Has anybody used fresh lychen?

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Nomad, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Has anybody used fresh lychen and moss for scenery? Does it need to be treated/perserved or dried? How about color, does it lose color when it dries out? Does it need to be dyed or painted afterwards? I have a endless supply right out my backdoor, and I sure would like to be able to use it.

  2. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I went out near (not in) the Ocala National Forest and picked lichen from the roadside once. I came home with a large black garbage bag full. After a couple hours picking out pine needles and other large twigs and bits, I prepared mine using the recipe from Dave Frary's scenery book.

    Basically it was alot of glycerin (got mine at a feed 'n seed by the gallon...used for rubbing down saddles!) cut with water and some RIT fabric dye. I cooked the lichen right on the stove starting with lighter colored batches first then moving darker batch by batch. You need plenty of room to spread out the lichen to dry on sheet pans or cardboard and newspaper. Also a good pair of sturdy rubber gloves. A clean (not used - too greasy) brass mesh 'spider' strainer would be very handy. I think we used slotted spoons.

    After a few days it finally dried and the lichen has remained soft ever since...for probably 15-20 years now. We also did a few 'fall' batches. The brown dye is good for making shrubs...just spray the dyed and dried lychen with adhesive spray (elmers is great...remains somewhat pliable and doesn't dry it out further like hairspray will) then roll in fine ground foam. The nice branch structure of lichen shows through. Any larger foam bits and you might as well use poly fiber.

  3. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    Hi, I had read somewhere, perhaps here on the gauge, that any fresh lichen, twigs and shrubs, will develop bugs over time. I believe the quick fix to this is a few seconds in the microwave..... hope this helps...
  4. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Northern MI lichen I pick is very dry and brittle, and light grey.

    I have a bushel of it. I pick the finest clump, and glue it in place. Then I spray my scene down with wet water or alcohol. Then a magical thing happens. The lichen gets soft and green again! This makes it very easy and neat to work with. I do not know what it will look like in ten years, however.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Thanks everbody, that answered my questions.:D

  6. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    The glycerin bath will kill any critters as well as keep it soft and supple, without the need to refresh it.

    Kyle, you've actually planted it on the layout! Keep misting it with water and it may actually grow! Especially if you can pin it down instead of glueing it.
  7. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member


    Ch ch ch CHIA-Train!

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