One of the most well received parts of the Gencon terrains I made this year was the secret doors that I worked into the foam pieces I did. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do this yourself. As long as you have a foam hot wire, an exacto blade, and some flocking, you’ll find this to be a very easy addition to your pieces.
The big key to making your secret doors successful is using a V shape. The smaller key is to use as thin an area of wall as possible. The wall width in these pictures is about 1/2 an inch – the thicker 1 inch doors that I did in the Crypt terrain were very difficult to disguise, and required a bit more work.
First, cut out your terrain with your hot foam wire as if there would be no secret door. Once everything is in place, mark your walls as to where the door needs to be cut in.
As you can see from these two pictures, I’ve used a sharp V shape for the door sides, and from top to bottom, I’ve used a more gentle V shape. Using the V shape insures that your door will fit well into the wall, and that it will slide in and out easily.
Next, glue your wall layer to the base layer. Take care to avoid gluing the door area to the base (this is why you drew your door onto the foam in the last step). Once your glue is dry, you’re ready to cut the door out.
Take a very sharp exacto knife (a new blade is best) and carefully cut out the door from the wall. Go slow for this step. Try not to overcut too much. The more mistakes you make here, the more work you’ll have later masking the cuts.
(In the pictures, I did not glue the walls to the base first, and you can certainly do it that way, but I later found it easier to glue the walls down first)
When you paint the piece, leave the door in to insure even coverage, but make sure that you don’t let the paint fully dry with the door in. If you do, you may find the door “glued” in place by the paint.
Once you have your paint on, do a few layers of flocking. Again, you’ll have to place the flocking with the door in, but make sure that the glue doesn’t dry with the door in, or you may not have a removable door anymore. Also, make sure you add flocking to other places so that the flocking around the secret door doesn’t stick out.
One final thing – in order to mask the bigger doors in the Crypt piece, I had to take some parchment paper and smear a fine layer of glue on it, then spread some flocking on. Once that was dry, I peeled these little flocking “band aids” off the parchment paper, and glued them over the cut marks. This is a bit of work, but a good option if you can’t get the flocking quite right.