Faded Lettering on Buildings?

edited March 2017 in Techniques
Hello all,

Sort of new at this and extremely new to this Forum.

As I have been admiring other people's work, and getting a lot of great tips and techniques as well, I was curious on how some of you manage to get that faded lettering paint look on buildings?

I'm sure if I had a steady hand and graphics art skills, I could just hand letter it. However, That'll probably never happen.

I've read where people print out a sign and then glue it on the facade, but to me that takes away from the texture and grain of the real wood you use to make the building in the first place.

Is there another way(s) this could be accomplished?

Thank you and again, some of you have skills that just drops my jaw.


  • Welcome to our forum - and great question. Since this is a forum about my kits I will answer in relation to how that effect is achieved in SierraWest kits. In my older kits I supplied dry transfer decals (DTD). These were easy to use and the results were awesome. However, between government regulations on solvents needed to produce the decals changing and the way these decals aged when stored improperly, I chose to stop using DTD. Now I laser cut a stencil allowing the modeler to literally "paint" lettering on the siding preserving the wonderful texture and grain while achieving results impossible if hand lettered.
  • Check any of the foss shipyard threads for the shipyard lettering, and any of the Oniels for the lettering on the oil tank.
  • There are superb decals available for any customizing you would want to do to your buildings. The come in all scales. Daves Decals is one. In addition since the cost is very low you can practice until you have the confidence to apply the decal to the real model.
    Often included with the site is advice on applying the decals.

    As Mike said, check out the builds on the site for back and forth advice. Bill is a sign master as are others. Don't be like Allen Iverson, practice dude.
  • I like the stencil and paint method myself. Tape the stencil in place and stiple the paint on. After it dried, you can dull/fade it more with a brush, sandpaper, chalk etc. Experiment a few times to get the hang of it.
  • I'm with Bryan. Brett's move to stencil application for lettering is superb allowing the modeler complete control over the results.
  • Thank you All for the great advise/tips. I will give it a try. Cheers!
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