flocking

How to Make Flocking for Tabletop Terrain

Adding vegetation to your tabletop terrain models is an easy way to give them more life. Creating grass by using flocking is probably the easiest way to incorporate plants into your models. Flocking can be made with a number of different materials. While you can just purchase your own flocking, creating your own at home can be done with little to no cost.

Easy Homemade Flocking

Gather Your Materials

To create your own flocking at home you’ll need the following list of items:

  • Sawdust or newspaper
  • A wire strainer
  • Paint mixed with water
  • A container to mix your materials and paints
  • Wax paper

If you have sawdust available to you, we definitely recommend using it over newspaper. We were able to source it from a local wood shop that was more than happy to give it away for free. You could try asking your local lumber yard, Home Depot, or Lowes (or whatever you have in your area). You’ll want to sift the sawdust with a wire strainer so that you can work with finer, more uniform pieces.

sawdust
Strain your sawdust

If you only have newspaper available, that’s perfectly fine. You’ll want to tear the newspaper into small pieces to make them easier to work with. Then get them moist with water (not soaking wet) and add them to an herb or coffee grinder. If you don’t have a grinder available, you may be able to find one at a low price at a garage sale, Goodwill or other second-hand shop. Pulse the newspaper until you have small pills to work with.

Prep Your Paint

Next you’ll need to prepare your paint. We recommend using a disposable plastic cup (like a Solo Cup) for your mixing; it’s the perfect size and shape for mixing your paint and sawdust. Place your paint at the bottom of the cup. If you’re combining colors instead of using a single paint, make sure you mix them thoroughly at this point. Next, add water to the cup and mix up your paint again until you’re sure their are no more paint lumps. The water to paint ratio you’re looking for is 3:1, but it’s totally fine if it’s not exact.

Water and Paint
Water and paint mixture



Mix It Up

Once your paint is mixed with the water, you’re ready to add the sawdust. The amount of sawdust you add depends on how deep and thoroughly incorporated you want the paint to be. We suggest using about half a cup to a whole cup of sawdust for each tablespoon of paint and water mixture. Add half a cup first and mix and then add sawdust as you feel is necessary. As it becomes more difficult to get all the pieces colored, you’ll know it’s time to stop adding sawdust.

painted sawdust in a cup
Sawdust added to the paint and water mixture

The Waiting Game

After your sawdust is completely mixed, lay out a sheet of wax paper and tape the sides down with an adhesive that’s easy to peel off, like painters tape or scotch tape. Scoop out the flocking mixture onto the wax paper and spread it out into as thin a layer as you can. The less clumped up the flocking mixture is, the more thoroughly it’ll dry. It should take about a day or less, depending on the amount you make. We do not recommend drying to the mixture in any other way; adding a lot of heat to such a flammable material is not a good idea.

spread out your mixture and dry overnight
Spread out your mixture and dry overnight

The Hills Are Alive

Once dry, you can either store your flocking for later or immediately apply it to your models or minis. We recommend spray adhesive, but school glue like Elmer’s glue works great too. Try out mixing different shades and then adding the different colors together to make it seem more realistic. Grasses in nature are rarely uniform in color.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. We plan on continuing more terrain tutorials in the future. If you have anything you’d like to see, send us a comment. If you’d like to keep up to date with when we release a new article, please subscribe to our newsletter. Happy creating!