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I have seen alot of scenery products here lately, and I've noticed some things kinda pricey for what they are. For instance, I needed a tumbleweed, looked at them and found out that if you have an old piece of carpet that is tore on a end and that stuff balled up makes a perfect tumbleweed. A cactus, I used three green pipe cleaners and fairly impressed by it. Now I got the chance to get my hands on some "ground cover" well egg shell foam put in a blender and died green is a close match. I've seen some people with a dead plant not to sure what it is painted green. Juniper maybe? Not sure. Well the other day while at my moms I noticed an old coal seam near the creek. Guess what? yep used that too!!! Nothing a hammer and a canvas sack can't do. Any other tricks? Maybe kitty litter for the tracks.....unused. Gravel from own driveway? I just see alot of money with bought items and well other trains need bought too!!! Big Grin
Any other secondary tricks out there?
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I considered using stuff from terra firma, but it gets too heavy. I built my layout of light weight materials so it could be dismantled and moved someday. Here's a couple of things I do:

a. Free saw dust from a high school industrial arts shop. Spread it around and fix it into position with a mixture of 30% white glue, 3o% latex paint for color, 40% water and a few drops of liquid soap. Saturate the saw dust;

b. Cotton twine grass. Fold it so you have 9 strands in a bundle 1.5 inches long. Cut 0.1 off of one end, and unravel it with a wire brush so it looks like long grass or a bush. Dip the bushy end into white glue then into some fine foam for color. Or you can leave it natural to look like fall grass or bushes that have dropped their foliage.
Industrial sand . You guys have seen this on walk paths .We used it to line underground high voltage cable ditches. It's not crush run it's very fine granulated granite ,the perfect size for O scale ballast . This has no rock dust in it.
At the stone yard it's about 60 bucks a ton so if you showed up with 2 or 3, 5 gallon buckets they might give it to you for free.

Well, there is the old coffee stirrer trick. I find they come in lots of different sizes. The best for fine grain and straightness is Starbucks. The thinnest seems to be Whole Foods.

Cut the edge of a plastic soda cup top and stretch it out straight and it looks alot like dental molding.

Polystyrene is everywhere in take out items - look for the number 6 recycle tag with the letters PS. It comes in clear and many colors and weights. In addition to cutting out flat pieces, some of the molded shapes could probably be used for something. I just am not sure if that is the same stuff that is used in modeling. It does glue up with Testors plastic glue.

Collect the little paper/card stock punch outs that result from binding documents in the GBC binder at Staples/Office Depot/Fedex. They are the size of shingles or cut stone etc. Speaking of punch outs, I recently heard someone say they used a hole punch for making circles. I guess they come in different size and shape holes.

From a Dave Frary book I saw he used the little molded image on the top of a drink stirrer for a fish store sign (it was a lobster). I must have to drink more because I haven't come across anything like this.

On the OGR forum I have seen really wonderful stuff done with cut up paper and cardboard. I have seen it cut straight or into wavy patterns and diamond patterns with scrap booking scissors. Also check out the Coast Line RR. It is On30 and alot of his buildings are done with artist paper (but that isn't free of course).

Other posters on this forum have mentioned using chop sticks and skewers. I guess if you want them free you need to start making shish-kebob to justify the cost!

A failure was using an old gift card to cut up into strips. It cut real nicely, but I couldn't get it to glue properly or take paint and don't want to sand the stuff. I think they are PVC.

Good idea for a thread.

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