Making Bushes and Foliage from Sisal Rope

Sign in
Duration: 7:13

Membership Options

Premium

Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best model railroad videos and step-by-step instructional projects. Learn new techniques and tips from friendly experts. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $8.00
Annually $69.00

Gold

Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium model railroad videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive nine video downloads, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $135.00

Martin Tärnrot shows how to create realistic weeds, bushes, grass, and trees when making scenery for model railroads using a very low-cost item: sisal rope.

CREATING DRY GRASS/WEED TUFTS

The natural color of sisal rope matches a dry, desert environment. Martin takes a piece of sisal rope and untwines it, then cuts off a short piece. He puts Elmer’s Construction Glue on the landscape area of his layout and places the sisal fibers in that pool of glue. These small tufts blend very nicely into the layout of a dry environment, though if you prefer to alter the color, you can spray paint them ahead of time.

CREATING BUSHES

Sisal rope is also very useful for creating bushes that are part of scenery for model railroads. Untwist the rope, apply some fast-set glue, and cut the rope where you have applied the glue. Martin mists some brown color on the piece of sisal rope, then mists a layer of gray over the brown. Next he applies spray glue, then sprinkles fine turf in a matching color.

Bushes are applied to the layout in the same way as grass tufts.

CREATING TREES

Sisal rope can also be used as a base material to create the trunk and branches of trees. The base piece of the trunk is fixed using fast-set glue. Untwist the rope above the glued area and start twisting branches. For each new branch, add a drop of fast-set glue to fix it to the trunk.

Making a realistic-looking tree requires several other steps, so be sure to watch the entire video to see Martin’s full demonstration.

MORE FOLIAGE CREATION

Two specific types of foliage you might need for part of your scenery for model railroads are covered in their own videos here at Model Railroad Academy: creating ivy and creating realistic aspen trees.