Paul enlarges his waterfront

“Hi Al thought I would send you some photos of how I increased the size of my waterfont scene using toilet paper and PVA glue.

The included photos show the plywood extension and the initial steps in applying the TP & PVA.

The TP is applied about 4-5 layers thick with the PVA gluing the layers together.

You see me “pushing” the still wet TP with the paint brush to form waves which are heading toward the shore and bulkhead.

In these photos I angled the light such that it highlighted the waves that were formed by pushing the wet TP with the paint brush. You can see the 3D effect of the visable waves. At this point you have to let the work dry which takes a few days because of the thickness of the TP. Once dried my wife stepped in because I failed at an attempt to match the color of the existing water scene. Naturally if you were doing this all at once there wouldn’t be any need to color match and you wouldn’t have to hire an artist.

In these photos you can see the fan brush we used to highlight the tops of the waves with white paint. You must remove most of the paint from the brush by passing the bristles over some waste material. What you are then doing is called a “dry brush” effect on the wave tops.

The next photo shows the jetty I built to protect the pilings that hold up the dock by the fishing shack. This photo also shows the blending of the colors where the old and new water meet. Lastly is a photo of the overall scene. The credit for this method of producing the water effect goes to Marklin of Sweden and his videos. The best part of this method is the 3D effect of the waves.


A huge thanks to Paul. Over the years there have been lots of water ‘how to’ posts, but I think this one is particularly good.

That’s all this time folks.

And if you think it’s time to stop dreaming, and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

26 Responses to Paul enlarges his waterfront

  1. John Birch says:

    Excellent work, Paul. Most effective. I love seeing what people achieve using simple methods and household bits and pieces. The toilet paper works very well. What a hobby! It gives so much scope for such a variety of ways to be creative.

  2. Joe Nap says:

    Terrific Waterfront…….Thanks for the photos..
    Really like the small pier in the middle and the sand and stone work below it.

  3. Robert Cassidy says:

    Great job Paul ! Really like the sea wall too. How did you get the block effect?

  4. Jack Bury says:

    Nice work. Very realistic waves. An alternative to using expensive ‘water’ products.
    Jack in Pa.

  5. Bruce says:

    Terrific addition.
    Simply adds much more appeal to the captains to land, whether local or foreign.
    Bruce in SC USA

  6. Marklin ed says:

    Thanks Paul I like to say Marklin of Sweden is a wonderful site (video) Great ideas and very good information. Paul thanks again for the waves, your wife did a good job matching the color. Being an artist it could be hard to do.

  7. Hemi says:

    Absolutely GREAT work Paul! NICELY done and GREAT way of using normal household materials for this wonderful hobby!!!!!

    Keep up the GREAT work! ~Hemi

  8. David Pugh says:

    Some of the finest waves I’ve ever seen. What kind of white glue did you use and did you thin it out with water. The affect is great. Thanks for sharing it.

  9. Allan Johnston says:

    One of the things I so much enjoy about these posts and this hobby is seeing how folks turn every day items and junk into beautiful scenery.

  10. Bob Bouskill says:

    I’ve been around this hobby since 1960. I never saw such a unique idea. Well Done. Now I might have to scrap my model railroad and redesign to be able to incorporate your ideas.

  11. Dan Hulitt says:

    That is a new technique to me, and very effective. Well done, Paul, and to Marklin as well.

    Mn Dan

  12. John B says:

    Love it, great how too!

  13. A Denietolis says:

    Great job as usual, I look forward to this every morning.

  14. Macbear says:

    So glad your wife stepped in once it was dried. Imagine her stepping into soggy TP! More seriously, thanks for an inspiring post. Using everyday materials beats the off the shelf expensive stuff in the league of achievement. Well done.

  15. IKE SAYLORS says:

    i agree with john birch regarding paul’s methods. it goes to show, you are never too old to learn new ways of doing things. i have been a real model rr in ho since the mid forties.

  16. Brian Messenger says:

    Well done Paul, very effective final product. I love any waterfront article.
    Brian – the HOn3 guy – Knysna RSA

  17. Great.. new method….perfect results…, impressed me enough that I am going to give it a try. Hope I am half as successful

  18. Paul Case says:

    Robert Cassidy, the block work is merely impressions made in white foamboard once the paper has been removed from the foamboard. Best to get the foamboard in the dollar store since it is easier to remove the paper than from the better quality stuff in the art stores. Get a couple of cheap 1/2″ brushes and remove the bristles completely right down into the metal band. Then you bend the band slightly to form different shapes in the foamboard as you press down into it. By doing this to two brushes you can alternate the shapes on the foam by turning the brushes 180degrees as you move along the foam. After all the impressions have been made you create the colors by using various acrillic paint washes letting each layer dry before adding more. This you will have to experiment with. I believe I gave Al some photos of how I did this a while back —maybe he can repost them.

  19. Paul Case says:

    Just used Elmer’s glue straight out of the bottle. If you try this method get the very soft multilayered toilet paper not the hard stuff like Scott’s. Also you apply all the layers in continous fashion not letting them dry between layers. You want all the layers down so that when you finish you can use the 1 1/2″- 2″ brush you used to apply the glue as a wave forming tool. This you do by gentily pushing the wet TP in the direction that you want the waves to be flowing. Toward the shore or into the harbor toward the bulkhead. Once this is done you have to wait a few days till it all dries before starting the painting. Darker blues in deep water gradually getting lighter toward the shore.

  20. NJ Mark says:

    Great job using the toilet paper. Which do you prefer, the extra strength or the soft? Just kidding. Cheers! NJ Mark

  21. Love the total look of the waterfront. Great idea using TP and PV glue. Always lots of useful information in this blog. Thanks for sharing.
    Frank & Kathe, FL

  22. Paul Case says:

    Mark, make sure it’s unused. But the soft gives you more material to form the waves.

  23. Bob Sandone says:

    I’m glad to see that Paul credited Marklin of Sweden with this concept. Marklin is very talented and has great videos. I saw this method before and I was pretty sure it was from Marklin, but I didn’t know who had the concept first, Marklin or Paul. I suspected Marklin because he would not have made a video of this without giving others the credit. So now we all know. Thanks Marklin, and thanks Paul for trying what is probably a fairly new concept and making a success of it !!

  24. Roy Brownson Jrn says:

    Great looking scene and concept.
    Roy Brownson Jr , Syracuse Utah, USA(near Salt Lake City, Ut. Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics)

  25. Paul Case says:

    Thanks Bob for your kind comments. Those who are interested in trying this should take a look at Marklin’s video as he does the whole deal right before your eyes. This method of making a water scene is a lot of fun especially since you create realistic wave right before your eyes. I have various water methods on my layout including Realistic Water from WS and a lake made of Envirotec resin but this method gives you the most contol. I just remembered that I forgot to mention that after all the painting is done, prior to coating the wave tops with flat white paint, you should coat the whole water scene with a clear gloss acrylic varnish. I hope to see some other attempts at making water this way.

  26. Richard Gregory says:

    Such a cheap and simple effect, which I shall note for future reference.

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