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Blanket decals

Q: I'm building a Rat Rod, and I'd love to have a Mexican blanket on the seats. Where can I get one in 1/24 scale?

- Phil Davidson
via E-mail

Full-scale Rat Rods are hot. Is it a case of Billet Backlash? Or perhaps it's simply a return to hot-rodding roots, where an eye-catching car could be built under a tree in the back yard. Whatever the reason, this phenomenon has filtered into our hobby in a big way. More and more Rats are showing up at model contests, and we in the T&T Workshop love it!

We've also noticed how a colorful Mexican blanket can compliment the rust & primer finish on most Rat Rods, and our crack R&D Department developed a way to duplicate that look in scale.

There are several excellent Mexican blanket decals on the market, Phil, but with just a little bit of effort you can make your own three-dimensional blanket that will add a lot of character to your Ratty Rod. Here's how:

You'll need to gather various colors of ordinary household thread, sharp scissors, paper masking tape, double-stick clear tape, and tweezers.

Cut pieces of thread (25-30 pieces of each color) approximately two inches long - longer than you need, so they'll be easy to work with. Color choice is yours, but keep it bright and lean towards yellows, reds, bright green, etc. Don't forget white, either.

Attach a large piece of masking tape to your work surface, positioned sticky-side-up and anchored at each end with smaller pieces of masking tape. (The tape is sticky-side-up so we can attach the thread.) Use a larger piece of tape than you'll need; the finished rug will be trimmed later.

Draw a few pencil guidelines across the tape, so the thread will remain straight for the length of the rug. Lay the first piece of thread onto the tape and pat it down so that it sticks and won't shift.
If the first piece is straight, the rest will fall into place fairly easily. This is where the extra thread length comes in handy, and makes the pieces much easier to handle.

Add one piece of thread at a time, making sure that each new piece is tight against the previous thread. You're working on the length of the rug at this stage; stop when you're rug is as long as you want it.

(This step not only sounds tedious and time-consuming, it is tedious and time consuming - but the results are worth it.)

Pull off the end pieces of tape and trim the blanket to the width you need. It's easier to get a sharper edge if you cut the tape and the thread; don't just cut off the loose ends of thread.

The blanket isn't complete until we add the fringe on the ends. That's where the double-stick clear tape comes into play.

Turn the rug face-down and lay a small piece of double-stick tape across each end. Make the tape long enough so it also holds the rug to the work surface.

Press small pieces of white thread onto the tape as shown. Leave more space between pieces than you did on the construction of the rug itself.

When you're done, trim to suit any application, and will add a splash of eye-catching color to your Rat.


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