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Author Topic: Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat  (Read 499 times)

Offline Mako

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 557
Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat
« on: July 10, 2018, 01:38:41 AM »
So, I have a slightly mottled (plain) green, felt fabric gaming mat, and mainly use it for aerial gaming, though of course it does come in handy for ground gaming as well.

Thinking about painting on some roads, fields, and other details, to make it look a bit better (can't afford one of those nice, photo-realistic, printed mats currently.

In reading about options, looks like perhaps it would be best to use fabric paints for the details, since presumably they'll:

1. be best suited to the base material in use;
2. be less prone to cracking, and hopefully remain flexible, since I want to roll up the mat when storing it; and
3. may not bleed through, like dyes most likely would, if I were to use those.

So, has anyone done this with success, and does the fabric paint remain on one side, or will it bleed through also?

I'd prefer to have a plain mat for the other side, if at all possible, in order to make the most of the gaming mat.

Any options for spraying colors over large areas, or some sections of it, to represent crop fields, wide rivers, etc., etc.? 

Not sure how that would work with fabric paints - don't have an air brush currently, and don't know if fabric paints can be sprayed through them.

A cheap, $1.00, spray-bottle, perhaps, for a rough application - perhaps using cardboard, or other templates to keep the spray paint where it is desired?

Can you apply fabric dyes to only one side of the material (it is a bit thick)?

Unlikely, I suspect, but might as well ask.

Anyone done this sort of thing successfully, in the past, and if so, which methods did you use?

Offline Vagabond

  • mad scientist
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    • Vagabond's Wargaming Blog
Re: Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 06:51:30 AM »
Hi Mako I think I did something similar to what you're trying to do. Sorry I can't put a picture on here to show you at the moment but if you look at my blog I posted a game using it.


My base cloth was some pale green  upholstery cloth with a very short nap on it. I just used ordinary acrylic paints, Americana from Hobbycraft in the UK,  and applied it with smallish flat brushes.

I tried this to start with quite thickly to cover the cloth for cornfields and ploughed fields, but ended up doing more of a dry brush for most of it. I used a coloured felt marker to draw it out in the first place, roads buildings fields etc. Then coloured in the outline. What made the biggest difference was doing a final dabbing sort of line to indicate hedges.
The woods and forests are swirls and are ok but could be a lot better.

Mrs Vagabond was intrigued by this idea and helped me with the painting and it took less than a day to complete.

I would think that you would have enough nap on a felt cloth to achieve something similar if what I did is the sort of thing you are after.

I did use the paint fairly dry so as not to soak through the mat and drying time was very quick. If you do use felt tip pens to outline first you will get this all over your hands but it didn't run on the cloth and smudge.

You may have already been there but look at the Wings of war forum, there are tutorials to do this sort of thing but they are difficult to find because they are a few years back in the archives.

Good luck

Offline SteveBurt

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 582
Re: Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 10:21:54 AM »
If you want to do bigger areas, household emulsion works well, and survives being rolled up. The paint seems to stay pretty flexible.
But for smaller features acrylic paint is fine

Offline Billchuck

  • scientist
  • Posts: 236
    • Velociengineer.net
Re: Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 12:01:17 PM »
I painted fields on a felt mat using craft acrylic paints in an airbrush.  Iím able to roll or fold the result without any problems.





Hexes were added using the airbrush and a hex template from Litko.  This was using the cheap airbrush kit you can get from Harbor Freight.

Really, you can run about anything through an airbrush if you can thin it enough.  You need to avoid solvents that will attack the rubber seals, and make sure you clean out the airbrush with solvents appropriate to the material. 

Offline ork56

  • librarian
  • Posts: 110
Re: Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2018, 05:53:16 PM »
If it's one of the old GW green flock mats, it may be worth selling it? Use the cash to buy a new ready printed mat as the GW ones seem to be sought after.

Offline Vagabond

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    • Vagabond's Wargaming Blog
Re: Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2018, 09:18:15 PM »
Billchuck - that looks good, I like the hexes you put on, the only time I put hexes on a felt mat I drew them by hand. I found the mat about 2 weeks ago and realised I'd never used it ::) ::)

Mako these are a couple of pics of what I was referring to.

Offline Mako

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 557
Re: Questions About Making Felt Gaming Mat
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 12:53:59 AM »
Thanks for the replies, info, and pics.

That WWI one looks really great, so I may have to try giving it a go.  Good to know craft paints can be used, and sprayed on too.

May have to check with Harbor Freight, just for grins.

The mat I'm using now is just plain, green, felt fabric - has some mottling to it, naturally, but could look a lot better with a bit of work. 

I've got some textured, dark green, cotton fabric as well, with a multi-colored pattern to it, which looks like a forest/woods, from above, so I may overlay that in sections too, just for grins, to make it a bit more interesting.  I've seen some people use this fabric for North Korean, and Vietnam air games, which is where I got the idea for that.