Painting Guide: How to make realistic mossy dungeon tiles

Posted by Annabelle Collins on

Hullo all!

As you probably know, I really love having modular terrain that I can use and re-use. What I love even more is having modular terrain that doesn't look modular :P

In todays guide I'm going to show you how to make your tiles look even more realistic by adding a mixture of flock and sand between the surface flagstones.

Two DnD minis stood on beautiful realistic dungeon tiles with green moss and sand between the paving slabs. Looks dope.

I would rate this tutorial as "a bit harder". It's not too hard (most of it is sponge work after all!) but it is a bit more involved than say the lava painting guide.

On a scale of 1-5 this dungeon tile painting guide is medium to hard (not technically difficult but there are a lot of steps)

But totally worth the extra effort!



Materials Needed:


  1. Modular Realms magnetic dungeon tiles with the "flagstone" texture - I used this one.
  2. Brown primerI used this one
  3. Washing up sponge or similar
  4. A syringe  - I used this one (you don't need a syringe to put glue between the cracks, you can just use a fine paint brush. A syringe makes it so much quicker though!)
  5. Scenery Sand  - I used one from The Army Painter Dungeons and Caverns Core Set but it looks like they sell similar individually.
  6. Flock
  7. A sieve - I borrowed one of my mum's from the kitchen
  8. Acrylic paints - in shades of grey / brown and natural green. 
  9. Paint Brush
  10. Wash - in various shades, I used the Strong Tone, Light Tone and Green Tone from this set.
  11. ModgePodge or crafting glue
  12. Matt Varnish - I used this one


You may have noticed that I've used a lot of different paints here.

The Army Painter acrylic paint bottles in a row. How to paint DnD terrain

That's because I use a pre-mixed paint bottle with every shade so that I can paint more terrain later and have the same effect and matching tiles.

If that's not so important to you then you may want to mix your own colours :)


I want to take a moment to thank The Army Painter for sponsoring me and providing most of the paints you see me use in this painting guide.

I've used their paints across the years and genuinely love their products. It's a pleasure to be sponsored by them now! Cheers guys! 




Prime terrain brown


I prime my dungeon tiles brown for this effect. It makes the stone look warmer and any gaps between the paving that are not filled with sand or moss look earthy.

Your favourite magnetic modular dungeon tiles primed brown with a dish sponge sat on top. Painting Guide
A close up of said magnetic modular dnd terrain primed brown and looking all rough and textured.

You can use whatever brown primer you like.

Today I used PAINTfactory "Real Feel Textured" paint in "Burnt Brown".


I like this because it adds a rough texture to my flagstones that both helps paint stick and looks natural.



Step 2

Sponge grey over the top of the tiles


To begin with, I dip my sponge in some water and squeeze the excess out to make my sponge damp, but not wet. 

Using the damp sponge, dab a neutral base-coat grey on the tiles.

Your favourite dnd dungeon tiles but this time half of them are covered in sponged-on grey paint to make the terrain look rough and natural

You're after some patchy coverage - you don't want everything uniformly covered!

More of said dungeon tiles with a full coat of grey. How to paint dungeon tiles painting guide

Using a damp sponge waters down the paint you are using which gives it some translucency. It looks opaque when you first put it on but after it's dried (20 minutes for me) it becomes much clearer. 

A close up of a dungeon tile showing the rough texture and patchy grey coat with brown slightly showing through


If you feel like it, do a second coat of base grey.


I love how it's already starting to make the stone feel rough and natural!



Step 3

Sponge on a layer of darker grey and brown.


Close up of dungeon tiles with darker grey and brown paint added over the original layer. Terrain looks darker and patchy, like the stone is flawed.

Use a damp sponge to add some different greys and browns.

I start with the two darker colours that I am going to use "Old Hut Brown" and "Cauldron Grey".


Again, using a damp sponge I dab first one shade, then the other. 


Dabbing on the second shade before the first has dried gives you a more blended look which I quite like. 




Step 4

Sponge on a lighter layer of green and grey


A dish sponge being held at the edges to dab downwards with the middle bit. Showing the light pressure needed to get more rounded texture on your dungeon tiles to imitate lichen. dungeon tile painting guide

Once everything is touch-dry (30 minutes for me), I do the same as step 3 but with a lighter grey and green. 


If you use a lighter pressure with your sponge you'll get more rough, rounded textures from the sponge which I really like.


You can see how it makes the flagstones look worn and as though they have smatterings of lichen on their surface.



Step 5

Pick out a few bricks with a diluted wash


To make our flagstone terrain stand out we can use a diluted wash and brush to pick out a few bricks.


I use The Army Painter washes (and have done long before they sponsored me!). A couple of years ago I bought this set of washes from them.

Six bottles of my favourite The Army Painter washes in a row. Dnd terrain painting guide

Any of Light Tone, Strong Tone, Soft Tone, Flesh Wash, Military Tone and Green Tone watered down will be great for picking out bricks.

You can make your own wash of course, but I like using theirs. ^ ^

For these tiles I used Light Tone, Strong Tone and Green Tone. For each wash I watered it down 3:2 water to wash and applied it to singular bricks with a brush.

Close up of the dnd terrain with individual bricks picked out to give a natural, uneven look. Terrain painting guide

Whichever washes you use, remember that less is more! We just want to give the paving slabs subtly different shades.



Step 6

Add glue to the cracks


Ok, so you can use a brush to do this ... but it takes ages finely painting between each crack. I don't have much patience and once or twice was enough for me! 

A gif (yes, I can make gifs now, look at me go!) of using a syringe to add glue to a 1x1 tile. The gif shows how easily and cleanly glue goes in the cracks using this method

 I now use a syringe and it's much, much faster!


Dilute your ModgePodge (or whatever glue you're using!) 1:1 with water or until it flows.


Load up your syringe with the mix and place the blunted needle down in the cracks and gently press the plunger.


As I've diluted my glue I give it about 15 minutes to dry a bit more before adding my flock. Waiting allows the glue time to get tacky and doesn't 'waterlog' the flock as much.



Step 7

Add Flock and Sand


To make our terrain look really natural we're going to want to add some flock and sand between the cracks.

A kitchen sieve (stolen from my mum) with green flock being put through it into a flock box. How to paint dungeon tiles realistically

I make a nice mix by sieving a little light brown and green flock with the scenery sand into a pot. 

Sieving it means that the flock and sand are all small pieces that will fit between the cracks.

This gives better coverage and ensures we don't have any bigger sand bits on top that will stop the tiles from laying flat.

You can make a flock mix like me or just use something like this mixed with a bit of sand.

Channel your inner Salt Bae and sprinkle it over the glued-up tiles!

A top down view of the gaming terrain with flock and sand scattered over the top. It looks pretty and messy and was a devil to clean up.

Let everything dry, then shake off the excess. Lightly brush the tile to remove any loose bits left.

Very cool dungeon tiles painted like realistic flagtstones with flock and sand between the cracks to look like natural debris and moss. How to make realistic dnd terrain
Eyyy! Not bad! From here you just need to give it a varnish to make sure everything is sealed. 
As usual I use a gloss varnish followed by a matt varnish. I use both because I tend to be a bit heavy handed with my tiles. Extra protection is very useful!

And Bob's your Badger!


There you have it! Pretty realistic looking outdoor terrain that's modular and snaps together. 

Another gif (oh yeah! I'm gonna make more of these!) of four beautifully flocked tiles snapping together magnetically


With several coats of varnish, even if we'll see a bit of shedding sand / flock with use, most of it will stay perfectly in place.

I really like this paint job because it makes the terrain feel a lot more alive and real to me.

The flock and sand in the cracks between paving slabs are great at mimicking moss and debris.


It's also quite easy to customise. Different shades of stone on top and different color flock in the cracks can give you a whole bunch of different environments, from desert sandstone to arctic!

I hope you found it useful! If you try it out, send me some pictures, I'd love to see! 


Another close up of my best dnd terrain tile. Looks hella cool and you should totally go buy dnd terrain in my dnd store (where you are now ;) ). Ok, random self promotion in the alt text no one reads is over ;)


Got questions or want more tips? Comment below or hop over to my Discord

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  • Eyyyy! :D Thanks for letting me know! ^ ^ I’m so glad you found it helpful! :D

    Annabelle on
  • Needed this exact thing for terrain cracking work.

    Zack on

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