Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Upcycled Dungeon Tiles

It's no secret that I likes my minis... You can read about that here and here and here for example.

I usually use a battlemat of my own making or (rarely) a 3D board (also my design) but I've now become somewhat enamored of Dungeon Tiles.

Now, for me, dungeon tiles aren't a new idea.  In fact, I have a REALLY OLD SET of them from someplace/some company I don't even know...
These are so old, they don't even have 1" marks on them -- you just freeform moved the minis!  Awesome!
I also have a couple of the new sets.  (What the hell is that Red Box doing there... LOL)


I've recently found a couple of places online (ah the Google) where you can go to find decent to excellent dungeon tiles.  One of those sites is Kev's Lounge.  I'm highlighting Kev here because I'm going to use him in my tutorial.

Printing out dungeon tiles on paper or even cardstock is fine, but I'd prefer tiles with a little more "heft" and durability.  When I make my tiles, I print them on cardstock.  The cardstock doesn't warp from the glue the way plain paper might.  YMMV.

I discovered online that you can buy chipboard from Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  You can even buy it from Amazon, but I'd rather use something I can get for FREE.

Enter the ubiquitous cardboard box...

I really should drink less diet soda...
Sure, cardboard boxes are going to be a bit thinner than your standard WOTC dungeon tile, but as long as the scale is the same, they work just fine.  Besides, thinner is better if you are stacking tiles or fitting them into some kind of file or bag for organizing.  More tiles will fit in the same space.

Use a spray adhesive to attach the printed tile to the box.  I use Elmer's spray adhesive because that's what I had on hand.  In the past, I've used a 3M adhesive.  They all seem to work fine.  My adhesive is acid free so it won't eventually yellow the paper.  I tried using glue sticks to attach the tiles to the boxes.  The shiny printing on the box kept the glue from adhering properly.


I attach the printed tiles to the printed side of the box.  The underside is typically plain brown or grey.  I'd rather see that than have "Milk Bones" be the backside of my Lich's laboratory.  Kinda breaks the fourth wall...  :)

Roughly cut the tiles out of the paper, fitting them to the size of your cardboard.  Leave some "extra" around the tile so that you can trim to size when the glue is dry.  Makes the edges of the tile uniform.

Spray the adhesive on the box, then place the tile down onto the sticky area.  Push down on the printed tile with the side of your fist to set it in the glue.  I also run my thumb around the edge of the tile to make sure that the edges won't peel away in the finished product.

Consult the drying time for your adhesive to figure out when to come back.
I've got a whole bunch of tiles draped over another cardboard box drying in my garage...
Trim the tiles to size using scissors or a paper cutter.

All you need to do is print out the tiles, cut them out and glue them to the cardboard.  You'll end up with a sturdy, cheap dungeon tile ready for exploring!
Overhead view -- note the maw trap in the floor...

The thief discovers a net trap...

The hydrospawn are on the march...

3 comments:

Roger the GS said...

I've been considering making tiles out of peel-and-stick textured surfacing. For now, I use old CCG sleeves to outline the rooms in my combat displays.

Lounge Lizard Kev said...

Hi Jim! It's really great to see my tiles getting used! Thanks very much for your support. :) I've actually just released a new set to go with this one over at kevslounge.blogspot.com. I think you'll like that one even more.

Jim said...

@Kev -- Love your work. Thanks for the tip -- I'm heading over there now!