Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Working with Cork

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    Avatar photoNorthern Monkey

    I have just picked up a few cork bark pieces from the local model railway shop to make into rocky outcrops etc, is there anything I need to know about working with cork bark before cracking on, eg is it better to seal it with pva  or similar before painting?

    My attempt at a Blog: http://ablogofwar.blogspot.co.uk/

    Avatar photoAngel Barracks

    Don’t think so.
    Never used it myself but a few guys that I know who have just sprayed it with primer/base colour and got going…

    Avatar photonheastvan

    Cork will suck up all the paint just fine without priming. Drybrushing and glazes are a great way to paint it. When you glaze cork, basically you’re making a wash, but don’t flood the piece. Instead paint it on to get an even coat where you want it. After glazing in your darker colours, go back and drybrush the edges with your brightest one last time. Sometimes you may need to go back and drybrush from your mid tone all the way to the brightest if the glaze was too heavy or applied to far onto the lightest areas.

    Some times you’ll work through your drybrush colours and sit one piece next to another and they won’t match. I did a hill where I didn’t do a thick enough dampbrush/overbrush of the base brown on the black so by the time I worked through the tan and ivory it looked very grey. I ended up glazing it with the original brown and then doing the drybrushing again and it matched (well, mostly). Enough that matters.

    I’d recommend cheap craft paint for cork over hobby paints. It’s usually thicker/gloopier so it drybrushes better and it usually has less pigment so it glazes easier. The glazes will dry less strong than you think. It’s also super cheap. 17ml of Vallejo is like $4, but 60ml of craft paint is $1.25 or $1.50 here.

    I’ve also heard that test pots of house emulsion/latex paint from the hardware store works absolutely great on cork and is very cheap. It has similar properties in terms of being thicker and having less pigment.

    EDITED: Another great way to paint cork is to work from white and then all washes like how model railroaders do plaster castings. You’ll need a stainable surface like a white automotive primer rather than a smooth acrylic or emulsion eggshell surface.

    You can make your own scenic cement (I varnish all my terrain with it) by diluting a good PVA/white glue with 1 part PVA, 2 parts water. If you use wood/carpenter’s glue, you’ll need 5-6 parts water, 1 part glue or you’ll get yellowing. Also, you should be able to dilute pretty much any paint or pigment to use like those washes in the video, but you may have to experiment with the ratios to find out what stains your primer surface the best. Make sure to let the washes dry before applying the PVA/water mixtures.

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