Model Railroad Weathering with Eye Shadow and Chalk

Model railroaders are continually coming up with creative and unique methods for giving their model railroad layouts a realistic weathered look. Here are a couple of tips for using eye shadow and pastel chalk.

Eye Shadow

Aaron Savoian shared this tip about using eye shadow for an interesting weathering technique for your model railroad:

180 Color Eye Shadow KitI have found that women’s eye shadow works well when wanting to blend colors on plaster castings. The eye shadow doesn’t need to be sprayed to adhere to the plaster and is easy to work with (no messy dust).

I usually apply a slate colored eye shadow (black) to the castings first then follow with the colors of my choice. Eye shadow comes in an assortment of colors and range in price between $1.99 up to $20.00.

[The kit pictured at right, which I found at for about $16.95, has 180 shades of eye shadow! Who knew there were so many? -Rick]

The cheaper eye shadow holds well, but if you have the money to spend, I recommend the more expensive eye shadow because it has a very natural look when you are done. Just experiment with the colors, and remember…HAVE FUN!!

Model railroaders giving shopping tips for eye shadow… Well, it’s about the hobby, right?

Here’s another tip for buying eye shadow; try yard sales and thrift stores. I’ve never looked there, but what the heck; you never know when you might find something else to use for your layout.

Pastel Chalks

Andy Garner shared this tip for using pastel chalk, available from virtually any craft store or Wal-Mart:

Colored ChalkPastel chalks are great for weathering. Using a craft knife, scrape the chalk stick into a powder. Dip a paint brush in denatured alcohol and then into the powdered chalk. Dab or brush the chalk onto the surface to be weathered. Dab orange and brown mixtures to simulate rust.

Heavy application on pipe creates the illusion of heavy rust accumulation. Black chalk around a chimney creates the illusion of soot. Experiment, start with a light application first. The alcohol devolves the chalk and makes it stick. Application of a Dullcote varnish isn’t really necessary.

Here’s another tip for using chalk:

Colored chalk makes a very good weathering agent. Grind up the chalk into powder and apply to cars, locos, buildings with a soft brush and work into the material with vertical strokes. To apply darker streaks use a Q-tip to apply the chalk.

If you don’t like your results just clean the car with a damp sponge and start over. If you are going to preserve your weathering with Dullcote, be aware that you will lose some of the effect, so over apply the chalk. You can always add more weathering after you Dullcote the model if you don’t like the effect.

If you try these methods of weathering, please share your results or additional thoughts in the comment area below.

Do you have a tip or technique you’d like to share with Model Train Tips readers? Use the contact form on the Contact Model Train Tips page to send it in.

Rick Brock

About Model Train Tips

I am a complete model railroading novice, and I’ve started this website to share what I learn with others who are also new to the hobby and want to learn about it. I invite you to sign up for my newsletter and get the free report: 7 Model Train Mistakes To Avoid.

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