Newspaper Insulated Attic
By Deb Roberts
Old attics were often unfinished since they were used for storage only. The most efficient and affordable of materials were used in the attics since the only real concern was to insulate them to keep warmth in and drafts out. Newspaper was the most common insulation material used.
EZ Cutter or saw and mitre box
For the newspaper insulation, I simply searched online for jpegs of old newspapers, copied them into a word processing document and sized them to 1:12 scale. Putting together an assortment of the jpegs together on one page creates a sheet of wallpaper with an assortment of newspaper pages. (You can also find newsprint wallpaper in a collection of printies assembled by Debra here.) Print the wallpaper onto cardstock.
Prime the walls first so the wallpaper will adhere correctly. Primer prevents the wallpaper paste from soaking into the wood, resulting in the paper lifting away from the walls. Glue the wallpaper to the walls.
While the wallpaper dries, it’s time to make the two by four beams to cover the newspaper.
Cut basswood strips to fit the walls, spacing about 1.5 inches apart. Cut smaller strips to make the cross posts between the vertical posts.
Stain the pieces, then age them with a dirty wash of grey paint. To make the dirty wash, mix three parts of water to one part of grey paint. Use a paintbrush or cotton swab to apply the dirty wash. When applying the wash, consider the way real life dirt and grime accumulates and make the wash darker at the bottoms and corners or on the edges.
Glue the basswood strips into place after the paint has dried. It’s helpful to glue the vertical posts first, then the horizontal pieces since you may need to trim them to fit.
Age the newspaper by soaking a tea bag in water and then brushing the concentrated tea over the newspaper. Again, apply the wash unevenly so the aging looks realistic.
And the attic walls are done!
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