DIY Budget Hedges – Thrifty Thursday Model Building Tip #3

How to make your own model railway hedges, picture of finished hedgeUsing the pre-made commercial hedges on your model railway can be expensive what if there was a way to get hedgerows for a few pounds. Here’s how you can make your own.

Hedgerows bring a model railway to life, they add an extra realism and detail to layouts yet often they are missed out. This may have something to do with the cost, commercial varieties can cost nearly £10 for a few inches! But with a little thought, you can easily make your own and save yourself a few pounds.

The cheapest technique is to use old fashioned pipe cleaners and spray them with different shades of green. The results aren’t perfect but you can’t beat the price – under £2 for the pipe cleaners plus some spray paints.

An alternative and my preferred choice for small hedge rows is to use Weatherstrip Seal. This costs slightly more than pipe cleaners in terms of raw materials but is still much cheaper than pre-made commercial offerings given the lengths of hedgerow you get for your money. Watch the video below for a quick tutorial.

To add extra realism to them, I use a green scatter first as in the video but then top with a very light sprinkle of soil coloured scatter but the choice is yours. I also like to trim the edges at the base of each row, so the underside is almost triangular in shape and place dark scatter material along it. This gives a good impression of roots and woody trunks of the hedge often visible before the leafy growth of the hedge starts further up.

Thrifty Thursday Model Railway Budget Tips

#1 How To Make Landscape Scatter Materials On A Budget
#2 The Lowest Cost Static Grass Applicator
#3 DIY Budget Hedges
#4 How To Make Tree Stumps, For Free!

>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.

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  1. One of the easiest ways I found for hedges, are the green scrubber pads for dishes. I can get them here in the USA at my local dollar store at 5 for $1.00. They are 6.35 mm thick x 76mm wide x 127mm long.

    I cut the hedges in strips across the width to 9.52mm, which makes them the perfect scaled height for HO. They come out to a scaled 21 inches thick, which after measuring a few prototype hedges found that they were just 1/4 inch thicker.

    If you want to add flowers to the hedges, I take PVA thinned with water to 50% strength, lightly spray the hedges and then sprinkle just a pinch of colored flowers from Woodland Scenics and from a height of about 6 inches, sprinkle the hedges with the flowers just like I was salting a good steak, moving my hand as I sprinkle.

    You can also use colored scatter to get the same effect, I just happen to have 5 good size bags of the WS flowers, in different colors that I picked up at a swap meet.

    Thanks for your tips!

  2. I found using coconut hair hanging basket liners work well for hedges cut into strips just tease out the fibers, spray with glue add various shades of flock

    • Ian, that’s a great idea! Love it. You get an extra large bucket of kudos for that tip 🙂 I’ll give it ago and write it up for other MR-Engineers. Andy

  3. Good Evening,
    wondering about the Static glass ballon aplicator, ingenious. but to use it you have to have it suspending on one hand, how high from the layout? what type of glue should be bought and if any comercial brand static grass tuft can be used.  When one hand is busy with the ballon, first the glue is applied, the drop the grass with the other hand with the ballon held in the other…right?
    Thanks again
    i subscribed, very useful tips. Thanks in advanced.

    • Hi Roberto, thanks! I’ve used it a inch or so above the grass. The grass can be glued and laid first and the balloon moved over it after, so you don’t need three hands 🙂 It’s actually better to let the glue set a bit first as otherwise the static from the balloon can lift the grass free. Have you see the recent post on making your own static grass. Might be of use too.

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