Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making a cheap modular gaming table..

I've been finishing up the second set of boards for a urban setting (grey concrete) so I thought I'd show what I use in case someone was interested. Last year (or maybe a little longer I can't remember) I was trying to think of a good way to make a table, I wanted something that would be able to break down as I play in my garage. I also wanted something that wasn't messy.

I can't take credit for finding the tiles, one of my friends was at Home Depot and saw modular shed flooring tiles so we went and checked them out. They are 2 x 2 and interlock with tongue and groove. And they are only 6 dollars each. So it's only 36 bucks for a 4 x 6 table. It's not crazy cheap but compared to the GW table it's a real bargain.

The first set we tried to use gravel and flocking but that sucked. The seams showed and the gravel was constantly falling off, I never had a chance to paint it as I had to keep putting more gravel on it. Sucked big time!
Here's an old pic of it .. back when my Blood Angels were pretty new..
So it was time to figure out a new process for finishing the boards. Again my friend Scott came to the rescue. He was at Lowes this time and saw a display for aerosol textured paint. It looked like it would make a nice finish so we went and picked up some cans to test it out. It looked good but it still took some a few more steps to make it look clean and correct. We started priming it but the white was bleeding through so I picked up some cheap hobby paint and on the mud boards I then painted it brown before we sprayed the texture. This made all the difference. They came out looking great, then I cleared them to protect the finish. (top pic) I order some paint from Dick Blick.

So here are the steps..

1.) Buy the tiles from Home Depot or Lowes .. I'm sure plenty of places carry them but they were in the flooring section of the Home Depot we went to. They are made of wafer board and have a plastic base glued to the bottom.
2.) Then I prime them with Kilz Total One. It's a latex stainblocker primer that I brush on. You can use whatever you want but Kilz is awesome and covers greats so one thick coat and your are on to the next step.
3.) Next brush on the undercoat. For the concrete board I used a grey which I had picked up from AC Moore. They were on sale for 3 for a dollar so bonus! I brushed it on rough so it would have a rough real look.
4.) Now you are ready to spray on the Texture. It will most likely take 2 coats because the spray comes out heavy and if you keep going it can push itself around  the board leaving bare spots. The spray cans are a bit pricey so you can either just bite the bullet or wait for it to go on sale. They also sell the paint at AC Moore and Michaels so check the paper for coupons or sales. It does happen and they have some very cool colors.

5.) Clear coat the boards when the coverage looks good and is dry. Here is the finished brown table (below), when I put the table together this time I flipped the one board the wrong way so you can see an edge in the middle but normally there isn't a seam (well a color seem, there will still be a slight one no matter what but that's the nature of joining multi pieces together haha).

There are numerous products out there and they all seem to work equally well. I haven't had any issues with any of them.

Hope this helps someone if they are looking for a new way to build a gaming table ..

I made a part two with more information in it, check it out.


  1. Been looking at those boards for a while; thanks for posting this

  2. Sure .. they work pretty well and stack up for storage so great if you don't have room to store sheets of plywood 8)