Picture of Roll-Up Board Game / Card Game Surface
This might be of interest if you live somewhere with limited space but would like to have a good surface to lay over a table for playing card games or board games.  It seems it's pretty common for people to buy a roll of baize to lay out like a table cloth for this purpose, but I thought this would skid around or be too easy to tug around accidentally, particularly if it overlaps the edge of the table.  So, we stitched together pieces of baize and leatherette to produce a surface that's possible to roll-up for storage and also provides a static and smooth surface for playing games on.

To avoid having frayed edges, we folded the baize over every edge, added an extra crease in the overlap and stitched through all of those layers (3 layers of baize and 1 of leatherette).

The tricky bit about this project was getting the size of the baize right, since ironing creases into the edges shrinks the material around the outside.  We tried to reduce this effect by ironing the baize all over before starting, and stretching out the baize before sewing the pieces together.  There may be a better way of doing this, however.

Step 1: Get the materials

Picture of Get the materials
We bought 90cm by 130cm of baize and leatherette from John Lewis, allowing at least an extra 15cm in each dimension - the actual size of the materials we got were up to 10cm out, it turns out.  You need the baize to be at least 6cm bigger in each dimension than the intended final size of the mat.

You'll also need some good scissors, a ruler, a measuring tape, tailor's chalk, an iron, a sewing machine and thread to match the colour of the baize.
MaximeP1 made it!6 months ago

Thanks for idea and your step by step. I just ask a professionnal for the sewing. But it looks f.... good. Thanks again. (42'' X 78'')

somoney1 year ago
Looks fun!
I'm extremely Surprised that I'm not seeing these 'roll up game surfaces' in the main stream. Shipping a poster tube is dirt cheap compared to folding game table toppers...

Custom game surfaces like D&D, Texas Hold'em, black jack, CATAN, TICKET to RIDE, etc would make some one with contacts in the manufacturing industry stacks of cash!

A kickstarter perhaps? ;-)
gplocke2 years ago
Just finished making our own mat based on your awesome instructable! I deviated a bit from the double hem since I didn't care that much about having a super fancy edge and went with a double sewn hemmed border deal. My wife did the sewing machine part for me cause I'm a n00b. But we think it turned out great!! Thanks for the idea and instructions!
photo 3.JPGphoto 2.JPGphoto 1.JPG
mhl (author)  gplocke2 years ago
That looks great! I'm glad to hear the instructable was useful. The double hem was indeed quite time-consuming to do; I think if we were to make another one, I'd probably do the edges as you've done.
pennyf244 years ago
I have heard of this type of thing being used for jigsaw puzzles and I would probably make one for that case as I never finish them and need the table space so that I can work on something else... I personally wouldn't want to use them for my card games as I would be afraid that it would bend the cards too much... Anyone who has made one of these before, could you let me know if that has happened or not? Still I would make this regardless.
wenpherd5 years ago
Well, i finished mine. Ran into a few problems like the lether stuff warping but, i'm finished, and it looks great.
mhl (author)  wenpherd5 years ago
Great! I'm glad to hear it worked out well.

Strangely, I think a comment disappeared from this thread asking about felt versus baize as a material for the surface.  (I got an email with the comment but it never appeared here.)  Anyway, our thinking was that felt would produce much more fluff after some use, but I don't know if that would be a real problem or not.
wenpherd mhl5 years ago

Yeah I deleted the comment since I already started.

geruk5 years ago
 Would it be hard to put  a grid on it for use in games like Dungeons and Dragons?
mhl (author)  geruk5 years ago
I'm afraid I've never played Dungeons and Dragons, so I'm not really sure what the requirements would be.

That said, one option would be to stitch a grid into it, but that would be very time consuming and easy to get wrong - also with our sewing machine you could only really stitch round the edges.  Perhaps it would be better to start with a material with a grid printed on it anyway, but I imagine it would be difficult to get baize pre-printed as such.  You could just draw lines onto it with marker pen, but I think that would be difficult to do neatly, since you'd have to keep the baize under tension for drawing with pen.

Sorry I don't have any better ideas about that...
wenpherd5 years ago
Feet wise, how big is this?
mhl (author)  wenpherd5 years ago
It's about 2½ feet by 4½ feet (75.6cm x 138cm), just because that was the size of our kitchen table.
mhl (author)  mhl5 years ago
Sorry, I meant 73.5cm x 135.0cm - read the wrong numbers from my notes!
wenpherd mhl5 years ago
Ok thanks.
wenpherd5 years ago
Wow, this looks great, I mean professional. Oh, and if your looking for new games here is a great website with superb reviews.

mhl (author)  wenpherd5 years ago
Thanks for your kind comment, and the links - Jamaica looks rather fun!
Fieldownage mhl5 years ago
 I have to recommend Inn-Fight  and Carcassonne, great games.
Yeah, Carcassonne is real fun.
blam725 years ago
Wow, this is exactly what I need.  I'm going to have to add this to my "to do" list and perhaps bump it up ahead of a few others.  Thanks for sharing.  Well written instructable.
kingbirdy5 years ago
What game did you have on the mat in the 2nd picture? (in the first step)
Looks like Puerto Rico...never heard of the other...


mhl (author)  barry_0155 years ago
Yes, that's right, it's Puerto Rico.

I've just added a top down picture of the setup for a 2 player game of Dominion, which shows the surface half unrolled - that's how we've used this most of the time due to lack of table space.