How I Now Make My Own Plaster Cloth For Hills, Tunnels and Landscapes

5 Intermediate | tips 5 Comments

How to make your own plaster clothI’m a huge fan of plaster cloth. It’s messy, it works and it’s super satisfying but it also costs. Until now.

I love plaster cloth.

Am I the only one who finds getting my hands covered in it and then washing it off later deeply gratifying? Please tell me I’m not — having just told the world my little secret that would be so awkward…

But more importantly, it’s also one of my best go-to materials for scenery construction.

Lay the foundation’s of your hills, mountains, tunnels and even lakes and rivers; cover with plaster cloth; allow to dry, and then paint and apply scatter, static grass and rock faces and you have it: super scenery. It’s wonderful stuff.

The problem, of course, is that it costs. Sure at around £8 for 10sq feet, if you use the Woodland Scenics variety, less for other brands and makes such as ModRoc, it’s not a lot but it still costs.

And, as I’ve said numerous times before, if I can figure out a way to make something instead of spending money on it then I’d much rather do that and then put that money towards something that I can’t make — like a new Hornby, Bachmann or Dapol loco.

Plaster cloth or modelling rock (ModRoc) is ripe for this.

After all, how difficult can making it be? It’s just cloth and plaster of Paris right? And even better, if I use my own cloth I wouldn’t have the annoying holes often seen in modelling plaster bandages and which need covering over later.

All seems good until I tried making my own.

I just couldn’t get it to work with the finish I wanted.

Whatever I tried It just didn’t lay how I wanted or dried as expected. I just ended up with a gloopy mess and a ruined t-shirt that I was using as a test fabric.

But I did get my hands covered in plaster and had a fun few minutes washing it off so it wasn’t a complete disappointment 🙂

Second Attempt – DIY Plaster Cloth Success

With my hands dry, I then went in search of other techniques. And after a lot of reading, chatting with the MRE community and watching YouTube I came across the following video by Alan Plumb. He’s a man after my own heart and revealed a slightly different technique that produces much better results than my attempts.

(The guide to making plaster cloth starts at 10.16mins in).

 

The difference is that this uses a mix of soapy water, filler and plaster. This combination is something I didn’t try and on using this it works so much better. I’ve since used this approach on a few trial landscapes already and it really does work.

No more Woodland Scenics plaster cloth for me but my hands still get delightfully messy! Thanks to Alan for sharing.

Go and give this technique a go and let me know how you get on.



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  1. JOHN FLOOK - August 21, 2017

    First class, as a 75 year old new boy, at last something that I can understand. Soon I will be in a position to start my layout. I will certainly be using this method to make my scenery.
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    • Thanks John, glad you found it useful. As said, I had a few goes and it was only when I tried this it worked. When do you start? Andy

  2. George Sneddon - August 22, 2017

    Thank you. I have been trying to do this for years but my DIY plaster bandages just cracked as they dried. Will save this for my next hill project.

  3. Hi Andy, I would make some trials soon on my layout.
    Could you give me the recepy of the mix? If I understood, he put the cloth into the soap water before to put it into a mix of filler and plaster. Did you test the same?
    Since I’m italian, could you give me a sample brand for the filler, just to be sure to understand what you are talking about.
    Thanks
    Fabio

    • Hi Fabio, yes that’s it – take some soapy water and mix it with half household filler and half plaster of paris before soaking a fine weave cloth into it. For brand, I’ve used Polycell multip purpose as that’s what I had to hand although other fillers will probably work just as well. Andy

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