Spanish moss
#1
Hey all.  Been lurking for a long time (and learning a lot in the process).  I'm starting a swamp terrain piece for a game I play, and wanted to make some Cyprus trees covered in Spanish moss, like below.  Can't figure out how to make the Spanish moss, though.  Any thoughts?

[Image: 0048-Honey-Island-Swamp-New-Orleans-28102009_wm.JPG]
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#2
(05-29-2015, 11:23 AM)Bookawar Wrote: Can't figure out how to make the Spanish moss, though.  Any thoughts?

Presuming you're working in a smallish scale (not Barbie doll), I'd say "craft cotton", which is my joke-y way of describing that wad of cotton that comes in pill bottles. Any cotton would work, but you might have to 'straighten it out' or 'card' it to get the Spanish moss effect. Cotton balls tend to be rolled up.

Dye the cotton with washes or ink. This is kinda tricky since the cotton will look much darker in color when wet; do it in stages if you have to, and don't concern yourself with getting even second coats - a streaky look lends verisimilitude in the end.

Build your trees as you would normally and paint them. Drape small tufts of your cotton over the branches and pull the ends down gently. At this point, you can use scenic cement (PVA and water) to adhere the moss to the tree, but use it sparingly or your moss will look soggy and wet when dry. If you want that look, go for it. If you want a fluffier look, just cement the tips of the moss together where it hangs down. A little undiluted glue on the branch will help. Once everything is dry, you can go back and add additional paint to the moss.

That's the gist. Color some cotton, let it dry, re-fluff it up and stick it to your tree. The "stick it to the tree" part is a technique you sort of have to figure out as you do it, but it ain't brain surgery, so go for it!
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#3
The results are something like this: (tree in the middle)
[Image: 100_1023.jpg][Image: 100_1467.jpg]
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#4
It occurred to me last night that this may also be an application for the ubiquitous green scrubby.

A pair of scissors and a green fibrous pot scrubbing pad might make good Spanish moss. Cut some droopy shapes out of green scrubby, then just glue them to branches. Give it a little drybrushing in lighter green for highlights and you're done.

Fast and cheap.

I could probably produce an example; I have this stuff laying around.
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#5
Great stuff, guys.  Thanks. 

Tob:  If you have to time, I'd love to see how scrubby moss comes out.  I don't have any lying around to play around with. 

Someone on another forum suggested using shredded, stretched toilet paper.  Any thoughts on that? 
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#6
@Tob: I would suggest tearing the scouring pad to avoid hard edges.

I can see a bit of light green drybrushingwould help sell the look.
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#7
(05-31-2015, 03:20 PM)Caleb Wrote: @Tob: I would suggest tearing the scouring pad to avoid hard edges.

But I am a rare and delicate flower and such abuse might abrade or blemish my porcelain digital dermis, potentially causing me mild discomfort!  I know what you mean though, and I don't see any way around it otherwise we risk that cartoony look.

In the interest of laziness, I present preliminary samples.

First is the green scrubby. These are some scraps left over (lazy) from previous tree endeavours. They are half the thickness of a fresh scrubby out of the package. Nota Bene: Disregard any previous recommendation for drybrushing. I forgot what it's like to deal with The Scrubby, but they can take a lot of paint. In the photo I did a heavy layer of light green (FolkArt 922 Bayberry) and you can barely tell it's there. I threw on some cheap yellow (Anita's Yellow) just for more effect. Whatever paint scheme you go with, be prepared to go heavy.

[Image: DSCF0176.JPG]

It just so happened that I had a wad of craft cotton sitting next to my paint, so I draped some over a stick as-is; no paint, dye, or fancy tricks. Just a little dab of PVA across the "branch", then I just draped strips of cotton over, and pulled on both ends. You can see the "chunkiness" in this kind of cotton - the little knots and wads - sells the Spanish moss look. I laid it on a little heavy here for sake of example, but it's very easy to thin this stuff out to make it wispier.

[Image: DSCF0178.JPG]

I need to find a 'tree' to put the scrubby on, but I might be a little busy then next 2 days; nights should be free, stay tuned.
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#8
I've seen awesome results using 'Angel Hair' or spun glass which is out around Christmas time for snow ground cover in the villiages.

[Image: susiej+com2.jpg]
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[+] 1 user Likes MellyMonkey's post
#9
Had another idea overnight:  Dryer sheets.

The anti-static cling sheets that get thrown into clothes dryers with wet clothes have a very interesting stringy texture.  The upside to using these would be ease of handling, and of course a marked decrease in the latent electrical charge of your trees.

The downside is that now your trees smell like Spring Freshness or Grandma's House, depending on your attitude.  Which may not be a downside per se, again, depending on your attitude.

Test trees: Green scrubby and unpainted cotton.

[Image: SpanMoss.JPG]
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[+] 1 user Likes Tob's post
#10
Those both look great, Tob.  Might have to make a shopping trip for some supplies . . .

Thanks again. 
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