Making aged slate roof shingles

This month we have another tutorial from Judy Kingsley of Chelsea, Quebec (check out her fabulous fireplace project that was previously featured.) Here she shows us how to create a beautiful slate-shingled roof using textured cardboard. Click on the photos for a larger view.


  • Textured pulp cardboard, such as that used in egg cartons or in wine boxes to separate rows of bottles (you can get them from a wine store)
  • Acrylic paints in brown, burnt umber, dark burnt umber, orange, off white, grey, lead grey, lichen grey, etc.
  • Ruler, pencil, scissors, paint brushes
  • Paper for guttering

Paint the cardboard in whatever base colour you want for your shingles. For slate a brown or grey base works best. While the paint is still wet, lightly brush on other colours in small areas. You want to avoid having an even colour on all the shingles or slates.

Let your cardboard dry completely. You can dry brush extra detail later.

Once dry, cut out the shingles, varying the length and width. Paint the edges so that the cardboard doesn't show. I also paint around the back edge because I like these old slates and shingles to lift up slightly and I don't want to see any unpainted cardboard.

Once the shingles are cut, mix them all in a pile so that you will be picking them out randomly.

Paint your roof the base colour you used for the shingles, so that any spaces between them will not show. Pencil in horizontal lines to follow for gluing on the shingles.

For gutters around dormers or chimneys, cut a narrow piece of paper a bit longer than what is needed and paint it lead grey. Let dry. Fold it in half lengthwise and glue one half along the dormer or the base of the chimney and the other half to the roof.

Glue the shingles one beside the other, starting from the bottom edge of the roof and working towards the top. Overlap each row slightly. Don't cover the guttering completely with the shingles. Leave the top row along the peak until last, after both sides of the roof have been done.

One side of the roof is finished!

View of a dormer window and roof edge.

After both sides of the roof are finished, cut narrow shingles and glue them along the peak.

This is the roof from my attic roombox, showing the roof peak and dormer.

Once the roof is entirely shingled you can add detail. Use tiny dabs of off-white or orange paint to simulate lichen, or glue on bits of greenery for moss.

This technique can be used for many landscaping and finishing purposes. Create flagstone walks in your gardens, stone floors or walls, beautiful fireplaces and chimneys. Experiment with shapes and colours to get the effect you like.


Christine said...

Great featured tutorial! Keep up the good work.


TreeFeathers said...

Judy's tutorial was spotted here by a reporter in her area, and now that paper is going to do a feature on dollhouse miniatures, including an interview with her! Congratulations, Judy! :)

daisycarpi said...

Thanks for tutorial.


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