Straw Roofs and Walls



I am fairly new to Sketchup, first disclaimer, totally new to 3D Design and just got my first 3D Printer.

I am looking at making war game terrain 3D printed.

I am looking at making South East Asian straw/rough thatch buildings, roofs and walls.

While designing the buildings has been successful adding the straw/thatch effect has not.

Here is a sample of what I would like to get:

The guy who did this did it in blender and told me he did it by:

" I searched for textures using google images. when I found a good one, I used the displace feature of blender to create the straw texture."

How do you experts suggest I do this in Sketchup?




More-or-less the same technique, except the SketchUp way.

Search web for suitable image and do some image editing to optimize / clean it up as required.

Download and install Bitmap To Mesh - it seems to work on SU 8 to SU 2017.

Model the surface (-s) you would like and apply optimized image, you may (or may not, depending on your needs and the shape of the mesh) to correct the texture application. various ways to do this, SketchUpUV is one solution I can think of quickly.

Use Bitmap To Mesh.

Post here how it went, pictures required. ;p


@Julian_Smith, Thanks for the push in the right direction.

I found and installed Bitmap to Mesh in the extension manager, it also said I needed a library as well so I installed it also.

Found a texture, drew a single wall section, imported the jpeg texture, applied it to the wall section, right clicked on the image and found “Mesh from Bitmap” which I choose and now waiting 30+ hours for it to complete apparently! :frowning:

Have I done this correctly? Suggested to complex a bitmap?

I really appreciate the help.



and at 0.3% and 11m 28s in it is now telling me I have over 60h to go!


You need to experiment with some less complex images.
Even if you waited the 60 hours it may not be what you want and sounds like it will be hugely over complex geometry.
Just try an image of some radial black lines to start with and explore what you get.



I crashed SU anyway so not waiting that long!

What do you mean by “radial black lines”, please remember I am very new to all things 3D design and printing.




Box is meaning that you first try a small and simple type of image to gauge what you’re getting and how long it takes.


@Box @Julian_Smith

I found a simple thatch:

Drew a simple wall
Imported the jpeg and applied it to one side of the wall
right clicked and choose Mesh from Bitmap
A minute or so and it said it was done
right click now does not give me that option which seems right
saved the wall as an stl
the stl is just the wall.

Any thoughts?


Have you seen this tutorial ?

You have bitmapped the image to an edge.


@MikeWayzovski, thanks for saving my sanity.

@Box, @Julian_Smith

It turns out what I really needed was the “Mesh from Heightmap” tool.

It has gotten me a lot further but I am still struggling in some ways.

Here is wall in SU:

And in Cura:

However when it prints it only prints the wall piece.

Where am I going wrong now?


Not to be one to sit back and not have a go, I loaded the STL created from SU into 3D Builder and imported it.

3D Buuilder said it had some errors, asked to fix them, I said yes, removed some of the “ridges”. I saved it as a .obj file, loaded back into Cura and created gcode file which this time is printed the “straw/thatch” part of the wall.

I had tried solid inspector on the design in SU previously but obviously it coud not fix the manifolds etc but 3D Builder did and I guess MeshMixer would also.

I would hope not to use these extra tools if I don’t have to and only use SU.


Export a dae to blende r, use the displacement modifier and import it back. You will loose some time learning hoe to do it, but you will be able to do it way faster than any solution for sketchup


@JQL, Are you saying, make the basic building in Sketchup, export it to Blender, add the straw/thatch in blender and export it back to Sketchup?


That could be an option.

You could also simply model the roof in blender, if it’s simply a basic cone, and import it to your sketchup building.

If you want to texture it, it’s also easier in blender.

Complex “organic” geometry like this iseasier todo in blender.

In sketchup it could be done too but the process would probably have to be very different and harder. Interesting to explore though…


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