Make you own 6x4 Gaming Mats

ClockworkOrange

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Both myself and @Tiny have been talking about making 6x4 caulk gaming mats that you can roll up for some time, there’s loads of videos online using some kind of plastic backed decorators sheet, caulk then painted to your tastes.

I’m considering trying it without the caulk, so painting the sheet with a desert sand emulsion paint (mixed to match army painter desert sand) and then PVA and sand, then sealed with more PVA. Question is will it stay on the sheet? PVA and acrylic paint are supposed to be flexible 🤷‍♂️ I’ve been mentally planing about for ages so I’m going to give an A4 sheet tester a try in the next few weeks.

Anyone got any experience of doing this? Tips etc
 
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Black Magic Craft recently posted a video about using EVA foam type stuff you can buy (in Canadia) from "dollar stores". Not sure how expensive or available that is in the UK as I've never bothered looking for it, especially as "dollar stores" which stock that sort of stuff aren't generally a thing in the UK. Certainly seems like a good idea, depending on what you put on the top of it. I believe EVA foam can be rolled up.

PVA, usually, isn't all that flexible, not to the point where you can cover a sheet of, whatever, in it and easily/nicely roll it up, if you've ever got it on fabric you'd know the fabric becomes stiffer...

Acrylic paint often isn't all that flexible either, many variants of acrylic paint will simply crack up/flake off when you try to roll the surface up (great for a lava surface though I guess).

I'm thinking you'd need a flexible latex paint for what you're thinking of doing (body paint for example). You might get away with latex based emulsion paint (DIY stuff, like Dulux or whatever), because it's latex based, although I'm not sure about that, also not sure how it'd take having sand in it.

Or just make the gaming mat in sections that fold up onto each other like BMC's example.

 
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No experience, @ClockworkOrange. But I've considered trying making my own mats for months! I think the main purpose of the caulk is ensuring the mat lays flat, as a painted table cloth might crease and fold something awful... But as mentioned, no experience. The PVA might do the trick just fine. You could do a test piece on a smaller scale perhaps? See how it behaves.
 
@Raven Morpheus i think in England they call them “pound shops.” Which makes me giggle because then I think they’re talking about “adult video” stores with viewing booths…. (An old friend used to manage one of those…. He didn’t have any funny stories to tell…. No faith in humanity after working there…)
 
In an actually related to the topic post, I’ve never experienced PVA being anything but stiff and somewhat brittle after drying. I can’t imagine it rolling up at all if you try to do that. I think it’d either snap off in big chunks or just splinter into pieces which may or may not remain stuck to the backing.

Too bad sandpaper doesn’t come in huge sheets you could cover a table in.
 
@Raven Morpheus i think in England they call them “pound shops.”


They do indeed. We have, among others, a couple of chain "pound shops", called Poundland and Poundworld (although iirc one of those went bust in recent years). They don't however tend to stock things like EVA foam or other stuff one might use for crafting (unless you're making stuff like scotchbright hedges). We do have a couple of other chain stores called Hobbycraft/The Works, but they're more arts and general kids craft, and aren't a "pound shop", so don't stock cheap EVA foam either.

That's one of the problems I find with youtubers, particularly those in the US/Canada, who talk about "dollar store" stuff for crafting - here in the UK often you cost it up and find it actually costs a small fortune!
 
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I agree with you all on PVA glue but all of these videos seem to glue sand or some kind of flock to the surfaces after they’ve caulked it 🤷‍♂️ I’m going to watch em and see what glue they use.

Also in terms of YouTube vids I always have to remind myself that it’s just for clicks, who knows if these things last longer than the camera turning off!
 
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Black Magic Craft recently posted a video about using EVA foam type stuff you can buy (in Canadia) from "dollar stores". Not sure how expensive or available that is in the UK as I've never bothered looking for it, especially as "dollar stores" which stock that sort of stuff aren't generally a thing in the UK. Certainly seems like a good idea, depending on what you put on the top of it. I believe EVA foam can be rolled up.
I have seen those videos and while I (UK based) haven’t seen any of those in our discount stores it’s does look very similar to those jigsaw edged mats you can get for children to play on or in DIY/car stores to create a surface to lay on while you do some kind of work. If I remember they’re reasonably expensive though.

Luke at GGS did do a more uk based video on this a while back and he explored a few materials. Think this is the one:


Too bad sandpaper doesn’t come in huge sheets you could cover a table in.
I have to say I hate sand on gaming boards - especially for Necromunda where you actively have to lay your models down on those surfaces. I really don’t want to sand paper my models as I game!

That actually why I prefer gaming mats these days.
 
Funnily enough in Luke’s video he used his own quick drying basing glue as is apparently quite stretchy.

I would avoid PVA as it does go quite stiff. Or at least it did on some cloth when I used it as canopies, banners and the sails for my sump skimmer.
 
They do indeed. We have, among others, a couple of chain "pound shops", called Poundland and Poundworld (although iirc one of those went bust in recent years). They don't however tend to stock things like EVA foam or other stuff one might use for crafting (unless you're making stuff like scotchbright hedges).

It was Poundworld that went bust, though ours eventually got replaced by a new shop (One Below) which I gather has some of the same people involved.

I've seen EVA in both shops locally, though not in the format we're looking for here. Poundland have some very small (A5 or maybe even A6) thin sheets in with child crafting stuff, while One Below recently had some large blocks apparently for use in yoga.

The Range do sell the kids craft mats. Not too expensive, though they're probably not at 'dollar store' prices:

I have seen those videos and while I (UK based) haven’t seen any of those in our discount stores it’s does look very similar to those jigsaw edged mats you can get for children to play on or in DIY/car stores to create a surface to lay on while you do some kind of work. If I remember they’re reasonably expensive though.

Yes, those are the ones.

I have to say I hate sand on gaming boards - especially for Necromunda where you actively have to lay your models down on those surfaces. I really don’t want to sand paper my models as I game!

I agree. A textured surface can be hard both on hands/elbows and on models.
 
You should see the hobby shops in Amsterdam:
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It was Poundworld that went bust, though ours eventually got replaced by a new shop (One Below) which I gather has some of the same people involved.

Ah right, couldn't recall which one it was. Not surprised some of the same people have a new similar venture.

I've seen EVA in both shops locally, though not in the format we're looking for here. Poundland have some very small (A5 or maybe even A6) thin sheets in with child crafting stuff, while One Below recently had some large blocks apparently for use in yoga.

The Range do sell the kids craft mats. Not too expensive, though they're probably not at 'dollar store' prices:

No, not "dollar store" prices. £3.74ish (£3.75 if you round up) per tile isn't bad, but it depends on how many you want/need for a 6x4 board. If you don't happen to have a TheRange nearby they charge from £3.95 for delivery. So lets say £4.75ish per tile, if you don't have any other store that sells them nearby and want them delivered.

They are 2ft by 2ft (or 60cm x 60cm in new money). So you'd need 6 tiles for a 6x4, by my, rather tired at this time of night, maths. Two packs then would do an 8x4, give or take the jigsaw joins that you may or may not cut off.

So that's £33.93 (delivered from TheRange) for an 8x4, not including the cost of whatever 6x4/8x4 surface you're putting it down on (standard/usual home table size is 5x3), paint/glue/texture materials etc. Not bad, but starting to get into ready made gaming mat territory at that price.

Certainly not the "dollar store" prices youtubers in the US/Canada appear to enjoy.

Sorry for drifting off topic.
 
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I saw a thread about one such mat made with a painters drop cloth made of canvas (nice toothy texture) silicone caulk, sand and various size gravel and paint.

The purpose of the caulk, esp. 100% silicone is the flexibility. PVA is plastic and isn’t that flexible

It Germany we have drop cloths made from what looks like dryer lint and shredded up rags that have a smooth plastic backing. Durable, lightweight and Extremely cheap, too.

He laid down the caulking liberally and spread it out evenly with a wide trowel used for doing drywall. Then he laid out the grit and sand or whatever. It looked pretty good. This was for Zulu war era historical gaming so he had a hardware shop mix up quart cans of the browns and tan colors he used on his bases.

I think a Textured gaming mat is definitely worth a try, although I can’t imagine how tight you’d be able to roll it up. It would depend on the thickness of the texture, but you might be able to fold it like a blanket and keep it in a cupboard.
 
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oh no, I definitely wasn’t suggesting using sandpaper as a mat for real. That was meant to be a joke. Stuff wouldn’t slip, sure. But paint jobs would definitely be in jeopardy if you did that. Even if it would be Sandy in color and texture.

Even with a varnish to protect the finished project, I’d still think that sand would continually rain out of it thanks to being rolled and unrolled. But that’s just my thinking about how it might work. Actual physics could definitely prove me wrong.
 
No, not "dollar store" prices. £3.74ish (£3.75 if you round up) per tile isn't bad, but it depends on how many you want/need for a 6x4 board. If you don't happen to have a TheRange nearby they charge from £3.95 for delivery.

It's not the only option. I've seen them on eBay and Amazon too, so there may be better deals out there.

I'm really not sure how they compare to dollar stores though. While it does seem to me that Americans get a lot of things cheaper, I don't think everything in the dollar store is literally a dollar, so I don't know what they pay.
 
for the foam mats, probably look at hardware stores with gardening sections. The parents in law got a pack for the garden for when our little one goes over. Or yoga mats might work too.