Creating Slate States / Shapes | Lindsey Meredith | Skillshare
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8 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Slate and tools

    • 3. Choosing shape

    • 4. Scoring / prep

    • 5. Careful Chiseling

    • 6. Apply a Design

    • 7. Finish & Hardware

    • 8. Conclusion


About This Class

In this class you will learn how to carefully cut out the shape of a state (or any simple shape you would like) from a piece of reclaim slate shingle or tile. I am going to walk through the step of cutting out the state of Ohio as an example. 


- a piece of reclaim slate shingle / tile

- drawing and or print of your shape.

- white pencil

- chisels

- hammer or a rock pick

- drimmel tool (optional to speed up process)

-white acrylic paint and brush ( Optional )

- matte clear coat spray 

- wood glue and gorilla Glue 

- metal hanging loop


1. Class Intro: slate is a beautiful material full of character at the same time when it comes to shaping it, it can be very challenging. In this class, we're simply focusing on how to take a piece of slate and make it into a specific shape. I use the great state of Ohio as an example. Way will learn how to take specific steps to make it so that when we're cutting out our shape, we're minimizing the potential for it to crack and split with the right tools, we will follow five simple steps to make a custom slate peace. We will also cover a couple of ways to have fun applying hand drawn designs and lettering. If you have a shape in mind, let's get started. 2. Slate and tools: to get started. We obviously need our materials and tools, so let's go over what we need. You may have to do a little searching to find the right slate. I found mine at a local reclaim store that had a bunch of reclaimed materials. While you will run across likely as old reclaimed slate shingles, obviously, one of the first things I'm looking for in my slate is character. Thes shingles have a lot of character because they have been on rooftops and they have some resting, and they have all different markings going on. They have holes from where they were drilled and applied, Um, but we also need to consider the thickness. I don't have an exact measurement, but we want to make sure our shingle isn't to Finn and isn't too thick. It's too thick. It's gonna be hard to chisel through. And if it's too thin, it'll break easy. Here's a quick snapshot of all the tools that I use. Summer are necessary and some are optional. You will need a white pencil, a chisel, a hammer or a rubber mallet. A Dremel tool is optional. Help speed things up. Wood glue, gorilla glue piece of card stock, Matt Clear coat, white acrylic paint and brush for decorating hanger loops. And finally, we want to make sure we're protecting ourselves by wearing eye protection in a mask. 3. Choosing shape: one of the most important steps in starting this project is choosing the right shape. We have to take it easy here, as Slate is not the most forgiving material who want to keep it fairly simple. Avoid shapes that have small details and delicate parts. Because of how flaky slate is, we have to choose a shape that stays pretty solid. This is why most states make good options, and Ohio is a perfect example for me to choose to show you. We also want to be mindful of measurements. Obviously, you're at the mercy of the size of the slate. You also can take advantage of using edges that already exist on the slate. If you know it's gonna be a straight line. Once we choose our shape, we simply need to transfer an outline of it to the slate. You can print out your shape or draw directly on the slate. If you do a print, you can cut that out and use it as a template to trace. You can cut it out of paper or card stock. Here is the most important tips, so make sure you pay attention as you'll notice I've been drawing in tracing in reverse. And here's the trick. If you want the chiseled, chipped look to be on the front of your design, you need to trace and chisel your design reversed on the back that chipping happens from chiseling um, on the back opposite side of your piece of slate. I wanted to touch back on the subject of shapes. While I'm only showing Ohio's here, there really is no limit with some strategy, like this fish where I overlap his tail to keep things simple, you really can do all kinds of shapes and then use your decorating to add the detail to make up for the simplifications. Once we have our lines were ready to prepare this late by scoring it. I will explain this in the next video. 4. Scoring / prep: as I have mentioned slight really is not very forgiving. You're choosing to cut these shapes out in a manner that gives it that edgy and chipped layered look. And with that, it is more vulnerable to break in split. What I want to cover in this video is scoring the line of our shape by scoring. I mean, we will scratch or drill away at the top layer that hope influence this late to break and be weaker in the areas that we wanted to. You can score a couple different ways, and I'm gonna go over both, and I have done both. The first method is simply taking a sharp tool like the edge of the chisel, screwdriver, a knife and scraping away at the top layer of the, um, slate. This way is obviously very tedious, and I can also say for sure the sound it makes is quite unpleasant. But it does the trick. The second method that I highly recommend is using a Dremel tool if you can borrow one, or if you have, when you really have an edge up, it does the same thing above in removing that top layer with a lot less work. I simply use the sand wheel that comes with a Dremel tool. There's also a little drill attachment that I will strategically use, and you'll see that I droll little holes or defense in little key areas, especially tight edges of my shape to help it break in those small areas. Take your time and score your entire line of your shape as best you can before we move on to chiseling. I also want to mention that if you choose to use a Dremel tool, please make sure to wear eye protection and also wear a mask, as it does create a lot of dust. On that note, you probably will want to make sure and do it outside, as you will have a big mess on your hand if you don't. 5. Careful Chiseling: now is the moment of truth. It's time to actually start chiseling out our shape as you'll notice the chisels have a beveled edge. Most of the time, you want to make sure that that beveled edge is porting pointed inwards towards your design , helping to push away as you chisel. I personally like to hammer with a rubber mallet because it is a lot less noisy. I'm going to do my best to explain my method, but honestly is one of those things where you have to get a feel for each piece of slate. Each piece is areas that are less compact than others. You also need to be mindful of the different parts of your shape as faras places the chisel at your sleigh, I usually just work on the ground on a hard surface, like a floor or even concrete outside. This may sound strange, but I simply hold it down with my foot, which I don't show in the video to keep it nice and steady as I chisel away. Right here is I break this piece off and turn it around. You'll see that we're achieving that chipped layer. Look that we're going for on the other side. As I explained earlier, just keep chiseling away and try not to get too rushed. This portion of my design I wanted to share a bit about right down here is a part of my design that sticks out and is potentially very vulnerable. As you can see, I've chiseled down to the tip of it. But it wouldn't be smart for me to continue to hammer at the very edge here. What I need to do is go up on the other side that hasn't been chiseled yet and come back down to this side so that I'm not doing so much hammering towards this end. Finally, you will break some of it, and it can be frustrating for me. I realized that a lot of times pieces can be salvaged and glued back together with wood glue. The slight breaks so specifically that you can actually put it back together and the brakes are not easily seen. It also adds to the rustic character of your piece here. I'm showing you one that broke into three pieces. You will see I simply got myself a small piece of wood, which is actually a portion of a paint stir stick. I use it as a brace toe. Hold those pieces together. Simply cover the entire side of the piece of wood with glue, and after you have carefully placed the pieces back together, put the wood piece down and then make sure and put some weight on top of it and let it dry that way for at least on our 6. Apply a Design: I like to add a finishing coat to the slate piece for various reasons, mainly being to protect the design that is chiseled, drawn or painted on the surface, but also to bring out some of the natural texture and colors on the slate. For me, I want to maintain the natural look of the stone with that protective coating but not bring an excessive shine. I'm not looking for a gloss. In other words, that is why I use a Mac clear coat. You should be able to find it at most hobby or paint stores, but again make sure it is a mat and not a high gloss. You will need to find a safe surface to spray and let dry. Make sure you lay down some newspaper or something that you do not mind the over spray landing on. Don't assume that just because this is clear spray that it will not affect other surfaces. Spray evenly with back and forth swipes and try to avoid pooling of spray. I like to do 2 to 3 coats, allowing a few minutes of drying in between. There are many ways you could display your slight piece, but I am going to focus on one way I found handy for hanging the peace. Here's what you'll need for the adhesive. I like to use gorilla glue. I've been need a frame hanger loop like this and then a piece of card stock. For a backing. You can apply a bit of glue either directly onto the slate or onto a wood strip that you may have used and attached to the back of your sleep. Peace. I will show both here when it comes to this gorilla glue. Try not to use too much, for it tends to expand and foam out just a bit as it dries. As you can see, I place the hangar next, allowing some of the glue to get through the nail hole. And then I use the card stock piece that I cut out as a cover and something for the glue to attach to on the other side. Put some weight on top of the glued area and allowed to sit and dry for several hours. I would wait at least a day before hanging 7. Finish & Hardware: Now it is time for the fun part. After all the heart and careful work of chiseling out your shape, it is time to think about what kind of design you would like to apply to your sleep peace. The options are money, but I'm just going to show a few that I have done since. I'm only showing the shape of Ohio for our example. Here, I'm obviously doing things that make sense for the shape. But in general, I also paid attention to the characteristics that came from how the shape turned out from the chiseling. They're all different and have a different feel, so I let that inspire how I decorate it. You can draw and paint on the surface, obviously, or actually carve into the slight to make your design. Here I am drawing with a white pencil, but I also have carved a bit to give it some dimension. If you decide to carve and especially if you want to get a decent deep carver, I would once again recommend a Dremel tool. Use the white pencil to draw down your design. First, you can use a regular white solid eraser to erase away any mistakes or extra lines afterwards. Finally, you can letter or paint with think. Here I am using a white acrylic ink. I again draw first and then also take some time to practice off to the side before starting to make sure I get it right. Just let yourself have fun experimenting with different styles. And as I mentioned before, consider letting yourself be influenced by the characteristics that come out of the chiseling process. Next step is the finishing touches and applying the hardware. 8. Conclusion: I hope you enjoyed this class chiseling slate To cut out a custom shape definitely is not easy and requires patients take your time and enjoy working with such an unpredictable material. It helps going in knowing that it may take a few tries. Start with the simplest of shapes and as you get better, try more lastly, have fun, letting each piece show its character and allow it to influence your design for a quick overview. Here is a quick list of some of the key reminders Thanks for watching.