Painting Instructions Page 10

Painting Dirt and Rock Tiles
Base coat of dirt color.
Applying a dark wash.
Final dry brush.

Castle gray

Earth tone



RAL color




Wood &


Painting Dirt and Rock Tiles
Click on the video on the right to watch it.

This video shows how to mix up the basic dirt colored base coat used to paint rock tiles from Hirst Arts molds #283 and #286.

Base Coat of Dirt Color
This dirt color of paint is what we will use for the base color of the floor tiles. You can find recipes for this color in various brands shown below. Or, when you place an order for molds we can send you a color chip of this color that you can take to your local hardware store so they can mix you up a quart of this color in flat exterior latex house paint.

Another way to find your color is to compare paint color samples to real dirt. However, you want the paint to be at least two shades lighter so it will simulate dirt with the sun shining on it.

My color Sherwin Williams Olympic Valspar Color Place (Walmart)
Cracked Wheat
Timber Beam
Crunch Granola
Wicker Picnic
Basket 10485
3. However, if you can't find this color, you can always mix up your own by using raw umber acrylic artists tube paint (shown on the left). This will be mixed with white paint to make the dirt color we need.

The dirt color recipe will vary depending on the kind of white paint you mix with the raw umber.

If you use white acrylic craft paint, the recipe is:

  • 1 part acrylic craft paint
  • 1 part raw umber artists acrylic tube paint
  • 1/2 part water
If you use flat white latex house paint, the recipe is:
  • 1 part flat white latex house paint
  • 1.5 parts raw umber artists acrylic tube paint
  • 1 part water
If you use white acrylic artists tube paint, the recipe is:
  • 1 part acrylic artists tube paint
  • 2 parts raw umber artists acrylic tube paint
  • 1.5 parts water
4. Paint all of the floor sections completely with this dirt color.

The dirt color of paint should be thick enough to cover in one coat but not have noticeable brush strokes in the paint after it dries.

You may need to adjust the amount of water or paint to do this. If you have noticeable brush strokes after the paint dries, then you will see the brush strokes after you dry brush and ink wash the floor tiles.

Applying a Dark Wash
Click on the video on the right to watch it.

This video shows how to mix up a dark wash to be put on after the base coat.

Here I will show two different recipes to make the dark wash that will be painted on next. Choose either one depending on which you can find the ingredients for easier.
Liquid Shoe Polish
This recipe uses Kiwi liquid shoe polish you can find at your local Wal-mart.

The recipe is:

1 part: Kiwi liquid brown shoe polish.

1 part: Kiwi liquid black shoe polish.

Art Supplies
This recipe uses artist's paints and supplies you would find at your local art store.

The recipe is:

1 part: Sepia India ink.

1 part: Matte fluid medium.

3. Liberally apply one of these washes over the whole surface of the rock.

If you use the shoe polish version, it will be slightly thinner than the ink version.

Don't forget to also get the sides of the tiles.

4. Next you want to mop up the drips and pools that will collect on the low areas of the surface.

You can do this by scraping your brush off on the side of the cup and then soaking some of the excess wash back into the brush.

Repeat this process until all the excess puddles are removed.

5. Finally, use a moist baby wipe or lightly dampened paper towel to gently dab up the excess wash from the surface of the rock.

This needs to be done more for the ink and matte mixture since it's thicker. The shoe polish mixture almost doesn't need to have the excess blotted off.

Do this gently and don't wipe. If you take off too much, just paint more of the wash back on.

6. Oddly enough, the ink wash will dry lighter than when you put it on.

Here's a photo of the tiles after the ink wash has dried. Click on the photo for a larger view.

If you like the look of the dirt and rock at this stage, you don't have to do the dry brushing if you don't want to.

Final Drybrush
Click on the video on the right to watch it.

This video shows how to mix up the light dirt color and how to dry brush it onto the surface of the dirt to finish the tiles.

8. To apply the final dry brush you will need a few materials.

  • A light dirt color of paint. You can mix this yourself using 1 part dirt colored paint to 3 parts white paint.

  • A 3/4" wide soft bristled brush. Be sure to get the softest brush you can find and it will get you the best results.

  • Paper towels to brush off the excess paint onto.

Next, load up the brush with paint and brush it all off onto the paper towel. Try to remove all of the paint you can from the brush.

9. Gently brush over the surface. At first you should see no difference even after several strokes. If you see any white from these first few strokes then you have too much paint in your brush and you need to wipe it off more on the paper towel!

Unlike the dry brushing of other models on this site, we are going to use short jabbing motions and very short strokes on the surface.

If you use long strokes across the whole surface, you will only highlight the tops of the highest stone and will not reach the grains of dirt in the lower areas.

Also, use a very light pressure on these small strokes to begin with. If after about 6 strokes you do not see any difference, then jam slightly harder with the brush. Eventually, you will see the texture come to life as it highlights the tops of the stones and dirt grains.

You will run out of paint after about 12 square tiles. When your brush runs dry, pick up more paint from the paper towel and wipe off the brush again to continue. Click on the photo for a larger view.

10. Here is a sample of the finished painted floor. Click on the photo for a larger view.

I think these rock and dirt tiles will be good for:

  • Outdoor dungeons
  • Cavern floors
  • The surface of Mars or other planets
  • The floor of a fighting arena
  • The pitch of a Blood Bowl game
  • Any game where you want a grid onto a natural dirt surface.
11. On a final note, the tiles from molds #283 and #286 are 1/4" tall at their highest peaks. This means that all of the large and small rocks meet up at the top surface at the same level, so you can build walls on top of these tiles if you want.

However, the dirt will dip down in several areas so the tiles will not match up in height in the lower areas. Because of this, you will need to use extra glue when gluing wall sections down onto the surface of the tiles because they will only be touching on the tops of the rocks.

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