How I add custom lettering to my model trains

Posted by Gerd on Tuesday, 20 November 2018


I got asked a few times, how I custom letter my garden railroad trains. So here’s a short description of the technique I use. The last days, I finished my rolling stock for the “Southern Palatinate Narrow Gauge Railway”. I use CorelDraw and a stencil-type font to create the text I need. In my case, I use font “Stardos Stecil”. From this CorelDraw-file, I export a DXF while I convert all text into curves.

My dad bought a laser cutter some while ago for thin materials. He converts the DXF-file for the laser and cuts the stencils from thin cardboard.

These stencils are cut to size, taped to the model the letters are sprayed on with the airbrush. Use many soft layers to avoid bubbles of paint, which might sneak under the stencil. Once done, remove the stencils immediately and let the paint dry. If you handle the stencils carefully, they can be reused several times.

I use CorelDraw as well to create the homemade stickers. These are printed on a usual laser printer to self-adhesive white sticker foil. Once cut to out, I blacken the edges with a marker pen and glue them to the models. I used such stickers also to letter the locomotives.

BTW, I use the same stencil-technique on my 2″-scale trains, but I use cnc-milled stencil from 1mm styrene instead.

Bye, Gerd