Spiked Floor Trap

When possible building a trap section for a dungeon, we like to use a design that forces the character to notice the trap, not the player. Thus, the undiscovered state should blend with the existing terrain only revealing the trap when sprung. We wanted to do something with spikes and floor tiles, but pits require a bit of suspension of disbelief in a 3D environment when dealing with terrain one level deep sitting on a solid table. For the time being, we steered clear of that hurdle and built on the concept of a floor tile that would protrude spring-loaded spikes upward when triggered and not rely upon gravity.

We wanted something versatile but visually appealing, so we decided on a 2×2 footprint for the trap. This would allow it to fit in our standard hallways as well as replace a section of room floor, as needed. Knowing that our sprung state would utilizing multiple of the triple-hole 1×1/2 tiles from Hirst Arts #44 that have a gothic stone texture, I glued together four 1×1 floor tiles from Hirst Arts Mold #201 into a 2×2 section. I did this four times so we could have a section of continuous hallway or a small room. The goal was to have a lot of “safe” floor tiles that look normal. Again, if the players see tiles they “know” are trapped, characters start suddenly searching for traps!

Once the regular floor tiles were assembled, I took eight of the triple-hole 1×1/2 tiles from Hirst Arts #44 so I could assemble a 2×2 section of floor. We wanted the spikes to be jutting out at seemingly random angles, so I first glued the tiles side-by-side in pairs into 1×1 squares. I glued these squares into a 2×2 section by rotating them 90 degrees so that the hole patterns were not all in straight rows.

Again, we wanted an appearance of randomness as well as viciousness to the sprung trap, so I cut 24 tips off of bamboo skewers in three sets of 8 different lengths. I blunted the ends by cutting about a 1/8 inch off the sharp tip and hitting it with some sandpaper. We often play with children, so we don’t want the trap actually dangerous! Since each 1×1/2 tile has three holes, I glued in one spike of each of the three lengths cut in random order and tilted at a random angle.

After it all dried, I sent it to Kaewee for painting. She put the same color scheme on all the floor tiles and did a dark wood look to the spikes. After all that dried, she added a crimson to look like fresh blood. We were quite pleased with the result!

After the assembly and painting, we could build out a dungeon section using the four normal 2×2 floor tiles. Some games that is all they are; however, when a trap is sprung, we replace one 2×2 with the protruding spikes! This keeps the players guessing. You can make it even less obvious by using more and more of the gothic pattern floor tiles so no one gets suspicious.

Spike Floor Amidst Normal Floor Tiles

Spike Floor Amidst Normal Floor Tiles


Spiked Floor Tile with Blood

Spiked Floor Tile with Blood

Crushing Spiked Walls

Traps in dungeon terrain can sometimes be tricky because there is usually both an undiscovered and sprung state. We envisioned a hallway that had protruding spikes on each side that could collapse together. The trigger could be anything: a pressure plate, a tripwire, a switch, and so on. We decided to use a normal wall section as the undiscovered state and special wall pieces with fixed spikes as the sprung state. See below pictures for before, during, and after triggering.

Undiscovered Trapped Hallway


Spikes protruding.

Trap Triggering

Sprung trap


I built each spiked wall using two 1×1 floor tiles from Hirst Arts Mold #201, four 1×1/2 floor tiles from Hirst Arts Mold #201, and four of the triple-hole 1×1/2 tiles from Hirst Arts Mold #44.

Assembled Tiles

Assembled Tiles

Since for this build we decided to affix the walls along the center of a 1-inch tile rather than along the edge, I knew I would need the spikes to go across a half-inch expanse to reach from one wall to the other. I took bamboo skewers and cut the sharp tips down somewhat to dull them. I then inserted one into the pre-existing hole in the tile and measured the depth. I added that to one-half inch and cut six tips for each wall. After gluing the wall tiles together, I laid them down with the holes facing up so I could glue in the bamboo spikes vertically. I arranged the spikes in alternating holes so that when two walls face each other, the spikes would fit into the opposing wall’s holes. See below pictures for spike arrangement and the effect when placed together.

Spikes Fitting Together

Spikes Fitting Together

Alternating Spikes

Alternating Spikes

The end result allows any normal 2×1 section of wall to be replaced with spikes when triggered. I really like the effect in a 2×2 hallway. Since the spiked walls are 2×1, if the floor section is removed and walls pushed together, the spiked section then blocks the hallway. It is a very nice visual and presents an interesting in game obstacle.

Sacrificial Altar

Blood really ties in a dungeon, don’t you think?

This is an original Charles Plemons design (with needed help from his wife). I don’t have any step by step for this. The amazing Aztec tiles are from Keebler Studios. You can grab those here.

Later on I am going to make a tutorial for the candles. Those were made 100% out of Sculptey. Even those tiny, tiny wicks.

At first I thought was done with the altar but then I quickly realized I needed even more blood. You can’t go wrong with that choice.

Before After After AfterAfterAfter

Rope Bridge Design

This was made before I started this blogging mess. Charles and I wanted an iconic rope bridge for our Lost Temple style dungeon. I mean how could we even call it that if we didn’t have one?

This was my second attempt at a rope bridge. I made a very small baby one at first and worked my way up to this.

To build this, Charles first cast and glued the steps together for me. Then I painted the steps, washed them, and glued in bamboo skewers into them. Next, and bear with me it’s been a bit since making this, I glued the bottom support ropes on each side to the correct tautness. I then wrapped the ends around to make it look tied and sealed them in glue. After that, I then glued stained, cut up to look worn, wooden planks across the bottom twine ropes. Then, I glued the top twine ropes and created the “support” ropes between the bamboo skewers.

To finish it off, I looped the twine rope between the top and bottom ropes, and tied them where the knots are located at.

After I looked at it, I realized the twine was too fuzzy and a lot of cutting with scissors ensued. I then sealed all the ropes with a watered down clear scenic glue.

Here are the final results. Obviously, in the future I will be taking in between steps.

Fiery Coal Pits Tutorial

Step 1

Foam board and tile border.

First, take some foam board and cut it to the size of the floor piece you want. Then glue together Hirst Art bricks in the outer edge design that you want. Place the outer edge on the foam board and trace out the inside of the foam board. Then, (and I didn’t do this part so bear with me) hollow out the foam board until you have all of the foam out and just the other out layer. It’s just fine if the foam board isn’t made completely smooth from hollowing it out. That adds to the texture.

Then take some larger sand. I bought this kind from Hobby Lobby. I am not sure of the name of the brand but it’s just the larger granular sand. Put as much as you need, and you really don’t need a whole lot, into a snack baggie. Drop a few drops of black acrylic paint into the baggie with the rock sand. Then it’s like using Shake ‘N Bake. I also just kind of massaged all the sand until it was all coated. Since the rocks are going to be wet I dumped them out onto aluminum foil (parchment paper would work) and then let it all dry. This doesn’t take long at all. If it clumps at all you can roll it around in your fingers to break it apart.

Step 2

Small rocks used.

Now I wish I had more pictures of my steps but I didn’t realize it would be so well received! Your next step is to paint the foam board. In the first image you can see that I have painted the top edges black. Since you don’t perfectly cut the foam board around the bricks, as these have rounded edges, you will still see the foam board. Painted the edges black helps hide them and makes it barely noticeable. Now, starting from the inside of the foam board back sure that up the walls of the foam board you paint it black. Also, on the bottom of the foam board paint an outer circle of black. Then, in the middle paint it the brightest orange you have. I used Apple Barrel’s Pumpkin Orange but any bright orange will work. Next, I dab small amounts of yellow and on between the orange and black on the floor I paint a bit of red to fade the black into the orange.

Once that has dried, which your rocks will have dried too by then, sprinkle them on top. Don’t put too many on there as you want the color to peek through but as much as you would like will do. After you have them how you want them arranged, spray the whole inside of the foam board with a type of thin spray glue. I used Scenearama’s Scenic Spray Glue, that’s typically used on sprinkle scenery grass. Spray generously. You are trying to seal and lock the “coals” into place.

Now wait for that to completely dry. Don’t get impatient like I tend to our on this next step you will push the coals around. After it’s dry, dry brush, very lightly, an ash gray. I looked up many pictures of coals to try and get this right. If you want some that look like they have been burning longer dry brush more ash gray. If you want them to appear hotter just use a medium amount. That is what I used.

Step 3

Finished coal pits.

Mitch Michaelson, from Terrainosaur.com, created a video tutorial of this technique. Thankfully, he is incredibly talented and has the equipment to make these! Check it out!

Welcome to DaintyDungeons!

I’m going to attempt to maintain a place where I can document and share my adventures with painting tabletop roleplaying terrain.

Bear with me as I get used to some things here: blogging… tutorials… Is that really it? I wonder why it feels like more.

Stay tuned for future posts!