Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Here is a quick tutorial on how I started making shrubs for my terrain.  The idea has been around for quite some time and there are several mentions of it around the web.  I learned from 'grove den' over at the Model Railroad Forums.  His trees are simply spectacular as well, but that is for a different posting. ;)

First, pick up a package of steel wool from a hardware store such as Lowes or Home Depot.  It comes in several grades and I picked a couple - the one below is one of the middle grades.  Try to unfold it and keep the strands going in the same direction.  Cut a section apart and tightly twist it in the middle.  Put a drop of super glue in the center of the twist (thicker stuff works better than thin).  After dry, you can cut it in the middle and end up with two sections that look like the one below:
Now, secure the shrub with a cloths pin and tease it apart with a tweezers to give it the shape you desire.
After the shape has been created, use a dark gray spray primer to prevent the steel wool from rusting and falling apart.  It is best to get a couple dozen shrubs together on a tray and spray them all at once to reduce waste and speed up the process.

Now, spray the shrub with hairspray (I use Aqua Net unscented) and then using a kitchen sieve, shake static grass on to the branches.  These will hold the 'leaves' applied in the next step.  Using the sieve gives a lot more control and prevents huge clumps of static grass being deposited on the branches.

After dry, spray with hairspray again and with a bit larger holed sieve, apply flock.  It is best to stay away from the flock intended for 'grass' and instead screen out the smaller bits from a canister of coarse turf from Woodland Scenics.  The flock used for the shrub below I created myself using a blender and old foam padding.

Now you can plant them on your terrain piece (or train layout) and they look pretty decent with relatively little work:

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