Now here is a more complete explanation of how to create roads and streets with meat tray foam, sandpaper and other cheap materials:
Concrete roads can be convincingly created with meat tray foam. Punch and poke it here and there to represent imperfections in the road surface. Paint that side a concrete color -several coats of cheap Walmart acrylics. Allow it to dry completely. Optionally, you can the very lightly and randomly mist the dried acrylic with black and rust spray paint -just a LITTLE- to represent the stones that show through the concrete. Caution – certain spray paints will EAT foam, so be sure to spray over the DRIED acrylic paint and VERY lightly, so the spray paint dries the moment it hits the surface. Do this with enough flat pieces of foam to supply the entire road area. Don’t worry about cutting them to size yet -just make up a batch of of the foam pieces. Now cut the foam into panels to represent the concrete sections. Take black tape (such as electrical tape) and tape along the bottom of a panel, wrapping the tape over one end and leaving perhaps 1/4″ or 1/2″ loose. Glue the panel in place (hot glue or white glue); prep another panel with tape, and butt it to the preceding piece, trapping the tape between each panel. If you will be using panels side by side, then do one side of the road, and come back with panels that have the tape at the end of a panel and along one side. When you are finished, you will now have the road sections with 1/4″ or so of tape sticking above all the panels (and down the middle if using 2 panels side by side.) The tape will be your expansion joints between sections. Let the glue dry so your road is firmly in place. Come back with tweezers or some other grasping tool (maybe even your fingers) to grab the tape and pull it up gently while you slice it away flush with the road surface using a new razor blade. This is the reason for leaving 1/4″ or more extending beyond the top of the surface -so you have something to grab. Another good grabbing tool is a paper binding clip -one of those black things with handles for clamping big piles of paper together. But you get the idea -you want the tape to be fairly flush with the road surface. Be aware that if you tug too much on the tape, it will shrink down below the road surface after you cut and let go of it. This is tedious work, but goes quickly once you get “the hang.” Here and there, draw a hobby knife blade or tip of a sharp knife over the finished road surface, breaking through the acrylic paint which may, in fact actually chip off here and there (which is good). You may want to twist the blade now and then as you drag it to make cracks wider in some places. Blow away the crumbs, and paint your crack lines with black acrylic. Use a fine brush, and expect your paint lines to spread out beyond the actual cracks. You just want to make sure you’ve filled the cracks with “tar.” Then lightly apply a fine sponge, cloth or wad of moist toweling to dab up and drag away your excess wet tar from the road surface. Let all dry, then use very fine sandpaper (VERY fine) or steel wool to dress up these areas without removing too much of your acrylic concrete surface. Alternatively, you can glue black emery cloth to your foam at the get go, and apply the concrete color over that, then scratch in your cracks to expose the black emery cloth. Tedious, but effective. Now time for lines. There are various ways to go about this, but here’s a quick and dirty approach that usually works pretty well. Use your computer to print out lines of the desired width on ordinary paper. If the lines are to be white, then you want to draw lines which show only their edges as a thin black dotted line for you to cut away; otherwise, if yellow, then a solid yellow line. Apply rubber cement to the back of your paper strips and glue in place. If you want a broken line in the road, then cut away parts of the line AFTER the rubber cement has dried. Again, a new razor blade is the tool of choice. Excess rubber cement can be rubbed away with your finger tip. Gently. An alternative to all of this which works well in some cases is to glue pictures of actual concrete or asphalt road surfaces to the foam, then cut your panels. You’ll need a computer to scale the pictures correctly, but you can then add your lines as part of the picture. The surface is very flat, of course, so this won’t always look right on close inspection.
Asphalt: Glue very fine black emery paper to the foam, and paint it black. This will give it some texture. Use various grades, including fine sandpaper, to indicate how rough the surface is.
For more on creating stone walls and similar effects with foam, follow this link to another meat tray miracle.
Or maybe you’d like some ideas on scratch building structures? Try this Juice Carton Board link.
Or go to my Home Page.