Introduction: How to Make Miniature Roof Tiles Out of Clay
I've been trying to make miniature houses lately, and one of the things I love the most about miniatures is trying to make them as similar as possible to the real big ones.
For this reason, I wanted to give a realistic look to the roof of my miniature houses using these little roof tiles sold in hobby stores. The problem about them though, is that there are not many tiles in a single package and I can never know for sure how many I need...
Luckily, my problem didn't last long because I immediately had the idea of making them using clay...so why spending money when you can create your own tiles?
You can make as many as you want and, believe it or not, they are very fast to make!
Step 1: What You Need
- I used white air-dry clay but you can use terra cotta air-dry clay instead, so you don't have to paint it later.
- rolling pin
- brown acrylic paint (if your clay is not brown already)
- paint brush
- (empty) soda can
- scotch tape
Step 2: Prepare Your Soda Can
The fastest way to make identical tiles is to use a clay cutter, just like cookie cutters.
I didn't have one (and I didn't even want to buy one) so I thought I could easily make one using a piece of soda can!
The first thing you should do is washing your can and let it dry, this way you won't find drops of soda when you cut it.
Once your can is dry, cut both the top and bottom using a cutter.
Finally, open the cylinder you obtained cutting from one side to the other and flatten the strip.
Be careful when you handle the can, the edges are sharp!
What you have now is an aluminium sheet you can work with!
Step 3: Make Your Clay Cutter - Part 1
Cut a rectangle 4,8 x 2,5 cm (1.88 x 0.98 inches).
This is all the aluminium you'll need for your clay cutter, you can use the rest to make others if you want.
Now, working on the colored side of the rectangle, trace a line at about 5mm (0.19 inches) from one of the longest sides and bend the aluminium following that line.
This will be the top of your clay cutter and you won't hurt yourself while you use it this way.
Step 4: Make Your Clay Cutter - Part 2
Each section has an exact length, in this order:
- 8mm (0.31 inches)
- 1,5 cm (0.59 inches)
- 1 cm (0.39 inches)
- 1,5 cm (0.59 inches)
As you do this you'll notice that the rectangle will start to close by itself in a perfect "roof tile" shape!
Secure the rectangle with pieces of scotch tape both on the inside and outside, joining the two ends together.
Your clay cutter is done!
Step 5: Cut Your Tiles
Cut a piece of clay and flatten it using a rolling pin, making it about 2mm thick (0.07 inches).
Place your clay cutter on the clay and press on it.
Do this many times to cover the whole surface of the clay and cut as many tiles as possible.
When you are done, remove the exceeding clay (you can reuse it later).
Step 6: Give the Right Shape
Now you have to give the classic round shape to the tiles.
To do this, take something that has a thin, circular shape like a pencil or a stick and place your tiles on it, pressing a little with your fingers.
Do this to all your tiles so that they won't be flat anymore and let them dry over night.
Step 7: Paint Your Tiles!
Now, if you used clay of the color that you want for your tiles, you can skip these steps because you are done!
In case you used white clay (or different color) like I did, you can proceed in 2 different ways.
One of them is to paint your tiles one at a time with acrylic paint. The only problem about this method is that it takes quite a long time because they are so small and hard to handle...you'll end up with your fingers full of paint!
But the result will probably be more accurate this way.
Once they are dry you can finally glue them to the roof of your miniature house or use them for whatever you want.
Step 8: Glue and Paint
The other method is to glue them to the roof first, then paint them all at once.
It will be much faster and easier even though some spots will be harder to reach with the brush.
Well, it doesn't really matter what way you choose, what is important is that your miniature roof tiles are done!
Aren't they cute? :)
If you liked this instructable, I would really appreciate your vote :)