Painting Instructions

Getting ready to paint.
The RAL color system.

Castle Gray Color Scheme
How to mix the paint.
Painting the dark gray basecoat.
Painting the medium gray coat.
Painting the final highlight coat.

Earth Stone Color Scheme
Earth tone painting instructions.
Recipe for dirt color.

Antiquing Method
Coloring and sealing pieces.
Using brown shoe polish.
Using gel stain.

You do not have to follow all of the instructions on this page. Feel free to use or disregard the steps you want, depending on how much work you want to put into your model. The more time you put into your paint job, the better looking your model will end up.

Please read through all of the instructions in order. Some of the tips in the first sections are not repeated in the latter ones, so reading through all of the instructions will help you pick up all of the tips. The demonstration videos for each segment will help you see exactly how the paint is applied to the model.

Getting Ready To Paint
Get your materials together. You will need:
  1. Old clothes. When you paint your model, paint will end up spattering everywhere. Be sure to wear some old clothes that you don't mind getting paint on.

  2. Cover your work surface. Tape a trash bag down to the table, or use several layers of newspaper.

  3. Paint brushes. For the first coat of paint, I use a cheap 1" wide trim brush that you can find in the paint department of most stores. For the drybrushing and details, I use a good quality 3/4" wide artist's brush which you can find in the craft department of most stores.

  4. Paint. I prefer to use flat latex exterior house paint because it will hold up the best during game play, but you can also use acrylic craft paint found in the craft department of most stores. If you end up using craft paint, you will not need to dillute it with water as much as the house paint.

  5. Plastic cups and storage containers. You will need these to mix your paint and to save your left over paint for the next project.

  6. A reusable measuring cup. To make one of these, go to my Tips & trick 13 page.

The RAL Color System for Foreign Customers
The RAL color system is used in Europe and many other countries. They have books of color samples and each color has a specific number. For more information, visit their web site at www.ral.de/farvben/en/index.html.

I have listed the RAL numbers for the paint colors I use, so that those who live outside the U.S. may be able to get the same colors of paint mixed more easily.

There are two RAL color systems shown. The one on the right is much more accurate.

When you get your paint mixed, write down the numbers for both systems. There is no telling which system they use, or if they use RAL systems at all.


RAL Classic
This system is more common to find but there are less colors in it. These colors do not match mine as accurately.

RAL Design System
This has a lot more colors in it and I could match these more accurately. However, this system is not used as much.
Castle Gray Dark RAL# 7015 Slate grey RAL# 260 40 05
Castle Gray Medium RAL# 7046 Telegrey2 RAL# 250 60 10
Castle Gray Light RAL# 7047 Telegrey4 RAL# 260 80 05
Earth Tone Dark RAL# 8028 Terra brown RAL# 060 30 10
Earth Tone Medium RAL# 8001 Ochre brown RAL# 070 60 30
Earth Tone Light RAL# 1001 Beige RAL# 080 80 05
Dirt Color RAL# 1019 Grey beige RAL# 075 60 20
Pyramid Dark RAL# 1019 Grey beige RAL# 050 60 10
Pyramid Medium RAL# 1001 Beige RAL# 075 70 30
Pyramid Light RAL# 1013 Oyster white RAL# 085 90 20
Sand RAL# 1002 Sand yellow RAL# 080 80 30

Castle Gray Color Scheme
How to Mix the Paint
Videos
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darkgraypaint.wmv
1.2M
darkgraypaint.mov
1.2M
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
1. To begin with, I'm using flat exterior latex house paint. I think that it holds up the best on the model.

For the gray color scheme you'll want to get a quart of black and a quart of white.

If you have a small simple project (such as a school project) and you don't want to spend that much money on paint, you can use acrylic craft paint instead. If you use this, you won't have to thin it with water.

2. Mixing the paint is easy. However, I can send you color chips of the grays shown here. When you place an order, just send me an e-mail that you want color chips and I'll send them out with your molds.

You can also mail me a self addressed stamped envelope, and I'll send you back some color chips. You can take these chips to your local paint store and they can mix these colors for you exactly.

3. The formula for the gray color scheme is:

  • Dark Gray- 3 parts black, 1 part white, 2 parts water.
  • Medium Gray- 1 part black, 2 parts white, 1 part water.
  • Light Gray- 1 part white, 1/8 part black, no water.
4. I'm using 3 ounce plastic cups to dip the paint out of the can.

Scrape the side of the cup off using the inside of the paint can. This will keep the paint from dripping.

Pour the paint into a reusable measuring cup. To make one of these, go to my Tips & trick 13 page.

5. When you're finished dipping the paint out, you can set the cup onto the paint can lid if you need to use it again.

Lift the inner cup out of the measuring cup and mix the paint up. The paint will be thin because of the added water. Mix the paint thoroughly.

Six ounces of paint is enough to paint a wizard's tower.

6. To store the mixed paint, I like to use disposable platic containers. The containers shown here are from "Zip lock", but there are several other brands also.

These containers are cheap, hold a lot of paint and are much easier to open then baby food jars.

Painting the Dark Gray Base Coat
Videos
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grayfirstcoat.wmv
2.26MB
grayfirstcoat.mov
2.31MB
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
1. Before you begin painting, dip the brush up to the hilt in water. You want to get the bristles wet all the way up.

Next dab off the water with a paper towel. This will keep your paintbrush in good shape while painting.

If you do not wet the brush first, paint will creep way up into the brisles and dry there, making it difficult to clean and leaving your brush not as fexible.

2. Dip the brush into the paint and slop it onto the model. You want the paint to run into all of the cracks and crevices between the blocks.

I suggest painting half of each piece and letting it dry. The glue I use (tacky glue) will soften up too much if you apply paint to the whole thing at once. I usually paint the bottom half first, setting the piece upside-down to dry.

Also, if you paint the whole item, it's harder to hold onto without getting paint everywhere, and it will stick to the table when you set it down.

3. To paint deep detail such as the wizard's tower faces, start by slopping the paint on.

If you take a brush full of paint and scrape it across the top edge, paint will run down and cover the faces completely.

Next, jab the paintbrush down into the faces and all of the cracks. The paint will be thin enough to flow into all of the gaps and spaces.

4. Since you don't want excess paint dripping or obscuring the detail, scrape the excess paint off of the brush. Place your brush on the edge of your cup and scrape across. You'll see excess paint run down into the cup.

Now jab the brush into the faces again, wipe up any drips and scrape the brush off again. Continue to do this until the excess paint is removed from the piece.

5. Do not stack your pieces together while the paint is wet! If you do, the paint will glue your model together and you'll never get it apart again.

After the paint dries, you might be thinking "Geez, this is way too dark!". But don't worry, it's supposed to be dark.

Painting the Medium Gray Coat
Videos
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secondcoatprep.wmv
1.68MB
secondcoatprep.mov
1.68MB
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
1. The formula for the Medium gray is:
1 part black - 2 parts white - 1 part water

You'll want to tape a paper towel down to the table. Also, you'll need a good quality 3/4" wide artist's brush for putting on this second coat.

How you apply the second coat really makes a difference in how your model looks, so get a good brush for this.

2. Before you paint, you'll want to prepare your brush. You'll do this by dipping your brush in water.

Next you'll blot the excess water out using the paper towel. This will get the bristles wet all the way up into the handle.

If you don't wet the brush first, paint will get pushed way up into the bristles and dry there, ruining your brush.

3. When dipping your brush, only dip the bristles half way into the paint. This will help keep paint from drying way up into the bristles.

Wipe out the excess paint from the brush onto the paper towel. You want a very small amount of paint in the bristles of the brush.

4. Before you begin, test out your paint on the bottom of the model, or somewhere you won't see very well. This will give you a chance to see how the paint will look before you mess up a highly visible area.

If you can find an area with texture, the test will work a little better. The first few strokes always have more paint in them, and it's easier to get too much on the model accidentally.

Videos
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graysecondcoat.wmv
2.16MB
graysecondcoat.mov
2.26MB
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
5. How dry brushing works. Compare the two photos here. Why does the one on the right look better than the one on the left?

The difference is dry brushing. If your second coat of paint is thick, you'll just have 2 shades of gray on your model, which will look like the left photo. The point is not to have two shades of gray, but to have lots of shades.

6. The trick to getting lots of shades of gray is to do a lot of brush strokes with very little paint on the brush.

When you do a single brush stroke this way, your color will end up darker because the dark color underneath will show through.

The more strokes you put down, the more variety of shades will happen.

7. The technique I use is a quick jabbing motion. It's a cross between a jab and a stroke.

You want to pepper the surface with lots of short strokes, making sure there's very little paint on the brush. The more brush strokes you use, the more shades of gray that will appear.

8. You should clean your brush about once every 10 minutes. This will keep the paint from drying way up on the bristles and ruining the brush.

To clean the brush, dip it in water and rotate it against the side of the cup. Wipe out the brush and repeat this several times.

When finished, blot the excess water off and you'll be ready to paint again.

Painting the Final Highlight Coat
Videos
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graythirdcoat.wmv
2.12MB
graythirdcoat.mov
2.16MB
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
1. The formula for the Light gray is:
1 part white - 1/8 part black - no water.

The final coat of paint goes on much the same way as the second coat did. However, do not wet the brush before you start.

Dip the brush in the paint and then wipe the brush off almost completely. There will still be enough paint in the brush for the highlights.

2. This time use a very light pressure and longer strokes.

This last coat will take very little paint, so if you mix more than 1 ounce, it will probably get wasted.

When you need to paint over deep details like the faces, be sure that the brush is almost empty of paint, then you can jab the brush down into the faces without putting too much paint on.

Finally, when you've finished this last coat, put the pieces of the tower together and compare the paint job of the separate parts. You may find that some parts may need more paint to make them match the rest of the model.

Earth Tone Painting Instructions
Please read all of the instructions for the gray color scheme (above). These previous instructions will give you specific details on how to dry brush your model and many other useful tips that will not be repeated in this section.
1. You paint colors for the earth stone color scheme is a dark brown, a medium orange-brown, and a light cream color.

If you would like me to send you a sample chip of each color, mail me a self-addressed stamped envelope or send me an e-mail when you place an order. Any place that sells paint can mix up a quart the exact color to match the samples.

Here are the color formulas so you can mix up your own without needing the paint chips. This will only work in the U.S. at any Wal-Mart store. Print out the recipe below and take it to your nearest Wal-Mart store and they'll mix up these quarts for you.

The paint brand is "Colorplace" Exterior Acrylic Latex Flat Housepaint.
This recipe is for a quarts of paint
ColorBaseFormula
Dark Brown Accent Base 8053 C-28, D-28, KX-20.5, R-1Y 19.5
Medium Orange-Brown Accent Base 8053 AXX-1Y 7, i-23.5, KX-1Y 16, L-.5
Light Cream Light Base 8040 AXX-21, B-8, R-6

2. The first color is a dark brown. You'll need to thin the bown with water before you can paint with it. You'll want to add 1 part water to 2 parts paint.

Mix it well and slop it on with a 1" wide brush. Be sure it runs into all the cracks (and there's a lot of them with these blocks). Use the same process shown in the Painting the dark gray base coat section above.

3. The second color is the medium orange-brown. You'll want to add 1 part water to 3 parts paint. Dip the brush in the paint, wipe a good amount off on a rag and brush over the surface using a medium heavy pressure. The brush won't reach into the deep cracks which will remain dark brown.

Use the same process shown in the Painting the medium gray coat section above.

4. The last color is a cream color. Dip your brush into the paint, then wipe most of it off on a paper towel, then lightly brush over the stone.

Don't try and rush this last step! More brush strokes with very little paint in the brush looks much better than a few brush strokes with lots of paint. Use the same process shown in the Painting the final highlight coat section above.

Recipe for Dirt Color
1. Whenever you need to paint the color of dirt on your gaming terrain, here's a recipe that I use.

If you would like me to send you a sample chip of it, mail me a self-addressed stamped envelope or send me an e-mail when you place an order. Any place that sells paint can mix up a quart the exact color to match the samples.

Here is the color formula so you can mix up your own without needing the paint chips. This will only work in the U.S. at any Wal-Mart store. Print out the recipe below and take it to your nearest Wal-Mart store and they'll mix up these quarts for you.

The paint brand is "Colorplace" Exterior Acrylic Latex Flat Housepaint.
This recipe is for a quarts of paint
ColorBaseFormula
Dirt Color Medium Base 8051 D-29, F-24, T-26.5

The Antiquing Method

Coloring and Sealing Pieces
The antiquing method shown here is used on the Egyptin Tower mold. This method works great for blocks with the sand blasted texture but does not work well with other textures such as the chipped stone.

Before you can apply stain, the pieces must be colored and sealed, or the stain will soak into the blocks, turning them a dark brown. It's best if the blocks are a light tan color.

You can make the blocks a light tan color by either:
1. Paining them tan using acrylic craft paint.
2. Using tan colored plaster and sealing it with varnish.

Painting Pieces a Tan Color.
1. This is the easiest method for students doing a school pyrmaid project.

Since plaster of Paris is the easiest casting material to get, most students will have white building blocks. Painting the plaster is the easiest way to color and seal it before staining.

2. You'll paint the blocks using acrylic craft paint. This is the kind that clean up with water. An 8 ounce bottle will be more than enough to paint the whole pyramid and will cost you about $4.00

Use a light tan color of paint!

For these photos I used yellow paint, and you'll see that the finished pyrmaid ends up being too orange.

3. Use a wide brush to paint the pieces. Do not miss any spots!

Look at the pyramid building instructions for how to build a pyramid.

At this point I'm wondering "maybe I should have used light tan paint instead".

4. How to apply shoe polish is shown below. Be sure the paint is completely dry before putting the shoe polish on.

Well, the pyramid is fairly orange, but it still doesn't look too bad. You would get better results than mine if you used a light tan color of paint instead.

Applying a clear Protective Coating.
Videos
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antiquing1.wmv
1.05MB
antiquing1.mov
1.07MB
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
1. Since this method lets the original color of the blocks show through, you must use a colored plaster for the blocks! I'm using a tan colored dental plaster for these examples.

You can color white plaster using cement colorant which is used to color concrete (used on sidewalks), or you can buy colored plaster as shown on the Dental Plaster page.

2. The way this painting method works is that you completely seal the model with a clear coat, then apply a stain to it. The clear coat keeps the stain from soaking in.

I'm using a water-based sealant. It's like varnish, but they have to name it differenty. A water-based sealant works better because it's easier to clean up and is more resistant to oil-based stains.

What I'm using is called "Polycrylic protective finish" from Minwax. Be sure to get a satin for flat finish, because the glossy kind will make the model look odd.

3. Be sure to cover your work surface with a trash bag to keep varnish off of it.

I suggest using a plastic glove on your left hand while painting. This will keep varnish from getting all over your hand.

You can find these in the women's hair color section, but be sure to get the larger sizes. My wife's gloves were cutting off the circuation pretty good.

4. Start by slopping the varnish on and letting it run into all the cracks. You'll know when you've painted an area because it will turn darker when the varnish soaks in.

It's extrememly important that you do not miss any spots! If you miss a spot, then the stain will soak down into that area and you'll have a really dark spot on your wall.

When you're finished painting, wipe up the excess drips of varnish off the piece before you set it aside. Let it dry completely.

Using Brown Shoe Polish.
Videos
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antiquing2.wmv
1.97MB
antiquing2.mov
2.19MB
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
1. To stain the model, I'm going to use "Kiwi" brand liquid brown shoe polish used for leather.

The easiest way to get the polish out is to put the edge of a screwdriver under the red band and twist. The top should pop right off. Then pour what you need into a small cup. It will be easier to use a paintbrush this way.

This shoe polish cleans up with water (before it dries).

2. Be sure to put a plastic glove on to keep from staining your hand. Paint a liberal amount of shoe polish onto the piece. Be sure the shoe polish gets down into all the cracks when painting it.

Since the piece has been sealed, the shoe polish will not soak into the wall and will stay liquid for a long time (maybe 5 minutes). This will give you time to wipe off and add more stain before it dries.

The shoe polish has a slight odor to it, so work in a well ventilated area.

3. Using a paper tower or cloth, wipe off the shoe polish. Be sure to wipe up any drips that may have happened around the sides of the piece. If drips are left for a long time, they will put a dark stain where you don't want it. For small areas you can use a cotton swab.

Shoe polish works better than an ink wash because it's thicker. If you tried this with an ink wash, the paper towel would soak up the wash out of the cracks, and the effect would not be as noticable.

Also, shoe polish dries slowly so you have time to wipe off and add more stain without it drying on you. Do not use latex paint as a stain. It dries much too quickly.

4. Here is a close-up of how the finished wall section will look. The shoe polish has a bit of a reddish cast, but I thought it came out very nice. You could dry-brush highlights onto it, but since this was supposed to be a quick and easy way to paint, that kind of defeats the purpose.

These walls had a slight sheen to them, but not all that noticable. You can always spray a dull protective coat over it to kill the sheen.

Using Gel Stain.
Videos
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antiquing3.wmv
1.74MB
antiquing3.mov
1.92MB
How to get a Windows Media Player
How to get a Quicktime Movie player
1. For this second example, I'm going to use oil based gel stain. Gen stain is a little harder to find, so look for a large hardware or paint store that sells wood stain.

If you're going to use gel stain, be sure to use a water based varnish to seal the piece with. If you use an oil based varnish, the solvent in the gel stain will soften the varnish and the piece will come out much darker.

Gel stain has a few advantages over shoe polish:

  1. It has a wider variety of colors to choose from.
  2. It has less of a smell than shoe polish.
  3. It's thicker than shoe polish, so you have more control when you apply it.
It also has a few disadvantages:
  1. It's more expensive (about $4-$5 per can).
  2. You have to clean up with paint thinner (mineral spirits).
2. The color of gel stain I'm using is colonial oak. It's a bit darker and browner than the shoe polish (not as red).

Gel stain is applied the exact same way as shoe polish (above). Paint on a thick layer and jam the brush down into the cracks. Gel stain is slightly thicker than shoe polish, so you'll have to jam the brush in a little more.

3. Wipe off the gel stain with a paper towel. Because it's thicker, you'll have a harder time removing it from deep recessed areas such as the decorative trim. For small areas you can use a cotton swab.

You'll have to wad up a paper towel and jam it into these areas to remove the stain. The stain dries slowly so you can go back and wipe off excess several minutes after you apply it.

4. Overall, I like the look of the gel stain more than the shoe polish, however my wife prefers the shoe polish.

I like the thickness better, because you have more control over light and dark areas depending on how much you wipe off or leave.

Gel stain also dries flatter, so there's no need for a spray of dull coat over the finished model.

Do not use latex paint as a stain. It dries much too quickly for it to work.

5. In conclusion, I think this method will open up a few possibilities for painting. I haven't had time to experiment with it yet, but here are a few other things I've thought about:
  • Use light gray plaster and black shoe polish on gray color schemes.
  • Using white or yellow plaster and see how that effects the stain color.
  • Dry-brush a white or light cream color paint over the top.
  • Using cement colorant in varying degrees to color the plaster. You should see the variation of color in the blocks through the shoe polish.

Home Page Molds Available How To Order

http://www.hirstarts.com. All photos, articles and plans are copyrighted by Bruce Hirst and may not be used without permission.
"Castlemolds(R)" is a trademark of Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture Inc.
For more information contact
bruce@hirstarts.com.