Creating Natural Scenery with Bill Henderson

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Duration: 20:09

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Bill Henderson is able to achieve beautiful and detailed model scenery with mostly natural materials. He uses various grasses and twigs from his own backyard and woods including hagberry tree twigs. He uses these specifically for making trees. Bill starts by gluing smaller grass pieces for finer branches onto the hagberry twigs with slow-drying contact cement.

After they’ve dried, he spray paints over them with a mix of black and gray to create color variation. Then, the tree is sprayed with a cheap hairspray. The lacquer in the hairspray will help to adhere the colored sawdust which will act as the tree’s foliage. Next Bill makes a hemlock tree using another branch from a bush in his backyard. Modeler’s putty is applied to the base to build up the diameter of the trunk. Small shrub-like green plants purchased from a flower arranging shop are glued to the branches. The only painting required is for the modeling putty used on the trunk. Bill goes on to demonstrate the creation of other types of trees using similar materials and techniques.

Henderson begins his landscapes with aluminum screen wire which will not rust. Ready-mixed joint compound is applied to the screen and then covered with brown spray paint sprinkled with fine dirt. For grass, Bill pulls apart poly-fil and sprays it with a medium green spray paint followed by an olive green. Finally it is sprinkled with finely ground green ground foam for texture. Stiffer grasses comprise of a nylon scouring pad while brambles and hedges comprise of steel wool. Half and half elmer’s white glue and water with bit of detergent is used to add the grass to the groundcover.

Discover more tips on creating scenery or to learn how to create realistic trees!