Without a doubt, grass tufts are perfect for livening a diorama. Apart from providing color and beauty, grass can help blend in all the elements installed on the surface, resulting in a higher level of realism. Unfortunately, buying pre-made grass tufts of high quality can get expensive. This is particularly true when you are trying to cover a large surface. To help you take your diorama to the next level without hurting your wallet, this step by step tutorial will teach you how to make grass for a diorama.
What You Will Need to Correctly Follow This Tutorial
In order to follow this step by step tutorial, you will need to use the following items:
- A metal tray (such as a baking tray).
- Static grass applicator.
- Baking paper.
- PVA wood glue (alternatively, use any brand of tacky craft clue).
- 6mm static grass.
- 8 by 2-inch rectangular piece of plywood.
- Wooden or plastic stick for applying glue.
- Gap-filling sand.
- Electric drill.
- 6mm drill bit.
- A cheap paint brush.
Step by Step Instructions For Making Diorama Trees
By following these instructions, you will be able to create realistic grass tufts for your diorama:
1. Set Up an Appropriate Work Area
Before starting to put together your diorama grass tufts, it is advisable that you set up and prepare your work area appropriately. While it does not require a lot of space, creating these pieces of fake grass can get messy.
Take into account that, as you go through with the process of creating grass tufts, small pieces of artificial grass will go flying everywhere. For that reason, you should do this in a space that you can clean up quickly and easily.
First, clear a table or work station by removing everything that is on it. If you want to protect the table from becoming damaged, you can place a wooden board on it. Alternatively, you can extend old newspaper sheets on it.
2. Drill Holes Into the Piece of Plywood
Begin the creation process by drilling several 6mm holes into the rectangular piece of plywood. Take into account that each one of these holes will give way to an individual piece of grass tuft.
In order to make the holes, use the electric drill with the 6mm drill bit. For better results, make two lines of holes across the longitude of the piece of plywood. Try to leave the same amount of space between each pair of holes. Anything between one and two inches will work perfectly.
To prevent the plywood from becoming damaged or breaking when you drill it, you can place it securely on a larger, thicker piece of wood. That way, you will be able to hold the plywood down firmly as you drill each one of the holes.
3. Prepare the Static Grass Applicator
Before going any further, you will need to prepare the static grass applicator. First, make sure that it is not clogged or stuck. Additionally, plug it in (or insert its batteries) and make sure that it’s working properly.
Whether it is a commercially-produced or a DIY static grass applicator, you will want it to be nice and full of static grass before even opening the glue. The reason for this is that the glue tends to dry very quickly.
Even though it may be tempting, do not fill the entire container of the applicator with static grass. Instead, pour in enough static grass to fill half of it. If you put too much static grass on it, the device may get clogged midway through the application.
4. Prepare the Baking Paper
Now that you static grass applicator is ready to go, prepare the surface where your grass tufts will be made on. You can do this by securing the baking paper to the metal tray. If it makes you more comfortable, you can also secure the metal tray to the table using some tape.
First, place the baking paper on the metal tray. Use a rectangular piece of paper that is large enough for you to work comfortably on. Secure it to the tray using a few small pieces of tape. Make sure that the baking paper is completely flat and without wrinkles.
Now, take the piece of plywood that you drilled holes in and place it on the baking paper. Use long pieces of tape to secure it from the sides without covering the holes. Make sure that everything is firmly secured before moving on to the next step.
5. Apply Glue to the Baking Paper
The time has come for you to start making the actual grass tufts. To do this, first, pour a small amount of glue onto an unused plastic lid or similar object. Then, used the stick to take small amounts of glue and carefully transfer it to the baking paper through the holes that you drilled into the piece of plywood.
When you apply the glue to the baking paper through the holes, make sure to use a good amount. Try to be precise and deliberate in your application of the glue. However, make sure that you do not accidentally apply glue to the edges of the plywood hole.
If you don’t want to use the piece of plywood as a template for your grass tufts, simple apply large blobs of glue directly to the baking paper. Do try, however, to leave about one and a half or two inches of space between each blob of glue.
6. Apply the Static Grass
At this point, finally, you are ready to apply the static grass to the glue in order to create grass tufts. Before doing that, however, make sure to remove the piece of plywood with the holes and examine the blobs of glue.
Make sure that all the blobs consist of the same amount of glue. If they are not, carefully even them out by adding small amounts of glue to the ones that are lacking. Additionally, make sure that there are no traces of spilled over glue around each one of the blobs.
Now, use the static grass applicator to sprinkle the static grass onto the blobs of glue. Hold the applicator at about an inch or two from the surface of the metal tray. Try to sprinkle an even amount of static grass onto each spot. Be generous and let enough static grass blades stick onto each tuft to make it nice and fluffy.
If you are willing to experiment, you can combine static grass of different lengths. For example, you can combine grass fibers that are 6mm long with others that are 3mm or 4mm long. This will give your grass tufts a rougher but more realistic look.
7. Get Rid of Excess Fibers
After you apply the static grass fibers to the glue, make sure that each piece of tuft is equally leafy and bushy. Once you are sure that everything is in place, let the glue dry for a couple of minutes.
Once the glue has dried up a bit, you can remove the pieces of tape from the baking paper in order to lift it up. Do that and tilt it enough to let the loose fibers fall out onto the metal tray.
After tilting the baking paper, you may still have some excess pieces of fiber on it. If that is the case, try holding the entire thing upside down. If you don’t have enough confidence to do this, you can also gently blow on the tufts a few times.
8. Remove the Tufts From the Baking Paper
After getting rid of all the excess artificial grass fibers, let everything dry for about 10 to 20 minutes. Once that time has elapsed, it is time to individually remove each piece of tuft and place on a different surface.
If you have done everything correctly up to this point, the tufts of grass should be firmly put together. Because you used baking paper to assemble them on, removing these pieces of grass tuft should be very easy.
Use a tweezer to pull up each piece of tuft from the baking paper. Alternatively, you can use your fingers to pull them out. Be careful but deliberate in your movements. After pulling it out, place each piece of tuft on a different surface or inside a container.
9. Create Flowers Stems for the Tufts (Optional)
If you want to, you can create flowers and plants to add color and variety to your grass. To do this, cut some bristles off of a cheap paint brush. In order to prepare it, dip the end of each bristle in some glue.
Once you have your paintbrush bristle ready, press it onto the tuft in order for it to give the appearance to be growing from the middle of the grass. Make sure that it’s in the right position.
If the flower stems you just created using paintbrush bristles seem too long, you can cut them down to a more suitable length. Take into account that there is no need to be incredibly precise when it comes to creating details such as this.
10. Spruce Up the Tufts With Flowers (Optional)
If you want some of your grass tuft to look even more ornamental, you can spruce them up by adding flower-like details. To do this, first, use a small brush to add glue to the end of the bristles that you inserted into the grass tufts.
After that, simply turn the tufts upside-down and dip them bristle-first into the gap filling sand. Make sure that enough gap filling sand particular stuck to the end of each bristle.
If you want details that are more colorful and eye-catching, you can use gap filling sands of different colors. Even better, you can dye the gap filling sand to be of your favorite color.
11. Let Everything Dry
At long last, your individual pieces of grass tufts for a diorama are ready. Before using them, however, make sure to let everything dry for a few hours. Once they are dry, transfer the individual pieces of tuft to a secure container using a pair of tweezers. Make sure to make enough grass tufts to cover the entire surface that you want to be covered.
Did you enjoy reading this tutorial? Apart from saving you a lot of money, making your own grass for a diorama can be fun and satisfactory. Hopefully, you will enjoy doing it as much as we did. If you have any opinions or questions, leave a message in the comment section below. Please, consider sharing this tutorial with your friends and family!