Sheet Moss Bushes

Sheet Moss
SheetMossPackage-800From Encyclopaedia Britannica:

Sheet moss (Hypnum curvifolium), a species of carpet moss. The names sheet moss and carpet moss refer to the growth pattern of the plants, which often form large carpetlike mats on rocks or soil. This species is sometimes used by florists in constructing flower arrangements. Hypnum is a genus in the family Hypnaceae, subclass Bryidae, class Bryopsida, division Bryophyta.

The moss I got was from WalMart as shown. It is too coarse ‘as is’ for any kind of ground cover in O scale (IMO) but with a little tweaking it is useful.

A grinder
HBGrinderI picked up a small cheapo Coffee Grinder for about $14 at Walmart. I wanted to see if the moss could be ground into something I could use as a ground cover. The blurb on the box says “Grinds coffee and spices” so figued .. “What the heck”.

It worked .. to a point. The moss tended to tear apart rather then grind so I was at first thinking .. “Well .. that was a bust” .. but then thought it might work as an armature for bushes.

A place needing a bush(es)
Image2-800The concrete whatever-it-is and the little wall were originaly stuck there to help cover up the joint between what used to be a pair of On30 modules. This looked like a good place for some vegetation.
Sheet Moss example
Image3-800This is how it comes out of the package. The backside is brown (dirt .. duh!) .. basically someone collected the moss by cutting/scraping it off the ground. You can see how coarse it is.
Grinding – dicing – or tearing it up
Image4-800This is what it looks like after going through the cheapo grinder. Honestly .. it is more like a mini-blender with just a knife blade that twirles at speed and chops up anything in it’s path. I just globbed it on .. let it dribble downt he face of the rock.
Water
Image5-800Since the moss is pretty light and fluffy I sprayed it down a bit with some water so it wouldn’t move when applying the adhesive. You could dunk it in water I suppose .. more control and less mess and all that.
CAF
Image6-800CAF stands for Concrete Acrylic Fortifier – an acrylic resin admixture designed to enhance bonding and water resistance of concrete patching materials. Works good for a scenic cement too. I bought mine at Lowes in a Quart bottle. It looks much like milk .. or White Glue and Water really .. but I like it better. There is usually a bluish tint while it is wet but it goes away as the CAF dries. Skim milk can have a blue tint because there is only casein which reflects the shorter (blue) wavelengths. I guess then the wet CAF is doing just that .. reflecting the short wavelenghts of light. Like I said .. not after it dries.
Well soaked
Image7-800I added enough CAF that it ran off to make a big puddle. Like I said earlier .. looks like milk. You can just see the slight bluish tint. I used a paper towel to clean up the spillage before it started to set up.
Ground Foam
I mos
Image8-800I have this Woodland Scenics ground foam in a small container. The “Fine Turf Weeds” what I had on-hand. I mostly needed a green texture as a base material to coat the adhesive covered moss. When later on I dry-brush with a lighter green this will look like shadows.
Sifting on foam
Image9-800I used the Model I Ground Foam Dispencer to sift the ground foam over the wet moss. The Model I Ground Foam Dispenser works very well for smaller areas such as this.
Foamed
Image10-800I made sure I covered most of the moss. I am not really worried much about some of the moss uncovered .. tome it ends up looking like branches or some such. Also not worried about the excess that fell to the ground .. that is just more ground cover and texture to the scene.
Topping off
Image11-800With all the wetting the loose moss tends to pack down a bit so I added a little extra on top to bulk it out a bit. Again .. used a paper towel to remove the excess run-off at the bottom.
Enough allready
Image12-800A little more CAF and more ground foam and I call this done. Make sure the excess acrylic is remove before leaving. I will let this dry overnight and finish it up tomorrow.
Dry and Happy Bush
Image13-800Ok. This is the next day. I took time to stack the photo. I used a stack of 11 photos. The hopper is 8 inches back so figure that gives approximately 3/4″ for each sample. Camera was set to use Aperature priority, f/8, ISO 100. Color is balanced using a Gray Card.
Drybrushing and Finished
Image14-800Finally I drybrushed the bush. The intensity of light is very low inside so we have to simulate the bright highlights and shadows that the sun gives to a scene. The dark(ish) green ground foam I applied to the moss works fine for shadow. To make that ‘pop’ .. and make use of the textures we have I simulate the sun highlighting the top of the bush by drybrushing lighter greens on the uppoer parts of the bush while leaving those that would not be hit by direct sunlight (assuming the sun is directly overhead). I used Craft Paints – Anerucaba Forest Green (darkest), FolkArt Spanish Olive and FolkArt Soft Apple .. just what I had on-hand .. mixing the colors.

So. Calling this finished.


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