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Realistic grass for your models

meadow_4.jpgThe blade-like texture of grass and weeds is one of the most difficult effects to re-create on a diorama or model railroad.

But a little felt will produce grass that appears to grow out of the soil.

meadow_1.jpgYou can buy felt at a fabric store in 9-by-12-inch squares or by the yard in 6-foot widths. Use dark green, or buy beige felt and paint it with green ink (from an art supply store). The beige felt can also be used to simulate dried grass for winter scenes.

Use scissors to cut the felt to fit your project. Use plaster, papier-mâché or insulation board (like Styrofoam) to create the shapes for the hills you will cover with grass. Apply a thick coat of water-based contact cement and press the felt into the still-wet cement. Let it dry. Wash your hands and the brush.

meadow_2.jpgNow the fun part: Get dirty! Sift some real soil through a door screen to remove debris and larger stones, then pour it through a fine-mesh tea strainer. Shake the strainer to distribute the soil onto the felt. Try to cover about three-fourths of the felt.

meadow_3.jpgUse a wire bristle brush such as a pet brush to stroke the felt so loose strands fluff up.

Sift on more soil as needed. You want the individual fibers of teased-up felt protruding through the soil, just like real grass. Trim excess with scissors.

When you’re satisfied with the scene, spray the area with a mixture of five parts water to one part Artist’s Matte Medium (available at art supply stores). Add a drop of detergent to the mixture to help soften the fluid so it doesn’t puddle as easily.

You’ll need to spray on enough of the mixture so the entire area has a white cast. It will turn the soil and felt a darker shade. Let it dry for about a week, and the original colors will return.

49 Comments on Realistic grass for your models

  1. cool next step make a model

  2. thank you so much for putting this on

  3. it looks cool i want to try it

  4. cool

  5. Davey The Railroader // October 10, 2011 at 11:55 am // Reply

    Wow! I almost thought it was real grass at first!
    I like that tank, too. We used ground parsley for grass on our diorama.

  6. scoutman a1 // May 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm // Reply

    I bet it will make my boy scout train look good!

  7. great for my my world war 2 models!

    • ya i luv it, and i otta try that! i like 2 make ww3 models. :) and i use barbies for civilian causlties. lol.

  8. Looks good for model trains I love trains. :D

  9. Antique Collecter 5 // February 3, 2011 at 9:05 am // Reply

    Awesome! Used it for one of my projects. (got an A+) :)

  10. that is really neat u could use it alot

  11. i love the texture and coler.if i had a bet between this and and grass blades on how reilistic it is, i would put my money on this.

  12. awsome it would really help me put together a scene of d-day! thank u!

  13. awesome!!! can’t wait to try and make a scene for my 1:72 sherman tank!!

  14. I want to use it because I’m macking a WW2 model

  15. love the idea!

  16. Excellent article. Simple to do. Cheap to do. And easy to do. Thanks.

  17. i made it and i like it really looks life like toy

  18. it looks so cool i want to make it

  19. COOL but my mom wont let me do it[!?]

  20. Useful for my wargaming!

  21. Do you have to use felt? Can you substitute it?

  22. tofu monkey9898 // February 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm // Reply

    wow thank you soooooo much this will help alot on me and my science partners african savanah project ill probably use more sand for the land scapeing though any idea how to place realistic trees?? anybody comment back for this ??

  23. perfect for my warhammer 40k models

  24. HOW DO U MAKE MODELS

  25. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  26. awsome!!

  27. darth vader // March 22, 2008 at 6:57 pm // Reply

    if you are reading this TRY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. darth vader // March 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm // Reply

    i should try it

  29. i us it all the time like my civil war and world war II modle.It makes it look so realistik and life like.Also I hope this is annoying you.So I will contin you.I like it.

  30. Lone Ranger // October 6, 2007 at 8:59 pm // Reply

    Wow, amazing

  31. awsome!

  32. IT IS REALY COOL.IT ADDS SO LIFE LIKE.

  33. My Hummvee model iz broke. It was cool while it lasted.

  34. looks cool

  35. use a glue stick to get dirt on

  36. P.S. Use a spray can to spray it on.

  37. Now I want to make a model!

  38. it sounds fun and ezey

  39. agent doolin, C.I.A. // August 3, 2007 at 1:08 pm // Reply

    i don’t know why i don’t do it

  40. thats cool but how do you spray on the mixture(i dont have an airbrush)

  41. realdarthvader // August 1, 2007 at 12:50 pm // Reply

    SO SWEEEEEEET!!!!!!!! I should try this at home!!!

  42. Good for Civil War battle scenes. Cool!

  43. karl franz // July 31, 2007 at 7:57 pm // Reply

    wow this is a great idea for my warhammer models i collect

  44. warriorstx // July 30, 2007 at 5:03 pm // Reply

    way awsome you can use this for an airport!!!!

  45. sweet ill try it

  46. wow cool

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