For this project I used:
Delight™ Air Dry Modeling Compound
Creative Paperclay® modeling material
cardboard - 1/8" (standard) and thin box cardboard or heavy card stock
heat-set computer printouts of moth, marking gauge, and photographs of old book pages and poetry
acrylic glaze medium and acrylic paints
Delta Ceramcoat Exterior/Interior gloss varnish (product link)
***Note:this is the key component in making the tiles have the look of ceramics, and the durability to withstand grouting***
pens and colored pencils
fine point ball stylus
work board, or tile (work board - how-to)
The faux tiles will be made from Delight™ Air Dry Modeling Compound, then grouted with Creative Paperclay® modeling material. The best part about this method is that since they'll be painted later, you can make up several (or a whole bunch) of sheets and then just cut them apart as needed.
The first step is to decide on the tile size. Tiles for mosaics come in many sizes, but I chose to create the 3/8" size which is one of the most commonly used.
Start by rolling out Delight™ to a 1/16" thickness. Transfer the clay to work board, then mark off the size of your tiles. I have printed corner pieces in various sizes, you can also just gently lay a ruler along the edges and mark the distances.
Using the ball stylus or the back of a craft knife, score lightly along the marks to create a grid - Do not go all the way through the clay. Trim the outside edges and set the clay aside to dry.
(If desired, you can also stamp letters into the tiles or press designs into them at this point, however, in my test tiles for this project I found the letters created with the stylus on dry clay were easiest to read)
While the clay is drying, work on the area you'd like to tile.
For my project, I wanted to take literally the first line of the poem "Hold fast your dreams within your heart" and figuratively, have the words/my dreams look like they were cemented there.
I covered the pages of the book with plastic wrap to protect them, applied gesso to both sides of the sketchbook cover to help stabilize the paper, and when that was dry, cut out the heart shape, following the basic layout pattern I had sketched.
When the clay is dry, remove it from the board and press letters into the tiles with the ball stylus.
Then just cut them apart with scissors!
Mark a grid in the area you have prepared for the tiles, then glue them in place.
When the glue is thoroughly dry, paint as desired. I chose a terra cotta color for mine, with a wash of burnt umber to accent the lettering. When the paint is dry, cover each tile with gloss acrylic varnish. Try to get just the tops and a bit of the edges of the tiles, rather than pushing the brush onto the cardboard. Put on AT LEAST three coats of varnish. When the varnish is completely dry, grout the tiles with Creative Paperclay® in the same way that you would real tiles, by pushing it in between and around each tile. The exception is that you do not want it to dry on the tiles, so wipe off the tops of the tiles with a damp cloth as you go. Let the clay dry, fill in any gaps that might have shown up, and, if desired, add a wash over the clay & tiles to add an aged look, and buff the tops of the tiles with a soft cloth.
For my finished journal - In addition to the printed poems and glazes, I wrote out some key phrases from the poems, added some stamped images, and a dimensional image of a sphynx moth. In some cultures, the moth is a symbol of transformation and knowledge - so I thought this would be a great journal addition, besides, I think these moths are beautiful!
I'll be showing you how to create a dimensional image using Delight™ Air Dry Modeling Compound in one of my upcoming tips.
Give this project a try if you've ever wanted to use mosaic tiles in you paper crafting but thought they'd be too heavy!
I'd love for you to join me for more projects & art adventures on my personal blog