Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blue's Modular Table PartIV

So...On with the Show!!

Now that we have the grass mat texture on all the appropriate portions of the six tiles it is time to start putting some additional texture on them.  Step one of this will be to use Spackle (wood filler) to texture the roads and seal the edges of the cliff features and pond.

I used a putty knife for this operation and started with the road beds.
I plopped a scoop of the Spackle onto the road and spread it with the knife working from the center of the road out to each side in turn.  I made sure that the filler over lapped onto the grass mat a bit and fully sealed the cut edge of the mat along the road. 

 Next I smoothed the center of the road bed by dragging the knife along the length of the road...this further smoothed the putty and added some texture that suggests wheel ruts etc.  At this point many people use some kind of device to create actual wheel tracks in the putty...but I was satisfied with the appearance of the roads after the putty work and decided to skip this step.

Putty was also used around the cliff and pond features to seal grass mat edges and ease the transition into the broken terrain.  Once the putty was applied all the tiles were set aside and allowed to dry thoroughly for a day. 

Here are a couple more the tiles with putty applied.


The next step was to add cork bark pieces to the cliff faces to give them some interesting texture.  Frustratingly I forgot to get pictures of this process....but here it is in a nut shell.  I purchased a large piece of cork bark from the pet supply store near by and then I broke off pieces and picked through the pile of bits to find ones that fit well on each of the cliff faces.  The bark pieces were attached to the underlying foam with a hot melt glue gun.  You can see the results in some of the following pictures.  The cork bark was not cheap ($16...I had a gift card...:) ) but it has wonderful texture that will look great when dry brushed.  That said I think that many different types of bark could be just as effective...On the Quindia blog posts Clarence used pine bark pieces and they look fantastic.  So look at the options and see which type of texture suits your design goals. 

Here is the one picture I have that shows some of the bark in place.

Once the cliff texture was in place I moved onto adding patches of rubble/gravel to a number of areas on each tile to help break up the "putting green" of the open terrain and to add more interest to the roads and cliff areas.  Clarence suggested using ground coffee for this first I thought this was an odd choice...but then I remembered a bag of course ground (decaf...ewww) coffee that had lived in our camping equipment for at least two years and never been consumed...and I figured it was the perfect application for these useless beans...

To actually add the texture I applied patches of wood glue randomly in open fields...along roads...etc.

Onto each patch of wet glue I applied a pile of the coffee grounds and set aside the tile to dry.  I was very generous with the insure that all the glue was covered....the excess coffee grounds were removed using a vacuum once I was sure the glue was dry.

Significant amounts of glue and coffee were added at the margins of the cliff features to represent small rocks and scree...again it is good if this spreads onto the grass mat to ease the transition between the two textures.

Here you see the excess coffee has been removed with the vacuum
As the tiles were finally starting to look like something I took the opportunity to lay out all six of the tiles and get a group shot.  I'm liking it...but there is still a lot to do!

It is finally time to start adding some color!  Painting is up next.




  1. Ha! Another coffee convert! Just make sure not to use INSTANT coffee for anyone reading this as your watered down glue will melt it! I actually got my pine bark chips from the mulch in a neighbor's yard... 😀 Don't tell her!

  2. Looking good Blue. I use a mixture of aquarium sand, railroad ballast and gravel for my texturing, but old decaf coffee is one I'll have to try. I'll have to check out Clarence's use of pine bark. I have an essentially limitless supply when I visit my folks cabin near South Tahoe.