought one sheet first and printed the first page of the kit with an HP inkjet printer. The sheet went through it without problems. However, the ink was fairly wet when it came out, so:

    Let the ink dry for at least one day.




    I tested another kind of coated card featuring a different surface. It was a bit coarse and got along with the ink very well. I used it to print textured parts. The ink dried very fast (1 hour) and the result was very convincing. Even the little shading I applied was visible. So print parts pages with a texture on coarse coated card.


    If you can’t find coarse card or if the result doesn’t please you you might consider rebuilding the part by laminating different layers of coated card to it in order to physically re-create whatever the texture shows.
  3. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator


    Even if you have let the ink dry for quite some time it is still smudged or rubbed off very easily, especially when you touch it with your bare hands. Things may even get worse when your hands or fingers are sweating. To prevent the lines from being rubbed off wear a glove while cutting. In many cases you don’t need a complete glove, just cut off the fingers (of the glove, of course! ;-) ) and use them only. So the rest of your hand is allowed to breathe and won’t sweat too much.


    Sometimes the lines are hard to see. In this case cut in several marks which can be used for aligning the ruler for cutting. In the pictures you can see that I have marked the beginning and the end of each line to be cut.


  4. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator


    Coated card is a bit stronger than ordinary card. Score the lines gently with your hobby knife as usual.


    Pre-shape all parts very well AND very carefully. A pair of tweezers will make work much easier. Roll up curved parts very carefully. Bend them multiple times to a small degree. A cut or a dent will always be visible and should be avoided.


    Some coats are affected by sweat. They oxidate or become dull, so wear gloves (or parts of them) to avoid this. The picture above was taken before I found that out and I ended up with a dull spot on one of the surfaces. If this happens to you you may save the part by simply glueing a flawless matching piece of coated card onto it.
  5. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator


    Coated card is smoother than ordinary paper. Elmer’s or white glue is not very effective since it is best for glueing paper to paper. Use universal glue for assembly. It is recommended to take off the glove(s) in order to prevent them from being glued to the parts as well (trust me, it happened to me ;-) !). Glue fast and keep your fingers clean and dry.

    Because of the smoothness of the parts the glue needs a longer curing time. Whenever possible remove the coat on the glue tabs to use the pure white card inside for glueing. This reduces curing time and the parts don’t slip so easily.


    Whenever possible glue curved parts together from behind with a paper strip. Use regular paper to reduce curing time and to prevent the parts from slipping.


    Use tweezers to hold the pieces together firmly (but gently) till glue has cured (don’t push too hard to avoid a dent from pushing).
  6. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator


    Since coated card is a bit thicker than usual card take special care when assembling the parts. Test-fit everything before glueing and make the parts thinner if necessary so that they fit easily (cut or pull off thin layers of the card till it has the desired thickness).
  7. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    Finishing touches

    As you can see in the pic the coat on the edges was ruptured during pre-shaping, cutting and assembly. Depending on the over-all look you may leave it that way or use metallic colours to paint the edges. It is all up to you.

  8. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    Well then, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading this little tut and found it a bit useful. The special care and attention which is required when working with coated card will certainly pay off once your finished model is on display. This comparison shot of the Crichton prototype model made of regular card and the revised model made of silver card clearly shows the remarkable difference.


    Feel free to add additional info, for example, how to print on coated card with a laser printer.

    Have fun and enjoy! :wave:
  9. DanBKing

    DanBKing Active Member

    Nice work R-F. Very informative.:thumb:

    A Coated-Card-Confidence-Course! :mrgreen:
  10. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

    Nice job!
  11. Revell-Fan

    Revell-Fan Co-Administrator Administrator

    You are welcome - and thank you very much. If you have any new tips which could make working with coated card easier, feel free to post them here.
  12. Rhaven Blaack

    Rhaven Blaack ADMINISTRATOR Administrator

    I have to say that this is a GREAT tutorial on using this type of cardstock.
    I think that you have covered (pretty much) everything in this one build of Crichton.
    Thank you for posting it.
  13. kevlary

    kevlary Member

    The crichton model turned out well nice clean lines too , i will have to look at working in coated card mediums never tried it before, exellante!!!

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