I'm in the middle of scratchbuilding a very large diorama project, and before I move on to the walls, ceiling, and electrical, I'm working on some foundation, but mainly the flooring. I know there are many different ways to go about producing what I was after, but I am a very literal person, so I went for the literal interpretation: shaping polymer clay (Sculpey III & SuperSculpey Original), cutting, baking, sanding, and painting about 600+ tiles all the while doing actual tilework and grouting. I figured with a job like this, that using actual, real grout (or something similar) was going to be waaaay to difficult and messy, so I figured I would go a different route with caulk and glues. Well, I was partially correct. I used a combination of Elmer's "Glue-All", Elmer's standard white, DAP Dyanflex 320 (window/door/trim caulk), Custom Building Products' "SimpleFix" Ceramic Tile & Fixture Caulk, and to make sure it's white, I added a small splash of Behr Premium Plus Ultra ultra pure white (one of the 8oz sample canisters you can get from a hardware store's paint section for cheap). I mixed everything together inside and dispensed from Elmer's Glue-all bottle because the applicator tip is conveniently sized
What I did was cut a measured section of blue insulation foam, measured and marked a grid, glued a single layer of cheesecloth over the grid (I thought this would give me optimal adhesion for the tiles), and the individually gluing every tile in place . My issue was that after the first application of the glue-caulk mixture, the mixtures was a little too loose, so as it was drying, it seeped into all of the cracks and crevices under and around the tiles. On one hand, this was a boon because now my tiles will have a solid base, on the other hand, it became a messy nightmare because after everything dried, the caulk mixture looked sunken and pockmarked, which forced me into a second and third application of the mixture (and one final, fourth touch-up). To simulate the look/aesthetic of real grout, I lightly sprinkled some local gray-white sand I sterilized (baked at 500°F for one hour) while the mixture was in place and still wet. Enclosed are the results to that first section.
Have any of you folks ever attempted anything like this? Is there a better mixture I could use to fill in the gaps of the tiles as a "grout?" The mixture I am using doesn't fully mix, unfortunately, and you'll experience times where it is dispensing at the right viscosity, and other times when it's a thick bead of caulk spooging out....
I could really use some suggestions for a better filler material to use as the "grout" so I only have to do one application (plus a touch-up if needed, is completely fine).