Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Stone floor in miniature

My most recent project has been an old French stone cottage. I had a vision in my mind of the stone floor I wanted and decided to take some time to try some new techniques.
The first two didn’t turn out to match my vision so I went back to my original idea of using my slate roof method, but for stone flooring (I used the slate roof method for a tutorial in AM179). I will share the other two experiments at the end of this tutorial.


Save your cereal boxes or any other similar boxes for this project. Trim them out using the larger front and back pieces.

I used wood filler for this because it is more durable. Spackling paste is more likely to chip over time. Spread it onto the unprinted side of the cereal box in thin layers with a putty knife. My knife was about 2” wide.

Work the floor so it has stone-like markings. Try to avoid long lines that the knife may leave. If you are going for a limestone look, use a bristle brush to leave tiny patches of holes here and there. Study a real photo for your effect. Or you can paint these in later.

Let the sheets dry to the point where you can lay something heavy on them to keep from warping. Then leave them for a day. Once completely dry, you can shape the edges to get any curve out. The filler is mildly bendable, but be gentle.

Take them outside, preferably in an area that you can leave messy and let the rain clean later. Use a fine sandpaper and start sanding each sheet in a small circular motion. Blow/wipe the dust away and check for markings. You don’t want to see sandpaper marks. If you do then use a finer sandpaper. You might want to wear a mask if you’re sensitive to dust.

Keep working the sheet until you have a nice stone texture. You may want a smoother stone or a rougher one. Sand the sheets based on your vision. Save a test sheet if you want to experiment with painting later.

Once you have cleaned your sheets, sharpen your blade on your craft knife and cut your shapes. 
I have been using the same blade for months, just get a sharpening stone (this is better for the environment and your budget)!

You can cut some regular paper to different sizes if you are not sure about the look. You want to get the right measurements before you cut your sheet.

You can either glue your stones directly in your room or glue them onto a mat board sheet that is cut to size.

Once your stones are down and the wood glue is dry, use your knife to make some texture around the edges of each stone.

Painting
Before you do anything else, give the entire floor a thin coat of Mod Podge. Don’t leave brush marks!


 Pick out the three colors you want. I used grey, cream and a light brown for my floor.

Paint your most prominent color first. Cut with white if any are too dark. Don’t try and be perfect just start working in the colors. I let some of the filler color show through at times. It added to the effect 
I wanted. Blotch on some tan and cream paint here and there. Add smaller dotted spots with a coarse, dry brush. Experiment!

Once my stone effect was where I wanted it to be, I dry brushed on some white paint to pull out the texture. This will dry darker than it goes on.

Grouting
Use a pallet knife, damp rag and a coarse brush to apply the ‘grout’ (spackling paste).

Work in small areas at a time. I cut down a small coarse paint brush and dampened it. Then I used. it to scrub off some of the spackle around the edges and wiped up with a damp rag and my fingers. Be gentle, you don’t want to rub your paint off.


Once it’s dry, use a small brush and give it a gray wash or whatever color grout you want. If you want white, you are finished grouting!

Finishing
To get that worn floor effect I gently buffed my stones with a cotton rag (old T-shirt). Matt varnish is still too shiny and looks like rubber. This buffing method makes a gorgeous effect on acrylic paint.

Other experiments
I tried the first technique because I was worried the wood filler might chip if I moved mini furniture over it (this was before I thought of using Mod Podge).
I used ElastoPatch by Dap. I used this in my real home to patch a ceiling crack and had no idea it would be so difficult to sand. This stuff dries like stone! But if you have an old house, it’s great for cracks because it has some stretch to it. So as the house is settling the compound will last longer than spackle will.
I used the same method as for the filler, but you can’t really sand this so it looked more like concrete in the end. I still may use it as if it was more recent stone added to the newer entry room for the old cottage. My paint job may save it, we will see.
My second attempt was Paperclay. I used this successfully in the past for ‘exterior’ brick and stone work in miniature. But because this shrinks while it dries, it started to warp my entire dollhouse base! No Bueno! I ripped it out and managed to get most of the warp out of the house with wood glue and weights.
Never feel you have failed when experiments go wrong. Now I know what to use if I want a cool concrete effect and I understand the compound material more, so it goes into my mini maker database to use for future projects.
As for Paperclay, I will keep using it for individual stones or brickwork. I work within my skill set and let the materials guide me. When you try to force something it will always fight back so keep experimenting, but without any pressures and you will have more fun. Art is suppose to be expressive and fun!
Follow me on Instagram at @auraleakrieger!

7 comments:

  1. ¡Te ha quedado precioso! Muchas gracias por la explicación-

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  2. I cannot thank you enough for sharing the process.

    I've been looking and looking. Bless you!!

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  3. What a fabulous result for this floor. Thanks for the tutorial, particularly the hint of using wood filler instead of spackling to prevent it from chipping.

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  4. Beautiful stone floor! Thank you for the tutorial

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  5. The floor is very beautiful and so realistic.

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