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"Simulating fallen leaves?" Topic

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1,257 hits since 17 Sep 2011
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Cheomesh Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 6:11 a.m. PST

As par this thread: TMP link

Looking for a way to simulate the dead leaves one finds on a forest floor. Herbs are a method I know, but I am unsure just how sturdy they'd be and I'm afraid they'd get worn off quickly. I am also aware of the pots of scatter at Skullcrafts here: link

Also I heard coffee grounds work, but I've never messed with them (being as they're crushed beans and not very leafy).

Those are expensive; 1 ounce wouldn't last me long at all. What are some methods everyone else has found to work in the past? I do not believe I've seen it much used.

All tips and tricks welcome, thanks in advance!


OldGrenadier Fezian18 Sep 2011 6:18 a.m. PST

Try the 'White Opague Flakes Texture' from Liquitex. It takes paint like a champ and really looks the part.

KatieL Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 6:40 a.m. PST


A mix of "forest floor" and "autumn leaves". Simple. Fast. Relatively cheap.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Sep 2011 6:43 a.m. PST

Unbagged tea also works.

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2011 6:51 a.m. PST

Ooh, thanks PS, I never thought of that.

Cheomesh Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 7:00 a.m. PST

I like the tea idea; I'll give that a try.


timurilank18 Sep 2011 7:16 a.m. PST

Would sawdust found at a lumber yard be coarser? The sawdust would be the right colour to stain in batches with thinned ink; yellow, orange, etc.


moonhippie3 Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 7:25 a.m. PST

Tea leaves will work, but Why doe's everyone always think pre processed or manufactured stuff is the best. Actual leaves from an actual tree would work just as well, if you take the time to sift through it. Stems from those trees make really cool tree trunks if you dry them properly. The artificial garbage is not even close to the quality of mother nature. That being said, the actual folage on a tree is rather difficult to duplicate on a small scale, so…

Historicalgamer18 Sep 2011 7:41 a.m. PST

Have heard of folks using oregano.
Also chopping (mincing, dicing, whatever) real leaves in a food processor.

ScoutII Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 7:52 a.m. PST

Would sawdust found at a lumber yard be coarser? The sawdust would be the right colour to stain in batches with thinned ink; yellow, orange, etc.

Most sawdust is a bit fine – however if you have a friend who has a jointer or planer you can get some very useful scraps (especially if they have the style that uses carbide teeth as opposed to a single long blade). Dial it in to barely scrape the surface and it will peel off thousands of thin shavings of wood.

Why doe's everyone always think pre processed or manufactured stuff is the best.

I don't but I do weigh time versus money. In the case of a few bags of tea leaves (pretty cheap) and gathering up leaves…cleaning them…sterilizing them…drying them…crumbling them up and all the rest, I'll pay a couple of bucks for the box of tea. Other things I am more frugal with because the equation balances out differently. My time is just worth more than the small savings in this particular case.

All tips and tricks welcome, thanks in advance!

Bit ago there was a thread about lizard feet or some such – was actually a post about using a portion of a paper punch to make leaves with. You can actually find punches that make small scale leaves (oak, maple and generic leaf shape) – though generally you need to order those from a specialty store link . Also, if you take a look at the more commonly available punches you can often find leaf shapes mixed in. I have a lace border punch that accidentally looks a good bit like poplar leaves (about 1/8" across).

Anywho, take your paper. Paint one side a lightish color. Paint the other side a darker color (top and bottom of leaves). Use water colors or inks in order to avoid significant build up of paint. Punch a bunch. Mix up a few different colors worth of leaves and scatter. Use a scenic cement type mix in order to hold them in place.

The other option should make moonhippie a bit happier. Lots of people know about the birch catkin leaves (if you don't Google it) but there are a lot of other plants that provide similar items and this is a pretty good time to find some of them. Take a stroll through an overgrown lot of field and look at the various seed pods and what not on the weeds and grasses. You will want to grab them in your hand and peel them apart. I would give you more info about species, but to be honest most of them I do not know what exactly they came from. The upside of this particular natural item is that they tend to be much finer than manufactured items and have much more detail than crushed leaves (tea or otherwise).

Fill up a few bags of interesting items and take them home. Rinse them, boil them, dry them and then use them as you see fit.

Antenocitis CSR Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Sep 2011 9:25 a.m. PST

Those are expensive; 1 ounce wouldn't last me long at all.

Those are very, very expensive.

These, however, are much cheaper and you get a heck of a lot more:



4.50p for that tub btw

(We can supply to trade also, bulk up to 25kg)


ZeroTwentythree Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 9:27 a.m. PST

DIY birch seed leaves, just like the ones at the Skullcrafts link:

Cheomesh Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 9:32 a.m. PST

Good looking stuff, but a bit large. I will experiment with tea leaves first, then branch out from there. I think I tried basil a while back for some project but you guys must do something different as it made my shop reek for a while.


timurilank18 Sep 2011 10:35 a.m. PST

"I think I tried basil a while back for some project but you guys must do something different as it made my shop reek for a while."

Careful or the neighbors will think you are processing your own mellow "weed".


Daffy Doug Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 11:14 a.m. PST


thosmoss18 Sep 2011 11:45 a.m. PST

If you're using dandruff for anything but fallen snow, you maybe should visit your dermatologist.

pancerni2 Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 1:38 p.m. PST

Get one of the big, economy sized containers of oregano, bake it to remove the aroma and viola, dead leaves…


Ancestral Hamster Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 4:12 p.m. PST

Having used sawdust when I still was a model railroader, it doesn't really work as leaves. Pine needles yes, but not the broader leaves of decidous trees. Of course, most wooded areas have assorted debris

Re: herbs. How about parsley? IIRC, dried parsley breaks down into nice flakes and it's not as strong-smelling.

Has anyone here used "recycled" tea leaves or grounds as terrain elements (as any scenic element, not just leaves)? How do you prep them for use? There's no reason to buy said items commerically when one can get them from one's own pot.

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 5:13 p.m. PST

If you live where the seasons change, wait a week or three, collect some real leaves, and run them through your food processor, blender or coffee grinder. Run them longer for small leaves and shorter for larger leaves.

TheCommandTent Inactive Member18 Sep 2011 6:20 p.m. PST

Another vote for tea leaves from used tea bags. I talked about in my blog



dayglowill18 Sep 2011 8:14 p.m. PST

Plusmodel do 1/48 scale laser cut leaves:


wrgmr119 Sep 2011 7:50 a.m. PST

My vote is for the leaf material from Antenocitis, I've used it before and it look's great!

Borathan Inactive Member19 Sep 2011 1:47 p.m. PST

As a warning, if you're using the organic stuff (tea, plant debris, ect) make sure you seal the mini.

BrianH24 Oct 2017 2:22 p.m. PST

What is the concern regarding sealing the mini if you are using organic material like tea leaves or oregano etc. Most gamers varnish their figures anyway. If the concern is acidity then you also need to worry about MDF and I suspect many of the commercial leaf scatter products (who knows what is in them). I have mixed oregano leaves in on painted MDF bases with plastic trees and foliage and have had no problems after 3 years and tea leaves after over 20 years!

Borathan Inactive Member24 Oct 2017 2:36 p.m. PST

For more standard leaf litter, just buy some cheap things of green tea and cut open the bags for some great stuff.

You might need other stuff for the more fall colors though…just avoid things like red pepper flakes because that stuff does strange stuff to what it's on.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2017 4:29 a.m. PST

Brown wrapping paper, very lightly oversprayed with black (yes black).

Then go to any craft shop and look for the punches that the ladies buy to make cards and various paper decoration. Chose ones with leaf like shapes (in 28mm I got a snowflake for example. You get five or six such shapes around the circumference….punch away. You are looking for the bits punched out of course, not the holes left behind! I have several different patterns to use


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