Shady Rest Water Tower... Revisited
The miniature railroad water tank set was intended to be a quick backdrop for a single "gag-shot" toy photo. Then I started thinking, "well, maybe I should finish it, just for fun. It shouldn't take too long."
Yeah, right. "Finishing it" turned into a total rebuild. The original was only a half-circle. I thought it would be a pretty quick project to make another half and stick 'em together, but as I looked at it, I realized it would be easier to start from scratch... so that's what I did.
The tank is made from a couple of Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola 24-pack cardboard boxes glued to three rings cut from corrugated cardboard. The "planks" are cut from another cola box and glued onto the cylindrical tank with Elmer's white glue. I glued on the planks before shaping the flattened boxes into a cylinder.
I used hot-melt glue to affix the outside to the rings.
The platform is a corrugated canned food box – cat food or tuna or something, I think. The water spout and the pilings are cardboard paper towel roll tubes. The railings and the ladder are made from disposable wooden chopsticks. The rusty wire bands are... actual rusty wire. (NOTE: make sure your tetanus shots are up to date before tackling a project like this!)
I recently learned a nifty trick for creating the weathered wood-like finish on cardboard: brush on a patchy, streaky layer of white glue and let it dry before painting.
I used spray paint for the finish, because I'm impatient and lazy: flat black, brown primer (to get the "rust" color), and Krylon gloss "leather brown" for the wood tones. I usually mist the pieces with the flat black first, then add patches of the primer as "rust," then spray on the brown. I'll let it dry for just a few minutes, then mist everything again with the flat black to cut the "newness." Then I'll touch it up with more brown, more "rust," and more black. Creating "weathered" finishes is easier than trying to create something that looks "new" because sloppy painting technique doesn't really matter and it's easier to hide shoddy construction techniques.