Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Easy Path to Cobblestone Roads

It all starts with 3mm MDF
Back in October we posted a short item explaining roughly how we made cobblestone roads.
We discovered Dave Graffam Models' selection of paper scenery, available from The Wargame Vault.  At $2.95 (USD) this is a very good price for the designs.  The kit is in the form of a PDF and uses Layers to have varying road and sidewalks (footpaths).  Mac users will need to download Adobe PDF Reader to see and select the various layers.
At Cancon we saw one of the players had used the method we explained and did it even better.  So learning from experience, here is a more detailed guide on how to make easy cobblestone roads.

It all starts with a sheet of 3mm MDF.  We cut this into 15cm (6 inch) squares.
Some glue and the printed out roads.
The aim here is to print out the roads you want from the PDF and glue them to the MDF squares.
Using Adobe PDF reader, view Layers and you will be able to choose from a variety of road and pavement/side walk options.  You can also print sheets of the same type which can be used for a plaza or to cut smaller for lanes and alleys.
If you print out the PDF section without any resizing, it will be slightly larger than 15cm/6" which is fine.
We will be making the sheet slightly 3D by making the sidewalks separately and gluing them to the base later.
For glue we used Spray Adhesive which made the job a bit easier. When we ran out, we used PVA glue and a paintbrush to do the same job.
In the picture here we have a straight road section, a street cross roads and a full pavement section for use as a plaza, and to create the side walks.
Apply glue to the back of the section
If you use Spray Adhesive definitely do it outside.  We used a cardboard box to reduce the spray's spread to everything else.  The fumes are not good inside.  Otherwise just use PVA glue.
Place the MDF square in the centre
Place the MDF square in the centre of the glued section.  This should leave a small gap around each edge.
Trim the excess
Trim the excess from each edge.  The easiest way is to use a roller blade enjoyed by Quilters.  Then you can use the edge of the MDF sheet as a guide and make beautiful straight cuts. But don't use your resident quilter's good cutter.  You will get in trouble.  Buy your own, or just use her old one.
Cut a strip to use for pavements
To make the pavements/sidewalks we used some framing matt board/thick cardboard.  Matt board is great as you can normally get offcuts for free if you are nice to the people at your local framing shop.  What is rubbish for them is useful for you.  We cut strips 30mm (1 1/4") wide.  This fits a 25mm (1") base well.
Now cut them long enough for the MDF squares
Now just cut these strips so they are the same length as the MDF squares.  Use the MDF squares as your guide rather than a ruler.  We first tried measuring 15cm, but forgot about the saw blade width, so each square was the blade width less than 15cm (6").
Glue the pavement to the strip
Each square from the PDF is divided into 6 x 6 smaller squares.  We printed a number of squares with pavement only and trimmed them to 1.5 smaller square's width.  This allowed us to glue these strips and wrap them around the strips.  Now the pavement has the edges look like stonework too.
Glue the pavement to the square
The Pavement is now glued to the square with PVA glue.  The same method applies for whatever size or shape pavement you are doing.  Just glue a piece of pavement slightly larger than the cardboard and wrap it around.
Once dry apply clear varnish
Once the glue has dried properly, paint on some Satin clear varnish.  The Satin gives a slight shine without being over the top, brings out the colour and makes it more war-games strength.  Use a wider brush as it is quicker and you will have less stroke lines.
An afternoon's work
In an afternoon we were able to complete 24 sections, plus about 20 skinnier sections for use as alleys and lanes.  These alleys were made by having skinnier pieces of MDF (the side bits that we couldn't get to 15cm) and then covered them with pavement too.  Some were covered with cobblestones and others pavements so we could have different types of walkways.
Look both ways before you cross
Here is the effect on the tabletop.  Wargaming strength cobblestones, very cost effective and they look good too!
Use them as a base for other scenery too.


  1. I really like these! I'd like to make a set for myself - which set of Dave Graffam's did you use?


  2. The Wargames Vault link above goes straight there ( - Medieval Ground Tiles - now $4.95



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