Polyfil and puffball trees

by Todd Morris
(Forest Hill, MD)

For distant puffball trees, I use the time-honored technique of making balls out of polyfil fiber, and then add ground foam (different sizes and colors) with matte medium to add a little personality. However, if you've bought green polyfil fiber prepackaged in small bags, you quickly find the whole process gets quite expensive if you have a large area to cover. Here's my tip:


Buy a large bag of polyfil fiber at your local department or craft store - usually this stuff is used to fill pillows, comforters, etc. You can usually get a big bag for less than $10. However, it's one color - white. Unless you're modeling snow or want to make clouds from the stuff, there's very little on a layout that can be modeled with this color. Solution - paint it black first. Pull out a couple handfuls at a time, and spread it out into a loose bat that covers an area of about 1 square foot. Get some cheap spray paint (99 cents a can) and paint your bat. Allow that to dry and spray with your desired color (I use greens to model summer). You can then use these bats directly on your layout, drape them over tree armatures, or pull them apart and make your puffballs. You'll find that some of the white polyfil will show through once you've make puffballs, but once you add the ground foam the white will disappear.

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Feb 26, 2023
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A Better Way
by: Ron in Sacramento

1. Buy the white polyfil
2. Roll into 1" to 1.5" balls (n scale)
3. Hold on tweezers and spray paint dark green or black
4. Roll in ground cover of your choice
5. Set to dry

I made about 60 puffball trees in about an hour last night, in various green shades and textures. I'll need about 200 more to complete my rolling hills area. I will probably fill in the perimeter base areas with WS or homemade (grind my own foam in blender) clump foliage.

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