DIY Wood Dungeon Master Screen

DIY Wood Dungeon Master Screen

DIY Wooden Dungeon Grasp Display

Enjoying D&D is greater than only a sport, it’s an expertise. Once I DM a session, I would like my gamers to be engaged with the storytelling. I like including visible parts after I can, like hand-outs, particular art work, character and monster tents. For the longest time I used to be bugged by my poor-man’s DM display comprised of card inventory taped collectively. I couldn’t assist suppose that it someway, maybe subconsciously, it cheapened the gamers’ expertise.

I got down to make a customized, dare I say elegant, Dungeon Grasp display. As at all times, I begin by researching what others had completed so I created a Pinterest board to gather them. I shortly found what I preferred and didn’t like about these numerous designs, which helped me give you my very own goal listing.


  • Wooden – I needed the magnificence of a pure look after I had no player-facing artwork to show
  • Folds – It wanted to stack simply and compactly with different supplies
  • Swappable cheat sheets – adventure-specific ones and/or a library of basic ones
  • Swappable player-facing artwork – Inspiring artwork, maps, reference charts
  • Panorama orientation – Decrease profile so I can sit comfortably and nonetheless see the gamers simply
  • Magnets – embedded to carry art work on each side, holds it collectively when saved
  • (some day) Art work – burned or carved within the wooden when adventure-specific artwork shouldn’t be obtainable.

Don’t Need:

  • Constructed-in cube tower – it provides an excessive amount of bulk, and I’m not a fan of utilizing them
  • Cumbersome – 1/2″ or 3/4″ thick plywood seems clunky as an alternative of stylish, and storage is unnecessarily too giant
  • Pocket Protectors – A easy resolution and efficient for holding cheat sheets and artwork, however they only look low cost

Components Record:

  • 4x 12″x12″ craft plywood 1/8″ thick – $18 complete
  • 3x small packing containers (take the hinges) – $3 complete
  • 4-pack of neodymium magnets – $4.50
  • MinWax Wooden Conditioner – $6
  • MinWax Pink Oak Stain – $5
  • MinWax Polyurethane Satin – $7

Challenge Whole: $43.50 Very cheap for an attractive, multi journey, RPG-agnostic DM/GM display.

Be taught: Learn how to make a picket dm display


I bought 4x items of 12″ x 12″ 1/8″ craft birch plywood from my native Michael’s retailer. 12″ was good for size, however the width wanted to be minimize all the way down to 9″ to be a 12″x9″ panorama orientation

DM Screen Plywood

12″ x 12″ birch plywood (1/8″ thick)

First I aligned the grain of them so all of them flowed left to proper (my desire, yours could range), then stacked them collectively and certain them with tape… yeah, I do know that appears unusual, however it prevented splintering whereas reducing. I ran a band of tape across the wooden bundle proper the place the minimize could be made at 9″. This plywood was very skinny and the blade on the round noticed was very coarse. Chopping all of them on the similar time prevented splintering from the wooden sandwiched within the center, and the tape prevented splintering on the surface items. It labored very effectively.

I now had 4x items that had been 12″ x 9″ that I may lay out facet by facet in panorama format. You could possibly simply as simply put them in portrait format for those who needed to. Subsequent was attaching them collectively.


I bought 3 small picket packing containers at Michael’s for $1 every. I solely needed the hinges, however they didn’t promote them individually and these packing containers had been low cost sufficient to get the job completed. I took the three units of hinges off and set them apart.

DM Screen hinge stealing

Taking the hinges from cheap picket packing containers.

I put two items of the wooden collectively, and used a small piece of tape folded over as a 1/16″ spacer. The spacer was to make sure there was sufficient play within the hinges for it to open and shut absolutely. I then inset the hinges about 2″ from the highest/backside, aligned them throughout the hole, and marked the holes rigorously with a pencil. After pre-drilling the holes, I screwed them in with a small screw driver… presto.

DM Screen hinge mounting

Mounting the hinges with a spacer

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After making two of those hinged panels, I now wanted to attach the them collectively. When it folded up, I needed the wooden to “accordion” in on itself. For this to work, I wanted to put in the hinges for the center joint on the other facet of the opposite hinges. This permits the middle hinge to pivot away from me, and the surface hinges to pivot in the direction of me, folding into an ideal e-book dimension.

DM Screen rough assembly

The hinges put in to indicate the tough meeting of the DM display.

Screw Downside

After all of the hinges had been in place, one thing was apparent… the screws had been too lengthy and caught out the again facet of the wooden. I grabbed a Dremel instrument and grinded the information down till they had been flush with the wooden. Downside solved.

DM Screen screws protruding.

Earlier than and After photographs of the screw protrusion drawback.

Mounting the Magnets

To carry the cheat sheets on the DM facet, and the art work on the participant’s facet, I made a decision to go together with sturdy neodymium magnets. The wooden was just one/8″ thick, and the magnets had been that thick as effectively. If I needed to mount them flush to the wooden, I must drill fully by means of the wooden. This may solely imply the magnets would solely have contact with the wooden across the circumference. These magnets are sturdy, and I knew they’d simply rip out if mounted this manner.

I wanted extra contact space between these highly effective magnets and the wooden. I used a flat-headed Dremel bit to manually minimize out a shallow 1/16″ recessed pit for every magnet to sit down in. This was a fragile process. If I pushed too laborious, I may simply push by means of the skinny picket panel. Nonetheless, it wanted to be deep sufficient to be recessed into the wooden to get a greater grip.

DM Screen magnet pockets

Rigorously reducing the recessed pockets for the magnets.

Inserting the magnets was difficult. If I mounted it the flawed facet up, then I might have some magnets repelling one another which might be a catastrophe. I let the magnets stack naturally, then rigorously pulled every one off in succession to put it within the correct panel dealing with the proper path. Every time, I stored in thoughts the dealing with of the magnet and the dealing with of the magnet it might be connecting to. This half made me nervous.

Utilizing some tough sand paper, I roughed the backs and sides of the magnets to scratch them up and provides them extra tack. I wiped down every magnet with isopropanyl alcohol to verify none of my pores and skin oil would intrude with the bonding. I had some JB Weld left over from one other undertaking, and used that to mount the magnets of their designated holes. The holes weren’t good, however the JB Weld stuffed the world round them making the flawed cuts look much less ugly.

DM Screen JB Weld

Mixing equal components of the JB Weld resin.

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I gave the JB Weld about half-hour to treatment, to be secure, after which gave it a check run. Whew! It closed up completely. Good! It was now practical, and that was verified by the sport I DM’d the subsequent night time. Works simply as I had hoped. Now time for some ending.

DM Screen magnet glued

The magnet glued in place.


I didn’t take many images of this course of, however there actually wasn’t a lot to see besides actually watching the paint dry. Nonetheless listed here are the steps I took to complete.

  • Sanding – Sand all of the panels with 200 grit, then 400 grit sandpaper. Wipe down the wooden with a barely damp material to get all of the sawdust off the wooden.
  • Conditioning – I utilized a coat of MinWax pre-stain wooden conditioner per the directions. This can be a oil-based product, so the stain I utilized wanted to be oil-based as effectively.
  • Staining – I utilized a coat of MinWax Pink Oak oil-based stain per the directions. After wiping off the surplus completely, I let it dry in a single day per the directions.
  • Polyurethane – Utilizing a 1.5″ brush, I utilized a MinWax satin polyurethane oil-based end per the directions. This was a really skinny coat. After one facet had dried for 4 hours, I utilized the end to the opposite facet.
  • Remaining Sanding – I did a lightweight sanding of the entire display with 400 grid sandpaper, then wiped down the entire thing with a moist material.
  • Second Coat – I made a decision NOT to use a second coat of polyurethane, however later if I apply some art work I most likely will so as to seal within the design.

Remaining Images

I’m extraordinarily pleased with my ultimate DM Display! It’s practical, and stylish, and meets all the targets I got down to accomplish. The one job left could be so as to add some art work to the panels both carved or burned into the wooden. A undertaking for one more day.

DM Screen magnet

Any art work may be simply hooked up to the display utilizing a paperclip.

DM Screen wood grain

Even when no art work is on the participant facet, the pure wooden grain is gorgeous.

DM Screen players view

Art work for the gamers may be simply swapped out for any journey.

DM Screen DM View

Any cheat sheet may be simply hooked up on the DM facet.

DM Screen compact

The display folds to a compact dimension, and is stored collectively by the magnets.

Concerning the Creator

Webb Pickersgill is a filmmaker and lead cinematic artist within the online game business. All the time searching for a narrative to inform, he likes to DM a enjoyable sport of D&D. He has been fortunately married for over 20 years and has three superior youngsters Ashley, Trinity, and Zion who he likes to play D&D with.

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