DIY gaming table for under £40!

Outside of Simplified…

We all need an escape from work, one of mine is Gaming, not the type who rarely ventures into daylight with callused thumbs from using a games controller (although I do a bit of that too!) but I am more the type to turns up with boxes to a friend’s house or other suitable venue and roll dice. I find if you are going to get properly involved it requires a level of modelling.

So this weekend, I was alerted to the plight of a couple of my gaming buddies, where they were unable to arrange a game as they were struggling to find a venue with a decent table. I do have a table but it’s about a third of the size of a table required for a ‘proper’ game as a typical gaming area is about 1.2 x 1.8m. So like a hero I decided to step forward and build one anew.

DIY Gaming Table

I got to thinking about how to extend the size of my kitchen table to make it a proper gaming table. The quest was on and so I headed off to B&Q. I hunted around for suitable boards, when I found these sections of plasterboard, they were the EXACT right size, 1.2m by 900mm.

Thinking of stability I then went around looking for Velcro strips (as the boards being as heavy as they are, are unlikely to move much, but the Velcro would prevent them from moving at all).

DIY Gaming Table

Being resourceful, I then bought premixed plaster and as I moved into the spray paint area thinking “what environment do I want? Snow or desert?” when I saw it…. Stone effect spray paint and I thought “urban”!

So I walked out of the shop having bought:

  • 2no boards = £8
  • 2 packets of stick on Velcro = £9*
  • 2 tin of stone effect spray paint = £16*
  • 1 tin of black spray paint = £6
  • 1 tub of pre-mixed plaster =£4*

Total: £43*

*In hind sight I could have saved some money by thinking ahead, these were mistakes which I learnt as I went along, so this is how I would do it now:

  • 2 boards =£8
  • 1 tin of stone effect spray paint = £8
  • 1 tin of black paint = £6
  • 1 tin of grey paint = £6
  • DIY plaster = £3
  • 1 pack of Velcro strips = £4

Total: £35

 

Now onto the construction!

 

Firstly I stuck the sheets of polystyrene sheets down using PVA, then in a well ventilated area I then applied small amounts of poly cement to melt the areas down to give the sheets a more damaged feel, once complete I then took the tops of yogurt pots and stuck them down for craters, I then added generous amounts of plaster around these areas to make them look “cratery”.

I wanted a bit of texture on my board, so I smeared the plaster on all of the open areas, I kept it minimal as I wanted texture, not terrain…. that will be for another project.

Once the texture had been added, I wanted to add some burnt out buildings (I was thinking storage huts, habitat blocks or mini powerplants or out-houses (I also wanted an excuse to use some old sprues)) so I added the sprues with a generous helping of plaster.

Now, once that was all dry (and if I were to do it again, I would do it like this, as it was, I wasted £2 by using far too much of my texture paint where normal grey would have done the job better), I took the grey (hypothetically) and added the colour to the building foundations and on the majority of the board.

I used black spray around the raised areas of the ruined building foundations and around the edge of the boards, then holding the can far away, I sprayed gently around the whole board to add a bit of colour contrast.

DIY Gaming Table

Once that was done, I then broke out the special effects paint and gave the entire thing a thin coat, then I let it dry.

Once dry to the touch I then brought the boards in where I then mixed brown paint with a lot of water, then dripped this gently across the entire board to add in a bit of colour to the less interesting areas of the board and dribbled it around the craters.

DIY Gaming Table

I then turned my attention to the ruins foundations, I added more thinned down black into the recesses then dry brushed the edges with a light grey, I also added a hint of colour to the burnt out buildings.

 

I have emerged triumphant! One 6 by 4 battle board on a budget and done in a day,

DIY Gaming Table

Prep work (none, 30 mins if you mix your own plaster),

Preparing the boards (30mins – 1 hour),

Drying time (as it wasn’t essential that the plaster was totally dry) (1 hour),

Spraying the boards (30mins),

Drying time (2-3 hours),

Painting touch up (1 hour)

DIY Gaming Table

Upsides:

  • Very cheap
  • Fairly lightweight and off the shelf with no cutting required
  • Cheap enough that you are happy to experiment
  • Fun to make.

Downsides:

  • The boards are fairly brittle and can break if you are not careful and being so large, you can easily crack them if you attempt to move them by yourself if you hold them in the wrong place, I strongly recommend that you ask for help when moving them, not because they are heavy but simply because of the “crack factor”
  • being two sections of 1.2m by 900mm storage could be somewhat tricky.

I now have the “board”/terrain bug and I plan to work with a friend soon to make a full city scape board (he doesn’t know this yet.) for some kill team/zombie action and will be looking into cheap alternatives to the plasterboard.

DIY Gaming Table

DIY Gaming Table

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