Thatched Roof Tutorial

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In this tutorial we will look into how the thatched roof from my Chocolate Box Cottage is built. We will not be constructing a whole roof, but rather just look at how the aesthetic elements are constructed. How these are used to construct a roof then depends on how the house it will attached to is built.

There are two basic building blocks to this technique. We’ll start by looking at the first, which is the part that will be covering most of the roof. This part is essentially a thin strip of thatch that we create multiple copies of and line them up next to each other to get a thick thatch effect.

For one strip we need the following:

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I will be using tan pieces here, because that is what I have. Dark tan is closer to the actual colour of thatched roofs I believe, but dark tan bars aren’t exactly plentiful or cheap to get a hold of.

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Now, the basic building block here is 3 clips attached to each other, angled so that we can attach bars to all three clips without the clips blocking each other.

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We then attach bars to each of the clips. Note that we attach the clip to the end of the bar, and the bar points “upwards”, that is, the same direction as the studs.

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Depending on how high you want your roof to be you can put any number of these constructs together to make it as long as you want. For this demonstration we will make 4 of them that we will then attach together.

Do note that we have created some variation between the pieces, by alternating which clip is set in which angle. For example in the top right, the middle clip is at the top, while in the top left, the middle clip is at the bottom. Alternating this is important in order to break up patterns in the thatch, or the thatch will not look as natural. There is a bit more to it as well, which we’ll cover later.

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Time to attach all these together in a long strip. This is done by attaching a jumper plate to the top stud. This will create an offset of half a stud and we can then attach the next part to the jumper plate and the space will be enough to fit in the clips and bars sticking out.

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This is how it should look once we’ve attached all 4 parts together. Now we just have to make 2 more ๐Ÿ™‚

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Now, this might sound a bit complicated, but as these three strips are supposed to be aligned quite closely together, there is one thing we need to watch out for. We need to make sure that there are no collisions between clips of adjacent strips. Basically, we check that at each position the clips on both sides are not angled towards each other, because if there are, the strips will not be able to get close enough to look like a continuous cover of thatch.

If this is not clear enough, don’t worry, because once you try to assemble them next to each other, you will be able to see what the problem is. Or, perhaps you will luck out and everything will fall into place ๐Ÿ™‚

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We need a base to attach the strips to, and it is created as seen above. The thickness of the strips is such that a 1,5 stud offset will give just the right distance between strips.

A small note for when building wider roofs:
When building wider roofs the 1,5 stud offset doesn’t really hold true as the strips are actually slightly wider then 1,5 studs. Stacking multiple strips next to each other will eventually add up and things won’t fit. There are two ways to deal with this. Either we modify the base and put in a 2 stud offset here when needed. Alternatively, we can make a strip that is only 2 clips wide rather than 3 and add that in when things get a bit too thick. How often you need to compensate also depends on what type of clips you are using. Mine are mostly of the wide sort, but if you have ones with the thinner clips then your strips will be thinner and you won’t have to compensate as often, or perhaps at all (I haven’t tried with them as I don’t have any).

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Time to assemble the strips unto the base. This is what it will look like from the bottom. If there are collisions between clips they should be obvious now since it will be hard to fit the strips in. Just check where the collisions are and adjust accordingly and it should be fine ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, for extra stability it is possible to add something that holds the strips together at the top end as well. The reason we’re not doing this is because that would leave too little room for the next component and things would look a bit strange.

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This is the look we’re aiming for, at least for this part. You may notice that the bottom of the roof looks a bit too sparse, while real thatch is actually very thick. To remedy this we need the second type of building block, which is the thick part a the bottom of the roof.

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This is what we’ll need for each bottom roof section. Each section is 2 studs wide, so for our example we’ll need two of them.

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Firstly, attach the hollow round place in the center and put a bar through it. Pretty straight forward ๐Ÿ™‚

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Now, on to the weirded part. In each corner of a 2×2 brick we can actually fit 3 bars, as shown above. The generally stick pretty well, as long as the hollow round plate is not pushed out of place.

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Insert 3 bars in each of the 4 corners and we’ll get something looking like this. Looks better, but the round hole needs to be fixed. So how do we fix it? We just jam droid arms in there! 3 to be exact.

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Make sure you push the droid arms in with the thinner clip first or it might be hard to fit. The orientation of the bend should also be the same for all three droid arms – either clockwise of counter-clockwise. Alternating is a good idea for variety.

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Once we’ve made 2 of these we can place them at the bottom of the roof as seen above. This essentially makes up the roof, and this can be extended in either direction to get the right size roof for your building.

Now, this is as far as this tutorial will go, but there is of course another step: attaching this roof to your building. How this is done depends in many ways on the building. What angle do you want, where are the attachment points? How stable is it?

Generally you would like to cover the top somehow, which is also how thatched roofs usually look, with some sort of cap on the top.

The sides of the roof is probably the most complicated and the reason I haven’t included that is because I don’t think my own solution is very good. As you can see from the picture, the angle of the side parts are a bit off compared to the rest of the roof, which isn’t very nice. But the biggest problem is the odd sized hole that needs to be covered up somehow. My solution was to cover it with 2×2 round plates, which looks pretty strange, but it was the best solution I could come up with as I had limited time to work on it. One way to solve it is to build the house with the walls sticking up above the thatch on the short ends, with perhaps a chimney or such ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ok, that’s about it for this technique. It’s very parts intensive (as most of my techniques are) and rather complicated, but if used correctly it can look amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy building!

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