Friday, July 9, 2010

Painting kitchen floor tiles

NB: I'm laughing right now, because looking at the photos I took of the process of painting the floor clearly reveals that a cat or cats used the kitchen floor for a napping place sometime over the last day or so :)  I didn't actually notice the incredible amount of cat hair until I was putting an acrylic glaze on the floor!

Here are the tiles before I started painting -- dry, not shrunk at all, but cracked in places.

I don't think I've ever painted clay before, certainly not as an adult.  What I should have realized was that it's incredibly absorbent, of course. 

I did a watery wash of raw umber, first, to bring out the grouting.

The paler places are where the tiles have dried right out. Fortunately a little of the raw umber was left where I wanted it.

I then did what I'd normally do:  start putting on thin washes of colour (palette at the moment raw umber, burnt sienna and black) on individual tiles.  The thin washes didn't work terribly well, because the water dried leaving very little impression of the pigment.  I decided to seal the tiles before going any further (which I would do right at the beginning, in the future.

I used what I had on hand - acrylic gloss medium really watered down (to take away some of the gloss).  Seems to work fine.  Any clear acrylic craft finish with a satin or matte finish would be great.

Ah, cat hair.  *sigh* But this close up of the tiles after being sealed shows that they're definitely coming along.  Lots to do yet, but it's a good first stage.

I couldn't resist popping the walls back in place (the door has been glued on the back wall, as you can see) and taking a look at the scene, even though it's really far from being done :)  I think I'm going to like it!


  1. It looks great :) I've been also painting clay tiles today :D

  2. I love the floor Nina! I'll have to remember this process for "next time". It's going to be a beautiful house!

  3. The floor look really hair and all! lol. The variation in color turned out great, as did the "grouting". I'm very glad to see there was no shringage and only a little cracking..which you might see in a tile floor anyway over the years.

  4. Ira: Really? How coincidental :) I hope they've been going well ..

    Cynthia: Thanks! This building is going to have many aspects of my dream house, I hope!

    Tabitha: Yeah, I was hoping that people might just think that I'd painstakingly cracked a few tiles to give it that "lived in" look :) What a dedicated miniaturist I am! I used to worry more about things not looking perfect right from the start, first with my art and now with miniatures. What I understand better now is that the process (at least my process) is a cumulative one, where layers are added until the piece shouts "STOP"! I no longer panic when something looks like a dog's breakfast after the first couple of stages ... (maybe I should!)

  5. You're GOING to like it Nina?;) I already love how the floor looks like! It is fantastic! What creativity!Great great!:)

  6. I think all the little cracks definatly add to the look Nina. If you seal them pre painting them then wont the acrylics not then work on the tiles , arnt they then sealed from adding colour? im useless at painting so all tips greatly recieved! Kate xxx

  7. Goodness me you work fast :-)

    It looks I have to go back and catch up to see how you got here :-)

  8. Nina, you know all the flaws of your "creation" but here it seems all right! There is the appearance of a floor lived and walked and cat hair in the kitchen ensure that... there are no mice!
    I really like :-)
    Kisses, Flora

  9. Pero que maravilla!!!
    Esta tan real!!!!
    Enhorabuena, un gran trabajo
    besitos ascension

  10. The floor looks really great,the colour turned out wonderful.Jeannette

  11. Looking really good. It has all blended in perfectly

  12. I actually thought it was finished in the final photo! Looks great so far. The variation in colour works really well.
    If you have a miniature cat in your dolls house it'll be fine ;)

  13. Wow, wow, and thrice wow!! It looks great!

  14. Thanks so much, guys -- you're very encouraging :)

    Flora: I'm cracking up over here -- no mice! Unless they're VERY VERY big ones ... :)

    Kate -- the sealing does two things that are useful for me at this point:

    1. It keeps me from losing some of my watery pigment to the ()*&(*& clay by absorption :) The layers of diluted paint I put on stick to the varnish quite nicely (everything is water based), so I can layer, and layer and layer, and everything stays a little transparent, which is what I like.
    2. It means that I can "erase" a tile -- if I've put on a stupid colour, or overdone something or it blobs on another tile where I don't want it, I just wipe it off! The sealant lets me do that. On raw clay I'm outta luck.

    I need to add some ochre or raw sienna, and then it needs just a touch of blue somewhere ...

  15. Love the tiling! Love the patina!

  16. The floor looks great, nice variation in colour.

  17. Personalmente me encanta. Las grietas dan un toque real.
    El color te ha quedado fantastico.
    Y respecto a el gato, tenia que dejar su firma, jaja.
    besitos, May

  18. Hi,
    great work! you can use diluted pva to seal, it dries clear & gives the same effect! cheaper too. i use it all the time on floor tiles, brick slips & roof tiles, most of which are made from casting plaster now days & are more absorbant than tissue paper!!

    Bob, j.i.c. miniatures. u.k.


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