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For a miniatures wargame, I wanted trays to carry a number of figures at once around the tabletop. I got a pair of color-coded foam-core presentation boards and cut them up to the desired sizes. The figures are placed per-game and are not permanently attached.

Trays with miniatures figures on top

The problem now is that the surface of these presentation boards is very glossy-slick, such that the figures very easily slide off the trays. What's the best option for making the top tray surface permanently rough or sticky to give some traction to the miniature figures (while maintaining the present tray colors)?

Note that adding attachments to the bottom of the miniatures is not an option, as my overall library of miniatures is too large.

Resolution: I used Chris H's suggestion of "repositionable spray glue" and it seems to be working well for me. Big thanks to them, as I hadn't heard of this type of product before. Among the results I'm finding:

  • It's extremely easy to apply (just a single swipe per board), and doesn't take very much. I did about 20 trays as an initial test, and still have most of a small can left.
  • Just placing the miniatures on the board, and the problem is solved of them generally sliding off the sheer surface when moved. If I press down on them firmly, it's even sticky enough to hold them upside-down usually without falling off.
  • It's a light enough adhesive that removing the miniatures is effortless, and stacking up the trays for storage and separating them out later is no problem, as well.
  • I'm pretty sure it's not what the product is intended for, but the trays have kept enough stickiness for at least two weeks so far. If they deteriorate at some point, I'll be happy to give them another quick touch-up.
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  • 2 questions -- Are you open to doing anything with the bottom of the miniatures, and is maintaining the tray color important?
    – Turbo
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 21:13
  • @Turbo: Yes, maintaining the color is highly desired. It's really not feasible to add stuff to the miniature bottoms, as my overall library is too large. I'll add those details to the question. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 23:06

8 Answers 8

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You can get repositionable spray glue. 3M make it, for example, but there are cheap versions too. They're often used for mounting things like stencils.

This would essentially turn your foam board into a rigid Post-It, and give you a surface that's actually tacky, rather than just non-slip.

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  • 3
    There's also repositionable glue sticks.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 19:23
  • 1
    This is what I've done, and seems to be working well. Thanks for the heads-up, I'd never heard of the line of product before! Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 6:33
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Anti-slip tape

They sell this in most hardware stores, it is used in stairs. The top side is not sticky, but provides good friction.

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  • Haven't encountered this stuff before. Does the friction come from just the irregular surface on a hard plastic, or is it also a very soft or rubbery plastic?
    – fixer1234
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 17:04
  • The anti-slip tape I've got is different - it's black and feels like coarse sandpaper. So make sure you get the right stuff if buying online
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 17:31
  • @fixer1234 There are different types, some are harder and some softer. Indeed it is easier if you can check the feel at a store.
    – jpa
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 6:45
  • For large areas there is also "textured laminating film" that can offer a similar effect.
    – IronEagle
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 3:43
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If you want something in sheet form with more friction than Matt's felt suggestion, they sell sheets or rolls of rubber webbing that looks like netting or has a loosely woven appearance. Thin versions are sold as drawer liners to keep stuff from sliding around. Thicker versions are sold as non-slip pads for rugs.

Another option that would leave a soft rubbery surface: thin silicone caulk to paint consistency with mineral spirits or limonene, paint it on, and let it dry until you can't smell the solvent anymore (might take a couple of days). It will leave a thin rubbery coating. You might want to test it on a scrap piece to ensure the solvent doesn't affect the foam core panel.

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  • The drawer liner I've got would work well, it's thick and slightly spongy. My rug gripper is actually thinner and would be less good - so there must be different types
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 14:07
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Another random idea - silicone baking mats. They're pretty rubbery and non-slippery, and (depending on where you are) might be easier to get than actual rubber.

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My first approach would be to cover the top surface of the presentation board with felt. It won't be sticky, but it'll keep the pieces from sliding quite so easily.

If that wasn't secure enough, the next thing I'd try is Mod Podge, or another material that dries/cures kid of soft. If you could get a very slightly rubbery surface, it might hold things in place.

After that, the obvious choice is double-sided tape, or installing some kind of magnet, hook, or velcro. But those are obviously more work, and a little permanent (if you've gotta install something on the bottom of the figures, too).

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  • Felt is a winner. You can get it in thin self-adhesive sheets for scratch protection.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 3:17
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A cheap and easy option is to get yourself a sheet of self-adhesive rubber pads. They are also known as bumper stops.

These are often used for furniture or smaller objects, to prevent them from slipping (or to keep surfaces safe from scratching). They are sold in many supermarkets and most hardware stores (in Europe, at least).

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, or as large sheets that you can cut to fit. They are commonly black or transparent (also known as silicon drops).

I think something like the following would suit your needs, if you find it at around the size of the underside of your miniatures:

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source

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As stated above, if you want to make something non-slip then you can buy non-slip rubber matting quite cheaply, like the previous answers suggest, but if you want to make them sticky, or to have some form of adhesion (for example, so you can move the board by pushing the figures rather than the boards, then look for a product called Museum wax.

It's a thick tacky substance that acts like a glue, but which can be removed quite easily. Model makers sometimes use it to attach miniatures to an object to hold them in place while they are painted.

Museum wax would effectively lock the miniatures in place, but still give you the option to remove them later. A little like with a post-it note. But with stronger hold.

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Sandpaper, baby! :)

As long as your game does not destroy furniture, you cannot get anything more slip-free (and till detachable when needed) than sandpaper. Glue it to the surfaces which should not slip (grains facing grains, of course), and you are all set.

You even have a variety of choices, like brands, grain sizes, colors etc.


A "worst case" alternative to get stickiness is to use hook-and-loop fasteners. Glue them to the surfaces and your figurines will stand there securely. Different sizes (widths) and different colors exist too. You can buy them as ribbons of any desired length.

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