After reading some posts on The Miniatures Page I decided to try my hand at making 3″ wide roads using latex caulk. A quick trip to Lowes found DAP white paintable caulk for a little less than $1.50 a tube.
My first step was to draw the road shape onto parchment paper. If you are not familiar with parchment paper it is similar to wax paper but more non-stick.
Using a caulking gun I piped a mess of caulk onto the design and used plastic paint spatula to smooth it out. Finally I used the edge of the spatula and a chopstick to texture the latex to give it the semblance of ruts.
One tube allowed me to create three items. My first piece, the crossroads is unnecessarily thick, closer to 1/4″ thick. Had I made it the thickness of the latter two pieces, around 1/8″ thick, I probably could have made a fourth piece. The crossroad is 9″ end to end and the other two are 7″ and 18″ long.
I used a piece of newspaper under the parchment paper to help wick away some of the moisture from the underside. Once the tops were fairly dry, about 4 hours, I used the spatula to lift the pieces off the parchment paper and turned them over to help the underside dry. The two thin pieces were dried after 12 hours, the crossroads, being thicker took 24 hours. I used an exacto to slice off the extras outside the lines and the square up the ends.
Painting was done with a brown craft paint, washed with a Future black wash, then finally drybrushed with a lighter brown. I painted the edges green and then laid down a line of glue. I pressed some flocking on top of the glue to create roadside vegetation. When dry, I will hit the whole thing with a spray of clear matte to help seal it and take off the shine.
As a first trial I think the experiment was a success. When I get my garage renovated I will set up longer runs and more varied pieces on my work table. A case of 12 tubes runs $17.00 so I will probably pick up one or two of those to finish the roads and then move on to rivers. I have armies in 54, 28, 15, 10, and 6mm so I will probably wind up making roads in 3, 2, and 1 inch widths.
Again, quick, easy, and much less expensive than buying them.