I made a desert mat a while back and while it's very nice it's not what I really want. I even made some terrain pieces only a few weeks back which are also quite nice. Unfortunately they match the old mat.
How I made it:
1. I bought a 2 meter piece of a strange, sand coloured faux-suede material. It's very thin but very strong. It cost about $20.
2. I bought a box of Ty-nee Tips Tea
3. I laid the material on a table and then mixed up a big pot o' tea (about 2 liters). I strained the tea and kept the leaves separate and let it all cool down.
4. I sploshed the tea all over the material with a soup ladle and then rubbed the tea leaves into it.
5. I then gathered it up and laid in on some clothes drying racks out in the sun.
6. I then threw instant coffee all over it and rubbed it in.
7. I let it dry.
8. I shook off all the tea leaves and excess coffee.
9. And now I have a very portable desert mat for under $25 (material - $20, tea - $2.40 - awful crap coffee that's been in the kitchen for a year or more - $...?, sunlight - Free!).
It smells like a Greek coffee shop at the moment, but that will fade with time. I'm pondering whether to fix some minor vegetation to it (little clumpy tufts). I might just make up a mix of grit/kitty litter and little pieces of clump foliage to scatter where and when needed.