Saturday, March 8, 2014
Saving Terra Cotta...
I made bricks and tile.
Actually, not in that order. the bricks that you see are scraps from the tile, but I needed to show you the tools that you will need. To make uniform bricks and tile is fairly simple if you have the right tools.
The all important thing is the quilter's cutting mat. It is laid out in one inch squares with a ruler along all four edges. With that, you can speed cut both tile and brick.
The second most important thing is the Wilton fondant roller. I got mine at Walmart years ago and have never been sorry. See those two little pink bands on the ends of the roller? Those allow you to roll your clay out to 1/16" evenly...Caution. Don't use it for food after doing this. Food and clay don't mix!
I thought this up in my sleep....That's where all of the good ideas come from.
I put about 1/8 of the clay on a piece of wax paper and roll it out to as close to a 4" by 10 to 12" as I can get it, using the roller with bands. Actually the center photo is the one that I did first. I trimmed it and fit the pieces into places where there wasn't any clay at the edge.
I am sure that there is going to be someone saying that the edge above the ruler isn't straight...I know. This is Sautillo tile. It is known for it's flaws. I have even seen them with dog's footprints in the tile. I tried to get Spike to do that, but he refused to get his feet dirty. They are never all one color either. I am going to have to fix that with washes later.
When I was happy with the layout, I used my 12" ruler to pretty much cut through the clay. I laid one end of the ruler on one of the 1" lines on the mat. The first two were to even the side and bottom and make it square. After I was satisfied with that, I lined up the ruler at one inch away from the long edge. Then I lined up the other end with the same line and pressed down. If this ruler didn't have the cork back, I would have been able to cut all the way through the clay.
I cut the long way first, then the shorter sections.
For the bricks I cut them 1/4" by 3/4". See first photo. That is close enough to scale for me. At the edge, I cut some half bricks. Usually you need quite a few of those, even on a fireplace. If I were planning on doing any herringbone pattern, I would cut some of those into triangles for the edge.
Next you lay the tile out flat to dry. I noticed that the corners are curling on these. I will have to go flatten them.
I only used about a quarter of a package. I have a ways to go, but it will go fast when I do it.
If you aren't going to use all of your clay at one time, seal it in a plastic bag inside the original package, with a wet paper towel. That should make it last for a long time. Just check it once in a while to see that it is still moist and the towel is still wet.
I am doing big basket weaving with one hand and cutting bricks and tile with the other. This could get interesting...
See you tomorrow.