Teddy bear fur is an excellent way to create a large area of grassy terrain. I’ve been tinkering and procrastinating but now it is finally done. My inspiration for this idea was initially this blog, but this is apparently pretty common for war gamers. If my guide is unhelpful, a quick google search will lead to you much more beautiful battle mats than mine. Total Cost: $47 (or $25 without the trimmer kit and spray bottle).
Here is the finished product, complete with various terrain bits. Imagine running a big wilderness dungeon or massive battle on this field…
Step 1 is to get yourself some fur. I used a Joann Fabric’s white teddy bear fur at $11/yard. I would suggest getting a beige or light brown fur so your base color is a dead grass and you’ll need less paint. My tests with a scrap of the darker brown fur from Joann’s did not go well, stick with lighter colors that don’t need to be saturated (and lose their fuzziness) to take on lighter greens and yellows. Get enough to cover your table plus a little, in my case this came out to 2 yards of 6′ wide fur for $22 with a 50% off coupon bringing that down to $11.
Step 2 is to trim your fur down to size. Depending on the fur, you will need to get the hair size shorter to match your model size. For 1″ to 5′ scale, you will want between 1/4″ and 3/4″ for the majority of the area. This will fit with grass, in scale, that is 1.5′ to 4′. Trim it in sections at random so the “grass” is disordered and natural. I used a Wahl Trimmer Kit for $19 (I already have the kit for my own hair), but if you have time and comfortable scissors you could probably do it by hand. Grab a $1 comb and brush out any remaining loose fur. You can save this to use for flocking!
Step 3 is to paint. I laid down a base coat with an entire can of Krylon green spray paint ($6). This was not enough so I finished it off with a spray bottle filled with a mix of 50-50 green acrylic paint and water, with a few drops of soap to reduce the droplet size. Definitely check the weather so you can leave this in the sun outdoors for 12 hours at a time, because it will soak up lots of paint and take a long time to dry. I spent about $8 in acrylic paint + a $3 spray bottle.
Step 4. After getting a base of green, add some lighter and darker green spots. Then, add spots of light brown and yellow as well. Once I get more time, I intend to add more yellow and brown to my battle mat, it is a little to lush.
Another look, and here you can see a few clumps of fake grass I made using the leftover fur trimmings. I will keep experimenting, as shoving a clump of unpainted white fur into hot glue does not hold up well to painting, it dries into a big lump.