After much deliberation and experimentation, I finally settled on roofing that I am happy (enough) with. The main challenge? I really wanted to do something (for once) that wasn’t going to cost anything. After the surprise styrene stonework purchase I made last week, I’ve been counting back the ‘ka-chings’ and realizing how easy it is to get nickeled-and-dimed in this hobby.

Having built a couple of cardstock structures last fall, I am still enamored by how cost effective they were, and, while I wasn’t too excited about the finished cardstock models, there were aspects of paper that I really loved. So, when contemplating a roof, I finally decided to design my own using nothing but ink and paper.

Last night I Googled “shingle texture” and scrolled through various images of asphalt, slate, and shaker shingles until I found a nice dark slate with crisp lines. I really like the look of slate shingles; having lived in New Hampshire and Vermont all my life, I often visit old mills and barns with still-intact slate shingles, though the cupolas might have collapsed and the walls might be leaning this way or that. 

I brought the slate texture into Gimp (having recently decided that I no longer wanted to pay the monthly fee for Photoshop) and duplicated the image a handful of times, overlapping each layer until I had a whole page’s worth of shingles.

After sending a page to my inkjet printer, I started measuring and cutting. Once I had pieces cut that would cover the roof of the cooperage, I sprayed the back of each piece with Elmers Spray Adhesive, and stuck them on. Easy as that. Certainly not perfect, but I couldn’t have asked for better results without dropping $30 per building. And, the Elmers adhesive is hardly permanent. If I wind up wanting to spend some dollars on a fancy styrene roof, I can easily peel this one off.

3 thoughts on “Roofing

  1. Looks quite nice. A middle-ground to consider for future buildings is to use a dull exacto blade to score the lines into bass wood or a museum board. You can then paint / age to your liking. More tedious though, and there’s no guarantee you’d get it to look as nice as what you printed. The only difference would be the visible texture and thickness.


    • Thanks Sean! I actually considered adding texture by layering strips of printed shingles (each strip would have two rows of shingles, but each subsequent layer would overlap one row). However, the general consensus (according to the blogs I read) was that it would be more work than it is worth, and wouldn’t be realistic in N Scale anyway. As it is, I’m thinking of replacing the ridge cap with something much thinner.


      • I may try the exacto-blade technique on a future building, though (or at least on a scrap piece of basswood).


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