Put A Cork In It

  This article will deal with building a small street scene that contains pavement, cobblestones and a small retaining wall. Part two will deal with buildings and walls. The same techniques can be used on buildings, but that is better saved for another article.
Fig 1.
  The main building material here is cork. Sold on four-foot rolls, the cork sheet is about 4mm thick. You will also need a suitable substrate, white glue, a rotary tool with medium grit sanding wheel, a sanding stick, tweezers, craft knife, various craft paints, and a good deal of patience. I like to use a porous substrate which can absorb the glue.
Fig 2.
  First plan out your project. Once you have the general idea, you can cut the cork. I start by cutting a large square from my supply. For cobblestones, I generally cut strips 5mm wide. For pavement, a random size works well, and for stonework, a larger, more square brick is useful. The example project uses all three sizes.


Fig 3.
  Gently sand two edges of the strips with the rotary tool, the reason for this will become evident as you proceed. If you have a "chopper" the next step is easier however, if not, you can put a piece of tape 5mm long on your cutting board to serve as a gauge. Cut the strips into bricks 5mm long. You should now have a pile of bricks that are 5mm x 4mm x 5mm. [fig 1] The size of your bricks is not critical, there are many styles of cobblestones.
Fig 4.
  Each of your bricks has been sanded on two edges, and is still square on two edges. Pick up a brick in your tweezers and give the two square edges a little rub with your sanding stick. You're trying to just break the edges here. Glue the brick to your substrate and repeat several thousand times. [fig 2] Because you have left the bottom of the brick square, you can butt the bricks against each other. You will notice as you go along, that a pattern is starting to emerge. You can vary the height of some of your bricks by taking a couple of passes at the bottom of the brick with your sanding stick.
Fig 5.
  Once the entire scene has been built, let everything set up. [fig 3]Spray it with flat black paint. Let this dry overnight. [fig4] Using craft paints, dry brush your brickwork and cobblestones using a variety of grays and browns. Seal the works with a matt or satin finish, weather and detail.[fig 5]  

About the Author

About Michael Cuell (ModlrMike)

I've been modeling for about 30 years, though I took a break for at least 20 of that. I don't really have a main interest, I build whatever strikes my fancy.


I found that when I was painting the brickwork, the black was too stark and prominent. I think that a dark grey would have looked better.
JUL 06, 2003 - 09:28 AM
Great article mike. I have tried everything to get a nice buildings effect and this looks like the next on the list to try out. When seeing some of the work carlos has produced with this stuff, it just makes me wonder why it wasnt used more often earlier!
JUL 06, 2003 - 12:17 PM
Wonderful articel Mike! It looks very convincing. And to think, about a year ago a threw a whole roll of that away saying "ahh. i have no use for this"
JUL 06, 2003 - 12:32 PM
That is definitely the hard way to do it. I prefer using the PLastistruct sheets, but I think this method is more realistic (as in 3D) and for a small dio, I think it's the best I've come across so far.
JUL 06, 2003 - 04:31 PM
Great article . I'll try your method soon on my next project. :-)
JUL 07, 2003 - 01:43 PM
JUL 07, 2003 - 03:04 PM
Thanks for all the kind words. Stay tuned for additional chapters for this article dealing with buildings and other structures.
JUL 07, 2003 - 03:40 PM
Mike, this sounds great !! I'm looking forward to this. I'll be most happy to publish that article. Just send it to : [email protected]
JUL 07, 2003 - 06:11 PM
Outstanding article modelrmike and a great addition to this site. Eagle thanks for updating this to the site
JUL 08, 2003 - 09:29 AM
Hi Michael, Thanks for the article, very useful. I'm planning on using cork for a project and wonder if you could tell me who manufactures the cork sheets you talked of. As always sourcing materials in different countries can be difficult. Many thanks Al
AUG 21, 2006 - 06:39 PM