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How to Make a Fake Thatch

Updated February 21, 2017

Thatch has been in use for centuries as a roofing material, and is still used in many parts of the world. Thatchers in England have taken the functional material to an art form with intricate weavings and patterns. Making fake thatch for theatrical productions or for miniature projects is fun and relatively easy, though time consuming. With moderate sewing skills, the effect of the fake thatch can be very realistic in appearance.

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  1. Gather a handful of broom straw and flatten the bundle by spreading it out horizontally in your hand, clasped between your thumb and palm so that the bundle is flattened to approximately 4 to 5 inches wide. Allow 2 inches of the straw to protrude over the top of your index finger and the length of the straw to protrude toward your body.

  2. Thread the upholstery needle with button thread and tie the ends of the thread into a knot to create a double thread.

  3. Holding the bundle of broom straw in your non-dominant hand, still clasping the bundle flat under your thumb and against your palm, use the needle and thread to sew in and out across the top of the bundle, 1 to 2 inches from the top of the straw. When you reach the side of the bundle, make a stitch around the outside edge of the bundle, and reverse your stitching, in and out, across the previous stitches. Lock your stitches by making a stitch around the outside edge. Set the bundle aside. Cut the ends of each bundle so that they are even and straight.

  4. Glue the first row of fake thatch bundles along the outside bottom edge of your roof, and then overlap straw bundles one inch over the top of the first glued row, forming another row across the width of your roof.

  5. Continue gluing rows with the glue gun and glue sticks, by placing a dab of glue on the back sewn section of each bundle of straw and pressing firmly against the roof of your project until the entire roof is covered in rows of broom straw thatch.

  6. Cut 1-inch thick bundles of craft quality, dried Spanish Moss into 2 to 3 inch long bundles.

  7. Follow steps 1 through 4 in Section 1 to sew the bundles of Spanish Moss necessary to cover your miniature scaled roof project. Cut the ends of the bundles so that the ends are even and straight.

  8. Use the glue gun and glue sticks to squirt a dab of glue on the back of the sewn section of each Spanish moss bundle and press the bundles firmly against the roof's bottom outside edge.

  9. Overlap a new row of bundles ½ to 1 inch over the previous rows of glued bundles and glue the bundles across the roof project in a straight row. Repeat gluing of bundles in overlapped rows until your roof is entirely covered in fake thatch.

  10. Tip

    Trim the rows of thatch after all bundles are glued for a uniform, professional thatch appearance or leave shaggy for a "peasant" or aged look.


    Use caution with glue guns to avoid burns and injuries.

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Things You'll Need

  • Broom straw, 10 to 12 inches length
  • Button thread
  • Upholstery needle
  • Spanish moss
  • Glue gun & glue sticks
  • Scissors

About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.

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