Discussion in 'The Academy' started by shamus, Jun 30, 2002.

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  1. shamus

    shamus Registered Member


    During the 20's and 30's and even today, tarpaper roofing was one of the cheapest forms of roofing used on low cost buildings. I have never been satisfied with using black sandpaper or masking tape to simulate this material...the color and the texture just didn't seem to be right.

    Commerical model tarpaper roofing is a bit expensive (about four bucks for two 4x6 inch pieces) so here's the way to make the same thing with materials you might already have on the workbench.


    Floquil Grimy Black
    Floquil SP Light Gray
    Floquil Roof Brown
    Floquil DioSol
    1/2" Soft Bristle Brush
    Scissors and Xacto Knife
    Sheet of Heavyweight Newsprint...Available at Art Supply Stores
    Glue Stick...I like the UHU brand...Available at Art Supply Stores


    I used to make this tarpaper using Floquil Stains but they have discontinued them. I did a little experimentation and found that the colors listed above work just as well but they have to be thinned. If you still have some stains on hand you may substitute Driftwood and Walnut for the gray and brown and you will not have to thin them. You do not have to thin the Grimy Black for this project. For the gray and brown prepare a 50/50 "wash" of each color using DioSol.


    First cut a square of newsprint. For HO I like to use a piece about 6x6 inches as its easy to work with. Start with the unthinned Grimy Black. Dip the brush into the DioSol and then into the paint and apply a coat to the newsprint brushing from left to right only. Allow this to dry ( only takes just a minute or two).

    It is very important that you only brush the colors from left to right as this gives the streaky, wavy look to the tarpaper. Also do not clean the brush between steps.

    Next dip the brush in the DioSol again ( Don't clean it) and then apply a coat of the gray in the same manner as you did with the grimy black. After the gray is dry do the same with the brown.

    Repeat all three steps several times until the color of the tarpaper looks right to what you want to achieve.Be sure that you don't clean the brush between steps. Allow the whole thing to dry for about an hour and then you will be ready to cut it up. The newsprint will be sort of stiff when dry.


    Tarpaper comes in rolls anywhere from 18 to 36 inches wide. So what we want to do is using your scale ruler and Xacto knife cut the sheet into strips suitable for your roofing project. Roatate the sheet 90 degrees from the direction that you painted it and you will achieve "downward" streaks as if weathered from rain.

    I like to use a glue stick to apply the roofing to the building. Simply turn a strip over and run the glue stick over the unpainted side. Start applying the tarpaper at the bottom of roof leaving about 6 inches of overhang. Be sure to leave some overhang on the side edges too. Continue upward with the stips overlaping each strip by about 6 to 8 inches. If you are modeling a flat roof run about 8 to 12 inches of strip up each sidewall. If modeling a sloped roof run the strips to as close to the peak of the roof as possible.

    To make a roofcap as on a sloped roof simply cut a strip of the tarpaper twice as wide as needed and fold it in half and glue it down over the peak of the roof. Using your scissors trim the overhangs even and you are done!

    If you want to add tarred seams as on a flat roof use a sharpened toothpick to apply some black tube type acrylic paint to the seams.

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