old ‘flaking’ paint effect

I don’t think I’ve written about this technique anywhere yet, partly because I haven’t tried it in an actual model .. but I feel that it’s promising! It’s the quickest, least involved way of simulating old flaking paint I’ve experimented with. Incidentally, I think that ‘flaking’ is a better way of describing what happens to paintwork than the ‘peeling’ which is more commonly used.

I’ve used the usual kind of tissue paper sold for crafts or gift wrapping. For both of the sample squares above I cut a piece somewhat larger than the cardboard base, crumpled it into a ball, then opened it out semi-flat again. I lightly spraymounted the card surface and patted the tissue paper down onto it, without flattening too heavily. I waited about a half-hour for the spraymount to become firmer, then took to the surface with the wire brush and/or scalpel blade.

Since the tissue is weightless any spraymount can be used, whether light and repositionable or otherwise. Any ‘spraymount’, that is, which sprays a fine mist .. and some just don’t unfortunately! The only one I can vouch for as reliable is 3M’s SprayMount (in the blue cans) .. also the most expensive. Anyway, after first trying out, the effects can be varied according to how much spraymount is used; the type of tissue paper; the material used as a base; how much or how little the tissue is pressed down; how heavily or lightly the surface is scratched. Also, different colours of tissue paper could be overlaid. My sample pieces are probably a bit flat and restrained, and much more could be done!

Here below for comparison are two examples of distressed paintwork I’ve selected from the truly life-changing, at the least life-enhancing, surfaces reference resource http://www.textures.com As much as I use it though, I still have issues with the lack of any information provided about the types of environments or locations of the photos. The service is still free to use, as long as you sign up, and that allows you a daily quota of a good number of medium resolution images. I found the first amongst a mix of many others like it under a search for ‘crackles’, and the second grouped under ‘PlasterWhiteWorn’.

While experimenting with the tissue paper method, I wanted to compare it with a technique I’ve been using for some time .. printing a basis image on matt coated photo paper; spraymounting this onto a stronger base; dampening with a water spray, and then ‘distressing’ the surface with wire brush and scalpel in much the same way. For the basis I used the ‘crackle’ pattern tile which had come with PaintShop Pro, tiling and scaling it as I thought appropriate, but then increasing the contrast because it was a bit pale ..

For the sample squares I used acrylics to add more colour interest, but also to mask the regularity of the tiled pattern.

4 thoughts on “old ‘flaking’ paint effect

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