I am all for recycling and using and what is considered trash in fun craft projects.. I feel I need to point out that in my craft based professions (costume design and construction and RPG & LARP Accessories) I do not use trash but for making terrain which can be costly and other family crafts, I am all for using old packaging and cardboard, empty toilet roll tubes, lids and caps of bottles.
I will be uploading a series of DIY tutorials for making all sorts of D&D terrain using simple items that most people have on a daily/ weekly basis.
This post is simply making one piece walls with styrofoam packaging sheet blocks. They are around 1 cm in width but can vary a little either way.
What you will need:
- Craft knife
- Metal ruler
- Old Soldering iron / wood burning iron
- mask to avoid any fumes
- foam packing sheets
- cardboard offcuts
- foamboard offcuts
- acrylic paints
- pva glue
- paint/ water containers
- paint brushes
- Kitchen towel
First start by marking and cutting your foam sheets into strips. We choose to do them approx the size of a mini for some and then some around 7-8 cm for and the length of the sheet.
Next cut the strips into desired wall lengths, some long, some short and some to be butted together as corner walls
Next turn on the soldering iron. If your soldering iron / pyro wand has adjustable temperature, set it to lowest. The lower it is the less likely fumes. You must be in a well ventilated room or outside in case there are any fumes and I would make sure you are wearing a protective mask – you can pick these up in any pound shop or DIY shop. I found very little issue of fumes but you cannot take the risk with your health so wear a mask and have ventilation to be safe. Also have some wet folded Kitchen roll to wipe the soldering nib to clean of melted foam regularly.
With the soldering iron, score rows of cobble stone type shapes, wiping the iron regularly on the wet kitchen roll. This stops the foam being in contact too long with the hot iron and thus keeps fumes down and also avoids the melted foam sticking to other parts of your wall leaving sharp edges as it drys.
I went over the top edge of the wall allowing iron to melt in edges of bricks/stones but you can leave flat. If you feel more comfortable you can draw in the stones with pencil first, but I tend to do most things like this free hand.
Once you are done, cut your foam board into bases for each piece of wall.
You can choose to have the foam wall sit in the middle of your foam board base or at an edge. If it site in the middle and you texture both sides of wall then potentially you can have an inside and outside area, maybe adding some greenery on the outside?
When attaching the upright to the foamboard base, I always use the pva neat and take a couple of pins and insert them through the foamboard base and up into the wall… BE CAREFUL not to have the pin come outside the foamboard or foam wall and especially not into your finger.
Let glue dry then remove pins.
Next you can carve a little of the top edge of foamboard away with a craft knife if you wish , so it tapers to your drawn battlemap. This is optional. I did not catch a photo of this part so here is one form another type of wall I will discuss in another blog post.
Now it is time to paint. Start with a black base to act as a primer. You can choose specific primers like Gesso , but all they are is an acrylic paint so I just lay down a base coat. I use some straight form palette but also have a little watered down so it gets in all the grooves. You need to take time doing this. The foam I was using had a sheen to it and took some encouragement to take the paint all over. So I did use a lot of neat paint rather than the watered down paint, but if using a lot of neat paint, be careful not to have it so thick you loose your detail. You can see in these photos I started painting and forgot to add my foamboard base on the ones i took a photo of so had to wait for them to dry before adding base!
Once your base black is dry, time for dry brushing. As with my cave walls I chose a dark grey, a lighter grey and a very light grey then white. Each time with a dryer brush, just picking up the relief.
Again finishing with a black wash.
I have more of these to finish but will upload photos of them in use in due course. Finally you can coat with a pva or mod podge mix to seal