Some of the feedback I've got about the Catan frame is that leather doesn't jive with some people's ethics. So I need to come up with a solution for people who want a rad Catan frame but whose conscience would be provoked by a product that is half dead animal skin.
The backing has to be three things: rigid enough to keep the pieces flat when on an uneven surface, supple enough to enable folding at the middle hinge, and laserable.
Last night I tested whether canvas is laserable. It seems at a sufficient laser power, some melting happens, preventing fraying. Success!