Picture of TableTop Terrain Buildings
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Here i am going to teach you how to make cheap and easy to make miniature tabletop terrain buildings
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

MDF or Foam-board
Polystyrene white/blue 
Acrylic Paint
Plaster of Paris (optional)
Saw dust
Food colouring
PVA Glue


Craft Knife set
Paint Brush

Step 2: Building

Picture of Building
Grab some polystyrene and cut it up to roughly what shape you want.
If your building is a ruin, break off some of the styrene for a damaged look.
If you going for an undamaged structure make the edges and cuts clean and straight.

Look at reference images of real / fictional buildings and begin to slice of pieces of styrene to add more details to the structure

Make sure your craft knife / Scalpel is sharp to make cutting easier and to prevent the little balls of styrene from breaking apart while cutting.

Once you are happy with your pieces, glue them to the MDF base / Foam board base.

Step 3: Painting

Picture of Painting
For the first coat of paint apply a black paint over the entire structure.DO NOT LEAVE A SINGLE WHITE SPOT UNCOVERED
After the black paint is dried.Use a dark grey paint and dry brush it onto the building until the building is mostly grey,with the cracks and grooves showing black.

Dry brushing- touch a small amount of paint on the brush and wipe off the excess on another surface until the brush is nearly dry,now brush this small amount of  paint left on the building.

Allow the grey coat to dry.

Now dry brush a small amount of light grey onto the corners or edges,this is to make the highlights pop up the stone edges,giving a more 3D look.

Allow to dry Again.

Above are image examples of the 3 stages of painting. Base Coat, Dry Brushing and High Lights.
bo.sischo8 months ago

I noticed one thing about making the grass. ONE drop of food coloring is not nearly enough, even for a small batch. My method was to add the food coloring to 6 ounces of water. I used green and a bit of blue to counteract the natural "yellow" of the wood. I got a nice green color out of it. After I added the colored water to the sawdust, I mixed it until it was a uniform color over all. I actually made several batches of differing colors and depths of green. Once dry, you can lightly mix these colors to create a more natural grass texture with varying degrees of green in the mix.

technokaur1 year ago
I cant thank you enough i wouldve been happy with the grass making trick, i dont know if thats somethin model makers just know but its so effective!
sharkdanger (author)  technokaur1 year ago

your welcome :)

I actually learn the grass trick from youtube. but the original recipe needed 1 tube of green paint.I didn't have any green paint.So i used food dye,which was so much more stronger :D

i would suggest ground foam rubber for ground cover. Model railroads have used it for years ( after walking away from saw dust) Any good hobby shop will have it.

Yes, the foam rubber thing does give a better texture. but cost wise, i guess saw dust would be free (that is if you already have some at home from sawing). :P

Looks fantastic! Now I know how to make my Bonsai tree look like it's growing out of some ruins... :)

sharkdanger (author)  jjdebenedictis1 year ago

Glad i can help.

Mind sharing some pics of it when your done? would love to see how it turns out :D

Dwargh1 year ago

Thats's fanTAStic!

I want to make similiar structures in the future!

What I still don't get right is, how you apply the base coat, dry brush and high-lightings. What is the difference between applying the base coat and "dry" brush - is it only the color? Or is it another technique you were using?

Thanks in advance for your help :)

keep it up!

sharkdanger (author)  Dwargh1 year ago

The base coat is just normal painting,make sure you cover all the styrene in black (This is to give the illusion of depth after its complete).

The Dry brushing is were you wipe off most of the paint from the brush and roughly apply it on the base coat (This is to give the stone its main colour-grey).

High lights are applied on edges where the light will hit it (It is applied very gently and very lightly using the "dry brush" technique ).

Hope this helps. you can also look up dry brushing on youtube :)

Now that's what I call a lucid explanation! ^^

Thanks! That helped me a lot! :)

akri1 year ago

superb work (y)

Wow... that is one great use of foam and POP. Thank you so much for sharing.

patsheldon1 year ago

this looks so easy to make. I'm sure I could pull it off. THANKS for the share!

Very nice models !

Mielameri1 year ago
I'm blown away by how great this looks! Nice ible!