Hobby Shortcut: Flock for Free

You can use coffee grounds and tea as free wargaming flock to base your miniatures or to enhance your terrain pieces. I particularly like it to apply on my small scale (15mm – 6mm) playing pieces.

Sand from the beach

The most basic flock is sand. You can leave it as is, or paint it in any color you can imagine to represent whatever you want.


If you want to represent dead leaves or any other vegetation litter on a base or terrain, dried tea (especially the finer kind form your standard tea bags) lends itself perfectly for that purpose.

I prefer to use the tea as is for forest floors or to sprinkle some “dead leaves” on a base to enhance the look of it. In my opinion, there’s no need to dye it, but I suppose you can, if you want more vibrant autumn colors, for instance.

Coffee grounds

You can collect and dry used coffee grounds. Just put it on a plate after brewing your delicious cup in the morning and let it dry. Once dried, you can use it as is or taint it in the color of your choice.

Tinting the wargaming flock

It’s an easy next step, dying your coffee grounds or tea. Just pour it into a cup, add some cheap acrylic crafting paint of your choice, and thoroughly stir the concoction until you’re satisfied with the tint. Just make sure to use a light color tone, since the paint always darkens a bit and especially, on the dark brown coffee grounds, you’ll need something light enough to get your final color tone right.

After a good time mixing and stirring, while constantly adding more green paint, you’ll end up with a green crumble cake like this:

Wargaming flock from coffee and tea

Once your flock is uniformly dyed, just spread it evenly on a flat surface, and and let it completely dry.

Optionally, you can put the dried clumps in a cheap blender to get a finer grain. I got mine at our preferred cheapo shop ACTION. At least, that’s how I wanted it to come out in the end. I mainly use it to base miniatures. The flock should in that regard imitate moss or vegetation on a lower scale of model, like 15, 10, or even 6 mm.

Wargaming flock from coffee and tea
The finished product: ready to use.

In conclusion

Once dry, just apply it as usual, onto watered-down PVA-glue.

Please note: Always seal coffee grounds with watered-down PVA-glue. Otherwise, it will come loose again. To break surface tension, I usually apply/spray some Isopropyl alcohol unto the freshly applied and still wet flock.

As you can see, by making your own wargaming flock from coffee and tea, you’re being resourceful and creative at the same time. In our hobby, we can scavenge quite a lot of materials, which otherwise would have ended in the trash.

Leave a Reply