Let's Build! Victorian Ruins Pt 2

Updated: Feb 16

Written by Sarah-Anne


In this post I walk you through how I painted the buildings created in Part 1 of this series. If you missed that post you can check it out here!


Materials required:

  • Assorted acrylic paints (specific colours detailed below)

  • Dark brown and sepia ink wash

  • Coffee grinds/brown flocking/other brown basing material

  • Assorted green and brown flocking

  • matte/satin spray sealant

  • Mod Podge/PVA glue

  • Super glue

  • ‘Vines’ made from natural yarn/cord and flocking

  • Grass tufts

Tools required:

  • Assorted paint brushes

  • Kitchen sponge

With projects like this where you have multiple different layers and textures to paint independently, I find it easiest to start from the base layers and work your way up: in this case I began with the stucco. If you’ve never painted stucco before you can follow along our tutorial here. Because these buildings were supposed to be ruined shells of their former selves, I made them look more weathered by adding a heavier layer of sepia ink wash - especially along the base or anywhere else water might collect (such as at the bottom of windows).

I then painted any areas textured like brick. This includes any flat walls and build-outs as well as any cracks in the stucco where the underlying brick structure is exposed. Our tutorial here can provide you with some inspiration if you’ve never painted brick before.

After the brick I painted out the stone details such as the steps, foundations, and the window lintels. In our tutorial here we explain how to use a kitchen sponge for the best effect, but since some of these details were quite small I found it necessary to use a small, flat-headed paint brush instead.

Using diluted cream/off-white acrylic paint, I painted out the wood trim and other wooden details. Once it dried completely I give a coat of dark brown ink wash, followed by a light drybrushing of a light neutral grey acrylic paint. (again, I was going for a more weathered look.)

Using the above techniques, I started painting out the interior stone tiles and wooden floor planks. I kept the interior walls simple and choose a single colour for each building, as I knew the weathering would break up what would otherwise be a boring surface. Again, I used real-world examples for inspiration, as I knew Victorian taste dictated rich, saturated colours for the wealthy or a simple off-white lime wash for everyday, commoner use. I also painted out any of the 'exposed brick' inside to match the exterior.

Now I had to make the buildings look truly ruined. While you can use whatever material you have on hand to become your ‘dirt’, I opted for leftover coarse-ground coffee (fully dried) added it to areas I thought dirt may collect (such as along walls and in the corners) and applied it using PVA glue (clear, matte Mod Podge would also work). I also added to cracks and crevices that it might have collected over time. Once the base layer of glue was drieds, I gave a second coat of glue to ensure it stays in place (and in my case to make sure the coffee grounds do not get damp and potentially rot.


Now I had to make the buildings look truly ruined. While you can use whatever material you have on hand to become your ‘dirt’, I opted for leftover coarse-ground coffee (fully dried) added it to areas I thought dirt may collect (such as along walls and in the corners) and applied it using PVA glue (clear, matte Mod Podge would also work). I also added to cracks and crevices that it might have collected over time. Once the base layer of glue was dried, I gave a second coat of glue to ensure it stays in place (and in my case to make sure the coffee grounds do not get damp and potentially rot).

The final touches that will make your buildings really believable as a ruin is to add foliage and overgrowth, and I did this in several ways. I first added assorted flocking anywhere I thought it would accumulate (such as in the corners and along the window sills etc.), and added homemade ‘vines’ to grow up from the occasional dirt pile along the walls. I ended up not liking the end result (looked too much like the yarn and flocking that it was created from) so I added additional vines by taking the sheets of flocking normally used to make tree foliage, ripped off a small amount, soaked in watered-down PVA glue (and wringed out the excess) and draped over the walls, holding in place with pins until fully dried). In some areas I added additional tacky-PVA glue to the walls before adding the vines to ensure a solid bond. Finally I added grass tufts in the cracks and along the outside stairs, and my weathering and overgrown ruins were complete!




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