Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Matt Probst, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    I've read of modelers using dyed saw dust instead of ground foam and since I'm always searching for ways to save $ on my layout, I was wondering if any of you have tried it, how it looks and how you do it?
    Matt-Hershey, Pa.
  2. NYCentral

    NYCentral Member


    I used to use only dyed saw dust in my "beginning " days of layout building back in the early 70's. It works well but to me it isn't as realistic as some of the other available ground covers now. You might want to try a sample area and see how you like it.

    It is also very messy to do. just my $.02 worth.
  3. Several years ago, I made up a large bag of dark brown dyed sawdust (and Phil is right ! It is messy!) to represent dirt. By itself, it was a failure. But when I blended it in with small pebbles, twigs, ground foam, etc, it worked really well. I'm a big believer in Dave Frary's suggestion to layer and blend multiple textures for ground cover.

    You might also wind up spending as much on dye as you would a bag or two of ground foam. Just a thought...
  4. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    I'm with Phil on that.
    If I remember correctly,
    Sift sawdust to remove large hunks.
    Dye with Rit? The dye that you heatup with water.
    I could never get the colors right. The greens were too brite and the browns were too dark.
    I would recommend that you do the dyeing process outside.
    It is very messy.
  5. NYCentral

    NYCentral Member

    I used to have to mix brown into the green dye to dull the green down. I also did do it outside after the first time:eek: I agree with Mike that maybe mixed in layers with other materials it might work well, but I know I am not going to try it again.
  6. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Thanks guys---I think I'll stick with ground foam for now...why give myself an unneeded headache!:rolleyes:

    Matt-Hershey, Pa.
  7. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    Matt, I use both the commercial ground foam and dyed sawdust. I tried using the dyed sawdust on my trees, looks great for HO scale and larger. The flat pieces of sawdust look more like leaves than chunks of foam. I however model in "N" scale and cannot use the sawdust on my trees because of the size. So for my trees I use various colors of fine ground foam over green polly fibre. I do use dyed sawdust on everything else though. I mix a cold water powder type dye in various colors. (Cannot tell you the name of the dye right now. I am in Texas right now visiting with my son) Green plus some blue or yellow has an unlimited variety of colors. Black, purple and browns mixtures are used for dirt. I start by sifting the sawdust down to the size I need. A cut off leg, from a discarded pair of the wife's panty hoes, provide an excellent means of containing the sawdust for dying. I mix the dye in a wide mouth jar and stuff in the contained sawdust. I let it sit for several hours and then I remove it. Wearing a pair of latex gloves, I squeeze out the sawdust in the panty hoe leg with my hand. I dry the damp mixture by spreading it out on layers of newpaper. "Walla" - only an occasional mess because I got careless. Ropes and string of natural fibers can also be dyed to simulate grasses.

    "Try it - you'll like it"

    Bill :D
  8. John Sneed

    John Sneed Member

    I thought I read or heard of useing lint as ground cover. The stuff that collects in the dryer.Anybody else heard of that? Got to go lay down for a little while. John
  9. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I put course sawdust (from my router) in a empty spackle container, add earth colored latex paint and some carpenters glue, mix well and spread the result as ground cover. It stays soft for a day or two, making it easy to plant weeds and trees. I sprinkle real sifted dirt and some ground foam on top to finish.


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