Bases are important. They set a tone and give an idea of the backstory of miniatures. An army sharing a base style looks like a singular force.
Basing can seem intimidating to new painters and the array of specialist basing products can be overwhelming. The good news is that bases don’t have to be elaborate. A simple amount of texture, created with household materials is a perfect foundation to start making bases.
Using discarded 3D misprint bases, I put together four extremely simple, cheap, and easy bases as starting points.
Three of them are using cheap craft paint which costs about $0.25/oz compared to the much more expensive hobby paints.
The technique for the three bases is all the same. I added equal parts PVA glue and craft paint into a dollar store palette, then mixed in sand until the consistency was just barely spreadable. Using a dollar store brush I spread the mix sloppily over the bases. I could have gone back and added more to create even more unevenness to simulate nature. After waiting for the mix to dry, I drybrushed the brown base with a 50/50 mix of the base color and a lighter tone brown craftpaint, then again with just the lighter tone.
I drybrushed on some of the Warboss Green I had on hand, but any green paint will work if you want the base to have a mossy undergrowth look. It could have stopped there easily, though I threw in a hint of flock.
The desert and grey base were both washed with craft paint mixed with water and then drybrushed with their original colors, then again with those colors with a little white mixed in. I could have added details like a desert plant to the desert base, or rubble made from almost any spare bit of plastic or electronics but kept these bases simple.
The last base is done in the very traditional style. PVA glue spread evenly on the base, then it is dipped head first into a container of sand. Once the PVA was dry, a 50/50 mix of PVA/water was brushed over the sand to lock it in place. Then it was painted with Warboss Green. Then drybrushed with Warboss Green mixed with yellow to give lighter color tone.
And that’s it. There are details that can be added to this for cheap like more flock, tufts, or battlefield debris, but it’s a starting point that doesn’t require going and buying bottles of expensive Citadel texture paints or a jug of Vallejo texture paste.