How to Make a Fake Thatch

Wooden cottage with thatched roof from Lithuania image by Kamil Korczak from

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.

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.

thread 3 image by askthegeek from

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

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.

Hot glue gun isolated image by Marek Kosmal from

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.

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.

scissors image by timur1970 from

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

thatched house image by Chris Lofty from

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.

thatch image by Ni Chun from

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.

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.