How to make model roses

how to make model roses oo scaleFor a small Valentine’s Day diorama on one of my layouts, I wanted an OO scale figure holding some red roses. Here’s how I made them.

Compared to model railway builders of the past, we’re blessed with a huge range of ready made products, from rolling stock to figures to furniture, it’s usually possible to find someone selling almost any object we need ready made

Noch, Busch, Preiser and Woodland Scenics in particular do a comprehensive range of ready-made OO and HO figures and objects for example.

But these can be expensive for what they are, especially smaller items, and they can often be made very quickly with a little thought.

Just recently for example, I was creating a little Valentines Day diorama on my model railway where a man was waiting on a station platform with some red roses to give to his wife.

Looking around, there are ready made roses available from Tasma and Busch but I figured I could make my own and after a bit of experimentation and a few false starts, I figured out the technique that results in flowers just the right size for OO or HO figures.

> You can get HO/OO scale romantic figures, such as this Noch set that includes with a man presenting a bouquet of flowers to his sweetheart, if you just want to create a little scene and don’t have the time to make your own roses.

Making scale model roses

Firstly, cut the ends of some Seafoam, the plant  Teloxys aristata.

Seafoam can be used for all manner of model plants and is grown from seed but you can also buy the plant ready grown and dried for modelling. In the Gaugemaster packs I use, there’s enough for a small orchard of trees or hundreds of smaller plants.

Roses tend to have long steams, with a few leaves and then the flower so look for the ends of Seafoam to match and cut pick these off.

making scale model roses

Apply leaves to the roses.

Next, dip the cutting in some watered down PVA and lightly dust with short dark green static grass, 1mm or 2mm max .

For attaching static grass to trees, it’s possible to use spray mount but for my roses I want the static grass to bunch together a bit (so looking like leaves) rather than remaining as individual strands and using PVA achieves this.

Pick-off bits around buds as these will serve as the flowers and where there won’t be leaves. Also remove any particularly hairy or large clumped areas of static grass that won’t look right, such as the bit on the left in the above photo.

Once the static grass is in place, use a sharpened cocktail stick to apply a deep red, I use Citadel Mephiston Red, to the buds to make the actual flowers. (See top photo). When making other flowers, I’ve previously used scatter glued to the Seaform and painted that but roses have larger flowers than many plants so for these I painted the little buds that seem to be about the right scale size for rose flowers.

Finally cut the Seafoam into stems, one per flower and position where wanted around the layout.

model rosesThey could go in plant pots (made from air drying clay or Kneadatite Blue/Yellow (Green Stuff) outside a house or on a station platform or planted directly into the ground in a garden.

In my case, I wanted a man bringing a bunch of roses home to his wife. For the figure, Woodland Scenics make various romantic figure sets, such as this one, but for my purposes — I wanted the figure on a station heading towards his waiting wife — I went for a standard figure and glued a few stems of my miniature roses into his hand. I also painted on dots for his eyes and used a dash of red paint for his lips to give him extra detail.

All in, I’m pleased the with the result and it creates a delightful fun little scene for Valentine’s Day.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.  
Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.