Painting and Weathering Using Common Household Items

Always on the lookout for cost effective ways to enhance their model railroad layouts, modelers continue to come up with unique methods for weathering.


Here’s a tip where Palmer Schatell describes one way he paints some components of his layout:

When airbrushing HO [cars & engines], with a little hand molding, the soft cardboard rolls that toilet paper comes on fits into the cars and locomotive bodies and provides a way of holding these objects.

I used the cap from a spray can fastened to the center of an inexpensive Lazy Susan to allow me to turn the bodies without having to touch them while the paint was wet.


Here’s how John Hanks adds depth and detail to his layout’s cars and other components:


It’s easy to forget to highlight a car with white paint (other colors work too).

Scratch brushed white paint has a dramatic effect when upper surfaces of trucks, roofs, grab irons, and even human figures are highlighted. It is like adding perspective to a drawing.

Take a stiff brush, put a small amount of white paint on it, and then brush most of it off on some scrap cardboard. Brush upper surfaces with the little that’s left.

Ideally the effect is subtle enough to be imperceptible to the visitor. Cheap water-based craft paint is fine.

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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