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Using tissue paper to cover seats

Q: Could you give me a refresher on how to use tissue paper or paper towel material to cover a seat to give it a more realistic look?  

I have the seat from an IH Payhauler 350 that I want to give a worn look – probably like a split brown leather. I have glued some thin plastic foam (like an envelope filler) to the seat, and now am ready to cover it.

Patrick Nance
via E-mail


Ken: We’d be glad to, Patrick. The process involves coating tissue paper (or paper towel) with a mixture of white glue and water, then working the wet paper into your subject. When the glue dries, the paper is stiff and will hold its new shape.

Cheap, nontextured bathroom tissue works best; the key word here is “non-textured.” The more-expensive brands typically have a texture that will look grossly out of scale on a model. Alcohol-impregnated lens-cleaning tissues work well too, but they might be too stiff for tight folds.

For the seat covers, wrap the seat in clear plastic wrap, lay the tissue over the seat, brush on the glue/water mix (a 50/50 mix works well) and allow the tissue to dry. The plastic wrap will keep the seat dry.  

When the tissue hardens, lift it off, paint it, and reposition it over the foam-padded seat. That should do the trick. 

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