Cutting edge coloring

If there is one single method to improve your paper model skills, it is edge coloring.

To demonstrate this method I will use a a simple model: a box or crate. This is the part cut out and unfold.

It was cut and scored with precision but now you see the problem. All the cut and score lines are white!
scoring with a knife
As I have used rather thin paper (160gsm, apx 0,25mm thin) the white lines are not showing up too strong, but the stronger paper or card stock you use, the more the white edges will pop out like bright lines between the nice texturing and disrupting the effect of a cohesive surface.

One way to reduce the amount of white lines is to score the fold lines with a blunt object, like the empty pen I have used. That way you do not cut the fold line but rather press and indent it. So when you bend the fold line the texturing stays intact.

Still the cut lines will show as white.

So to fix the remaining white lines, you color them! Use anything from drawing pencils, pastels or felt pens. I have a range of felt pens and choose a color that fits bets. In this case I went for brown. But even a neutral gray will look better than white.

For longer and easy to reach edges I turn the part upside down and color along the edge. That way I make sure that I do not accidentally color on the textured side.

For shorter or not so easy to reach edges I go free-hand-style. Take your time, go slow and don’t forget to breathe 🙂

Now you are ready to assemble and glue the part(s). Doesn’t the color edge version look better?

Here are the three version in comparison. Back row left and right featuring the white lines vs. the color edge version in the front.

I encourage you to try this method on your next project and enjoy a much better looking model!

Happy building,
Chris

2 Replies to “Cutting edge coloring”

  1. Hi Jason,

    that are great questions. The reason I mark the backside is just so I don’t mess up the frontside. The avoid color bleeding I use pens that are designed to not do that. I use the brands Faber-Castell (PITT artist pen) for fine, Stabilo (Pen 68) for medium and edding (30) for large area application. I have heard from other paper modellers that they use watercolor and pastel chalk pigments and others just use color pencils. When I buy and try new pens I test them on white paper to see if they work as expected. Better even, if the shop allows (artist supply stores usually do) , test them right there!

    Happy building,
    Chris

  2. Chris,

    Great tutorial. Thank you. I have an older set of Prismacolors, but they tend to bleed through, even on my 60lb cardstock. I’m hoping you can answer a few questions for me…
    1. Because of bleed through, is this why you prefer to mark on the backside of the paper?
    2. How do you control bleed when coloring the edges?
    3. What pens do you prefer to use?

    Thanks,
    Jason

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