Felt grass?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    I'm considering felt grass for scenery. The colors I have access to are green, light green, yellow, and red. What would be a nice combination for grass that is in full glory? :)

    Btw, I have no access to ground foam. :( I am also considering using saw dust for scenecking. I can easily get a sack. But I'm worried if I use latex paint to color the saw dust. Will they clump together? Or do you have a tip on how to color saw dust? :)
  2. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Mike, I recall an article from Model Railroader several years ago that used a piece of green felt to make a convincing looking cow pasture. They blended in some subtle lighter and darker shades of green paint and then teased the felt a little with a tool (maybe a metal flea brush for pets or something) to raise some fibers. The edges of the felt were blended into the rest of the scenery with ground cover and dirt. It looked pretty good. As for coloring saw dust a lot of people use dyes like RIT dye. Others use green paint. You immerse the saw dust in the dye or paint, squeeze it out, and then take it out to dry. David Frary, the author of books about model railroad scenery, recommends pushing it through a plastic window screen to remove larger parts and to help further squeeze out water. Let it dry on newspaper. Sprinkle it around and glue it down when it is ready.

  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

  4. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    You could also use faux (fake) fur that can be bought cheaply at almost any fabric store. The brown colors make pretty convincing long grass. I don't think you can paint it, but you can alter or highlight the coloring with chaulks lightly touched to the fur.
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    There was an article about this in model railroader years ago that was reprintd in the book "scenery tips & techniques Vol 1". As I recall the author took light green felt, and "dotted" it with brown, tan, and green fabric markers to vary the color. Then the felt was teased up some to resemble grass. This is probably the same article Ralph is referring to. I remember it looking fairly good in the article, but when I tried it myself, I was unhappy with the results.

    Making your own ground foam is an exellent idea. As is using sawdust. I have also ground up dried leaves in a blender to use as round cover.

  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Yep, that's the one. I didn't try it myself but I was impressed by the results in the article. Right, it was markers not paint that were added. Thanks Kevin.

  7. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Thanks everyone. :) I think I've been misunderstood when I mentioned "felt grass." It is a local architecture shop product that resembles ground foam. It is a little finer than colored sand. And if I am correct, it's like the "felt" they glue on felt paper. So I can blend this felt grass together to make some nice grass. What ratios of light green, green, yellow, and red would you recommend for grass in full glory? And should I forget using a particular color such as red?

    As for making ground foam, I think I'll opt for coloring saw dust instead if I won't buy the felt grass. I can easily get a sack of saw dust, and I don't have a blender I could use to make ground foam.

    Btw Loren, do you also make your own ground foam? I think I can use the same method in drying colored ground foam in drying colored saw dust. Are there issues of ground foam clumping together?
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    If you use saw dust, colour it with a thin wash, rather than full strength paint. It will clump together, but if you use full strength paint, you will not be able to break it apart...

    The "felt" you are referring to... is it like the lning of jewellry boxes, etc? If it is little short pieces, then you will need some sort of static applicator in order to get it to stand up in your glue or whatever you will use to stick it down. www.leevalley.com has a cardboard tube applicator.

    As for the colours - it depends on what ou mean "full glory". If you are shooting for a golf green look, then go with all green. For suburban lawns, you might mix in a bit of light green for variation. For anything not quite as well groomed, you should throw in some yellow too, and also see if you can get some slightly chunkier textures to represent plants/grass not as "tame" as a lawn.

  9. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    The "felt" I'm referring to is like ground foam in the sense that you can sprinkle them on paint or glue. The material is similar to the "felt" on felt paper, but in this case it is not glued on paper (it is sold in small plastic bags like ground foam).

    By grass in "full glory," I was referring to common grass you would find around a town and city. I'm curious what the yellow is for in not well groomed grass. Do they stand for dead vegetaion? :)

    I'm sorry for not being clear from the start. :oops:
  10. hminky

    hminky Member

  11. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Hi Mike,

    I see what you're talking about. Yes, the yellow material probably represents dead grass and can be subtly blended to break up what otherwise might be a golf course-like appearance.

  12. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Mike, I have never tried making the ground foam. I found the site when I was cruizin around and thought it might help you.

  13. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    You can also install your ground cover, and then airbrush it to obtain the effect you desire. Experiment first - you may need to spray a sealer coat first.

    All sorts of things can be used to create something else. I once built a concrete wall out of sugar cubes. :cool:
  14. omrick

    omrick New Member

    If you are doing grass by a fire hydrant, use yellow near it for dog pee! lol
  15. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

    Question: in what sequence should I apply the felt grass? Latex tan -> light green -> yellow -> dark green? Kindly give me some tips. :)
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    What sort of grass are you modeling and where and what season? In the Northeastern U.S. they get so much rain that the grass is very green as soon as the snow melts until it starts turning cold in the fall. Along the coast in the Pacific Northwest, they get so much rain year around with very little snow that the grass will stay green year round. In the more arid Southwest and in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington the grass turns a kind of golden brown in summer very much like the picture that Harold (hminky) posted. In more temperate climates in the U.S. lawns are watered year round and tend to stay nice a green. Wild grasses will change color with the seasons. Finally, in a meadow, you might use some red as well as other colors over the top of the green to simulate wild flowers in bloom in the spring time.

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