Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Playing in the Sand

Chris S. has another terrific idea to keep in mind:

Every winter, our city places bins of a very coarse sand mix, with an old shovel or tin scoop, anywhere there is a slope on the road that causes problems for motorists when there is ice on the road. I make a point of filling two dishpans with this stuff every year as soon as the bins are in place, as I have a sloping driveway. Over the years I have found this mixture to be a great winter source of small stones that are perfect for use on houses, fireplaces, stone walls in any scale, even 144th!

Among the sand and boring grey gravel, I have found lots of white and pink quartz, Fool's Gold, granite of every colour, black and dark green stones with sparkles of mica, and beautifully rounded and polished river stones. Once washed in dish detergent, rinsed and air-dried, all you need is some tacky glue (or CA glue for "larger" stones in 1:12 scale), the surface to attach them to, and your choice of "mortar" to fill empty spaces and make it look realistic. For 144th and 1:48 I use craft paint liberally applied to small sections, then wiped off the tops of the stones with a damp sponge or shop towel. For 1:24 and 1:12, I use a mixture of craft paint and a texturizing medium pushed down with a brush between the stones, or (my favourite) I mix up a small amount of real mortar in a Dixie cup. By using the 'real thing', I actually save quite a bit of time since I don't glue the stones down first. I just brush some glue on the surface, smear on some mortar over that and then place the stones. When the surface of the mortar starts to look dry, I wipe off the stones with a damp cloth or sponge. With the small amount of mortar used, it dries very quickly, so by the time I have completed the second area, the first is ready to be wiped off.