Tile floors

Impeccable book design by Giulia Garbin.

I noticed this book in the “New” section of the library, mostly because the design aesthetic is so similar to my own. Star Power, A simple guide to astrology for the modern mystic by Vanessa Montgomery, was designed and illustrated by Giulia Garbin.

Illustration by Giulia Garbin.

This figure in particular captured my imagination, and I decided to redraw it as a pattern, and see if I could get it into repeat.

Geometry is elegant and perplexing.

It was tricksy, but I persisted.

I added a six-pointed star to the hexagram center of the pattern to make it even more swirly.

The blue is near impossible to photograph true.

Inspired by a ceiling mosaic I once saw in Ravenna, Italy, I mixed up a nice deep blue, and painted the smooth side of cold press watercolor paper.

Metallic gold spatter is universally understood.

After printing out the pattern with 3 point-wide ground lines, I cut the individual tiles with my desktop cutter and pasted them up.

This was a fun pattern to build!
The finished floor.

I sealed, grouted, cleaned and finished the floor with a few coats of satin varnish. It is so pretty! But unfortunately, not at all in the scale or perceived style of its intended build.

Diamond squares. With dots.

So back to the drawing board. I eventually arrived at this design, and also with a new idea for finishing it.

The new floor base, with Bombas socks.

On multiple sheets of card stock a few shades lighter than the grout color, I printed out and taped together the pattern base.

Dots. And cut-corner squares. Or diamonds.

The individual tiles were cut.

And glued to the printed base with my signature glue pattern :)

All in all, it went much faster than I thought it would. And by printing the grout lines on an in-between background color to disguise any minor off-placements, I was able to skip the whole monstrous grouting process, and just finish the floor with a few coats of sealer and varnish.

I’m more than satisfied with the results, and feel like this is a new and simpler technique for future floor fabrication. There’s a satisfying dimensionality to the card stock tiles that is wholly appropriate to 1:12 scale, and all without the mess and dulling of a traditional grouting process.

I hope to use the blue-and-gold floor some where, some time, maybe as a patio?

16 thoughts on “Tile floors

  1. 54lizzie says:

    The tiles look MAGNIFICENT!!!
    Both patterns are Beautifully complex and your methods and finished floors Sooooo Precise — I LOVE the way in which you have made the first set look like the universe underfoot and I love the somewhat vintage look of the white with dots pattern: I’m in AWE!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Well I guess thank you? Really it’s just trial and error and what if… as well as removing the onus of tedious repetitive cutting… machines are our friends.

  2. Sheila Lester says:

    I love that blue floor. I think you’re right, it wouldn’t have fit in with your room. But if you do another conservatory it’d be gorgeous. Or a star gazing patio?

  3. Jodi says:

    Working out the designs must have been such a challenge but so much fun! The results of both floors are delightful, each of them perfect for one situation or another. There seems to be no end to what these Cricuts can do, with a little imagination!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I’m dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what desktop cutters can do for miniaturists — when feeling patient. What I’m currently amazed at is the difference in capability with cutting different substrates, like basswood, card stock and vinyl.

  4. Sherrill Necessary says:

    Wow! The blue floor is stunning! Actually, I see it as a barrel vault ceiling.

    It is really helpful to see what you can do with your Cricut because I have been thinking about getting a cutting machine. The black and white floor looks great.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thank you Sherrill. That’s what I saw too, like the color inspiration from the Ravenna mosaic ceiling.
      I’ve been using Cricut machines for miniatures for a couple of years now, and at their price point could not wish for a better tool.

  5. azteclady says:

    Oh I love the first one, it’s a shame it cannot be scaled well for 1:12. But the second one looks perfect, and it really makes the room.

    Glad to “see” you around, I hope you and all who you love are doing great.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hiya C’lady! We and all are well, thank you. The blue tile can be scaled; it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting up twice or more as many individual tiles :)
      It’s so pretty I think it’s worth doing… if not for this build than maybe another.

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