I plan on updating my cemetery this year with some nicer tombstones than I created in my first project. I saw a haunter on Pinterest who made their own moss and thought this would be a perfect detail for them. But, when I checked out his recipe it was made from grits. This would not work for me as I store my props in an attic where mice have access, necessitating the avoidance of any food particles. So, I thought I’d experiment with some other options.
The photo below shows the materials I tried. From the top, left to right, they include: dryer lint, store bought grass powder for model train displays, foam board shavings, paper insulation, real moss from the hobby store and sawdust.
The foam board shavings were not fine enough for moss, but it was clear they would be perfect if I wanted to add crumbled stone to a broken tombstone. The model train grass powder was too fine so it was too flat. The lint, insulation and real moss all seemed too bulky and overpowered the prop.
My preference was undoubtedly the sawdust for moss.
Next I divided my sawdust into several cups. To each I added a bit of water and some acrylic paint. I used various greens, yellows and browns to create several different colors. I found that a very small amount in a cup would color all the sawdust. I simply stirred it until it was coated in the color. I was also able to add quitet a bit more sawdust and it would continue to absorb the color from what was already colored in the cup.
Next, I took a bit of each color and mixed them together. Unfortunately, they absorbed color from each other and after being handled became a large pile of the same color. To avoid this, I let them dry overnight. Also, instead of mixing the colored sawdust first, I applied it in layers. I started with the main color. I generously spread Elmer’s wood glue on the prop where I wanted the moss. In this case, I applied it to a cheap Dollar General skull cut in half and painted gray and glued to a foam board tombstone. I sprinkled the colored sawdust onto the glue and pressed it in. Then I sprinkled bits of other colors on top and pressed them in.
A bit more perusing of real tombstone’s covered with moss I’m sure will help with the placement of the sawdust to achieve a more realistic look.