The roof—the folded up part of the books on the left that Shannon designed—is very unique. The question was whether to leave it as it was, or cover it with something more roof-like. Never being one for leaving well enough alone, I considered printable shingles, copper, or laser cut shingles.
Other alternatives to be considered: The printed asphalt shingles are from Clever Models http://clevermodels.squarespace.com/textures/ and the Laser Cut shingles are from Paper Creek. All good options!
A copper standing seam roof
Red asphalt shingles
Laser cut rustic wooden shingles
Gray asphalt shingles
Nothing seemed exactly right for this project. The solution: a slate roof complemented by (verdigris) copper flashing and gutters.
First, the slate. The idea for how to make the slate roof came from seeing the results of a class at IGMA School in Castine the first year I attended as a student. The 2006 class was called “Au Petit” and was taught by the amazing Pat and Noel Thomas (http://www.thomasopenhouse.com/)–who have graciously consented to let me share their ideas with you. The students created the slate roof using a craft knife to lightly cut and then peel off layers of the strips of shingles. My roommate was in the class, and I came home (after an evening drinking) to find her slaving over her cutting mat making shingles into the wee hours. Her roof looked fabulous, though–so I gave it a try for this book box. Again, my lack of painting experience will come back to haunt me.
Decisions to be made: the size of the shingle, the type of watercolor paper, and the color. After lots of experimentation: the final choices: 140 pound cold pressed 100% cotton watercolor paper, 5/16″ W x 7/32″ H (overlap) shingle, and a mix of Delta Ceramcoat hippo gray and toffee brown. After painting a light wash on the shingle strips to make it easier to see what was going on, a sharp craft knife was used to cut and then peel off pieces of the water color paper to create the distinctive worn shingle edge. Once this VERY time consuming task was done, it was time to paint. Since painting is not my strong suit (have I said that before?), I applied a series of light washes and blotted them off before they were dry, to have more control over the color and the density. The final color is a bit more brown than would be ideal (perhaps because of the initial brown wash)–and certainly more brown than any slate roof I found a photo of on the internet. But too brown is probably better than a more realistic gray would be, given the colors of the book box.
If you try this technique, I would recommend pulling a bunch of pictures of slate roofs down off the internet, to help with color and the wear pattern.
Too small, too large, just right
Initial strip and beginning carving
Sample strip- after carving