Tuesday, January 23, 2018

My fluffy grass matt

I have had a few request about how I made my latest mat. I always wanted a matt that I could unroll and ta.da: there was most of the work done. I wanted thing like roads to be integral to the matt, but I also wanted to the grass to be, well for want of a better word 'fluffy'.

There is a section of my club that things all games should be played on 120mm x 90mm or 4'x3'. Personally, I think this is because we are getting old and can't be bothered standing up to move toy soldiers around. But this size is used by Studio Tomahawk rules like Condo and Saga, so this is the size I went for.

So, here is the mat in question posing as Australia

 And here it is in India

The matt is A Zephyr Vinyl table cover made in Australia. The picture below shows the vinyl side

I do actually us this side for some games (see below)

However the other side has a fabric backing, and this is the side I used. Other people have made mats using drop sheets, but I think the vinyl baking makes the mat much stronger.

In the beginning I sketched out the roads in caulk

This is what I used.

With one layer you can still see the texture of the fabric, so I added a few very thin layers. I was trying to economise, so I didn't cover the whole mat in caulk. That was huge mistake as later you could see white bits between the flock.

I tried adding some sand for texture, but I stopped as I thought the abrasiveness of the sand would wear out the caulk as it got rolled up. Instead I just ragged the caulk with an old t-shirt as it was drying which gave me a texture I liked.

I used clay kitty litter for the 'rocks' as I thought the kitty litter would absorb the caulk and be more durable. So far that has proved to the case.

The caulk dried really quickly. Next I pained on PVA glue mixed with water and sprinkled three tones of flock in patches. The flock dries to be very fluffy, but not very durable.

So I splayed a water PVA mix over the top once it had dried. I found that the more PVA you spray, the flatter the flock becomes.

So I sprayed some areas really flat to create stable areas for my buildings. I also dry brushed the caulk at this stage to bring out the texture.

That was it. The project would have taken one whole Saturday if I had covered the whole mat in caulk. As it is I spent a few evenings filling in all the tiny white gaps. A lesson learned.

My last lesson, and I can't stress this enough, is you must stop your cat dancing on the flock while it is drying. The cat has been punished and the mat repaired.


  1. Excellent stuff Mac,

    I might have to have one of my own 😉👍

    Happy W

  2. Awesome- thanks for the tutorial


  3. Out of interest how well does the mat roll up? Does it stay very flat when you unroll it or does it need weighing down?


    1. THe matt rolled up into a tube surprisingly well. Even more pleasingly it also unrolls too.

  4. Excellent idea & it looks wonderful, thanks for taking the time to post this :)

  5. It looks flocking brilliant, mate !

  6. 1 You have a cat?
    2 How do you store it (the mat)?

    1. I roll it up into a postal tube for posters. After considering turning the cat into a pair of gloves, it was simply too cute and has gone unpunished.

  7. Nice use of the vinyl tablecloth. I’ve seen the stuff on the odd occasion but never thought of its use in that way... second the above, how is it stored?