I've gotten more mileage out of dungeon tiles than most other ways of making maps -- however, I would like more variety than WOTC has put out. (In particular, I would like some curved corridors.)

I can find PDFs with tile images, so I'm really asking more about the mechanics of crafting them: What kind of cardboard? What thickness would match the stock tiles? How does one affix the printed image in a reasonably easy but secure way?

I've looked around a little but not seen a good site detailing the process, so I thought I'd ask here.

I'm not super-crafty, so I'd favor easy and serviceable over hard but beautiful.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is already in the classic “how do I…” question form that we advise people to use to avoid the problems with Shopping recommendations, so I don't see why there are Shopping close votes. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2018 at 18:00

3 Answers 3


The easiest way to make a tile is to colour-print it on paper and glue it to foam core, card stock, or cardboard (non-corrugated).

Foam core is ideal, but slightly costlier. Still, you can get a 6' by 10' sheet for a reasonable amount at an art supply store.

Card (stock or board) is cheaper and easier to find. The gotcha with this process is that the glue shrinking will cause the tile to bow along the grain of the card. Fortunately there is an easy fix that also enhances the durability of the tile: cut two pieces, turn them 90 degrees, and glue them together before attaching the printed paper. The turn-and-laminate trick ensures that the grain of the card is aligned at right angles, preventing either half from warping. As a bonus, the base is stronger than a single piece.

For all these purposes, the ideal glue is just an ordinary glue stick (acid-free if you intend to have the tiles last for years).

I've used all of these materials. Card stock is the cheapest and easiest to work with, but results in thin tiles even if you laminate. Card stock also gives you the option of skipping the paper and printing right into the card, if you don't care about durability but want something with more heft than paper. It warps very little or not at all from just the moisture of an inkjet printer.

Card board is great, but takes that extra work for quality and durability. Foam core is best, but harder to get and needs a very sharp knife to prevent ragged edges. The advantage of foam core is not having to laminate; the advantage of laminated card board is the resulting tiles have a satisfying bit of weight and solidity to them. In any case, invest in a decent cutting mat and don't skimp on the scalpel.

As a bonus, if you're set up for making tiles with any of these methods, you can easily get into 3D papercraft props to add some verticality to your layouts, and there are many, many papercraft PDFs available online for free and sale.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would go with this method overall, but for extra durability and a slightly more professional finish, I would use Modge Podge. One coat on the cardboard, add your printed tile, then one coat over the top. It's beautifully durable, decently water resistant (for all your drink mishaps), and gives a nice clear sheen once it's dried. It's a bit more involved than a normal glue stick, but if you're already getting a cutting mat and scalpel to cut your cardboard with, I think it would be worth it. (I haven't used this technique for dungeon tiles, but I use Modge Podge a lot.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Cooper
    Nov 14, 2018 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @L.S.Cooper That's a good addition. I wasn't familiar with Modge Podge when I originally wrote this, but I've since seen it used to good effect in other projects and I can see how it could be great for tiles and papercraft scenery bases. I haven't tried it, but I'll put it in my toolkit next time I make tiles (which might be a while…) and update this with what experience I earn. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2018 at 18:04

I use foam board (15/36" I believe) for the bases, with chipboard to make the flagstones in dungeons. Works well. If you want more weight, you can hot glue washers or pennies to the bottom


I cut and glue cardboard. Then testure, and paint.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer would be greatly improved if it included some specifics. For instance, OP asks about type of cardboard and thickness. Do you use card stock? Corrugated that you dig out of a store's dumpster? Art-store matting-quality material? What are you using to texture? Found items? Railroad modeling material? Play-doh? Lend OP the expertise you've created through your experimentation. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Oct 15, 2016 at 20:31

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