Simple Scenery: Making 28mm Wattle Fences

For all of  your 28mm medieval livestock management needs
As my previous attempt at scenery (Building Bilgewater Creek) was sci-fi, I wanted to try something a bit more organic and olde worlde and build up some terrain to be used in historical games (particularly ECW and dark ages) and double up for Warhammer etc. I wanted to start  with a simple piece and work out the best way to recreate wattle (as you do), for fences and wattle and daub buildings.

A proper wattle fence...
Wattle fences can easily cover most eras as they've been used for so long and you can make them look as shoddy or as neat as you like. So here's a step by step guide to creating your own wattle fences. Just for your reference, these come up to shoulder height of most 28mm miniatures. This version uses paper, but I want to try a version with fine string, twine or wire as I think that would look better.

You will need:
  • 1x sheet of 2mm Balsa wood 
  • Cocktail sticks 
  • A Sheet of Paper 
  • Plus usual tools: knives, pencil, glue, etc.
Step 1:My haphazard solution to keep them level(ish)
Step 2 - 3: Cut out base and mark
Step 1: Cut the cocktail sticks in half. I used an old hacksaw which did the job nicely, although not ideal. Keep the two halves as even as possible, but it's not the end of the world if they're not.

Step 2: Cut out your balsa wood base. I've found that 10cm x 1.5cm is a good size for a length of fence. Be wary of cutting it too narrow as the balsa wood has a tendency to split.

Step 3: Starting at least 5mm in from the edge of the base, mark the post points along the length of the base. In my example here I used 7mm as the distance between them, but next time I plan to try 6mm
Steps 4 - 5

Step 4: Carefully push the cocktail sticks through the base. Take care not to split the balsa wood, although you shouldn't have any problems. If you want to be extra careful, perhaps drill small holes into the base first.

Step 5: Adjust the sticks so that they roughly line up at the top. Around 2.5cm from base to top should be about right. Glue them in place on the base with superglue top and bottom of the base, with two light passes of each. I prefer super glue rather than wood glue or PVA, as superglue strengthens the base.

Step 7-8: Ideal length of paper
Step 6: Mark out your strips on the paper, I've found that around 2.5mm is ideal. 2mm is a bit too thin. The length should be the same or just  little bit longer than your base.
Step 7: Weave the strip through the posts, alternating over and under. Then push it down to the base.
Step 8: Cut the edge of the strip down so that each end is roughly the size shown, and glue it down with PVA glue. I brush a little under where I'm wrapping the end around and then brush over it with PVA too.
Step 9: Just keep on weaving...

Step 9: Weave another strip through, this time feeding through the opposite way - so where the first one went under the post, this one should go over it. Rinse and repeat until you have a finished fence. Leave a bit of a gap at the top. 

Step 10: Glaze over the fence on both sides using some watered down PVA, don't be too heavy handed with this. 

Step 11: Once the whole thing has dried, use clippers to remove the pointy bits of the cocktail sticks under the base. Trim any of the posts at the top if needed. I prefer to do this last as the structure is sturdiest at this point. I also remove the excess sides of the base so they are in line with the end posts.

Steps 11: After a bit of a tidy
Step 12: Base and paint as you see fit. You now have a wattle fence! Just for reference, I basecoated mine with Scorched Brown / Rhinox Hide - be aware that you might need smaller brush to get into the parts where the paper touches the posts. I then gave that a quick drybrush with Bestial Brown, and another of Graveyard Earth. This then got quite a liberal wash of Agrax Earthshade ink. Once this had dried a patchy mix of Bestial Brown, XV-88 and Graveyard earth was drybrushed over it, with the lower part of the fence getting another pass of Scorched Brown.

The Finished Article


  1. Now that's impressive, great job!

    1. Thank you very much Michael, quite pleased with how they turned out.

  2. Very nice tutorial for a pretty cool looking end result.

    Wont stop a bullet, but the sheep will stay in the paddock! (Enclosure... Field... whatever.)

    1. Ta very much Dai, I think you're right there, I don't think wicker will be replacing kevlar anytime soon. I think a dark ages cattle raid scenario is a must now

  3. Absolutely superb...and almost zero overheads! You should sell these babies, y'know!

    Wattle you use them for first, do you think?

    1. Thanks very much Drax. Absolutely, it was nice to be able to make a bit of scenery that didn't require a pricey trip to the hobby shop. I'd recently done one mind, but nothing for this... I'd never even thought of that, my entrepreneurial spirit is clearly non-existent. Not a bad idea. As to where there will be used first, well I'm still on the fence about that...

  4. Oh, Drax. You should have called this post 'Wattling On' or something.

    Very good terrain making at its best - cheap, great-looking and easy to make. Ticks all the boxes.

    1. Damn, I missed a pun - and there's so many I could have used. Very kind indeed sir, I do try. Or I'm trying. One of the two

  5. Agreed with Scipio. The best sort of terrain making.

    Looks great Kieran. Top stuff

    1. You're a gent, very kind of you - just table's worth to make now...

  6. That's bloody good work, looks better than the real stuff!

    1. Ta very much Fran, they do look a bit more wickery than wattley but I think work nicely enough. I might try one with old paperclips or something...


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