Quick and Cheap Scenery




I wanted to make some quick scenery so I found some materials around the house and got set to building.

This method can be applied to most scenery.

**Update......I've added a couple of pictures with miniatures to give an indication of how the scene could look on your gaming table**

Step 1:

The first model I made was the large tower, but I never documented any steps.

I made the next tower (with the roof) and actually took photos this time.

Using Amazon packaging I marked the length and height of the tower along with a flap for gluing.

Using a straight edge and a craft knife, cut out the walls of the tower.
As this is a thick card, I lightly scored along the bends to allow for neater/easier folding.
 - Be careful not to cut all the way through or you'll have to find a way for joining the cuts!

Step 2:

Fold and glue the the walls.

I used springy clothes pegs as clamps as they are long enough to get down the inside on the tube and hold it until the glue sets.

When set, glue the tube onto a base that has been cut from the same card.
Make the base approx half an inch larger (all round) to allow for stability and decoration.
 - I found putting a glass on top was enough weight to hold the 2 parts together until the glue sets

Step 3:

For the roof, I used a piece of paper from one of those square notepad blocks and marked out lines from one corner to the other.
Then I measured 1" from each corner, marked the diagonal and cut to make the the square an octagon.

Cut along one of the pre-marked lines to the center of the paper then overlap to make a cone.

Glue the overlap.

Step 4:

If you go to a local DIY shop, you should be able to get a "sample" of blown vinyl wallpaper.
This is available in a variety or patterns, so just choose what would suit your project best

Cut the wallpaper slightly larger than the tower and glue.

I found gluing 1 wall at a time was the best way to work without it being too messy with the glue dripping everywhere.

Step 5:

Glue the roof on to the tower.

Using thinner cardboard (a jaffa cake box worked for me and provided a tasty snack at the same time), roughly cut lengths of the card and cut notches to look like roof tiles.

Starting from the bottom of the roof, work up and overlap until the whole roof is covered.

Step 6:

Paint and decorate any way you want

Step 7:

Here is another example of walls and a tower.

No instructions have been added as it is pretty self explanatory.

If you need/want to know anything in more detail, or you think I have left anything out, please let me know

Hope this Instructable will help you with your own scenery.

Happy building

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18 Discussions


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

The walls are textured wallpaper glued on to formed cardboard structures.

The rocks on the ground are made from cat litter (or kitty litter depending on where in the world you are)
All painted black with blues, greys and whites drybrushed over the top to give it the "rock" effect


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

No. I've never actually played 40k. I used to play D&D many many years ago. I would like to get back into it or at least see people playing using something I have built....I think that would a great compliment :-)


5 years ago on Introduction

Very cool. They look great. Any ideas for a dinosaur jungle landscape with trees and rocks? I was going to do a paper/crete kind of thing, but I don't know how safe that would be for my 3 yr old. I really like how your materials ended up looking very realistic and stylish. I am sure talent is part of that, though.

5 replies

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Hey... thanks.
I got a model kit that I added rocks to. These are actual pieces of concrete that I gathered up while working in the garden. I thought the shapes were ideal for the purpose. I just glued them to the same base as the model and painted them in the same colours. How safe that would be for a kid, I have no idea, but it is the best method I have found so far for adding large rocks to scenes. For smaller rocks, like the ones I've used in the pictures, I use cat litter (unused!) again, glued onto the base and painted to match the rest of the scenery.

Hope this helps some :)

Hi ya !! Hey the klean kitty litter is a good idea. Also, if scale is an issue, Baking soda, and corn starch work well in dioramas to, and are much closer to the 1.72 scale than store bought sand.

The last time i was on holiday I filled empty 500ml pepsi bottles with different types of sand and use that on dioramas. Then the colour is correct and no need for painting.....and the price is right of course ;-)


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Great idea the paper/crete-clay With the lil ones tho best to use a good amount of acrylic sealer over them. Thing to remember with the crete side of that equation is that there is active lye in the crete, Much the reason that it cures as long as it does after the surface sets. A safer alternative would be paper "clay" Ghoulish Cop has a recipe over on You tube as well as one for DIY flour based glue. Here is a link to the "clay" and he does have the Vid on how he makes his own glue Hope it helps



5 years ago

Thanks, I build model tanks but have never built dioramas for them because the stuff at they hobbie shop is way to much. Now I can try.

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

that is the same problem I have always found...too expensive! and all the parts are generic, so it means that someone out there will have the same terrain/scenery that you have. Building it yourself means it will be unique :-)


I did have a go at stop motion filming many years ago.
for the background I just used wood (specifically MDF as I had scrap pieces not doing anything) painted with poster paints......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFznm_h21pE ......enjoy ;-)


5 years ago on Introduction

Wow..... What a great idea. The Textured wallpaper looks great, and such a time saver. I'll be looking for some next trip to the "Big Box" toy stores Thanx fer sharing!!


5 years ago on Introduction

nice job .. i like the blown vinyl wallpaper idea for texture .. very creative.