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Make Your Own Tree Foliage From Sawdust | Model Railway Hints, Tips, How To Articles and Reviews at Model Trains Online

When making your own trees for your layout, something you’ll undoubtedly need a lot of, unless you’re modelling a winter scene with bare trees, is tree foliage! This great little video explains a method for making your own foliage using a very cheap, if not free (if you do a lot of sawing) material… Sawdust. This method is actually identical to one I used to use as a teenager, when my dad had a large circular saw up in the shed. I used to collect the sawdust and die it using food colouring, then dry it out on top of the boiler in the house to use as grass scatter. It was a little crude maybe, but it saved a fortune I can tell you.

Anyway, in this video, Philip Stephens shows us how he makes huge quantities of foliage for his trees with sawdust and some dye. It’s a great way to add realistic looking leaves to your model trees. The results are pretty good indeed and will cost next to nothing for a huge batch! Hope you enjoy the video. It works for most scales too. For N gauge and smaller you’ll need very fine sawdust, but for HO upwards you can get away with a much coarser dust.

The foliage can also be used to add realism to scouring-pad hedges and as rough scatter for hills at the other grassed areas, particularly at the back of your layout where you can afford to scrimp and save on materials a little as they’re further away from critical viewers of your layout.

Where to get sawdust?

Obviously if you do a lot of woodworking yourself, your own workshop will probably be the best source, but if you don’t then don’t panic! You can buy sawdust in large bags from pet supplies stores, or if you keep your eyes peeled while you’re out and about, look for a joiners workshop. A busy joiners workshop will produce bags of the stuff every week and it will often just end up in the bin, so it’s worth asking (politely). They’ll often let you take away a couple of small bags free of charge.

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