Friday, 19 February 2016

Homemade flock (not made from Sawdust)

I recently needed some flocking, a quick trip to my FLGS came up negative and none of his distributors carry any. I looked at ordering some direct from Woodland Scenics a shaker bottle would be about $10 plus $36! shipping, ebay not much better.

    I decided I would try my hand at making some. Sawdust seemed to be the most recommended way to go, so I went to my nearby Home Hardware store and got a half a bag of it (a small white wastebin trash bags). Got it home and sieved it (2-3 hours spread over several sessions), a lot of the sawdust was pretty big, about 1/3 of my haul was usuable for flock. I added the paint and it came out OK.

The paint didn't soak into some of the sawdust, the guy did SAY there was some MDF dust in it, I wore a mask.

This is about a third of the sawdust I got, made into flock, the rest is waiting until I see what colour I need next.
 While I waiting for it to dry, I was googling about flock and there was a Youtube video that showed a guy making flock out of something called Rainbow Foam powder. A search found out it used to be made by a company called OASIS, but they dont make it any more :( But all it is WET Floral Foam gound up into a powder :). Another search showed that WALMART carries WET Floral Foam Bricks, a single brick is $4 and a triple pack $8.

I picked up a single brick for testing.

I was in a Dollarama (a Canadian dollar store chain) and they had some WET Floral Foam bricks for $1.25, a tiny bit smaller than the Walmart one but at 1/3 the price, so I picked up a couple. They behaved the same way as the more expensive ones, except they faintly smell like feces when first wetted.

Ran it over a grater to get a mess. I would suggest using a dust mask at this point (or do it outside), it doesn't produce much dust, but the dust it does produce is very fine.
Grater and 1 brick grated

   Add 1 cup of water (250ML) to the stuff and knead it for 2-3 minutes, it looks a lot like wood pulp, if there is any un absorded water keep kneading or pour it off, you want no liquid water in the mix.
The above amount with water added and kneaded I use a washing glove as its reusable and easier to don.

    Add paint (the stuff is very dark so make your paint lighter than you think you'll need), I then worked it in with my gloved hand (about 5 minutes).

   Then spread it out on on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and let it dry (my first batch took almost 3 days, but I added way too much water).  When dry (with 1 cup of water about 36 hours) I pushed it it through a strainer with holes the size of window screen.

   I then pushed it through another finer strainer. You can skip the first sieve and just proceed with this step, if you want the fine powder.
The tiny yellow flecks are from sawdust contamination I sieved it into a bucket that I had used to sieve sawdust and not cleaned throughly enough afterwords.
 The second sieving brings it close to Woodland Scenics Fine turf size.

A sample of W.S Fine Turf

One brick made maybe half of a Woodland Scenics Spice bottle worth, or maybe the small bag size.


  1. Hi,

    do you still use this technique? Are there good results? How does it react with PVA glue?


    1. I don't use this technique any more, for 3 reasons firstly this stuff doesn't take colour well and secondly I found a free source for sawdust, thirdly it is a possible health hazard. The results are very good and reacts well with PVA.

      Some Floral Foam is a health hazard, although I'm not sure if they mean the WET floral foam (that this tutorial uses) or DRY Floral foam. I suggest you wear a mask when making this stuff.