Static Grass Applicator – Type 1 4

Wires broad viewThis week I’ll be able to show you Part 1 of a two part series on making a Static Grass Applicator. There are a number of awesome videos and articles out in the wild web with instructions on how to make your own, so Luke and I thought we would be great to make a couple of applicators.

Luke opted to make an applicator based on an electric fly swatter.

I have decided to make an applicator based on a negative ion generator.

Both applicators do the same thing, that is make static grass stand up straight when you apply it. What we will look at is cost, ease of construction, sturdiness and how good it does the job.

Time to look at the electric fly swatter applicator.

Static Grass Applicator – Type 1

WARNING: We are not electricians, and this applicator does involve taking apart a battery operated electrical device. Please be careful and do not proceed if you have any concerns.

Ingredients and cost:

  • Electric fly swatter – $7
  • Batteries to suit swatter – had some at home so $0
  • Metal sieve (must have metal handle and mesh to conduct electricity) – 3 pack for $2
  • A spare length of wire. Nothing amazing (the stuff in this picture is a phone cord) and you shouldn’t need more than 30cm of it – had some spare, so $0
  • Superglue – general household stuff for $0
  • Small screwdriver to suit fixings on the swatter – had one at home $0
  • (Optional) Soldering iron and solder
  • (Optional) Milliput and/or hot glue gun
Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - Shopping list

A look at some of the parts needed.

Construction Steps:

Step 1: Open up the fly swatter handle. The picture below illustrates where the screws are to open the thing. Remove these and put aside.

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - Case closed - showing screws to remove

Step 1: Circled above are the screws required to be removed.

Step 2: Removing the ‘swatter’. The picture below illustrates where the wires go (two blue to the external lattice, one red to the internal lattice) to the original swatter. The ‘swatter’ needs to be removed. To give me as much wire as possible, I cut through the fixing holes of the swatter. Remove the swatter part and do what you want with it; it is no longer needed.

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - Swatter wires - showing wires cut

Step 2: Removing the ‘swatter’. A view of the ‘swatter’ after removal from the handle.

Step 3: Attaching the sieve/ strainer to the handle. The picture below illustrates how the sieve is placed and where the wires attach to:

  • The sieve handle may need to be bent slightly to fit around the screw posts. Simply slot it on top when it fits.
  • Connect the red wire to the sieve handle. The photo is awkward, but the red wire loops back to the base of the handle, as shown on the left circle in the photo.
  • Connect the blue wire to the earth wire as shown in the right circle.
  • Superglue/Milliput/hot glue both wires and the sieve into place so they don’t move (I only had superglue)
  • Wires broad view illustrates how the whole thing fits together.
Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - Wires closeup - showing soldered joints

Step 3: View of the wiring inside the handle, and where it attaches to the strainer.

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - Wires broad view

Step 3: Broader view of the entire applicator.

Step 4: Put the case back together, fit batteries and away you go.

Stuff to note!

  • The PCB in the device has two blue wires coming from the same solder point (one to each outer lattice). Either one can be cut off. You could probably keep both, but there’s no real point in doing so.
  • Soldering is optional. You could simply wind the wires to their connection points then tape over them. I just happened to have a soldering iron at home.
  • DO NOT TOUCH THE WIRES! It hurts. It certainly won’t kill you, but it made my hand tingle for a while.
  • Check the batteries required. I got D size but only needed AA. Spent $2 I didn’t need to (though a torch I have is now fully powered).
  • Took a total of 10 minutes. Cost $9.


Here are a few pictures of the results of static grass being applied with the applicator. You can see the grass standing nicely on its end, looking more like a tuft of grass as opposed to lying down all over the place.

The final picture shows how the grass looks when used as part of a display piece (this piece is a work in progress of 15mm Australian Moderns, from Eureka Miniatures, in some desert scrub).

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - SG_T1-5

15mm Australian Moderns from Eureka Miniatures on a WIP display base.

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - SG_T1-1

Easy to see how the grass stands up and forms tufts

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - SG_T1-3

Example picture 2

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - SG_T1-2

Example picture 3

Static Grass Applicator - Type 1 - SG_T1-4

Side on view showing a good look at how it stands


Overall, this type of Static Grass Applicator is cheap and easy to make. If you don;t have any tools the cost will be a little more, but not exorbitantly so.

A reminder and warning though, when the applicator is turned on you will most likely end up receiving a shock if you touch the applicator. So please be careful.

Next up will be the negative ion generator applicator, for comparison.

Does anyone else have any tips, tricks or ideas on static grass applicators, or even if you have one you would like to show us?

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4 thoughts on “Static Grass Applicator – Type 1

  • LukeP

    Oh yeah. Something to keep in mind is that the CAPACITORS STORE A CHARGE! Even when you’ve stopped pushing that button it will still zap you if you touch the sieve and the earth wire. As the instructions say, it won’t kill you, but by the gods it gets your hand tingly and if you’re anything like me it will scare the shit out of you.

    Always discharge the device after using by touching the conductors together. You’ll get a very satisfying snap noise and some bright lights.

  • unhingedtangent Post author

    Hi rcesapper,

    I agree, it is a very easy and cheap way to improve your static grass application. I always thought that building something to do that job would be difficult and time consuming. After we completed our projects, I was very keen to show people it really is a simple and easy process, and pretty well anyone can make one.