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Scale carpeting for model car interiors

Make your models pop with home-made carpeting
Using flocking or embossing powder to simulate carpet can add realism to model car interiors. This is especially the case with open-top convertible and roadster models where interior details are on display. Fortunately, this is an easy addition for your next model project. Let’s look at how it is done.
First, determine what interior carpet colors were offered for the car you are replicating. Marque reference books, such as those from MBI and CarTech, sometimes include lists of interior color options. Historical 1/1 scale car paint chip charts sometimes include extra pages showing the exact colors for interiors of a given year and manufacturer, as do websites for companies offering automotive restoration products. Your own photography from car and concours events can also be helpful.
You have two choices for simulating interior carpeting — flocking (left) and embossing powder. Each material has its fans; I recommend trying both and choosing your favorite. You can mix the various prepackaged colors to get a better match to the desired carpet color.
Start laying the carpet by hand-brushing two layers of paint that is a color similar to the shade of material you chose for the carpet. Make sure to apply the second, heavier layer before the first coat dries.
While the paint is still wet, shake the material over the painted surfaces. Don’t skimp: you’ll recycle any excess material in a moment. The wet paint acts as an adhesive and secures the simulated carpeting to interior surfaces like the trunk floor area seen here.
When brushing paint onto the carpeted portion of the main interior bucket or floorboard, be sure to omit paint where the seats will be glued. If there are molded pedals leave them bare as well. Again, apply two coats, one right after the other.
After shaking a large amount of flocking or embossing powder over the wet paint, press the material into the paint with your fingers to ensure the material sticks to the intended surfaces. You can apply more paint and second coat of flocking, but the best bet is to get it right the first time.
Wait a couple of minutes, then turn the interior upside down and shake any loose, excess flocking or embossing powder onto a clean sheet of paper. This can be returned to a container to be used on a future project. Meanwhile, check the interior to be sure the material covers all the areas you intended.
The result is a realistic immitation carpet for your model car interiors. Information on other interior detailing techniques seen in this image can be found in the April 2018 Scale Auto. Order back issues at
Early Corvettes and other cars sometimes used “salt and pepper” carpeting combining multiple colors. I mixed together black and red flocking to simulate a factory carpet color in this late C1-generation Corvette. The techniques shown here are easy to master and will definitely add “wow” to your next model car.

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Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
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