2017-09.5: Homemade grass tufts

29 Sep 2017

Average: 4.8 (21 votes)
10:13 - Sep 2017 BONUS - Start Small, THINK BIG: Making tufts (2017)

Bob Fallowfield shows us how he makes scenic “tufts” for his layout using static grass.  This footage was cut from segment #9 of Start Small, THINK BIG due to time constraints and is now available on TMTV as bonus content.

Also see:
- Episode 1: Intro - watch now!
- Episode 2: Design - watch now!
- Episode 3: Benchwork - watch now!
- Episode 4: Trackwork - watch now!
- Episode 5: Wiring - watch now!
- Episode 6: Structures - watch now!
- Episode 7: Scenery, pt 1 - watch now!

- Episode 8: Scenery, pt 2 - watch now!
- Episode 9: Adding details - watch now!
- Episode10: Operation - watch now!
- Bonus: Making grass tufts (this episode)


Fast and easy!  Nice job.

What was the material Miles sprinkled on the tufts to make the white flowers?  I think he had it in a salt shaker, but I doubt it was salt.

TMTV Station Agent's picture

Miles is using Woodland Scenics flowers #T48.  The package has four colors.


Barry Silverthorn, TrainMasters TV producer

Warflight's picture

This reason alone is why I would LOVE to get a static grass applicator! It's all about the cash to afford it though. (my priorities are a bit skewed... when I DO have the money for such a purchase, and I'm getting ready to innocently go buy it, some really cool loco jumps into my view, and just... forces me to buy it!)

tpmarshall's picture

Hi "Warflight":

Something to consider, to maybe help focus your mind on that static grass applicator next time you have money to spend...

A new lococomotive looks great - but all of the locomotives you already have will look even better if they're rolling past well-done scenery. Static grass will make EVERYTHING on your layout look better - much better than one more new locomotive will.

And the static grass applicator, properly cared for, should be a lifetime tool. You'll use it for your layout, for any modules you build, for dioramas, and so on. If you're part of a group, you can see if the other members would like to split the cost of the applicator, to make it even more affordable.


- Trevor (who uses a lot of static grass, applied with a Noch GrasMaster)


Great video!  I use the "non-stick" foil as it makes it much easier to remove the tufts once they are dry.  Rick Wade / Richlawn Railroad

What was the material you added to the tufs to create the flowers, was it finely ground foam?

I used an aluminum pie plate, (tinfoil pressed into a pie plate shape) which I picked up at my local grocery store. I cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom, then clipped on my static grass applicator. I applied glue onto the wax paper and added the grass which didn't stand up very good. While watching the video the light bulb came on, I should have used the tinfoil instead of the wax paper! My next attempt should work out better.

Miles is using Woodland Scenics flowers #T48.  The package has four colors.


Hi warflight, you can also make your own static grass applicator. Negetaive ION generators can be had for less than 10 bucks on e-bay. I built one complete applicator for under 10, all I had to buy was the generatoir,  all the other items were already on hand. And it works great!


Warflight's picture

That did it... my Static Grass applicator (and several bags of static grass) are in the mail.

I blame this video, and I blame Trevor!


(Yeah... I'm gonna love it, I'm sure)

tpmarshall's picture

Well done - enjoy!

- Trevor

Warflight's picture

​So, my static grass applicator just came in the mail today, and I took it for a spin... just to test it. Didn't use a cookie sheet... I used a small bit of foil to make a few tufts just to see how hard it might be, and it wasn't hard at all! Perfect tufts first try! Oh, this is going to be fun to use, I just know it! The "green grass" that came with it is HORRIBLE, (I thought maybe I could mix it with some of my "dead grass, but it's just too green) but I got a bag of "dead grass" that will work GREAT, and the green it came with will be great for practicing technique!

Let nothing go to waste, I say!

I'm glad I watched this video, and thanks for the encouragement!

tpmarshall's picture

Hi Warflight:

On my home layout, I've used Noch "Wild Grass". I like the beige color for everything. After the glue has set, I airbrush the beige grass using various colors from Vallejo. If you don't know these paints, they're marketed to the military modelers. They're acrylics, they dry dead flat (no shine) and - because they're meant to represent camouflage colors - they come in great shades of green and brown that are just perfect for scenery.

Glad you enjoy the static grass applicator. You may be able to rescue the grass that came with it by airbrushing the grass with Vallejo paints...


- Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

Warflight's picture

I bought a bag of Noch "dead grass" (my layout is "pine desert", like in Alpine California, and it's just PERFECT!) I thought of mixing some green with the dead, and having a go at an area between some rails, but the green is just a bit cartoonish (I'll have to experiment)

I recently (just today) managed to get the Oscar and Piker sets (I believe they are both from 1969... the year I was born, though, according to Walthers, one came out in '59, and the other in '68) and I plan to build them (this will be my foirst ever Craftsman ANYTHING, and I feel woefully unprepared... though, bit easier than the scratch built outhouses, because these have instructions!) which necessitates my getting an airbrush set (I've been wanting to do that since watching some of the TMTV videos on airbrushing anyway) I actually have a set of nice acrylic paints, and the Vallejo camouflage paints are on my shopping list for next month as well.

I tested the static grass applicator last night with some "dots" on aluminum foil which came out AMAZING (for the cartoonish green it was) and today, i decided to use some "dead grass" on the side of my dirt road at the edge of the layout (Pro-tip... put a cover on your tea when using static grass, or you WILL have a lot of floaties, and ruin a perfectly nice cuppa) I noticed the applicator tends to also stand fake fur on end as well, and I have a few strips I will never use anyway, so I may experiment with fake fur trimmings in the applicator at some point. I have a cheap $25 applicator I'm using that I found on eBay (D batteries, Chinese made... several forums said they don't work after I bought it, but, it works BEAUTIFULLY, provided you follow the instructions. Granted, the instructions are in "Pigeon", but fortunately, as an historian, I can understand Pigeon just fine)

The only problem I have run across is with my grand plans of putting grass at my fence posts. The fence is too high for the grass to stand up with the applicator above it, and using the applicator at the side, makes it stand weird, when it should be straight up at each post. That's where this video becomes a VIKING! I decided I can make grass tufts, roughly "C" shaped, that once released from the foil, should just snap into place if I use straight Mod Podge, instead of "Elmer's" (though, Elmer's may also work... I'll be experimenting) and then just "snap" them into place, so to speak. (I think my new tweezers set is going to be paying for itself quite soon)

So far, this was a brilliant investment, and should it stop working, I'll be getting a better applicator! (this cheap one was the only one I could find that wouldn't take forever for shipping, or put me over budget... I will NOT, however, be scrimping on the airbrush set)

Now... my only wish, is a TMTV episode on building a craftsman style car kit! (there seem to be a LOT of unbuilt kits out there, and selling pretty cheap, both online, AND at my local hobby shop! They are neet little boxes of sticks, indeed!)

Oh, and thanks for taking the time to talk to me (and encourage me) That's more than I ever expected from my TMTV experience! (Folks like yourself are celebrities to a guy like me, just trying to get a nice layout going!)

Warflight's picture

I figured (if this works) I'd show off the tufts that were inspired by this. I needed some grass in the middle of my dirt road, so I used the method in this video to make stripes of grass. It was SO MUCH EASIER than trying to add the static grass directly! Clean up was a snap! Easy to apply once they dried.


Warflight's picture

Okay, so, the image didn't show. Dang.


Never mind! I got it working now! Kinda!