Thursday, May 14, 2009

Making Your Own Shingles

After seeing some real, miniature slate shingles at a dollhouse store in Denver, Colorado years ago, I set about saving my pocket change so that I could buy enough to do Sara's dollhouse. As time went on, I realized, there was no way I was going to get that money saved up any time soon since it was going to cost in the hundreds of dollars to do all the roof of this house!

If you read Dollhouse Miniatures magazine regularly, you may have seen the article I wrote about how I substituted real slate with wooden, faux slate shingles. The various gradations of color you see in the slate in this picture is real. After making these delicate little shingles, I sealed them with alcohol-based B-I-N undercoating. Next, I mixed red and green paint using colors as close to the colors of the house as I could get. I scumbled that paint onto the shingles. I was very sloppy in doing this - on purpose. It made the shingles somewhat wavy and revealed "layers" in some places, which made it look all the more real. Next, I took the red and green paint and mixed it together, added some lamp black to it, and thinned the paint just a little. I then painted over the shingles with that. The result? These lovely, various-hued shingles.

8 comments:

Karin Corbin said...

The shingles look great George, your color is terrific, I have seen real slate like that. Noel and Pat Thomas are teaching a faux shingle method using 30 pound water color paper. You can separate layers on it to create that fractured stone edge that is found on slate shingles. I have not tried it yet but I bought the paper to experiment with.

marlies said...

These are beautiful, like the color, they look real!
Thanks for sharing!
* marlies

Lisa said...

These are beautiful and I would really like to try and copy your technique. Do you remember which issue your article was in or could you post more complete instructions. Thank, Lisa

George the Miniguy said...

The article in Dollhouse Miniatures was the March 2002 issue. I'd share a copy of the article with you, but since they now own the copyright, I need to refer you to the issue. If you can't get hold of a copy, let me know, and I'll contact the publisher to see if I might get permission to reprint it in this blog.

Lisa said...

Thanks so much. I have that issue. Lisa

Norma said...

I found it! I figured if the link didn't work I'd just have to find it myself :) The shingles do indeed look fabulous - can you please define 'scumbled' for a gal from "Downunder".

George the Miniguy said...

I'm glad you found the article, Norma. What I meant by scumbling was to take the paintbrush, get some paint on it (not too thick) and then very rapidly scribble it across the shingles at various angles. Actually, this part was a lot of fun, because I didn't have to use any of my fine muscles to do this painting. I used broad strokes and made squiggly lines with my paint brush. The idea is to NOT coat each shingle with a solid coat of paint. Do it in random layers (thus the squiggly lines and/or scumbling). It makes uneven layers on the shingles, which is exactly what slate shingles looks like. It's a bit tedious to make the shingles this way, but they do look very believable once they're done.

I also left out some other other details. I did a very watery wash of white latex paint over the top of the shingles. As I painted, I dabbed up any large amounts of the watered paint with a tissue. Then, I mixed up some India ink with rubbing alcohol (not much ink and lots of alcohol). I did a light wash of that over the shingles, too. This helped to eliminate the shininess of the paints and when the alcohol dries, the ink tends to be thicker wherever there are layers or edges, which again helps with the realism.

Norma said...

Thanks for such a comprehensive reply George. I was a bit confused because I think the last time I saw something about scumble/scumbling it had something to do with varnish but now I get the picture :) I've already done the tiles for the roof of the 1:16 house (a different method which I'll put on the blog one of these days), but I'm going to try the rubbing alcohol to take some of the shine off. Thanks for visiting and 'following' Make Mine Mini by the way :) All my mini things put away now for the moment as taking off shortly for New Zealand to work on the 'real world' cottage.

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