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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Tortilla Chips

I really have a love/hate relationship with making these tortilla chips. I love how they turn out but hate how long it takes to make such a small project. I first made these probaby 15 or 20 years ago. I was in a swap group that was doing a Superbowl Party swap and I decided to make some tortilla chips and salsa. I looked all over for directions for the chips and found nothing I thought looked very good. Most of the chips I saw were (even for sale at pretty high prices) were way to thick. To my eye they just didn't look like a real chip at all. Also they were so flat both in color and in shape they really looked like little pieces of plastic, not like yummy chips. At that point I knew I was on my own. I got out my clay and a real tortilla chip and started on my experiments. I had done some clay work before and had used sand to texture my clay but never to add a color element. I decided to give it a try. I really liked how the mixture of the clay and the sand looked.

Now onto the problem of scale in the thickness. When you look at a real chip it is already pretty thin, then you try to scale it down to 1/12th scale and you need to be paper thin at the most. First I tried to use my clay roller and although I got the clay thin it wasn't thin enough. Then I decided to try to use my pasta machine. I had just started to use the pasta machine for my clay work and knew it was the best method for getting clay really thin and even. I didn't even think about the fact it could scratch the roller. I rolled the clay/sand mixture as thin as I could with the pasta machine and still felt it was a bit too thick. I then came upon the idea of putting the clay inside of the waxed paper, and when I rolled it I was very pleased with the results. This was at least a decade before anyone even suggested it might not be a good idea to use the sand in the pasta machine. OOPS! I have to say my machine is not showing any signs of scratching and like I said I have been doing this for many years. You have to decide if you are willing to take the chance.

The next challenge of this project was to get the triangles correct. I tried several sizes of circles and cutting different size wedges and came up with the combo of a ½ “ cutter cut into 8 wedges.

Over the years I have tried to streamline the process and always have gone back to the original method. I think in the end the extra steps are worth it for the finished product. I tried to just cut the triangles but without the outer curve they just didn't look right. I tried skipping the step of curling each and every chip, again they just looked wrong. So are there a lot of steps? Yes. Does this take what seems like forever to make a very small pile of chips? Oh, yes for sure. Is it worth it in the end when I look at those chips and see the finished product? I would say without a doubt YES!!

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