Friday, August 4, 2017

Cardboard Terrain

Well, I'm all over the place from time to time, with this project and that project. My current project is a terrain project using cardboard taking a more topographical approach.

I saw these photos of terrain made with cardboard and sand, I gave it some thought, and wanted to have something sorta on the same line.

So making use of some moving boxes from our move to which we are still unpacking, pealing off the packing tape and cutting it down into panels of sorts.

Of course you don't have to wait to move you can pick up moving boxes most anywhere, the one in the photo from Home Depot cast about 75 Cents.

What I did first is, I come up with a sketch of what terrain I wish to build, a side view, a top view and if I can a more detailed drawing with a more of a 3D view, now keeping in mind what I draw or sketch doesn't turn out anything like as the modeled terrain 

Like this one an idea of a cave entrance.

Figures are Peter Pigs 15mm Marines.

And here is the cave entrance terrain, as you can see it didn't turn out anything like the drawing at all, this piece isn't finished I still need to add a few layers to it the cover it in tissue paper and then in extra fine sand.

Here's a top view of the cave entrance terrain

I wanted to make better use of a terrain piece other then it just sitting on the table. I wanted to be able to go up and down it. Each layer was cut and using it as a template for drawing out the next layer.

As you can see in this photos below the very small changes that were made  between the two layers dry stacking as I went along, working to give them a natural flow from layer to layer.

When I'm about half way stacking the layers I start to glue them together so as not to have so many pieces floating around.

Here's a piece I made with a cascading oasis and a natural stone bridge.

Here's a top view as you can see there are many ways to approach this terrain and be able to move across is.

These pieces all still need to be covered in tissue and sand plus of coarse to be painted. I have many other ideas of terrain that are on paper at the moment but are being transformed to cardboard.

So here is the oasis covered in blue tissue which at the time is what my wife had in her stash of gift wrapping supplies.

Okay so the tissue approach took some time little pieces at a time and the dye in the paper managed to get all over one's fingers and hands plus the tissue paper tore real easy and I was continuously covering holes I was punching through the paper wet with glue, next attempt I will try packing paper and post the results when that is done.

Next you can see the finished terrain piece, first I had to wait a few days for the glue and the tissue step to dry, once it was good and dry I started the next step to cover the whole thing with a very fine sand, I forgot to take pictures of that step, but here is the terrain piece painted. 

I hope you can see from the picture just how cool this piece turned out and is going to really work out on the gaming terrain


Now this piece above is not done with the cave but I have many other terrain ideas on paper and are making their way to cardboard, 

Each of the terrain pieces has only cost me 75 Cents each plus the cost of glue, paper, sand and paint.

These pieces are for desert terrain but I plan to make some using the same approach but will paint them in darker grays and add vegetation for more of a rocky or mountainous  terrain

Well I hope you all enjoyed this and give it a try.


  1. That looks splendid!
    Thanks a lot for the explanation on how you made it!

    1. Thank you for the kind comment, I try to add as much details in my builds as I can.

  2. Neat! Thank you for sharing.

    Would spackle work in place of the tissue? How about just regular newsprint?

    1. I would think spackle would fill in too many details of the terrain piece as far as the layering of it, and it would lose some of that desert look, I'm going to try packing paper next, it has more weight to it then tissue paper and would seem more ply able then news print, we will see for its my next step and I will post the results when finish. Thanks for the tips.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank You, and You are Welcomed.

    2. Choo Say's comment is just spam links to a gambling site. Sorry.

  4. That is brilliant - just what I need for my Mars terrain. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I'm glad you like it and it has inspired you to do the same.

  6. This looks amazing! Could you just explain what you do with the paper when you cover it please? I don't quite understand. Thanks!

  7. Great work my friend.
    Truly inspiring.
    Keep it up.

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