Different makes of ground foam

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Jim Cullen, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. Jim Cullen

    Jim Cullen Member

    I used Woodland Scenics' ground cover exclusively on the old layout, but thought it would be worth looking around a little before using it on the new layout. Other makes I have seen around are Scenic Express and Noch, and I'm sure there must be others.

    We have come a long way since the good old days when I mixed green ink in sawdust for grass and used dried coffee grounds for dirt.

  2. You're right, Jim, we have come a long way since those days.

    Your comment about using coffee grounds for dirt reminded me of a fellow I knew many years ago. He used instant coffee to stain his plaster scenery. He said he discovered it worked when he accidentally knocked over a full cup of coffee on his layout. His standard joke was that he'd drink a half cup of instant coffee and throw the other half on his layout. Given the times and the rather primitive state of scenery materials, it actually didn't look too bad. :rolleyes:
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Jim, Casey,

    Being kinda new to the game and about 60 miles from the nearest LHS, I've been kinda improvising, maybe the old fashion way, but it was fun and fairly cheap.

    I bought some aspen bedding in the pet dept at Wal-mart for about $4 and some green, red and yellow Rit dye. I also bought a package of alfalfa, I guess it's used for rabbit bedding or rabbit feed:confused: .
    Anyway, between sifting different grades of the aspen and some sawdust, I got stuff ranging from fine dust to coarse ground cover, and in colors ranging from light green to dark brown. I had to air the alfalfa out for a day or so since it made the garage smell like a rabbit hutch :rolleyes: , but I was able to sift that as well and get some natural-looking ground cover and grass.

    All-in-all, I spent about $15 and got the equivalent of about $150 or more of Woodland Scenic stuff, and the satifaction of having done it myself.

    Hey, if it doesn't work out, we got a bunch of rabbits out back that we can make very happy.:D :D

    D:cool: N
  4. stary

    stary Member

    I heard,years ago, that Linn Wesscott (for those of you who never heard of him, he was a model railroader in the 50s,60s, & 70s) used to use tea to color his scenery in some spots.
  5. stary

    stary Member

    you're right, we have come a long way since then. I came into the hobby in the 80s, so I don't remember those days, but I've heard about having to use dyed sawdust, etc.
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Dyed sawdust? we would have killed to have dyed sawdust. We had to empty the Hoover bag and pick out all the green bits of dust and stick them down with spit. nudge, nudge, ;) ;)
  7. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Boy you rich people with your Hoovers! :p :D
  8. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    It's occured to me that Woodland Scenics is to scenery what Micro-Soft is to computers.

    That's what we always called the dog!:D :rolleyes: :D
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    When I got into MRR I said I wanted to start from the ground up. I know "we have come a long way", but have I stepped back too far in time by making my own ground cover using dyed sawdust and aspen? I don't want to show my ignorance, but I was really pleased that I created a bunch of stuff out of a few dollars worth of material in a range of color and texture that would have cost a fortune if I bought it from WS. I could buy ready-made trees, but I'm having fun trying different ways of creating them out of different things. And I guess I could just do the ultimate, I could go out and buy a pre-assembled layout and start right away running trains. I could, but I'd rather not, I thought the whole idea of this hobby was creativity. Making buildings out of cereal boxes and corrogated cardboard, bridges out of matchsticks and scenery from things found around the yard.

    I'm glad these other things are available, but I'd still rather see what I can do on my own and with the help I get here and from books.

    D:cool: N
  10. ceebeenq

    ceebeenq Member

    Sawdust, indeed

    I was searching for "Sawdust" in posts, since it occurred to me as I looked at 2 cubic foot of the stuff in the shop vac......hmmm.....ground cover? dried grass or clumpy clay in foothills and dry climates? color it? mound it?
    Well, looks like a few others have tried it and I will too.
    Woodland Scenics sure makes some good stuff but at a cost of about $50 per lb for ground foam......and I have bought some of their stuff..........I'll improvise and experiment too.

    If anybody is following this thread, any other suggestions or drawbacks on sawdust use?
    :D :thumb:
  11. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Judy's ground cover

    Here's a trick Judy taught me for making a coarse vegetation (forest floor) ground cover:

    Go to Garden Ridge or other craft shops that carry dried plants (floral arrangement materials). Get some of that dried moss stuff (cheap!) and put it through a blender. Instant ground cover. Colourize batches if you want and mix the different colours together. Looks great when white-glued down.

    Here's some photos of the result

    Attached Files:

  12. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    Mating season in deer land. While 2 bucks duke it out she's taking off with buck #3!

    Attached Files:

  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    How many of you remember using green paint for grass and black
    or gray paint for roads? :D How many can recall using the "grass "matt? Trees made from lichen on a twig? Painting cork road bed a grayish-white for ballast? A lot of the old layouts from the 50's was made by using these methods.

    Yes,we have come along way over the years. :thumb: And the best part is the hobby keeps getting better.:thumb: :D
    Now I would not think of using anything less then Woodland Scenics for scenery on my layout.
  14. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    All we 'cud 'ford was one of them used Electrolux machines but it didn't work too 'gud on the dirt floor of our cabin. We never did 'figger out what that long wire attached to it was fer!:D :D :p
  15. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    I bet Brakie remembers "Zip Texturing"...You mixed powdered Rit Dye with dry plaster and then using a tea strainer sifted it onto wet plaster. Actually, it made some pretty convincing ground cover if you got the colors right.
  16. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Jim, Check out these folks....I've used some of their ballast and groundcovers and found them to be very nice. The ballast is especially nice as it is real material ( stone etc) and is not uniform in color like the WS ballast.

  17. ceebeenq

    ceebeenq Member

    Mossy stuff

    Zeeglen--- that is a great idea!~ Hot Darn. And it looks great, too.
    Thank you kindly.
    I'll try that. :thumb:
    Did I mention I'm mostly Scottish? :D It may be that we have a frugal gene. ;)
    Off to catch a couple real trains on the BNSF. (the westbounds must have been piling up in Chicago 'cause they been runnin' the pie out of 'em today.
    :wave: :wave:
  18. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

    I certainly have no bad words for the likes of Woodland Scenics but I need ground foam by the pillow case not by the sandwich baggie. So I ground my own.

    I used upholstery foam and put it through a meat grinder, well OK I did use a lot of child labour at this point. I put it in a plastic shopping bag then added water and green acrylic paint and squished it until it was a fairly consistent green. At this point I added more green some blue and some yellow and squished a bit more and I now had an inconsistent varied green which I emptied and let it dry.

    After drying I reground it and use it either with spray glue or carpenters glue. [​IMG]
  19. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    That's beatiful work, Lightbender. Same here, Woodland Scenics makes good products and we use them a lot, but using natural materials in addition creates even more variety and texture.
  20. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Vic said:I bet Brakie remembers "Zip Texturing"
    I sure do! I didn't think that dye would ever come off my fingers!:D Those where the days! One HAD to be a MODELER in those days in order to have engines,cars,scenery and to build those old cardboard buildings.LOL! Now its all shake and bake and whip and chill( as I call it).:D Yes,indeedy its a great time to be in the hobby! :D We never had so good..The stuff we only dream of back then is now a reality.:thumb: :D

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