>What I need to know is which product people would recommend for creating
>playing tiles (like Scrabble tiles, or Rummikub tiles). I'm a game designer
>in addition to being a neophile polyclay enthusiast, and I need to create
>some tiles for a prototype. I have 10 blocks (I think that's the right term)
>of Fimo here. The finished tiles should be 1" to 1 1/4" square, and about
>1/8" to 3/16" thick. They need to be as uniform as possible. Any tips and
>tricks I should know?
Funny you should mention this. A couple of months ago I made several sets of
about forty-five 3/4"-square tiles for math exercises at our school. Each one
had a product or factor on it (if I've got my terms right), and there were
tiles for +, -, and =.
I had some problems though. Some of them wouldn't affect you if you're simply
looking for a way to make prototypes (like having a way to easily
print/impress/transfer the numbers onto the *exact* center--both directions--of
all the tiles without too much work, cutting either before or after).
Exactness seems to be the biggest problem with doing this, in several ways.
I typed my numbers in a grid, then enlarged and transferred to the raw clay.
Unfortunately the transfers never transferred completely, so I had to go back
with a permanent marker and fill in. Someone recently mentioned using rub-on
letters on baked clay--that might work much better.
Otherwise, the biggest problem I had was that the tiles showed every tiny
bubble, especially since I used *solid* colors, and I couldn't seem to get them
out of the clay completely no matter what I did (could have been the brand or
batch though--I had mixed in a little SuperSculpey). I would guess Fimo would
be fine, since you already have it --it's strong and its flexibility probably
wouldn't be a problem if it were thick enough.
My tiles also wouldn't stay flat after baking and I had to weight them with
several heavy books while cooling. This problem may not happen if you use
thicker clay to begin with (I was trying not to use up too much clay)--would
have to be thicker than #1 on the pasta machine; you could layer several slabs
but be sure to keep air pockets from being trapped between them. Might be best
to just roll a thicker slab with a rolling pin of some sort.
As for making them uniform, I tried several methods: measuring with a ruler,
then lightly impressing each side and cutting with a NuBlade; also transferring
a photocopied grid, then using that as guidelines--those were the most
successful. The first one came out close (but no banana) and was really
tedious; the second worked better but the lines were somewhat visible on my
light colored clay. I "erased" them with *** or Diluent, but again it was
What I would have done, I think, if I'd had more time would be to create a grid
with wire (wrapped around screw-eyes to tighten? on a wood frame), or to use
the "ribbon technique" (?) someone devised which embeds xacto blades into clay
at the desired intervals (then bake), then slice the slab both directions to
create squares. (These still leave the problem of imprinting in the exact
centers, though with enough time you could probably create some kind of
template or holder for your letters or numbers or whatever you're using.)
These are some of the things that I happen to remember. . . hope they help
some. As I said, they may not be a problem for prototyping; you could just buy
a Kemper square cutter (the biggest one a little too small?) or a plastic,
square, cookie-type cutter (cake decorating aisle at Michaels, I think) (a
little big though?) and try those.
Best of luck and let us (or me!) know what worked the best. This was a knotty
problem, but useful with games as well as other things that I'd like to do.
(P.S. You'd probably better use a finish if you transfer the letters--rather
than impressing them--and if they'll receive much handling.)