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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dollhouse Miniature Front Porch pt 7

This week we are finally back working on the front porch project. This is actually the second I filmed part of this video because my computer crashed a few weeks ago and I lost all the footage I had. I talked about it in the blog just before this one on here. If you are interested and want learn more about what is going on there be sure to read that blog too.

Anyway, back to the porch. I decided to make a porch and the foundation look like it is made of poured concrete. To this I used some of the pink insulation foam (sometimes called “builder's foam” by crafters) I did have to make a run to Home Depot to get more since I had used up my supply in the footage I lost. Here's a link to product on the Home Depot site so you will know what to look for if you are not familiar with this stuff.

As for the cutting sizes here is the list of pieces of foam I cut
All pieces are cut from 1” thick foam insulation

5 ½” by 11” - porch floor
1 ¾” by 13” - foundation piece 1
½” by 9” - foundation piece 2
½” by 4” - step

To turn the pink foam into something that looks like concrete you will need some craft paints.

The first coat is done with black, this not only acts as our dark base color but hides the pink color of the foam.

Next we layer on 3 or 4 (or more) shades of gray craft paint. You need at least a dark, a medium and a light shade. I ended up adding an additional very light shade of gray to really get the look I was after.

You can use any three colors of gray as long as they are in the 3 shades.

Working from the darkest to the lightest use a sponge to apply the colors being sure to leave some of the colors underneath showing. You will use less of each color as you move through the colors.

Try to not have much paint on the sponge when you paint with it, dab it off until there is very little paint left.

The last step is to glue the structure we have been working on for the last several videos to the foam “concrete” I used tacky glue for this. 


I love how this is turning out so much, I hope you do too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Missing in Action

I know I have been absent for a while again. I had some stuff going on in my life and took some time off from all my blogs and youtube for a while. Oh, in case you didn't realize I have multiple blogs and Youtube channels. The links for all my blogs are at the top of this blog so if you are interested you can go check out the rest if you haven't before. Anyway, I had taken some time off them started posting on most of them again. I had been writing and filming for all the blogs/channels then my computer crashed. I had somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts/videos in process. Since I normally don't backup posts or videos until they are complete I lost all of the ones I was working on along with all the photos to go with them. YIKES!!

I am still without my main computer. My son, Erik, (my IT guy) says he is fairly sure he can get my files off my old hard drive later. In the meantime he is working on putting together a new system for me. But because he is working full time and trying to keep the price as low as he can it will take a while. Currently I am using my old (previously) retired laptop, it is really slow and not terribly reliable (it tends to shut off randomly)

I am doing my best to get back up to where I can post on all my blogs and channels but it might take a while yet before I get back on any kind of “normal” schedule. Please be patient I should be back soon. In the meantime I will be posting when I can with what I can.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Dollhouse Miniature Front Porch part 6

This week we are going to add the roofing to the front porch. I am using my favorite material for roofing, simple sand paper. This week I am using 100 grit from the dollar store. It is really important that you do spray paint/seal the sandpaper before you use it but that is really all there is to do.

I love how this looks like a modern day roof and is so easy and economical to use. I usually paint mine black because I prefer how it sets off the whatever color I have used on my siding but a quick drive around the neighborhood would give you a lot of color ideas.

Here is a picture of the markings I did on the back of the pages. I have come up with the color system to make it easy for me to keep straight what lines I cut and how far. You can use any 3 colors of marker to do the same thing.

The lines on the roof start 1” up from the bottom edge and then are ½” apart all the way to the top.

After the marking and cutting are done it is just a simple job to glue the strips to the roof being sure to offset the shingles like on a real roof.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Why I use the stuff I do

I wanted to take a few moments to talk to all of you about something I get asked about a lot. Pretty regularly I get messages or comments on videos questioning why I use things like foam core, paper board, etc. I will say some of those messages have actually been on the mean/rude side although most are very polite and just wondering.

Really the reason is super simple. Dollhouse miniatures are my passion. I love the hobby so much and I want to share that love with as many people as possible. I go out of my way to come up with projects that are as approachable as possible on a regular basis. That being said I also offer some projects that are more advanced and take some skill to complete. But especially with the building projects I want everyone to have a chance at doing them and being able to afford them.

With the current project, the front porch. I could have used wood instead of foam core. Then only those with access and the skills to use power tools could have done the project. Also the cost would have been much higher, especially since I am using the foam core from the dollar store. I have very little money invested in the project but I am still very happy with how it is coming along.

It is up to you if you want to make things like the door from the inexpensive materials I used or do you want to hop on over to the mini store and spend around $20 for your door. Do you want to take some inexpensive strip wood and some plexiglass to make a window or again spend your money on one from the store (again probably around $20)

If you have the skills and the access to power tools you could be making the porch project from wood. I figure those that can will figure that part out on their own though.

Personally I love to create, it is something that I actually need to do to feel like myself. I love to make things and the thrill of taking something inexpensive and turning it into something spectacular is really enjoyable for me. Even when things don't turn out exactly like I planned I still enjoy the process. I hope that you all do too.

Also I know that a lot of my viewers don't have a local miniature store to pick up things at. They either have to rely on the normal craft store or order online.

So I am going to continue to use recycled boxes and I am going to continue to re-purpose things that are easy to find in normal craft stores and the dollar store so that as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful hobby.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dollhouse Miniature Front Porch part 5

This week we are getting the window and door installed to our front porch project as well as attaching the brick.

I did get a lot of work done off camera to bring the project to where we are. In the previous videos we had started the siding and I demonstrated how to make the brick also. Off camera I did get all both of these done on my project as well as I painted the structure. I decided to only add the lap siding the front and side of the piece and added a tissue paper finish to the back. I was running low on both the upholstery trim strip and time and the tissue paper was a lot faster and I had it on hand. This time I used some cheap tissue from the gift wrap area of the dollar store and it worked really well.

For the painting of the main structure I first base coated (primed) with a white craft paint (I used Ceramcoat from Delta for all the paints this week). This gave me a consistent color base to work over and I felt the light green paint looked better over the white than over the plain cardboard strips.

For the green I used Ceramcoat in Light Foliage Green and since this is a matte finish paint I followed it with a coat of Matte Mod Podge to give it a slight sheen and to seal the paint.

Also off camera I gave the area where I will be putting the roofing a coat of Black craft paint. I will be putting a black roof on and didn't want the white of the foam core to show between the shingles. Since I know I am a messy painter I wanted to get this done before I did any of the work today so it wouldn't get black paint on it.

For the faux curtain behind the window I used the flap off a cardboard box that I had gotten in the mail. Recycling at its best. I did find that one side of the cardboard peeled off a lot easier than the other and left a nice surface that looks like the back side of a window drape. I simply coated it with 2 coats of the same white craft paint.

After gluing the “drapes” in place the window and door were glued in place and then trim was added. For the trim I raided my stash of strip wood for whatever looked like it would work. The strip wood is 3/8” wide and about 1/8” thick so it looks nice and substantial. For the trim over the door I used a piece of dollhouse crown molding that has been in my stash for years. I do wish I had cut it just a tad longer but it is okay the way it is. I decided against trying to film the cutting of the trim since I am sure I not doing it the correct way. I usually start with my pieces too long then cut a bit off until they fit.

I used some Light Ivory craft paint (Ceramcoat) to paint these followed by a coat of Satin Mod Podge.

All of the gluing was done using Beacon's 3-in-1 glue which has quickly become my very favorite glue.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dollhouse Miniature Front Porch part 4- Prepping the Front Door

Sorry I have been absent for so long, I have just been really busy and really tired. Hopefully I am back on track now though.

So this week we are going to add a curtain to the window on the door for the porch project. I love the look of these little curtains in real life and I have wanted to use one on a dollhouse project for a long time. This is my chance and I am so glad it worked out.

For the sheer curtain I am using some of that 6” wide tulle from the fabric/craft store. It is usually fairly inexpensive and you get a lot on the spool. If you don't have this any sheer fabric will work.

First step was to cut a piece about 6” by 6” then fold in half and make a ¼” seam on the edge opposite the fold. This will form a sleeve from your fabric.

Now trim the sleeve to about 3 ½” wide.

Use a glue that will hold the tulle to glue toothpicks to the top and bottom then glue to the inside of the door.

The ribbon to gather the center is optional but that was the style I was going for here.

It really is that easy.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dollhouse Miniature Exterior Finishes

This is a long video but I had so much I wanted to share with you all on the subject. After last week's front porch video a lot of you said you would like to see other options for the exterior finish of the project (or any miniature building for that matter)

I thought about how to present the different options in a way that would make sense and give the feel of the finish on a “building” without having to actually build an entire building. I decided to make a cube out of foam core and use each side for a different finish. I think it turned out to be a good way to demonstrate the techniques in a single place and I have a cool display piece out of it. I think this format might be fun for other techniques too, maybe interior walls or floors or??? What do all of you think?

So let's talk a bit about each technique here:

First up was the brick. Now really important when you do this for your building use a pencil where I used the pen. I just wanted you to be able to see the lines so you could follow what I was doing.

The lines for the bricks are ¼” apart and the bricks are each ½” long. Be sure to offset every other row to create the pattern if you are making the same brick pattern I did.

Next that wood siding from the 70's, I think the builder called it T1-11 when my folks built their house in 1977. If you drive through any neighborhood around here that was built at that time it is what covers most if not all the houses. Does anyone want to use it for a dollhouse, maybe. I'm not sure but I thought I would include it here. It is really easy to do and uses the same tack strip we used for the lap siding last week.

Now onto the tissue “stucco” or at least it kind of looks like stucco, maybe. Whatever I love this one and I used it on my big dollhouse (the Harrison) it looks great and a lot of people ask how I did it.

I couldn't do this tutorial and not do the egg carton stones. You can make them any shape you want, I decided to go with a more free form stone this time. Since the material is basically free and you can cut it any shape you want you can make any type of stone you want with this one. Feel free to use regular grout if you have it on hand or the caulking I used today.

Another stucco like finish can be made by adding sand to regular paint to make thick textured paste that can be applied to the walls. This also looks great especially when painted a pale color. I think it would also benefit from a light wash of a yellow tone but I didn't have time this week.

Since we just did the “lap siding” last week I applied that to the cube off camera and just painted it on camera this week.

So now you have 6 options for the exterior of you miniature building. It would be fun to mix some of these to create a really special building.

If you have another finish you would like to see me do let me know. Maybe when we get 6 more ideas we can do another cube full of them.