Building Outdoor Concrete Scenery

1-mine-closeupWhile you can bring your buildings in during the winter, other types of scenery need to stay out all year round, year in and year out.

Concrete makes a great building material that can stand up to the weather be it wet or dry, summer or winter.


I was fortunate to learn a technique from Chris Walas and Gary Olmstead that is basically paper-mache using slightly different materials. While paper-mache uses strips of paper and starch, this building technique uses strips of burlap and plastic cement.


Framing can be done with wood or, if like me you are worried about wood munching insects, you can use termite proof materials for framing.





Materials are relatively cheap and can be found at most hardware or big-box home improvement stores.







Plastic cement is the cement component used in stucco.  Regular cement won’t do as it has to be mixed in the correct proportions in order for it to set up. Too much water and it’s not much more than sticky mud, too little and it’ll crumble like dirt.
But what makes plastic cement the best choice for this technique is that it can be mixed to almost any consistency simply by varying the amount of water and still cure into strong solid surface.


There are a number of ways to finish off the surface of the scenery using this technique.




There is way more to doing this than I can cover in a single blog article. The good news is that I have created a master document in PDF format on how I have constructed the concrete scenery on my railway.

The finished document is over 60 pages and has 60 pictures showing how to frame, mix, wrap, finish, paint and assemble concrete projects.

6-Shay4If you’d like a copy of this PDF document you can request download instructions by clicking on the Request PDF link at the top of each page on my site here. The file is approximately 38 megabytes in size and you can open it in your browser (after I send you the link) and then save it to your local computer.

Let me know what you think about it! -TJ

(Originally posted 11/10/2011)

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