The best glue to use with static grass applicator

Photo of static grass mini figure basing using the glue mentioned in the article.

Not getting the results expected from a static grass applicator? The problem may be the glue being used.

Aside from a good applicator for static grass, an often overlooked aspect of getting the perfect finish is the adhesive used.

Picking the wrong glue can result in static grass lying dead and flat, looking more like wet dog hair than beautiful grass flowing in the wind. Or even having fibres that aren’t held in place and float off at the slightest breeze, typically on your rolling stock, track, models and figures.

There are lots of glues available so which is the best glue to use?

While there are specialist glues, many modellers (here, here and here to list a few) is to use good old-fashioned PVA aka white glue.

However, PVA by itself is too thick, the individual fibres will struggle to break its surface tension and instead fall flat. Worse, as they build up, they will end up being pushed into the glue and become matted.

Even when the fibres do break the tension and get into the glue, it’s too gloopy and the fibres can’t move and stand up as the charge pulls at them.

What’s needed is something to reduce the surface tension, diluting and improving its consistency.

And the secret sauce…

Water with a couple of drops of IPA or washing-up liquid. Just as is done when fixing ballast on track and in this recipe for scenery cement.

Over the years and layouts, I’ve found a 50/50 or 1 to 3 glue-to-water ratio to be a good mix for static grass. To this, I then add a few drops of  Isopropyl and then stir it up before applying it to the baseboard or mini-figure base.

With that done it’s just a case of scattering the static grass using your preferred applicator. With this adhesive and the secondary wire placed touching the glue near where you want the grass, you should find it stands up much better and remains in place longer.


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Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. 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.

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