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"DIY flexible terrain mat tutorial " Topic

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770 hits since 7 Aug 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Stew art Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2017 9:58 p.m. PST


I've had some threads on TMP detailing my efforts on making a flexible wargame mat with caulk. These got nuked when photobucket stripped the pictures, so I've added a post on the blog for a how to…

check it out of you will..



McWong7308 Aug 2017 3:20 a.m. PST

Regarding the seams, could you iron them out?

Great post, thanks for sharing.

Johnny60 Inactive Member08 Aug 2017 4:06 a.m. PST

Nice tutorial. I'll have to give it a go sometime. Regarding the seam, perhaps a steam iron before you add the paint and caulk? I certainly wouldn't iron it once it's finished!

Wheldrake08 Aug 2017 6:13 a.m. PST

Brillint! I've really got to try this. Thanks for the tutorial!

Oberlindes Sol LIC08 Aug 2017 8:59 a.m. PST

Inspiring work! Thanks!

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 9:30 a.m. PST

It is a really good way of making mats. I learned the technique from a TMP member and it looks excellent.

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 10:33 a.m. PST

Thanks for comments!
I really do like the way both came out, and if I can do it, then anyone can.

RE the Seam; I wasn't clear that the seam comes from where two canvas pieces were sewn together to make the larger drop cloth. SO the seam is more like what is on a pant leg than a wrinkle. So no, you can't iron it out. you could try to use the part of the drop cloth doesn't have a seam, or put it more on the side, or use something that's not a painter's drop cloth like a large roll of canvas. Painter's drop clothes are just more affordable.

However, don't stress too much over it as it's really NOT as noticeable as it is in that picture. It's actually pretty un-noticeable.


VicCina Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 12:35 p.m. PST

Nicely done. When I did mine I used an artist canvas so I avoided the issue with the seam.


Marc at work09 Aug 2017 5:50 a.m. PST

Great links guys – thanks for taking the time to share these excellent mats and your differe3nt approaches

Early morning writer09 Aug 2017 6:31 a.m. PST

Nice work but I, like your blog commenter Gonsalvo, will stick with my variation – artists canvas (too big to clamp so I live with the shrinkage) and cheap acrylic house paint. Start with a base layer of a dark brown using a paint roller and then all successive layers using a rough dry bush technique: mid-dark brown, dark tan, light tan, very dark green, mid-dark green, lighter green, yellow green. Each layer applies less paint so that all eight colors show when done. The color variations work for a wide variety of settings. Here is a link to my 'flexible' mat with a game in progress:


You can see some hills I've painted to match. The hills are 1/2" plywood with sanded edges to avoid the harsh edge, spray painted and then fine sand glued on top and then the same painting sequence as above except leaving the vertical surfaces mostly the four browns. Works for me.

Again, nice work. Curious how many ways there are to get to a playable gaming surface. Biggest benefit of my approach is zero worries about loss of material once dry – once that paint dries, it's permanent. And it rolls up and unrolls just fine – except that the sucker is nearly 6' wide and over 20' long!

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2017 8:39 a.m. PST

Indeed, there are many ways to make a good looking mat.

@ VicCina: I was aware of your efforts, and even voted for a shade of brown here on TMP. it was part of my encouragement.

@ Early: Oh yes, your stuff is the business, and I've seen it in person. The effort put into making everything match really brings the whole table together.

45thdiv11 Aug 2017 5:28 a.m. PST

All very nice stiff. One day I will give this a try.

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