Paper Bag Scenery Tutorial
This is a method of creating a “Tough Skin” scenery shell
that is light weight and less messy than plaster. I now use a two layer
process with spray foam in between the back and front paper. The foam allows
some density for planting trees, fence post and whatever for stability.


Every now and then at the groceries store, I ask to have my purchases
bagged in paper bags. Open up the bag at the bottom and cut out pieces that
fit your scenery situation. There is a seam in the bag, so I use this for
the first layer that won’t be seen. I use Carpenters wood glue for securing
the edges in place. Follow the instructions below for a detail of the method.

   Crumple up a paper shopping bag and then open it up. I cut a section
of it to fit the scenery slope at left. It was first glued along the edge
of the sub roadbed and allowed to dry.
   Now the bottom edge is glued in place on the lower bench work.

A paper flap was also glued to the edge of the viaduct and allowed
to dry. This will later be folded over and glued to the other vertical paper

After the photo was taken, more bag material was added at the right
until it met the existing scenery.

   A piece of Styrofoam was glued in place so the paper flap can
be folded over and glued in place without collapsing the adjacent paper.

You can install cardboard or Styrofoam supports every so often behind
this shell system. I do it only when the scenery is at a more gradual slope
for strength.

   The second layer of paper is glued at the bottom edge only because
I’m going to start filling in between the layers with spray Foam. That second
layer of paper is held open with the tape measure just for the picture.
I thought it best to keep all the store brand printing on the back side
from the side that will show.

One can of foam will do about four square feet of scenery shell. It’s
best to have that much area ready so the entire can will be used up.

   A second area was readied for foaming so I could use up the
entire can of foam.

The top paper is glued at the bottom edge and pulled back for the

The paper on the other side of the track is also doubled and will
be pulled back for foaming.

   The foam was sprayed in full length rows starting at the bottom
and stacked just short of the top. I quickly raised up the paper and glued
it at the top. The foam will expand too twice its size as you can see the
bulging of the paper after it cured a couple hours.

I will use some plaster of Paris to fill in the gaps like you see
in the photo above.

   The same was done in this second area also. The carpenters wood
glue was used to attach the paper after it was filled with foam.

I spray the unruly paper with water to make it softer for laying against
the foam underneath.

Very important step 
Immediately after Plaster of Paris was applied to close up the joints,
I bushed on a soupy mixture of scenery color and texture. For this, I used
Cajon Powder and diluted glue. The mixing bowl and stiff brush is seen in
photo center. As I worked, the plaster began to harden so the color brushing
continued until the white plaster was colored over. A second coat touch
up was done in a few places to tone down the white of the plaster.

I don’t want the plaster to come loose and fall off the paper.
The glue mixture with powder will create a lasting bond as it somewhat mixes
with the fresh plaster.
   One 11 ounce package of #1200 Cajon Rock Powder was enough to
color the scene at left and below.Some of the “white” from the
plaster shows through that gives the rock face interesting highlights.

Immediately, the rest of the powder was sprinkled over the still wet
scenery. Then some “Zip Texturing of #1203 Sand & Gravel, #2 Dead
& Alive ground cover, #9 Fine Green Blend Grass and #1205, 1207 Cajon
Rip/rap material. End it up by lightly spraying with wetted water and dripping
on the diluted glue.

   Gradual slopes as this hold the loose rock as in nature. The very
four ground, back scenery and back drop painting is not finished yet for
this article. When that is ready, I’ll plant many of the trees I’m working
 The next tutorial will cover the topic of preparing this same terrain
for the planting of brush and trees.