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Sunday, 8 December 2013

How to Make Miniature Slate Roofs from Cardboard, Part 2

Between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, I cut nearly 64 feet (more than 19 metres) of slate roof strips. My poor thumb was about to develop a blister when I decided I was done. I just hope it is enough to do the entire roof with! The poor roof has had to wait until the miter saw could be repaired, and despite two days of soaking with penetrating oil, we still haven't been able to remove all the bolts. Something in the saw is making it difficult, to say the least, to move it to cut the angles on the roof pieces. However, my carpenter-in-chief has decided to go ahead tomorrow, come what may, as the saw  will move with lots of muscle power.

As you can see, it is an awful lot of strips! (Note the dirty water at the right of the photo, this is what I used in step 6 below.)

Here is the painting process for the roof. All painting should be done from the uncut edge downwards, as the layers of paint will create interesting texture, when applied with a bristly or stiff brush. From left to right:

1. Paint all strips with a dark burnt umber, making sure you cover the sliver cuts, the long bottom edge and the two short edges. Allow to dry. (Wet painted cardboard can be fragile: handle with care!)

2. Paint all strips with charcoal gray, double-check your sliver cuts and edges. Allow to dry. You can now tell that painting the cardboard has strengthened it, as well.

3. Using a 1/2" (1.5 cm) bristle brush, and pewter gleam paint (or a similar paint), dry brush here and there along the strip. Slate has some reflective inclusions, and that is what this dully metallic gray-silver paint step imitates. Allow to dry.

4. Using sludge green, a.k.a. English ivy green, a fan brush if you have it, and a nearly dry brush, brush on here and there along the strip. You want a streaky effect, that almost disappears into the background. This imitates the algae/moss streaks stone roofs develop. Allow to dry.

5. Using terra cotta and the fan brush, again a nearly dry brush, brush here and there along the strip. This adds extra dimension to the slate strip, and should just skim the higher points of the cardboard.
Allow to dry.

6. Mix up a couple of drops of white with a spoonful of dirty water - I use the water I rinse the brush in. This is messy; dip an old toothbrush in the watery paint, then gently run your fingernail along it to drop little spatters of white here and there. As this watery mixture dries, it looks like little patches of gray lichen, grayish in the centre and lighter around the edges.

The last coat to go on is a coat of satin varnish if you want a little shine, or matte varnish if you want no shine. This seals the paint effects. Allow to dry. The roof strips can now be installed.

Part 3 will be applying the strips to the roof surfaces, but this will have to wait a couple of days if the saw won't cooperate. As well, I have to make half a dozen roof vents to be glued to the front roof before the slate goes on. I'm going to try adding "lead" flashing around the vents, under the roofing strips, using the silvered copper tape I had been using for window lead. It didn't work too well for that, so I'll see if it will make good flashing, so it isn't wasted.

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