Modeler Lou Sassi demonstrates how he uses real dead leaves as ground cover for forest floors, lawns, and tree lines in his model railroad scenery. He starts by breaking off stems of dead leaves he has gathered and adds them to a blender, filling it about halfway. Water is added, filling half the blender. The setting on the blender is turned to frappe and blended for a few seconds.
The mix is then poured over a bucket covered with a cotton cloth. The water is left to drain through and after the cloth is squeezed to strain out most of the water. For further drying, the leaves are emptied from the rag and spread onto a cookie tin. The warm setting on a kitchen oven is used to dry the leaves, turning them with a spatula every so often for about twenty minutes.
After dry, Sassi runs them through a medium kitchen sieve, separating finer leave parts from coarser materials to use for different applications of the model railroad scenery. The sieve could also be used to apply the leaves directly to the layout. Forest floors need both textures of leave, while finer material is used for lawns. Ground cover is a great way to bring your model railroad scenery to the next level. Looking for more videos like this? Check out the Model Railroad Academy website for more tips on creating scenery such as methods of creating realistic trees.