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Monday, March 8, 2010

Canvas Mats, Part One

I have been busy working on a couple of terrain projects over the last week or so, and thought I would share with you my progress.

The main project began last Monday. I took a day off from work, it being the day after my birthday (38 now) and a mental health day being well overdue. My days "off" usually include a long list of projects to keep me hopping about, and this one was no exception. I did find myself at Hobby Lobby, and wandered into the fabric area. I have been wanting to make a canvas gaming mat or three for quite a while now, being slightly dissatisfied with my current felt mats. I just don't like the fuzzy factor.

So I picked out a bolt of nice cotton canvas. I also picked some liquid RIT dyes, and was looking at various tapes and glues to hold the edges of my fabric together. I asked a lady nearby her opinion, and she offered to serge and hem the edges of the cloth for me (she was a professional seamstress). So, with about $18 in the cloth (3 yards, 60" width), and another $12 for having it professionally hemmed to avoid fraying, I proceeded to color the mat.

My first mistake: I didn't wash the fabric before trying to dye it. The cloth has a sizing agent on it whe new, and this kept the dye from penetrating into the fibers properly.

My second mistake: Washing the fabric after dying it. Instead of mottled greens and browns, I ended up with a nice, uniform olive drab. Great for a WWII-era GI tent, but not so good for gaming.

So I ended up bleaching it back out, and now have a terracotta colored piece of canvas. Instant change of plans: no longer an Earthly vista, this glorious series of errors had produced the basis for a new Martian landscape!

I wonder, should I go ahead and just draw in the canal on the cloth? What do you fellows think?
More to come... plus, the other projects, too! Stay tuned!

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