Make your own earth textures!

Anyone who creates dioramas or war gaming boards needs earth textures. LOTS of it! And you realize how damn expensive it gets to model square foot after square foot. It seems cheap compared to paints you usually buy. The problem is you need so much of it.

The good News!

You can make earth texture quity easily and cheap at home. All you need is Acrylic binder (“dull” for a dusty effect, “glossy” if your textures shall appear wet and muddy). If you can, get several different brown pigments, which safes you the hassel of mixing shades later.

In my example I wanted to make a dark brown, dull texture, so I mixed a tiny amount of black pigment into it, at a ratio of 10:1 (Black is very powerfull and “eats” all other pigments)

All you neead to make earth texture

What you need

  • 2-3 ounces Acrylic Binder
  • 2 teespoons of brown pigment
  • 1-2 tips of a knife black pigment
  • 20-30 table spoons of sand

If you mix everything in one go, the sand will help to “break up” the pigments while shaking the bottle.

I used sand for bird cages in this example but you can use any sand. If you use natural, non sorted sand, you will get a “lumpy” effect. Meaning that the surface you paint with your earth texture will appear as if lumps of dirt are in between, while sorted sand will give a more dusty, even effect.

For Swabians and Scottsmen

You can even use dirt from your garden. Dry it, grind it and sieve it. You Need to grind it as soil lumps will not dissolve in Acrylic Binder and you can`t grind it when it is still wet. Sieving is necessary as soil always contains small roots, small stones even small animals.

Left, texture with sand, right earth texture made with soil

The difference between the two is, that sand doesn`t add any colour to the mix. You decide the colour and shade via pigments. With dirt you allready get a base tone to modify. They also dry up differently. Thinly applied texture made form soil shrinks when dry which gives a “chippy” effect. Especially for deserts!

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