If you’re making a Christmas diorama or snow scene on your model railway, you’ll want snow on not just the ground but on buildings. But what glue should you use to attach the white stuff to your models.
And to do this you’ll need to the right type of glue.
Plastic modelling glues will be expensive to use if covering a large area such as OO or HO gauge building roof top and will also make it impossible to remove the snow later if you want to reuse the buildings after the festive season. And PVA (wood glue) don’t bond well too plastic that I make the majority of my models in.
After a bit of experimentation, I now use cheap hair spray. I’ve now find it the best solution.
Not only is it cheap and therefore affordable if you have a building or multiple roofs to cover but the snow powder can be removed easily and quickly afterwards and wont’ damage the paint or plastic like other glues.
How to fix snow to roofs
To apply snow ballast, just spray the area you you intend to cover with snow with a cheap hair spray and then sprinkle your simulated snow over the area.
It’ll be fixed in place within miniatures and the glue is strong enough to hold the white powder even if the model is held upside down.
If you want thicker layer of fake snow, just spray on more hair spray and repeat.
When applying the hair spray, do it away from your work bench and other models.
How remove snow fixed with hairspray
Hair spray doesn’t set hard like PVA or plastic cement glues so removing snow fixed down with it just needs rubbing the area with a stiff brush. I use an old toothbrush and coarse paint brush, as seen in the photo here.
It takes a little effort and you may have to work the brush in to nooks and crannies on the model.
This technique can also be used for model trains with plastic shells but be very careful not to get the hair spray or fake snow near the axel, wheels, motor or electrics.
This glue and technique offers a cheap and easy way add a lovely snow covering to your model buildings, doesn’t damage them and is easy to remove afterwards.
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.