A couple of weekends ago I started on making my own battle mat while waiting for the glue to dry on a star fort I was making. The first stage of making the mat can be found here, and briefly describes how I roughly darkened up the light green curtain material with a rough brushing of watered down mid-green and also a green-brown colour mix. At the time I did not think I had got the colour and overall look I wanted.
Battle mat in use
One of the comments suggested using a sponging technique (thanks Norm). After searching through the shed full of paint and painting equipment I found my old natural sponge. So with sponge in hand and a slightly watered down green (a colour I use on my bases before they get flocked) I started sponging. With each sponging gradually building up the desired effect and colour depth I was looking for.
A close up of the sponged effect over the brushed on washes.
With the paint dry it was time to use the battle mat for a WW2 game. The mat being curtain material has a backing which gives it some weight, so it sits quite nicely over books or blocks to make smooth looking hills.
With all the terrain added
After setting up the terrain for a game and standing back to look at the end result. It occurred to me how much some of those early wargaming books (Battle, Introduction to Battlegaming, and Operation Warboard spring to mind) have influenced me with their ideas and chapters on making your own terrain. Because with the exception of trees (only a quarter of the trees are home made) all the other terrain was home made from balsa wood, modelling materials and various purchases from the hardware store. While many of the terrain ideas come from various blogs, those early wargaming authors sowed the seed for much of my approach to wargaming today.