August 6, 2009

Roof tile progress

The first batch of weathered roof tile keepers.

I am starting to achieve the look I want for the tiles my roof, another dozen batches and I might be satisfied. I threw out the first experimental batch as the color, shape and texture were not up to my expectations. The batch in the photo above is representative of the aged and cracked end of the spectrum. I made some adjustments to my mixing and rolling methods as also added more color to the mix. I am not adding premixed paint, I am adding in the tints they put into paint cans to make it the color of your dreams. That avoids adding in excess liquid. Put in some PVA glue to give the tiles a little more strength and some powered earth pigments to keep the clay dry enough to run through a pasta roller. Whirled it up in small batches in a mini food processor, kneaded it together, rolled it with a pin to flatten the piece enough to get it go into the pasta machine.

Some of the tiles for my dollhouse roof will be worn and cracked, others will have far less texture with a much smoother surface. Different areas of a roof get different amounts of sun, wind and rain all of which damage the tiles. Remember each of the tiles on a real roof was hand made, not machine made, so each is unique. This batch has more of the weathered look, other batches will have more of the smooth tiles. That look is dependent on the variables of what I mix into the batch. More or less liquid is one factor, this batch was on the dry side. It is also dependent on how smooth I decide to roll it out, I left this one on the more highly textured side. A scale of 10 with 1 being smooth and 10 being rough this batch ranges in examples of a fairly smooth 4 through a 10 with its ragged broken edges. The cracks in the tile are not from the clay shrinking and splitting, they are created along the outside edges when it goes through the pasta machine.

But mixing and rolling is just the start, the tiles have to be cut to size without pushing the edges down leaving a rounded surface. Miniatures loose character if you loose all the crisp sharp edges that are supposed to be there, they no longer look believable.