Lava Tiles

From Hell to Lava Terrain. Its getting hot inhere.

creator: x14km2d | build: 2021-12-02 | update: 2021-12-26


A few days ago I had bought cork in the dollar store. With it you can achieve quite great effects in model making or mini painting. Because of its structure, cork looks like stone or stone slabs, if you paint the material correctly. You can use it to make minis stand higher on a base, for example, so it doesn’t all look too uniform. Anyway, you can also use it to build the simplest1 lava tiles you can imagine. That’s what we’ll do together today.


First we asc for the Dungeon Tile Template and print it out with a 3D printer. If you don’t have a 3D printer that’s not a problem either, because then you measure out rectangles with a ruler that measure 3” x 3”. I used Foamcore from the dollar store. This is more durable than cardboard but not as complicated to work with as XPS Foam.

The next step is to cut the cork into matching 3” rectangles. You could also do this differently by simply breaking off pieces of the cork and gluing them on. I have noticed that this is more comfortable for me and I can work better that way2.

Since I am not simulating the structure of the lava in these first tiles, I can do without wood glue or silicone. That’s why I used my Atomic Glue Gun and hot glue. This is quicker if you need a few more lava tiles in the evening, for example for a Dungeons & Dragons game.

To make our cork more stable, I prime it with Mod Podge. But this is not absolutely necessary. If you don’t have Mod Podge, you can skip this step and prime the lava tiles with black acrylic paint right away. In the background you can see my deo pallets, which I already filled with the colors red and yellow. From red and yellow, I have then mixed in a third deo palette the color orange.

Now we can prime the lava tiles with black acrylic paint. Use brushes from the dollar store with artificial fibers, because you do not have to buy extra expensive brushes. You should also paint the edge of the foam core black so that it looks better on the tabletop later.

Between the individual steps, you should always let the paint dry. I put my lava tiles on the heater so that they dry faster. You can also just put them aside, but then they need a little longer. If necessary, you can also use a hair dryer to dry the lava tiles very quickly. But you have to be careful not to warp the Foamcore if you use hot air for too long. We paint the lava rivers with red acrylic paint.

It is better to dry brush the stones with white paint beforehand. I had forgotten about this, but explain it again here. We take a little white paint and smear it on our baking paper. Then we dip a makeup brush into the white paint and dry it on a paper tissue3. Then we lightly paint the black stones until we get a gray surface, but it only shows on the raised material.

Now we come to the individual colors. In the middle is the red color. After that comes a little orange on the edges of the lava rivers and then yellow on the edge of the lava rivers. We can mix this wet or dry. I tried this once with the wet blend technique which didn’t work very well with the cheap acrylic paints. Or I didn’t get that right and did it wrong. But from this point of view there is no right and wrong in tabletop terrain building, because the players only have to recognize if these are lava tiles. Then you have done everything well. We will improve and upgrade these lava tiles in the next updates.


These Lava tiles are super easy and quick to build. If you want to play a tabletop game in hell or underground, these are the tiles you need. You don’t have to use expensive materials and you just have to go to the dollar store and buy everything you need. For example, if you don’t have a hot glue gun, you can use wood glue or craft glue.


  1. I make it so simple that it is also suitable for beginners. We learn this from the beginning so we can see on our own what can be improved. This is something I miss in many tutorials. Long articles in which different stages of a project is presented, so that is suitable for beginners and professionals. That’s why these first Lava Tiles don’t look as good as in some YouTube videos for example. We have to learn to walk before we can run.↩︎

  2. The brown area under the cork is baking paper. I have noticed that this is quite good to work with. In Germany, baking paper blanks are sold that have a certain size. You don’t have to cut them yourself. This is convenient, because I can also mix with paint on the surface, for example, or just put the hot glue gun on it, because on baking paper nothing sticks. This is not really necessary, but I personally find it super handy when working.↩︎

  3. Yes there is a better technique with extra special brushes, sponge and wooden board what you can buy for expensive money. But we are just now learning to do it that way. With very simple (and cheap) tools and materials.↩︎

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