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Cardboard Ruins - Part 3

Having completed the basic construction in the previous part of this article we will now add a layer of filler to hide the tape seams and add a rough, ruined-looking texture to the buildings. This same texturing technique works well on foamcore and Styrofoam packaging buildings as well.

Applying the Filler

Texture Step 1: Grab your tub of filler, the PVA glue, and a 1" brush. Mix some filler and PVA glue together using about a 10 to 1 ratio of filler to glue. This ratio may depend on the type of filler you are using - just add enough glue to get a thick, smooth texture. Scoop up a large blob with the brush and smack in onto a wall or floor of a building. If you get some filler on the base, that's OK because we'll be adding a sand texture to the base in Part 4.

Apply Filler Apply Filler

Apply FillerTexture Step 2: Using the bush, spread the filler out into a thin, even layer. For a really rough texture use more filler in an area or for a smoother finish use hardly any at all. Be sure to work in into all the little nooks and crannies. Don't try to apply filler to the entire ruin at once - work in sections doing steps 1 - 3 of the texturing process in small areas. If you do too much at once some of the filler will dry too soon and you won't be able to do step 3 properly.

Texture Step 3: Now for the fun part. While the filler is still wet, use the brush in a stabbing motion to texture the filler. Notice how in the picture the brush is aggressively pushed into the filler. Don't be afraid to push too hard, you can always add or remove more filler if you don't like the effect. After you finish a building set it aside to dry and start on the next one. Once they're all dry the next step is to sand the filler texture.</td>

Sanding the Filler

The result of all the brush stabbing is a lot of fragile peaks that look a bit strange and will break off too easily when handled. A quick once-over with the sand paper, however, and all the little pointy bits will be gone and you'll be left with a nice texture. You can also vary the amount of sanding to leave different textures on different parts of the building. For example, in the images below we see a window header before and after sanding.

Apply Filler Apply Filler

Notice how the area around the header was left relatively rough and I sanded the header itself down to a smooth finish. Now the header stands out more and looks as if it may have been made of a different material. I like to use medium or even rough gauge sand papers since they add additional grooves and lines to the filler's texture. Experiment with different amounts of sanding and see what you like best. You can't go far wrong, these are ruins after all - you can always add more filler.

In the final part of this article we will paint and finish the project.

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