This tutorial covers the build process to create a realistic tarmac or sidewalk for displaying models. The materials used are a wood base, acrylic medium, baking soda, scriber, and primer. The wood bases are readily available from your local crafts stores. Since these wood bases are unfinished, the usually require a sanding session to prepare them. Starting with the wood base, I first mask off the edges.

Once the base has been masked off, I use an acrylic medium found at any craft store or hardware store and baking soda.

The acrylic medium is brushed onto the base.

While the base is still wet, use a sifter or strainer and sift the baking soda over the wet base.

Leave this to sit over night.

After you have given the acrylic medium to dry over night, you can simply wipe off the excess baking soda and you will be left with a base with tiny little bumps glued onto the surface. You can take some 200-300 grit sand paper and lightly sand the surface to take a little bit of the top most layer of baking soda off the base. Do not over sand, the sanding process is only a quick light rubbing of the surface.

After the light sanding session, you can prime the surface with a simple gray primer or just paint the surface the color of tarmac or side walk you want. Using a scriber and a ruler, you can lightly scribe in lines representative of the cement slabs. A quick wash will weather the surface, peel off the masking tape to stain and finish the sides;and you are done.

    Recap of the steps:

  • Sand and prepare the wood base.
  • Mask off the edges
  • Brush on an acrylic medium
  • While the acrylic medium is still wet, sift baking soda over the base
  • Let the entire base sit over night to allow the acrylic medium to fully dry.
  • Brush off the excess baking soda
  • Lightly sand the surface
  • Paint the surface
  • Scribe some lines
  • Remove the mask and finish the edges


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. andy

    I need to make a small tarmac and like this tutoral, however
    when you say medium , what type of medium do you use?
    Acrylic mediums consists of several products, almost anything you add to acrylic to change it’s properties is considered a “medium”.

    just to name a few “acrylic medium’s” I found on the liquitex website are:
    acrylic airbrush medium
    acrylic gel medium
    acrylic gloss medium
    acrylic matt medium
    acrylic gesso medium
    acrylic blending medium
    acrylic paste medium
    acrylic flo-aid
    acrylic retarder
    acrylic fabric medium
    acrylic tinting medium
    and the list goes on and on ……lol

    what does it say on the container?

    thanks in advance

  2. GameraBaenre

    The exact product I used is Minwax water-based Polycrylic protective finish semi gloss

    I picked the stuff up at the local hardware store. Hope that answers your question.

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