Roof Slates and Latex

I previously had an idea to latex the roof slates and decided to put this idea into action.

I had in my mind a larger sculptural piece of work and saw potential in using the slates I had previously gathered to create this piece. I also had a desire to investigate potential projection surfaces and latex could possibly provide me with a suitable surface to project onto.

As part of this task I also wanted to estimate how much liquid latex I would need to create a large sculptural piece and some estimation would be required as to the number of layers.

As well as some liquid latex I also purchased a cheap decorators drop sheet from my local B&Q to cut up and use as a reinforcing material.

I set about beginning to apply latex to the roof slates to see how successful this might be. Having laid out the slates on my kitchen table, I started applying thin coats of latex to the tiles and decided after three coats that it would be a suitable time to add the reinforcing material.

I had the idea that I would ultimately stitch the slates to a larger piece of strong canvas material. so I used the edge of the drop sheet to provide a strong supporting edge that I could then stitch to the larger canvas material at a later point in time.

Half an hour between coats and once the reinforcing material was applied I left an hour between coats. I only applied one extra coat after the reinforcing material – bearing in mind that this was an initial experimental stage. In total – 5 coats. I then left the latex to cure overnight.

The next morning I then began removing the latex from the slates and for the first experiment with these slates I was delighted with the results. I really like the fact that the latex has taken on some of the material from the slate and the effects that were produced.

I then laid out the latex slates in the manner that I had in mind for the larger scale piece. I’m happy that this will scale up really well.


At this stage I had half a litre of latex left so I repeated the process on six of the larger slates. Left the latex to cure and then removed the latex from the slates. I applied anti fungal talc to all of the slates to ensure that they don’t go mouldy and no longer stick to each other.


The next day I reflected further on what I had produced. Not all of the slates would prove to be useful at this stage. If I decided to create a larger piece that effetely appears like a roof top the larger pieces are more effective for what I have in mind. I’m happy with the number of layers required to produce what I need.

I estimated that it takes 1 litre of liquid latex to produce 12 large tiles which would be approximately 1 square metre. Knowing this will help me to calculate how much latex to purchase when I decide to upscale.

I’m really keen to produce the larger piece which I have in my mind to be approximately 3 metres long by 2 metres tall – 6 square metres and 72 slates in total – six litres of liquid latex.

I only have six of the larger slates at the moment so my estimation would be 2 days per square metre – 12 days of latex prepping in total.


The best thing I did was to go back and read up on applying liquid latex again as it had been some time since the last time I did this. This gave me the confidence to just get on with the task in hand.

It was a good idea for me to latex all the tiles I had as this enabled me to be more clear about which tiles would be most suitable and what I would need to do to upscale.

Because I read up on this subject again, I remembered to use anti-fungal talc and not just ordinary talc – saving the latex from becoming mouldy in the future.

I possibly could have put more thought into the process prior to starting and that way I may have produced only the larger tiles from the outset. With hindsight, this would have meant that I’d have had more useable pieces at this stage. I also feel that although the reinforcing materials was appropriate in this case, if I was working with different objects (for example the fragments I have collected, which I intend to work with) then I would need to use a lighter weight reinforcing material.

This task will definitely have an impact on my future work as I have intended for a long time to reintroduce latex into my practice and definitely see ways of introducing stitch into this work as well. I have several 3-dimensional ideas which I feel latex would be an appropriate material for.

The greatest challenge in completing this task is the one thing that always raises it’s head and that is my lack of patience – I so wanted to hurry the work along to see the final effects – however managed to reign this in and wait albeit slightly impatiently for the curing to take place.

I didn’t find this task boring or tedious at all, in fact very therapeutic and calming. If anything the production of 72 tiles is going to be a bit repetitive and in the future¬†producing a larger single latex work may be more stimulating.

All in all – very happy with this piece at this stage.



One Comment

  1. […] Good example: Roof Slates and Latex […]


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