Building a Painting Block (24 Stand)

I’ve always made do when it comes to what to stick my figures to when I paint them. I’ve tried gluing them to lollipop sticks, but eventually moved to blu-tac on cardboard squares. Then John Mclennan gave me a nicely constructed painting block made by his mate in Perth. It is (almost) perfect. So convenient. So tidy. The dowel was just the right size to fit figures and to hold comfortably. I love it.

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Painting Block Top View (more or less)

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Painting Block side view

There is just one flaw … it only has stands for 20 figures. I’d prefer 24, 24 being a nicer multiple of key wargaming numbers like 3, 4, 6, 8. This is the design for a bigger block but retaining all the features I like about the original.

You will need:

  • 1 x Dowel, 6′ long (1.8m) x 3/4″ (18mm) diameter
  • 1 x board of 18mm thick MDF cut to 260mm long x 180mm wide *
  • 1 x board of 9mm thick MDF cut to 260mm long x 180mm wide *
  • Wood glue


  1. Cut the Dowel into 24 x 3″ (75mm) long segments
  2. Draw a 6×4 grid on the thicker board of MDF. The side with the grid will be the invisible, “bottom” side. The lines near the edges are 30mm from the edge. All lines are 40mm apart. So draw a line at 30mm from the edge, 70mm from the edge, 110mm, etc.
  3. Drill a 20mm hole at each junction of the grid on the thicker MDF board, making 24 holes. Drill right through the MDF board.
  4. Glue the thinner MDF board to the bottom/grid face of the thicker MDF board. This will create the 24 cavities for the dowel. Gluing it to the side with the grid means the grid won’t be visible on the finished block.
  5. Wait to dry.
  6. Put a 4mm bevel around the edges of the top side of the thicker MDF board.

* One problem is that the normal sheet size for MDF is 2440mm x 1220mm which is enough for at least 54 of these blocks.

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