Dungeons and Dragons Reusable Map




Having played Dungeons and Dragons a few times with some friends the burden of needing a new map to draw on every time (Or reusing an old one) became apparent so i began my epic quest to make a reusable Dungeons and Dragons Map.

Step 1: What You Need!

This is a pretty cheap project:

A dry erase board of any size (about 8 bucks)
Dry Erase Markers
Eraser and Eraser liquid (Together with markers 7 bucks)
Spray Paint (I used black in my but in retrospect gray probably would have been better so lines are not confused with walls) (Just over a dollar for a big can)
1 inch masking tape or duct or and sort of tape (A buck)

Cost: about 17 bucks although you can probably find cheaper.

Step 2: Drawing the Lines

First decide if you want to remove the frame from the board if it has one. (If you do pry it off with a screwdriver if should come off pretty easy)

Next get out your 1 inch masking tape and put a piece horizontally across the top of the board

Now a millimeter or 2 (You do not need to be meticulous about the measurement) below it put another piece continue until your horizontal tape pieces with small spaces between them cover all the way down your board. *

These pieces should be as close to parallel as possible.

Now get out your Spray Paint and spray a few inches about the board and cover the whole board.

Wait until the spray paint dries and then remove the tape, you should now have horizontal lines going across your map.

Its quite likely that some of your spray paint has "bled" giving the grid a distressed look don't worry about this because in case you're unfamiliar with Dungeons and Dragons the maps you buy also have a distressed effect on them.

*Conserving Resources: If you don't want to waste all your tape you can save by using only 2 or 3 pieces at a time, spraying them and then moving them down. If you do this make sure you cover the blank part of the board with newspaper first so paint doesn't get on it.

Step 3: Drawing Verticial Lines

Repeat the process used in the last step only this time go vertically across.

After you finish you should have a grid.

Step 4: FIN!

Now you should be done.

Use the dry erase marker to draw dungeon walls and other terrain and then when you want a new map erase it and there you go.

Now grab your dice bag, monster manual and be on your way!



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    34 Discussions


    3 years ago

    it is easier to use permanent marker instead of spraypaint

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    that will not work. The ink from the erasable marker will remove the permanent marker from the dry erase board. So you will have to constantly redraw the lines


    2 years ago

    Great idea, it's a lot better than buying a $20(CND) one off Ebay.


    9 years ago on Step 4

    This is a great idea! I am looking to make something similar but I'd like to be able to fold up for easier storage and carrying. Do you think Dry erase markers will work on laminated paper?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Could cut it in half and use a piano hinge to allow folding


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

    yeah they do. its essentially the same. really though, all i do is draw a grid on poster board.


    6 years ago on Step 4

    Going to make one of these this weekend. Def going to use grey paint. Thanks for posting!

    i might have to do this, fight now we just lay a big sheet of paper under a pane of glass, this would make it a lot easier to move around though.


    9 years ago on Step 2

    I can't seem to get this right. I pull the tape off but it takes the paint off as well. 

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You can cut along the edge with a knife, or carefully pull up the tape while the paint is still tacky. You might need to rough the surface to make the paint stick with some fine grip sandpaper, although this is less then ideal for this kind of thing.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 2

    Yes, but I think I might have picked one with latex in it or something--it seemed to make a paint shell instead of just acting like regular spray paint


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I play in a lot of conventions, as well as hving played with several groups over the last two decades plus. The two methods I use interchangably at my home games are either; 1) buy a 2' by 3' pad of grid paper (1" grids) at office max/office depot for ~ $5 each (50 sheets). These large pads are made for presentations at meetings or whatnot, but they make great maps which can be rolled up and stored in poster tubes, or folded up and put in folders/drawers depending on your preference (I hate creases). At a dime a sheet it is affordable, and can be hand drawn far in advance of the game when needed. 2) we have a Battlemat from Chessex which is 3" by 3' or something along those lines. While it technically works with dry and wet erase markers, we had bad experiences in the past with some brands leaving permanent blemishes on the mat, so we place a large sheet of plexi over it, and marker on the plexi, with the mat underneath providing the 1" grid. 3) I have a very nice projector in my living room, and have tried using a mirror to bounce the image onto the game tables (we use the white plastic folding tables, a perfect projection surface). Unfortunately, due to my high ceilings and the general layout of the room, it is too awkward to set up/break down each week, so we almost never use this; it is beautiful when we do though. As for other methods I have seen over the years, the best has to be the Xacto knife on the whiteboard (using a T-square or yardsticks), followed up with black (or any color) dry erase marker - when you erase it, it leaves a permanent (and very thin/clean) line for the grid. I've never seen one spraypainted like this before, and while it is certainly unique, it is too messy/sloppy looking for my game table, lol. (No slurs intended, just not my style) I've also seen laminated paper used with dry erase markers, or 3-ring binders full of grid paper in sheet protectors, again used with dry erase. I also have seen a large number of non re-usable map methods, some great, some terrible, but that is for another topic, I suppose...

    1 reply

    We've used the exacto knife on white board method and it has been fantastic. the lines are very thin and permanent.

    this is a really cool idea but i was thinking that if you put the horizontal tape and verticle tape on at the same time you could get the + to indicate the corners like in the D&D tiles for WOTC


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i never thought of this i think we will try it during our next game this is cool!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    An easier approach is to scratch the surface of the whiteboard with an Xacto knife or other sharp hobby knife. You can then wipe ink into the scratches to make the grid visible, or simply rely on some of the dry erase to get stuck in the scratches.

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Oi bad spelling :( I'll fix that. Also your exacto knife idea is probably better but it would take way more effort.