Friday 8 June 2012

The River

My old rivers were looking  a bit tired, I made them over 10 years ago and I think since then my terrain building skills have improved.

Inspiration to create these new ones came from a recent foray to Homebase where I found some vinyl floor tiles with a water effect.

The tiles have a ripple and a series of blue shades. In addition they are self adhesive which makes life a lot easier.

Each pack comes with six tiles (30cm x 30cm)  - at around £7.00 more than enough for my needs.

The river sections I wanted needed to extend across the 3 metre table and would be no wider than 8cm at any point. This way they could fit all my 10mm bridges.

Using hardboard as the base I began to cut out a series of lengths and curves.

Eventually I had enough to stretch across the table. In addition to standard curves and straights I also created one fork.

Using each hardboard base as a template I began to cut out the river sections from the tiles. A sharp stanley knife is more than sufficient. 

The river laid out - now for the banks.

Using copious amounts of white glue I covered each bank in grit, ballast, sand and cat litter. I prepared the 'mix' prior to starting.  The sand is children's green sand not flock. These were left to dry for 48 hours. 

Once thoroughly dry I shook off the excess grit and painted each bank solid black. Thick acrylic paint works well and this help 'binds' the loose material.

(sorry no photo at this stage)

Again leave the paint to thouroughly dry. Once complete the banks were then dry brushed dark & light browns, with a final topping of static grass.

The following photos show the finished river..

Estimated cost -

Tiles £7.00
Hardboard - £8.00
Static Grass. Paint & Glue
Total probably about £16.00
Time taken 10 hours (estimate)


  1. What a brilliant idea! Homebase here I come!

  2. Great looking results!

    I have never had ANY luck cutting hard board, what did you use if you don't mind me asking?

    1. The hardboard was cut using a jigsaw ( small teeth on blade) and then sanded


  3. An excellent idea, soon to be stolen for my VBCW canal.

  4. Very good tutorial and an excellent idea. I will have a look for that material during my next visit to a diy-store.

  5. Amazing, I was looking for a easy and cheap way of doing rivers, now to find a Homebase in Dublin

    1. They sell them online - look for Oxford Blue Vinyl Floor Tiles