21 September 2018

Tutorial: Planters and Tree Hiders

I've been wanting to make something like this for some time. It's an easy and cheap way to add some life and color to a city board. Originally I saw something like this somewhere else on the internet, but this is my take on planters.

The planters are an excellent way of marking out a park area, front of a restaurant or a parking lot.

The tree hiders is just a quick way of bringing your forest trees into the city. Mine don't have a good base for that, but with these they'll fit right into an urban setup.

For the finished results, scroll directly to the end of the article.


  • Foam board or polystyrene
  • Ice cream sticks
  • Wood glue
  • Basing flowers, shrub and flock
Step 1: Foam
Cut some foam or polystyrene into the shape you want for the planters. I've made mine 2" lone, 1" wide - or angled. I went with 1" lengths for them to fit into the grid on dungeon crawler maps. Could be used in a druid lair for example.

Step 2: Sticks
Use coffee stirrers or ice cream sticks. I used ice cream stick that I split in two. Cut into the right length and wood glue them to the foam board.

Step 3 - Extra glue
I added a layer of wood glue to the top. This is to prevent the super glue or spray paint from melting the foam or polystyrene. 

Step 4 - Painting
Paint the top green. I didn't paint the wood on these, but added Army Painter quick shade directly. The add flock, flowers and other basing materials.See the finished ones at the end of the article.

Tree Hiders
Using cork for this build as that material have some nice texture right away. Ikea heat protectors are cork, 10mm thick and dirt cheap. Place your tree on mdf or card. Cut a square around it with 10mm air to all sides.

Cut out some walls from the cork. Glue onto the base. Add some sand. Painting quickly with spray paint and a layer of Army Painter strong tone varnish. See the result at the end of the article.

Photos of the finished planters and tree hiders on some urban setups. You can check out all my urban stuff in the Modern Terrain Hub.

A beautiful small oak next to an abandoned church. My trees are homemade, here's a tutorial.

I've used the planters to mark out an area around a church, make it a friendlier (before the dead rised) place in the dirty city.

Making out a park area in the city and added some places of cover during games.

A couple of trees next to a small parking lot.

 I've used the planters and tree hiders to make out a small area in front of a small restaurant.

Homemade felt mat - tutorial.

A tree next to a small police pricint.

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