A Tiled Floor - Creating a Material in SketchUp

comments (0) October 16th, 2010 in blogs

DaveRichards David Richards, contributor
thumbs up 16 users recommend

Some friends of mine e-mailed me yesterday to ask about an easy and efficient way to create a tiled floor in SketchUp. Here's what I came up with for them.

One option would be to draw the tiles as components and create an array using Move/Copy although this could be a lot of work especially if tiles would have to be trimmed around the perimeter of the room. An easier way to do it is to create a material and apply that.

To start with I drew a few tile components and laid them out as needed. I've drawn a few more tiles than I needed so I could confirm that the pattern works. I put a simple bevel on the edges of the tile and then applied a couple of gray colors to the tiles. In the Shadows control, I turned on Use Sun for Shading and made time and date adjustments to get some highlights on the bevels.

For the grout I decided to do something that is almost black. I drew a large face under the tiles and painted it with a dark gray.

I opened an instance each tile component and hid all of the edges. This is done by holding shift while running the Eraser tool over the edges. Alternatively, you could switch to Wireframe view, select all of the edges, right click and choose Hide.

Then I added some index marks at the centers of the grout between the square tiles. I changed the line color to red to make the lines visible against the dark gray. these index marks will guide the cropping tool in the image editor.

I set the Camera to Parallel Projection and the view to Top. Then I zoomed in on the area between the red index marks using Zoom Window. I exported the view at screen size and saved it as a JPG image.

Next I opened the image in the image editor. I have several options on my computer for this but I used Paint.NET, a freeware image editor that is very powerful. I selected the area between the index marks and the chose Crop to Selection. this splits the large tiles through their centers but it makes it easier to align the material when applying it in the model.

I saved the resulting image where I could find it.

Now, back in SketchUp, I drew a square representing the size of the tile area. then I imported the image making sure that Use as texture was selected.

Then I immediately saved the new material for future use by dragging the thumbnail from the In Model library to the Tile library. If the second pane of the Materials browser isn't open, click on the little white plus sign in the upper right, immediately under the X that closes the window. In the image, above, there is a '-' because I have the second pane open.

After saving the material in the Tile library, it is no available for use in your models.

Now this material can be applied to faces in your model as needed in just seconds. Just applying the material on the floor in my model above seemed to work out pretty well. If needed, though, the material position can be changed by right clicking on the face and choosing Texture>Position. Keep in mind that if you apply any material to a component or group instead of to a face, you won't have this option. The material could also be scaled if you need it to be a different size.

This may seem like a lot of work but it really doesn't take long and you only need to do it once if you save the material for future use.


posted in: blogs

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking


Become a Better Woodworker

About Design. Click. Build.

Learn the art and science of designing furniture in SketchUp with Fine Woodworking's official blog. Moderated by a devoted community of woodworkers, we feature step-by-step SketchUp tutorials on designing components, downloads of pre-built 3D models of furniture parts, and news and information about the evolving world of digital furniture design.

Buy the Video
Don't miss Dave Richard's brand-new DVD/video download, The Basics.

Buy the Book
Get Tim Killen's popular eBook, the Google SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers.

Basic SketchUp Tutorials 
Learn the basics of building furniture in SketchUp with these classic posts from the Design. Click. Build. blog.

Creating a Project Plan in SketchUp
How I Draw in SketchUp
Axes in SketchUp
The SketchUp Move Tool
The SketchUp Rotate Tool
The SketchUp Scale Tool

Materials, Colors, and Textures
Applying Wood Grain Skins in SketchUp

Easy Dovetail Joints in SketchUp

Digital Project Plans

Download and modify SketchUp files for select projects from Fine Woodworking. View all.

Top Sellers:
Matt's Monster Workbench
New England Pine Cupboard
Garden Bench

Meet the Authors



I am a Biomedical Equipment Technician. I maintain anesthesia and respiratory equipment for the largest medical facility in southeast Minnesota. I...
view profile

Tim Killen

I am retired from Bechtel Corporation after 36 years in Engineering and IT management. I grew up among woodworking machinery in...
view profile


view profile