Installing Backdrops

Basic Information You Need To Know BEFORE Installing Your Backdrops.

What backboard materials are best to apply the backdrops to?

You can apply model railroad backdrops to virtually any non-porous material or smooth, rigid wall board such tempered hardboard or masonite, mdf, styrene, aluminum, etc. We don't recommend applying it to masonry walls or anything painted with latex paint. If applying on latex paints it is always best to use a NON latex primer before you apply your adhesive. While you can also apply our backdrops to cardboard or foamcore we don’t recommend these for any backdrop as they are not structurally sound and are not humidity resistant and subject to warping and bending.

What adhesive do you recommend using to install your model railroad backdrops?

That depends somewhat on the material you are applying our model railroad backdrops to. Mostly any vinyl compatible wallpaper paste or wall paper glue, roll on liquid contact cement, industrial or sign grade double sided tape, Velcro also works well (especially if you may want to change or remove them at some point in time).

We DO NOT recommend the use of spray adhesive similar to 3M brand supper 77. Contrary to what magazine articles and internet installers show the spray glues can easily bubble if not installed PERFECTLY and they have shown over time to both bubble and peel.

DO NOT glue to any latex painted panel unless you first prime over the latex paint with a NON latex primer or clear coat.

Why are my prints developing “bubbles” after I install them?

The backdrop materials, print or self adhesive will NOT cause bubbles if properly installed. The 6 most common causes for prints developing bubbles are: (1) Your surface was not properly cleaned and or prepared and the adhesive simply won’t stick to the surface because it is really sticking to the dust, grime, grease or incompatible paint such as latex paint not prime coated before applying your adhesive. (2) You did not properly prime coat with a non latex primer before applying your adhesive over latex paint. (3) If you used the “wet” method of installation you did not use an even and consistent pressure during the squeegee process and all of the soap and water did not dissipate and it left pockets of soap film where the adhesive now won’t stick. (4) If you used the “dry” method of installing you did not use even and consistent pressure during the squeegee process and you have air pockets trapped between the adhesive and your substrate. (5) You did not apply your adhesive evenly and there are spots that simply have no adhesive to stick to your substrate. (6) You have significant temperature changes (such as a non climate controlled garage or basement) and the backboard material, wall and wall paint are continually expanding and contracting which will eventually cause the backdrops to separate from the adhesive in spots and create air pockets underneath.

Please watch our videos on Installing Self Adhesive Backdrops and Durablility Of Backdrops

If you want to show off your work on our site, once your backdrops are installed please send pictures; hopefully with your railroad work in the pictures with our backdrops, to

If you have any questions before, during or after your backdrop purchase and/or install please call us directly at 800216-9202 between 1pm and 9pm central time or email at