Sunday 20 November 2011

Make your own static grass tufts! A step-by-step tutorial

Now this is something that can potentially cost the manufacturers, and you will probably like it.
Personally, I love tufts. I really do, but I always felt robbed buying them.
That's why I make my own, and this is what they look like

Step 0 - things you need

  1. Static grass applicator - unfortunately it is a must. You can buy one on a riduiculous price from Noch or the wise modeller makes his own. There are plenty of sources on the internet in English, google it. I used a Hungarian description, this one. All the necessary parts cost less than GBP 10 combined and the machine takes about two hours to assemble. 
  2. White glue
  3. A punctured piece of 1 mm plasticard
  4. Static grass - in this case Noch's wildgrass - mittelgrün
  5. A piece of sheet copper, brass, aluminium etc. shaped like on the picture
  6. A piece of plastic foil, sturdier than a plastic bag or foil wrap
  7. I forgot to include a few clips on the picture

Not much, is it?

Step 1 - Fill the cup with static grass

In this case less is never more. You can always recycle the excess.

Step 2 - Prepare the appliance

Stack the plastic foil on top of the copper sheet and then put the punctured piece of plasticard on top. Clip the sheets together. Attach the alligator clip of the static grass applicator to the little ear on the sheet of copper. Turn the applicator on.
A little explanation: in all other static grass tutorials it is said that you should push a needle in and attach the alligator clip to it. Wrong! It is clumsy and not very efficient. I have found that the electrostatic field is much more even, but not less effective this way. The punctured piece of plasticard helps to treat those pieces of grasss that would inevitably lay down otherwise.

Step 3 - Apply white glue

I use it undiluted. I like my tufts a little irregular, but you can make them perfect circles if you like.

Step 4 - Apply grass

Apply it by gently by tapping and shaking the reservoir from a height of around 1-2 centimeters. I held the applicator a bit higher so that I could take the photo.

A bit more is applied...

And it is complete. Turn off the static grass applicator and remove the alligator clip. Carefully turn around the   sheets and with a little tapping remove the excess static grass This is how it looks:

 Let it set a few minutes (but not too long).

Step 5 - Final stages

Carefully remove the clips, and the piece of plasticard. By lifting the plasticard you raise those pieces of grass that may be laying.

Now place the tufts someplace warm to set completely. Then behold your creation:

Looks professional, huh?

Some tips:

  • You can experiment with different lenghts of grass, and different colours. I have very nice tufts made of beige and green leaves
  • Spray or airbrush the tufts with matte varnish. While the tufts are sturdy, varnish makes them hard and quite durable. 
  • Varnished tufts can be drybrushed with Bleached Bone,  Iraqui Sand or any suitable colour to imitate dryness in the leaf ends for even more realism.
  • you can experiment with other types of adhesives

Ask questions, and share your experiences with tufts!

For those of you who are too lazy or motivated, tufts of your choice are available for sale: you get 100 tufts for GBP 5, USD 8 or EUR 6 +PP.


  1. Hi there!

    Have you already checked out my new hobby blog, Tale of Painters? I've joined forces with Sigur and Garfy, whose models you've probably seen in various forums or on the blog on We've got tutorials, showcases, reviews and various projects going on, e.g. Garfy posts about assembling and painting a mighty Thunderhawk!

    We've also started a new Blog Network! Join by adding a Tale of Painters banner to your blog, and your newest posts will appear in the Network widget over at Tale of Painters! A great way to promote your blog and find new readers! On top of that, the crew at Tale of Painters keeps a close eye to the Network and will present the best posts in a post of their own!

    So come over and check out, I'd be very happy ;)

    (PS: Sorry I spammed your comments to get in touch with you - if you feel offended, just delete this comment ;)

  2. Great tutorial - will save this for "Tales from the Network #4"!
    Can you add Tale of Painters to "Check out these blogs too" too? ;)

  3. A couple of years ago, I'd have been up for making my own tufts, but the prices have significantly fallen off as more manufacturers have put product out there. So, unless you're already sitting on a static grass applicator, or are making use of massive quantities of tufts, a sheet of maybe 40 tufts for £4 from Army Painter seems ok to me.

  4. Depends how you think about the hobby - I rather enjoy this part. BTW assembling a static grass applicator is so simple and cheap that I don't think it is a showstopper.

  5. Heh. Fair enough. I'm currently scratch building bases out of plasticard and wall filler, rather than taking the easy options of using sand/gravel mix or buying commercial resin bases, and that does it for me.

    I just wanted to comment on the "I always felt robbed buying them" bit really, thinking you were saying they were too expensive.

    I did enjoy your article. While I'm not going to use the content directly, the ideas and thought process will be squirrelled away for future abuse.

  6. There is now a much cheaper version of a grass applicator......£25 plus p&p.........bit like an electrical tea strainer and it works extremely well.

  7. Paint some glue or put a drop of super glue where you'd like the static grass to be, works better, is more controllable and cheaper to use - but super glue dries much faster and acts like a gap filler which will help the grass stay upright slightly better.

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  10. Que hierba tan estupenda, me encantaria saber hacer algo así, es muy natural.Le felicito.
    Un abrazo

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  20. You can do this and place a sheet of wax paper between the copper sheet and your firm with the holes and allow the glue to dry longer. They will peel right off of the wax paper.

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