How to make SANDBAGS

Tutorial – How to make SANDBAGS

Sandbags were an extremely valuable commodity on every front and, surprisingly, scarce. In fact, ammunition crates (that were meant to be returned to the munitions factory) and even empty oil drums filled with earth were used in the absence of purpose made sandbags. Their worth is in the fact that two layers are enough to stop small-arms fire!So, what WW2 Terrain would be complete without some sand bags? Sandbags are remarkably easy and cheap to make!


Materials Required

  • Non-firing clay (Also known as Air Drying Modeling Clay) easily found in hobby or craft stores.
  • Hobby Knife (Any exacto knife or retractable knife that you would normally use for your terrain building will work perfectly)
  • Ruler
  • Work Surface (Something that can be easily cleaned off and you don’t mind getting dirty or wet)
  • Paints : primer, tan, buff, brown/black wash (ink or paint wash)

Optional Materials : Fine Gauze

Procedure :

Step 1 :


First roll out a thin long cylinder of clay, about 6mm in diameter, pressing down very gently on the roll to flatten the bottom.You don’t need to get it perfectly round, but get it as close to even along the entire length of the cylinder as possible

Step 2 :

Cut the roll into approximately 10mm length sections.

Pro Tip : To add more detail you may wish to use the optional fine gauze to imprint a burlap sack texture and a knife to score the ends of the sandbag.

Step 3 :

The model sandbags are placed straight onto the terrain piece and then, with moist fingers, pressed into place to replicate the way that heavy sand sits and sags over the sides of any surface.You will then need to let the clay dry completely (leave it overnight for best results).

You may find that once the sandbags are dry they are not actually stuck to the terrain piece you are using them on. If this is the case simply lift them very carefully, apply a dab of PVA Glue (white glue) to the location and place them back onto the terrain piece. Another good idea is to use a diluted mixture of 50% PVA/50% water (or “Scenic Cement” products) and brush or spray it lightly over the entire sand bag area, allowing it to get into all of the cracks and crevices. Let this dry overnight to ensure they are bonded in place.

Step 4 : Painting

Prime the entire piece that your sand bags are on.Once the primer is dried completely, do a base coat of a Tan colour.Once dry, wash the entire section of sandbags in a nice brown or black ink wash.This will bring out the textures and lowlights.When the wash has dried you will do a very light dry brushing of a light tan/buff colour to bring out the highlights.

Optional : You can add some more interest to your sandbag piles by putting small bits of static grass or flick in a few strategic locations to indicate sandbag placements that have been sitting around for a while.Add some dirty/muddy sections to the tops/edges of your sandbags for more detail.

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