DM Notes – my battlemat

I recently arranged a decent battlemat for myself. I was using a vinyl grid with additional sheets of clear vinyl on top. The clear vinyl can be moved around, allowing you to draw maps bigger than the table.

The main issue with this system is that whiteboard marker does not erase properly on that surface. You have to use water-soluble OHP markers or chinagraph markers (aka: grease pencil). Chinagraph markers are expensive, difficult to find, and only come in black and white. OHP markers are messy, messy, messy – gets all over your hands when you erase it. Gets everywhere.

What I needed was a laminated mat on which you could use whiteboard marker. The main problem is making a 1-inch grid to laminate. Making a grid and then scaling it to the right size is an absolute nuisance. But I did finad a solution that gave me exactly what I wanted:

  1. I generated an SVG file of a 1-inch grid with a java program. Use of SVG allows the scaling to be exact.
  2. Embedded it into a PDF file with one of the “batik” utilities. The scaling was preserved – “1 inch” means 1 inch.
  3. Took it to Office Works at Braddon and had them print up 4 a1 sheets with the grid.
  4. Took it home and stained it with tea, coffee, and a little inkjet ink to get rid of the boring white colour. Also burned the edges (not all of them – left plain edges so that the sheets can be overlapped).
  5. After being thoroughly dried, took the sheets back for lammination.

$10 for lamination, a couple of bucks for printing. Call it $15 bucks for an a1 sized battlemat that works with whiteboard marker, weighs nothing, and unrolls flat. Cheap enough that you can do multiple ones – I want a grayish one or two for dungeon crawls.

Be my guest:

Java Source.

A1 a1Grid.svg a1Grid.pdf
A1 Tiles a1Tiles.svg
A2 a2Grid.svg a2Grid.pdf
A3 a3Grid.svg a3Grid.pdf
A4 a4Grid.svg a4Grid.pdf

One Response to DM Notes – my battlemat

  1. jamiereid says:

    Hey Paul, good work – love them!

    As an exercise, I converted your code into a Perl script (my intentions are to set it up as a cgi script when I get a chance). Code can be found here:

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