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Posted by chris walsh, on 2007-03-09 18:10:55

painting floorboards

Well you guys were so helpful last time I posted that I thought I'd ask for help once again, the hair and fabric suggestions worked a treat so thanks for that. I've attached another rough progress shot of where I'm up to. This time I need some advice with painting, because my paint skills are pretty much non-existant! I want the floor boars in the shot to look really old and worn, they're made from balsa wood but I'm not sure how to go about ageing them, paint, some kind of wax? Any suggestions? Thanks for looking.



Posted by Strider, on 2007-03-09 18:34:55

Wow, your set looks fantastic! So does the puppet! Let's see, for weathering floorboards, I think I'd go with a few washes of different browns, made of pretty watered-down acrylic or ink. Maybe even a thin black wash to accentuate the cracks etc. What I usually do is pu out a few different paint colors on some kind of palette (I usually just use a junk mail catalog) and have a cup of water sitting nearby. Get a little (very small amount of) paint on the brush, dip it into the water, maybe smash iot around the bottom of the cup and swirl it around a bit so the paint get mixed with the water, and then pat it gently on a paper towel or something so it's not too heavily loaded. Sometimes I want it pretty wet, sometimes I get it almost dry (for a drybrushing technique, which is another good approach). Now, scrub the brucsh around a bit on your floor, you might want to only do an area or two or maybe do all of it. But immediately afterward wipe it off with a dry paper towel so the wash only goes into the cracks and the woodgrain. I'd definitely start with browns.... you might not want to go all the way to black. The important thing is to pay attention as you go and see exactly what's happening. Let the set talk to you. It might be happy with just one or two washes, or it might still be hungry for more. After the washes are dry (sometimes before, it can cause a nice effect) you can start some drybrushing if it still seems to need more work. For that you want to use lighter colors, it will become the dominant color of the floorboards. For drybrushing don't use much water, just enough to get the paint to a good paintlike consistency. Mix up a color that looks as close as possible to the color you want to floor to be. Get some of it on the brush, blot it off immediately on a paper towel until there's almost none left on the brush. The idea is to drag the brush lightly across a rough or textured surface so that only the raised areas pick up paint. However I wouldn't recommend drybrushing for floorboards. I mentioned it as a good technique just for general purposes and to illustrate the differences between washes and drybrushing, but with the wooden floorboards I think a staining technique is better (which will happen automatically when you do some washes).

Posted by Nick H, on 2007-03-11 22:47:18

With balsa wood, you can also go along the grain with a wire brush for a heavier weathering effect. The wire cuts into the softer part of the grain more than the harder bits, and gives you more texture to bring out with the paint. For indoor flooring I would't go too far with it, but it is really good for making old rotted wood that you mostly get outdoors. But sometimes you need to exaggerate the aging to make it show up. I like to work on the end of an individual board before I stick it down, to get a jagged edge. I generally use the watered down acrylic paint wash efect over the wirebrushed wood as described by Mike. Because it has actual crevices for the paint to run into, it works really well.

Posted by chris walsh, on 2007-03-18 07:53:15

Thanks for that guys it was a really big help, sorry to take so long getting back to you. I've attached a further progress shot of the set after applying what you suggested, still not the greatest I'm sure but it's a big big improvement over previous efforts so thanks! By the way that's just my desk that it's sitting on, this was before I painted the floorboards.



Posted by Nick H, on 2007-03-18 19:50:52

A great set. I love the angled bit where the staircase would be, it suggests there is more to this world that the little bit you see. That's a classic technique in set design, whether miniature or full scale. And the wooden lathes inside the plaster wall are great too. I want to see them aged down, and a sense of the crumbly plaster there as well. Things like that, the peeling wallpaper, and the floorboards give a real sense of reality. Good furniture too. It's all good!

Posted by mlagana, on 2007-03-19 11:07:56

your set looks absolutely amazing but in my opinion the floorboards could look a bit older. But i guess it will depend on your lighting. can't wait to see it after you have given it the breath of life.