|Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)
Curtains and ShadesIn the fall of 2008, I was fixing up my garden railroad for a Christmas-themed open house. One project led to another as these things always do, and I got the idea to add illumation to my downtown structures, most of which were Fischer Price buildings I trashbashed into models of brownstones and storefronts back about 1999. To my eye, these are still more convincing models of small-town early-20th-century storefronts than most of the buildings that have been produced for our hobby.
But illuminating these buildings would show what you couldn't see in the daylight or in the dark, that they were actually empty, with lucite windows that generally kept you from seeing in when it was lighter outside the buildings than inside.
So I got out the last Piko kit I bought and dug out the sheet of paper that had some curtains on it. There weren't nearly enough to do my whole town. But I used them as an example as I went out on a Google images search for more curtain patterns I could use. I also wanted a Venetian blind image to use for my similarly empty switch tower.
At first, I created and uploaded many individual .jpg graphics files that readers could download and resize as needed. These are still listed below. But when I needed to do a whole town's worth at the same time, I went ahead and combined some of the more useful patterns into four .pdf files. Since I usually print these on media that costs $1 a sheet, like overhead transparency film, there's no sense "printing" a mostly blank page anyway.
What Media Should I Use?If your buildings stay indoors, acid-free printer paper is all you need. My buildings go outside, though, so I've had to do some experimentation.
In 2008, I printed these on paper then taped them into my buildings using electrical tape. Unfortunately, those buildings had some pressed wood component that got a little moldy, then the mold eventually spread to the paper "curtains." In 2011, I tried some craft store "vellum," which according to the manufacturer, was made of plastic, so it should hold up. Unfortunately, the "vellum" was actually a kind of treated paper, and when it got damp it did weird things, including curling up and shrinking. In 2012, I tried overhead projector material (a kind designed to work in color laser printers), and it seems to be working fine. In January, 2013, I gave some of these to friends, and the stuff seems to be working fine for them, too. Remember, whatever media you choose to use, make certain you get the kind designed to work with your printer. Media designed to work on a color laser, may not hold ink as well as media designed for an inkjet. On the other hand, material designed for an inkjet might melt down in a laser printer. So read the labels carefully.
That said, the nice thing about the paper was that you could see the curtains in the daytime as well as night, and it was opaque enough to block any peering into the lighted, but empty structures. If you can track down some white plastic "paper" that will work in your printer, that might be the best solution for you. In the meantime, I have the rest of a $40 package of overhead projector film to go through.
LegaleseNote: All of these images are the copyrighted property of Family Garden Trains(tm). By downloading a graphic resource from this web site, you accept the following conditions:
PDF File VersionsTo save media such as vinyl "paper" or overhead film media, we're providing the following .pdf files that each combine multiple patterns. Each of the following graphics prints one whole 8 1/2 x 11" sheet of curtain material.
Scaleable GraphicsThe original scalable graphics are listed in below. If you use them without resizing, they should be useful for most Large Scale buildings. You'll have to experiment no matter what scale you use, though, as the shape of your windows will have an effect, too. For example, if you want these in O scale, consider shrinking them to about 66% of of the original. For HO, try 40% of the original. Try to avoid shrinking them in a paint program - you'll reduce the resolution and make the curtains look more blurry than they probably need to. Instead, use a "print preview" function and make the printer driver shrink them. I'm not more specific, since every printer, operating system, and graphics program handles this differently. As an alternative, if you can't figure this out, try pulling them into Word and resizing them there. If you can't figure it out at all, contact me and tell me what kind of printer you have and what kind of software you are using to printe the .jpg files, and I'll try to walk you through it.
Note: Many of the files are large. If you have a dial-up connection, some of them will take a few minutes to download--that's why we provided small versions you could review before you clicked. In addition, when you view these files on your system, they will also seem several sizes too large, although most of them are actually the right size for printing on a 300dpi printer. The reason for this discrepancy is that your monitor shows things at 72dpi, much times larger than the same file will print on a 300dpi printer.
Note: Family Garden Trains?, Garden Train Store?, Big Christmas Trains?, BIG Indoor Trains?, and BIG Train Store? are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically
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