Help support TMP

"DIY Terrain Mats " Topic

11 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Terrain and Scenics Message Board

772 hits since 7 Nov 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Neal Smith07 Nov 2017 6:47 p.m. PST

I already posted this in a terrain group on Facebook, but thought I might get some good responses here too.

Hi All! I'm about to embark on the great adventure that is creating a terrain mat made from caulk and canvas! :)

TLDR: I have a painter's canvas with a seam running down it. Will this leave an issue with the finished product?

I've looked at a bunch of tutorials, etc. so I think I have the basic idea down. I need to make sure I know what I want the end result to be and make sure I have all of the materials on hand.

I bought a painter's canvas, knowing that it had at least one seam in it since it was so large. I've also seen where people are using Calico and I may go to that (if I can get it wide enough) if the seam becomes a problem… The seam runs down the length of the canvas. All 12' of it…

Has anyone done a canvas mat with a seam like this, in it?

Did it come out OK?

I am probably going to do two layers of the caulk to provide a little more stiffness to the material. Would this cover the seam better?

Also thinking of just running a "bead" down the length of the seam and smoothing it.

Any help appreciated!

rmaker07 Nov 2017 8:15 p.m. PST

What's the width of your canvas?

Neal Smith07 Nov 2017 9:34 p.m. PST

It's 9' and the seam is 4.5'… :(

I want the ultimate size to cover a 6x10 table with some overlap for placing hills, etc. underneath.

I have thought about cutting it up into 4.5x6 sections, but not sure yet…

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 3:02 a.m. PST

Mine have seams in them, and they're barely noticeable. It doesn't take much extra effort to disguise them with a bit of extra caulk and flock.

Two layers of caulk will add quite a bit of weight and expense, for which the slight increase in stiffness may not be adequate compensation. Since I value the flexibility of the cloth in laying over contours, extra stiffness would be a detriment in my reckoning.

The cloth used in this game has a big, fat seam running right across the middle; I don't think it detracts much from the aesthetics:


Neal Smith08 Nov 2017 8:38 a.m. PST

Thank you War Artisan! Lovely pictures!

I'm thinking two layers mostly because I'm not sure how many "wrinkles" will occur when I use it. I want it to be fairly stiff and some of the pics, I've seen, make it look like it still has a lot of "fabric" qualities to it. Did that make sense?

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 11:14 a.m. PST

Of course it makes sense. Everyone has to achieve the balance that suits their own vision.

I eliminate most of the "cloth-y" qualities by pinning the cloth down along the edges and around the hills so that the ridges and contours are soft and natural, but not wrinkly. (It also keeps the cloth from moving around.) A stiffer cloth might give you the same effect. Maybe try a small patch in one corner of your cloth to see how much you need to apply to get the result you want.

jwebster08 Nov 2017 11:27 a.m. PST

Hi Neal

In my opinion, the seams don't look good. You can buy duck canvas online in wider widths – it costs a fair amount of effort and flock to make a mat so I would go seamless

For the mats I made I used canvas from JoAnns, but I didn't make large/wide mat. It may be a thicker canvas than painters.

One layer of caulk is enough. I sprayed a layer of white glue on after the flock.


Stew art Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 11:49 a.m. PST

I too think that a double layer of caulk will be too much. One thin layer goes a long way.

My mats also have seams in them, because it's just a drop cloth from home depot. you notice then when you look for it, if you know what I mean…

I did a tutorial on the blog. check it out why not?


Neal Smith08 Nov 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

Thank you jwebster and Stew art.

These are all good data points! :)

Neal Smith09 Nov 2017 8:58 a.m. PST

In case anyone's still listening, I've decided on a plan…

I ordered some heavier canvas material to make a 5x9 mat. Nothing really 6' wide!

I have decided to split the painter's canvas into 4 4x6 mats for smaller games. That way I can experiment with desert, snow, regular and maybe use some for "overlays" that would go on top of the main mat; similar to the ASL board overlays. If you know what those are…

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 2:32 p.m. PST

good luck! hope it turns out well.

by making several mats the cost per mat will definitely go down.

I was thinking about doing some overlays myself soon.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.