Strip Shingles

Using Strip Shingles from Laserkit

Queen Anne CloseupWhen I decided I wanted “real” shingles on my Queen Anne, I popped into the world of model railroading to borrow from their N-Scale supplies.

N-Scale is 1:160 — about 10% smaller than the “doll’s dollhouse” scale of 1/144. Not all N-scale items look well in the 1/144 world, but for shingles? N-scale works fine.

I found Laserkit — they carry tabbed, hexagon, and diamond shaped strip shingles in N-Scale.

The shingles (see pictures below) come in approximately 8″ strips and while you receive 32-square inches of shingles in a pack, they only cover 16-square inches of roof. Why? Because as you see below, you overlap the shingles, so each strip only “shows” about half of it’s width.

For the Queen Anne Painted Lady and this tutorial, I used the diamond shape. Also of note, one pack was sufficient for the Queen Anne, but you can see in the Queen Anne pictures, I did NOT shingle the flat roof over the porch. The former carpenter in the house informed me shingles are only for pitched roofs.

Strip Shingle Supplies


1. N-Scale Strip Shingles from Laserkit
2. Roof
3. Paint (I used Polly Scale water-based paints and acrylic paints
4. Paintbrush
5. Scissors: SHARP scissors, but NOT your good scissors. These strips leave a LOT of adhesive residue on the scissors and while it can be cleaned off, you really don’t want to do this project while worrying about your scissors.

Product Package
About the Shingles
In each package, you receive two types of cut-outs. The cut-outs on the left are “starter strips” (more on those in Step 3) and the actual shingles.

Shingle Closeup
The shingles come in two 8″ x 2″ pieces and while you receive 32-square inches of shingles in a pack, they only cover 16-square inches of roof. Why? Because as you will see below, you overlap the shingles, so each strip only “shows” (or has a “reveal”) of about half of its width.

Adhesive Back The shingles have an adhesive back — I always peel back a corner to discover which side has the sticky back because I really can’t tell from just looking at it. Even still, I’ve managed to paint the wrong side several times — not a problem, but it does mean you have to “paint twice”.

Painting Shingles

Step 1

Painting the Shingles.
If you’re only using one color, you can paint all the shingles at once. If you’re doing something more decorative (using contrasting colors), paint a few strips at a time… you don’t want to get near the end and have too many pink strips and not enough blue ones. 😉

I have used both Polly Scale water-based paints and acrylics. Hands down, I found that the Polly Scale was easier to work (you have to thin the acrylics just a bit), but both work “okay.”

Drying the stripsBe sure to allow the strips adequate drying time. If you don’t (as you’ll see below), you run the risk of damaging the strips (for example, if you didn’t get them lined up accurately the first time and need to move them).

Trim edge

Step 2

Separate Strips. Snip the end of the strips off to separate into separate strips.

Starter Strip

Step 3

Starter Strip.
The “starter strip” is a plain straight edge strip you use to begin. Always start at the BOTTOM of the roof and work your way up. You can either line up the starter strip flush with the roof edge or with a slight overhang. Because the roofing pieces are fairly thick with the Queen Anne, I chose to overhang the starter strip to hide the underlying roofing material.

First Row

Step 4

First Row.
Lay the first row so that the tips of the diamonds meet the bottom of the starter strip.

Adding Rows

Step 5

Additional Rows.
Because I was concerned with conserving materials, I cut each strip individually as I needed it to make sure I got the most out of every piece (because of the diamond shape and the requirement to line them up correctly, there is some waste on the end of each piece).



This is not an actual step in the process, but rather an “oops” to demonstrate what happens when you try to move the shingles and you either 1) didn’t let the paint dry thoroughly before laying the shingles; or 2) you just had a spot of bad luck.

The shingles can be lifted and moved to SOME extent — they won’t always tear the shingles below, but it’s really best to get placement right the first time. 😉

When this happened to me, I just continued with shingling and later went back to do a paint touch-up.

Trim Edges

Step 6

Trim Excess.
Once you have covered an entire piece of roof, trim the excess. I found turning the piece over and cutting from the back allowed me to get the closest trim.

Again, please note, you need sharp scissors, but don’t use your best scissors. These strips leave a LOT of residue on your scissors and while it can be cleaned off, you don’t want to be shingling and worry about your scissors.

Finished Shingles

Finished Product

And that’s all there is to it. In all honesty, strip shingling is it’s a tedious humdrum process… but, the final result is well worth the temporary boredom. 🙂