Well laid grass enhances the other detail in a project and like moss, can add a great deal of lushness to a project. A lot of times grass can end up looking flat, or too much like a golf course. Here is a technique for laying a more varied and wild looking layer of grass.
1. Begin with the surface you plan on laying the grass down on. To begin with I add ground clutter. I used a mix of different sizes of ballast with a few coffee grounds mixed in. I spread watered down PVA glue (white school glue) where I want the clutter, then dibble some of the clutter mix into the glue. Often I will go back and add another layer of glue to seal the debris solidly to the base. You want the clutter to really stick or it will flake off as you paint.
I don’t add much clutter to the areas where the grass is since it will be covered by the various layers. I keep the clutter to the edges of where the grass won’t be, essentially, only in the places where it is likely to be seen. I also shy away from too much clutter on paths. Places that get a lot of traffic tend to have much harder packed earth, and far less clutter. After all, we’ve all kicked rocks off of the path we were walking on!
2. Once the glue dries I begin to paint the piece. I start with dark brown, then drybrush everything a lighter shade of brown. Then another layer of buff. Hard packed dirt tends to be much lighter than most people give it credit for.
4. As I go I pour flock down onto the PVA. I use Woodland Scenics green grass, but really any green color would work just fine. I layer a pretty heavy layer of flock down and leave it on until the glue dries, then dump off the excess into a piece of newspaper and save it for the next project.
5. Then I go back and some detail work. I add clumps of flowers (I use Army Painter), as well as longer grass clumps in places where I won’t be adding longer grass, like in corners, on buildings, or in larger dirt patches or paths.
6. Then it is time to add the static grass. I make my own blend from a variety of colors, lengths, and sources. I use a lot of shades and lengths, because grass is usually exactly those things, and this is a great way to achieve that look.
Woodland Scenics 3mm Static Grass:
- Dark Green
- Medium Green
- Light Green
- Burnt Grass
- Harvest Gold
Silflor 4mm & 6mm Static Grass:
- Late Summer
This may seem like a lot, but I’ve gone through a lot of iterations over the years, but this mix seems to offer the best blend and overall look.
7. To add the grass to the model, I reapply a layer of watered PVA directly onto the layer of flock that I applied in step 4. Then I apply a thick coating of my grass mixture onto the PVA. Once it is applied, I blow lightly on the grass to remove any excess loose grass and to get the grass on the model to stand up a bit and not look too flat.
I am still looking at the idea of getting a static grass applicator. I’d like to take my grass effects to the next level and I feel like the grass applicator would help with fact that some of the longer lengths of static grass tend to fall over and up lying flat. The grass applicator would allow all of those pieces to stand up straight, tall, and show off the varying lengths and colors.
Same Techniques, Different Project
With this piece, I used more of the Army Painter clumps around the stairs, trail and on some of the rocks. That adds to the effect and gives the grass a nice overgrown look.