Faces, Bases, Something, Something: PVA glue Tarp/Camping Mats

Today Lee continues our irregular painting/modelling tips series by taking a look at more uses for something most gamers will have, PVA glue.

Recently I saw a post on a tank modelling group where one of the modellers mentioned using PVA glue to make the piled tarp on his tank.  No details were given but anyone who has got PVA on them knows it drys into a film so it seemed easy to reverse engineer.

There were two things I wanted to get out of trying this technique:

  • haphazardly stuffed tarps in stowage bins
  • The ubiquitous one-man camp mats that get rolled up and starched on racking and even dropped over antennas as an improvised mat rack.
M1A1 with camp map stowed on the aerial
A somewhat novel take on “Hull down” shows both camp mats and a haphazardly stored tarp.
( from the 3RTR associaton website: https://www.greenflash.org.uk/)

Both had proved tricky to capture with my limited green stuff skills.  I didn’t expect the technique to replace green stuff for a draped tarp though.



You will need:

  • A non-porous surface
  • PVA Glue
  • Acrylic paint to add colour
  • A cutting board
  • Modelling knife

Forming up

First we need a non-porous surface to work from.  I used my painting tile but an old plate or piece of glass will work.  I mixed some Vallejo Bronze Green with PVA glue, mainly to make the transparent PVA more visible when it dried, and then spread it into a thin layer over the tile.

I left that to dry overnight and, by the next evening, it had cured into solid layer of plastic material.  From there, it could be lifted from the tile and cut into shape.


Hastily stowed tarpaulin

This is fairly easy to accomplish – cut a piece of our formed material into a large square or rectangle, then scrunch it up and stuff it in the stowage bin!

Rolled Camping Mat

This is slightly more involved, but probably the best way of accomplishing the look of a camping mat.

First we cut the material into rectangles roughly the width and length of an infantry figure.

Next we use a convenient rod shaped object; I used a .50 barrel, to roll the mat up into a relatively tight cylinder, applying a dot of superglue at the end to hold it together.

Now we can glue the mat onto our racking, chuck it into a stowage basket or drop it over an aerial.

There’s probably even more applications for the technique and its certainly one I plan to experiment with more.  

If you have any ideas, then feel free to add them in the comments below.  Otherwise, see you next time.

2 thoughts on “Faces, Bases, Something, Something: PVA glue Tarp/Camping Mats

    1. Cheers! Steal away!

      So, having done another batch, I have noticed that it can go brittle. Not sure what is causing it but some parts seem to dry brittle whilst the rest is fine. Something to watch for!

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