Dungeon Tiles Painting Guide - Wooden Floorboards in three steps.

Posted by Annabelle Collins on

Get a really effective look for your Modular Realms wooden terrain tiles in three easy steps. 

First, prime your tiles brown, then put a dark wash over the top. Once they have dried, dry brush a lighter brown colour over the top to bring out the texture of the wood and give the effect of light hitting the surface.

It really is as simple as that so let's get started!

Modular Realms Magnetic dungeon tiles wooden effect with adventurers fighting skeletons on top 


Materials Needed:

  1. Modular Realms Terrain (it's double-sided, magnetic and super cool!)
  2. Brown Primer (I used this one)
  3. Black Wash - I made mine from diluting black acrylic paint with water but you can buy them pre-made.
  4. Brown paint for drybrushing (I used this one)
  5. A Flat Brush for drybrushing
  6. Varnish to seal the paint (optional but highly recommended)



Step 1

To begin with, prime your terrain a brown base color. 


Terrain painting guide: A set of Modular Realms magnetic wooden tiles primed brown

I tend to use plasti-kote spray primers as I can get a decent amount of coverage and they don't seem to chip too much.

Primers for minis would work just as well, but they tend to be more expensive.

Once you have covered the tiles, give them at least a few hours to dry.

If you want to be safe from chipping, let them dry for 24 hours.


Step 2

Put dark wash over the terrain.


Image of Modular Realms Magnetic wooden Dungeon Tiles with a dark wash over the brown primer

Apply it liberally and try to make sure as much of the wash is pulled through all the cervices in the surface texture as possible.

I use a flat brush that's about an inch wide - it's an ideal size for pulling paint across an entire square in one stroke.

Then, let it dry fully before the next step. And I mean fully. Depending on what wash you use, that may mean overnight. 


Here's a picture of the tiles without a wash and with a wash side by side so you can see the difference it makes.

Modular Realms wooden magnetic terrain with a wash and without a wash side by side



Step 3

Dry brush a lighter brown over the top of your terrain to make the texture pop. 


Dry brushing a lighter coat of brown over the wooden terrain tiles

To dry brush, get a little bit of paint evenly across the end of your brush and brush the excess off onto your pallet. 

Then brush lightly across the terrain in a diagonal direction. The aim is highlight the texture in the wood without painting obvious diagonal lines over the surface.

If you do make lines, don't worry too much, you can always fix them! 

I tend to fix diagonal lines by going to those squares and dry brushing them individually with my brush stroke perpendicular to the grain of the wood.

This will increase the highlights on that square whilst covering up the lines.


By the end they should be looking something like this:

Completed wooden dungeon tile painted in three easy steps


Optional Extra - Varnishing


Whatever you do, don't stack your tiles after only two hours because you're impatient and it seems "somewhat dry" ...   They spend the rest of the time drying stuck together and it all gets rather sad.

Using a varnish to seal the paint isn't technically necessary but I really would recommend it.

It prevents chipping and really does increase the life time of your paint jobs.

I tend to use a gloss varnish, followed by a matt varnish but you may wish to only use gloss. 

Give your tiles 24-48 hours of drying after their varnish layer and they will be good to go!



And there we have it! Painting terrain to a beautiful level really doesn't have to take too much time or skill. Using a colored primer to match the effect you're going for will save you a lot of time and will help you get a great effect. Apart from the time of waiting for things to dry, I painted up this Adventurers set in less than an hour.

A painted wooden adventurers pack of modular realms magnetic dungeon tiles


If you have any painting questions feel free to join my Discord. I'm always happy to answer painting questions and you can get tips and build ideas from other members of the community!

Good luck with the painting! :D

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