DIY Model Railroad Grass

By Kimberly Turtenwald ; Updated April 12, 2017
Model grass can be made yourself to save money.

Some model railroaders purchase ground cover from hobby or craft stores to make grass for their layout, but these products are sometimes expensive or hard to find in just the right colors. Making your own model railroad grass costs less and allows you to fully customize its colors. Model railroad grass can be made with several materials, some of which you may already have around your home.

Foam Rubber

Break foam rubber into small pieces, no bigger than an inch or two in diameter. Place the pieces of foam into a blender.

Mix green and yellow acrylic paint until you achieve the color you want for your grass. Thin the paint with water so it has a consistency similar to skim milk.

Pour the paint mixture into the blender, covering the foam pieces.

Turn the blender on low and gradually increase the speed until the foam rubber is chopped finely.

Empty the blender contents into a strainer to drain off the excess paint. Allow all of the extra paint to pour out.

Spread the dyed foam out onto newspaper and allow it to dry completely. Move the foam around every hour or two to help it dry and to prevent the pieces from sticking together.

Sawdust

Mix green and yellow acrylic paints to create the proper color for your grass. Thin it with water so it has a consistency similar to skim milk. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle dedicated for paint use.

Spread sawdust onto pieces of newspaper in a thin layer.

Spray the sawdust with the thinned paint in the spray bottle. Coat the layer completely with paint, stirring it as you spray to cover the sawdust completely on all sides.

Allow the sawdust to dry completely before using it as groundcover for your model railroad.

Garden Herbs

Pick various green herbs from your garden and set them in the sun to dry. Most herbs will maintain a shade of green when dried.

Place the dried herbs into a blender and blend on low until the herbs are chopped into small pieces.

Spread thinned white glue with a paint brush onto the areas of the layout where you want the grass. Sprinkle the herbs over the area on which you spread the glue.

Spray the herbs with hairspray after you have glued them to the layout where you want them. The hairspray helps the herbs to maintain their color.

Things Needed

  • Foam rubber
  • Green and yellow acrylic paint
  • Water
  • Blender
  • Strainer
  • Newspaper
  • Sawdust
  • Spray bottle
  • Garden herbs
  • White glue thinned with water
  • Paint brush
  • Hairspray

Tip

Use an old or cheap blender and strainer that are dedicated to creating ground cover and other items for your model railroad.

If you strain the paint into a jar, you can use it for another batch.

You can further strain the foam pieces into fine, medium and coarse consistencies with different kinds of strainers if desired.

About the Author

Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.