Friday, 12 September 2014

Peeling paint, a simpler way?

I have been reading up methods of creating that peeling, flakey paint finish which is so common on old, uncared for wood, like the doors of Tony's garage workshop.

They are all so complex, requiring layers of alcohol, dyes, thinners, PVA glue and paint.  Certainly excellent results can be obtained with these methods, but I wondered if a simpler method couldn't be found.
I couldn't see why something masking the wood which could be removed easily shouldn't do the job, so I bought some Humbrol Maskol today.
I prepared the wood, a small sliver of my beloved steamed pear, a wood with no figure and a close grain, by sanding it with a coarse sandpaper and a little remodelling with a knife at the bottom to suggest missing and rotten timber.  I didn't take too much care to engrave the planks of the door, but that can be done later on further experiments.
I WILL try the other method, once I've written it all down as I'm damned if I can remember it all!

But for now, here's my simplified attempt and I'm quite chuffed with the result.
On the other side is a single colour layer, equally convincing, so here I thought I'd try for the appearance of an old layer of a contrasting colour showing through a newer, lighter one and then the whole lot flaking and peeling back to bare wood.  This is probably one of those pictures you need to click on to see the big version.
All I did after the sanding and poking about with a knife was to paint some little streaks of Maskol with a very fine brush onto the planks, especially at joints and at the bottom.  Let it dry, then go over with some acrylic paint. I only had Valejo paints in acrylic, so I gave it a coat of a darker blue than I would like, but didn't have anything else.  That dries very quickly and then I did some more Maskol streaks and finished with a coat of white over that.  By the time I'd washed the brush (SO important with acrylics), the test piece was dry.  I then wrapped some blue masking tape round my finger and pressed down on the piece. On removal of the tape, the layers of paint came away beautifully from the Maskol, which, when removed with a fine pair of tweezers, was pulled off to reveal bits of the older coat of paint.  
I am very happy with this 10 minute experiment and will give it some more twists tomorrow.


  1. Since you came back to FreeRails, my friend, I will share with you what I think is one of the best ways to model peeling paint---and it's so simple that even I got stunning results!

    There are better photos in other forums, but the above is how to do it.

    Here is a whole wall done this way, by a guy that never did it before--


  2. Thanks, Herb. Our pal Rich had sent me those links and they certainly seem to do the trick. I was trying to skip the alcohol stage as that stuff ain't easy to get over here and I wasn't even sure of its use in Dave's method.
    I will try again today to see if our biggest supermarket has it. But is it really necessary to the process or can we get by with just mineral spirits and paint. I'm assuming mineral spirits is what we call white spirit. Slightly oily thinners for enamel paint?

    1. Mineral spirits --common paint thinner is what to use. The fact that it wont mix with water is what makes the whole thing work. Alcohol will mix with water.
      And yes, mineral spirits = white spirits


  3. Herb, I tried some of that last night and got a nice effect, but I think it took a little too much paint off.
    I have some alcohol coming although I've already forgotten what the alcohol is for!

    Have a look at the new blog. I'm just about to put the latest picture up.