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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Walnuts

This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I thought I would show you another little trick that has been around for years. I had forgotten all about this until it was mentioned on one of the online mini groups I am a member of. I am not sure why it slipped my mind but I should have shared it a long time ago.

Coriander seeds should be fairly easy to get your hands on. I know it is used in cooking a lot around my house. If you aren't familiar with it in the seed form you might know the fresh herb as cilantro, which is a fairly common herb in several styles of cooking.

You really only need a few seeds for your dollhouse display so hopefully you have some of these in the kitchen cabinet if not ask your friends they may have them.

As with any real food product in the dollhouse you will need to be on the watch for critters of all kinds that decide you have provided these for them. Just check on them regularly and it should be fine.

You might also try sealing the seeds into the bowl with some matte finish sealer like Mod Podge. I think that will help keep things out of your display.

For a bowl you can see from the video you can use just about anything, I couldn't find a bowl today but a wooden button did a fine job. Just check your stash of buttons, bead and wooden shapes to see what you come up with. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Gingerbread House

This week I decided to show you how to make a gingerbread house for either your dollhouse or for Barbie and her friends to enjoy. I purposely didn't complete the decorating on mine because I wanted to leave it up to your imagination. I would love to see what you do with this project so be sure to post the pictures on the Facebook page.

We start out with a pattern to cut out the walls. Feel free to either draw your own or you can use mine. There are also tons of patterns online for real size gingerbread houses that you could easily adapt to the doll size.

My side walls measure ¾” x 1 ¼”
end walls ¾” x 1 1/8”
Roof ¾” x 1 3/8”

In real life gingerbread houses come in all sizes from tiny to huge so let your imagination go wild. You could make yours a castle or a cottage or anything in between.

I used some of the candy I made in last week's video to decorate along with some other mini candy I had on hand. I also used some of the Tulip Beads in a Bottle just because I have been wanting to use them for minis since I got them. I am sure I will be finding some more mini uses for them in the future.

For our frosting I am using just some plain old latex caulk. You find this in the painting/ home improvement section of the store. It is a very useful and inexpensive item to have on hand. It makes pretty foolproof frosting and cleans up with soap and water before it dries. You can also mix it with acrylic paints if you want to color it. It can be piped like frosting or just spread on so it really is pretty versatile to use.

To decorate your house you can use anything you have many beads and buttons would look great. You can make “cookies” out of the left over clay and use those to decorate.

Look online for pictures of real gingerbread houses to get your inspiration if you need help getting started. 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Wreath

I thought for Trash to Treasure this week I would show you a really simple Christmas wreath. This one again can be made in a variety of sizes and since real wreaths come in many sizes it will easily cross over to Barbie scale too.

I like to use the split rings that I show in the video because they are pretty cheap and easy to find. They are the same rings that are on most key rings I have ever owned. In fact the first time I made one of these I used the ring off an extra key ring that was laying around.

For the size shown in the video (package says the rings are 33mm which for those of us that aren't good at metric they measure around 1 ¼” in diameter) I like to use 3 chenille stems to get a good coverage. You might be able to get by with just 2 but 1 won't go all the way around.

Then it is on to the fun part of the project. Decorating! I just did a very simple decoration on mine but feel free to go wild. I would have done more but it was freezing in my work room the day I filmed.

Look through your ribbons, buttons and beads to find items to attach to your wreath. I am sure that you can also make little paper shapes, use tiny stickers or whatever else your imagination can come up with.

If you make a wreath or any of the other projects I have shown on video be sure to post them on the Facebook wall. We all love to see what you are making. Also feel free to post pictures of any of your mini projects on there or to post questions too. 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Candy

This week we are going to play with some polymer clay and create a few Christmas candies. I only got to show you two varieties in the video. There were a couple of reasons for that: I knew the video was getting a bit long, I did tape a third one but I didn't like how it turned out so I decided to not use that one, and most importantly I was beginning to get a sore throat so I just didn't feel like talking anymore. I gave a wonderful base to work from though so use your imagination and come up with more ideas on your own.

Just a hint we might be using some of this candy next week on a project. I hope things go well and we can anyway.

I did make a video a few years back on how to make candy canes and you can find that here if you would like to make those too.

For the video I used all Fimo brand clay but any brand will work just fine. I do feel you need to add a translucent clay to each of the colors and I vary the amount depending on what I am making and how I feel like mixing it that day. It is not an exact science so have fun. I am not sure what the proportions were on the candy cane video but they were probably different than I used on this video. It is really up to you how much translucent clay you use in the mix just be sure to use some.

The colors I used were: Tropical Green, Indian Red, White and of course Translucent, but you can use any colors you want. Any red and any green will work for Christmas candy I just pulled out the ones I can to first in the box. I really wanted to use Pearl for the white portions but I seem to be out of that color so I used the white. You can even use the glittered clays for candy, really anything goes.

If you change the colors out you can make these same candies for any holiday or any season. Again let your imagination go wild and see what you come up with.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Salad for the Dolls

This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I thought I would show you a quick and easy way to make some salad for your dolls. This is a project that will work for just about any size doll.

The secret to this salad is the snow flake stuff that the stores sell around Christmas for placing along with the Christmas villages that are so popular. You will need to get the variety that doesn't include a lot of the iridescent flakes, if your bag has some be sure to pick them out (they just don't look very convincing as salad)

It is totally up to you how many colors of green paint you use, I usually use between 3 and 5 colors of green and I almost always add a purple too. In real life I almost always buy the bags of salad that have lots of types of greens in them and that include the purple radicchio also so that is what I make for the dolls too.

This time the colors I used were:
Delta Ceramcoat- Leaf Green
Seminole Green
Village Green
FolkArt- Olive Green

If you are unsure of what colors to use just stop by the local produce department and look at the bags of salad for an idea of what colors are in there.

You can of course just use one color and sometimes I do that too.

For display purposes you can toss the colored, dry salad with a bit of white glue and then place it in whatever container you wish to use. It will then stay put for many years.

If you want to add some “salad dressing” you can paint in a color to give the effect you are looking for.

This salad also looks great when you toss in some polymer clay additions like slices of radish, carrot, olives, tomatoes, whatever your dolls would like to have. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taking a week or so off.

I just wanted to let you all know that I am in great need of a short vacation and will be taking the rest of the month of November off from video making. I desperately need to clean house for the upcoming holidays and I have a Thanksgiving dinner to prepare next week.

I will return to the normal schedule in early December and hopefully I will have another blog (devoted to 18" dolls) ready to launch at that time.

In the meantime I will be on Facebook so you can  catch me there or message me either here of through YouTube. If there are some of my videos you have missed  this would be a good time to get caught up. If you have videos you want to see be sure to let me know so I can get the items needed to do them for you.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Olives For the Dolls

This week for my Trash to Treasure project I decided to work in three different scales. I show you how to turn some inexpensive beads into some green olives for the dollhouse, for Barbie or for your 18” dolls.

These are really simple as a trash to treasure project should be. They go together in just minutes although you will need to wait for the glue to dry.

I used some little glass beads (they say they are size 11/0) for the dollhouse size and I used the same beads in a larger size (6/0) for Barbie size. I got both of these packages of beads at Walmart a few years ago and they were very inexpensive but I don't remember the exact cost. You could also use a plastic bead of about the same size. Just think about the size of olives in real life compared to your hand and scale the bead size to your doll's hand. For the larger, 18” dolls (like American Girl, Journey Girls and all their friends) I used some simple plastic Pony Beads.

I am going to be branching out to doing more 18” doll items and I am starting an additional blog for that. Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks.

This project can easily be re-sized to just about any doll size, just use your doll's hand to find the correct size beads.

For the Pimento that fills the beads I used embroidery floss for the two smaller sizes and some inexpensive yarn for the larger ones. You can use any floss or yarn as long as it is in scale to the bead.

The first step of applying some glue to end of the piece of floss/yarn and letting that dry will make this project so much easier than if you skip this step. Trying to get that floss/yarn through the opening in the beads as it comes from the store is almost immpossible.

Some people like to coat the floss/yarn with glue before they string the beads on, for me it works better to get a bunch of beads on and then push them out of the way and coat the floss/yarn with glue and place my beads where I want them. Do remember to space the beads out (you are going to waste some of the floss/yarn between the beads) so they are easier to cut apart once dry.

Also after loosing a bunch of beads a few times in the past I got into the habit of tying a knot in the end of the floss/yarn so that the beads stop and don't slide off the end.

I do prefer to use a thinner white glue for this (like Elmers) it seems to work better at soaking into the floss/yarn that a thicker glue but use whatever you have on hand.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Stove Kit part 3

This week we finish up the stove kit that I bought at the mini show. I am really happy with how it turned out.

After the stove was assembled I spray painted it with a light coat of Satin finish Black spray paint. This is totally optional but I think it went a long way in making this kit look less like it was made of plastic and more like it was metal. If you can't spray paint yours I would skip this because I don't think a brushed on coat of paint would give nearly as nice of a finish. I also gave the “chrome” pieces a light coat of aluminum spray paint to help rid them of that high gloss plastic look.

I also needed to apply the water slide decal to the stove board, I am probably the last person you should listen to about do decals but I did get through it.

At this point I glued on the “chrome” pieces to the stove. I had debated with myself if I should glue them on now or after the next step but in the end decided to glue them on now so that the next step could kind of blend them together and make both of them look more like metal.

The last step I decided to do was to apply a finish of Perfect Pearls. These are pearlescent pigment powders according to the package. I got the complete kit which comes with 4 colors of the powder, 2 brushes and the “perfect medium” pad, regular price on the kit was $18 but I had a half off coupon so it brought the price down. I had never worked with these before and they looked interesting. The label on the package says it will create a faux metal look and that is what I wanted to do so I took the plunge. My kit came with the pewter color we used on this kit, a really pretty blue, a green and a gold. After using these on this project I am pretty sure I will be buying more and using them on other projects, they are a lot of fun to work with and give beautiful results.

Since I had no idea how to work with these I got some advice on the Facebook page and they went over to YouTube to find videos on them too. I played around a bit with some ideas on the back and bottom of the stove and came up with my game plan.

I found for this kit using a make-up sponge was the easiest way to apply the medium that goes under the pigments. Then just use the soft brushes from the kit to brush a tiny bit of the powder on the area you are working on. And I mean a tiny bit, a little goes a long, long way. As I went along I used a soft powder brush to buff the excess pigment off the stove. After I was through applying the pigment to the entire stove I used some of the cotton safety swaps to buff the finish to a nice glow.

I had thought I was going to spray the completed stove with some clear sealer in a satin finish but decided at the last moment to just use the water mist like the manufacturer recommends. My stove won't be handled much and I didn't want to disturb the lovely glow by getting it too wet with the spray finish. What I did was to mist the water in the air over the stove and let the dampness fall onto the stove. I tested this on a piece of the extra plastic from the kit and it seemed to seal just fine.

If you are interested in learning more about the product you can find out more at Ranger here

So here are some pictures of the stove both with just the spray paint finish on and then with the Perfect Pearls. 

Stove finished with the Perfect Pearls

With the spray paint

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Bronze Statues

This week I am sharing yet another of my go to projects from the days when I was really active in the swap groups.

Again this one came about because I had a huge swap (over 20 members) a short amount of time and most importantly a very limited budget. It just so happened that I had just recently returned from a vacation. One of my favorite stops on that particular trip had been a museum that had some wonderful bronze statues. I so wanted to bring one (or all of them) home but they were way out of my budget.

I don't remember what the theme for the swap was, but it called for some kind of art work to be created and sent in. As I was trying to figure out what I was making I took a stroll through Dollar Tree (since many times I can find things to use in minis there). I happened to see a huge bag of the little Army men! It occurred to me that they could easily become bronze statues like I had seen on my trip. I purchased some bags of different themes and went home to figure out how to turn those ugly plastic toys into beautiful bronze statues. I played around with different paints and came up with the idea I am sharing here.

I used this same project in several swaps on different groups over the years and I usually got really positive feedback.

I had actually forgotten all about them until I was looking through boxes in my storage room the other day and happened to run across the bag of the leftover pieces from the last time I made them. As soon as I realized what I had found I knew I had to share them here. This is such a fun project and so low in cost.

There were only a couple of the little toys left in the bag so I did need to get more. I didn't really have time to go the dollar store so I looked in my grocery store the next time I had to went there. The store I go to is kind of like a super store in that it has groceries, clothes, furniture, toys and a bunch of other stuff. I found a nice selection of the little toys that I needed on the shelf, they are a bit bigger than I would have preferred but they will work in either 1/12th scale or 1/6th scale. They would be a large focal piece in 1/12th and more a table top size in 1/6th. If you look around you can probably find them smaller. The ones I had before were in different sizes some quite small and some the size I got now. The ones I found this time were: Army, pirates, ninjas, and cavemen. The packages each held 2 types with 15 of each type. The regular price was around $3 but they were half price and my wonderful checker gave me a coupon for another 10% off. I also found a small card that had 6 little horses on it for $1 (regular price) also on half off and went on the coupon too. So you see even at the regular store these are pretty cheap.

In the past I have had knights, policemen, firemen, cowboys and Indians. You can probably find them to fit just about any theme you need.

The painting of these is really easy and the only real trick is to make sure you have them covered completely with the bronze paint. The black wash is really what makes them look like bronze so don't skip that step.

For bases you can use just about anything. Polymer clay rolled out to a sheet, cut and baked is nice. Just give it a satin like finish, I actually just used some clear nail polish today and it worked out fine. Wood pieces either painted or stained and top coated with a satin or gloss finish would be nice. If you have access to polished rocks of the correct size they are really pretty under these too. Use your imagination and see what you have that will work.


the toys in their packages as purchased

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Stove Kit part 2

This week we continue the assembly of the stove kit, by the end of the video we will have all the major assembly completed just leaving the finishing and trimming for next week. If you haven't watched last week's video you can find it here.

You get to see a bit of my fighting my battle with the tiny little knobs on the video and at the end I do show you how to get them in place. My first instinct with these little pieces is to pull out my trusty tweezers and use those. That just seems like the logical way to do this. But.....for me with these tiny pieces I usually end up using the old spaghetti trick. I do show you that at the end of the video so hopefully you won't stop and mess with the tweezers in a similar situation. When we get to the larger piece (the damper handle on the stove pipe, it is of tweezers/ fingertip size and way too big for the spaghetti)

On the subject of the tiny, tiny knobs, my biggest pet peeve about these kits is the fact that there are very seldom extras of these tiny pieces included. I did get one extra knob in the hutch kit which was a good thing because I had to resort to using it on the stove. I think these things probably jump away from most of us and would it really be so hard to have planned on an extra one or two of them on the mold when they were designing the kit?? I again spent several minutes of my time on hands and knees under my work table looking for wayward pieces.

By the end of this week's video we are really getting what looks like a cook stove. I remember when I was a little girl my grandparents still had the old cook stove out in the barn and now that I think about I think we had one out in one of the out buildings on the farm while I was growing up too.

When you are thinking about historic scenes by the way and what time frame a cook stove would have been used do remember you need to figure out where your dollhouse is supposed to be set. In the area where I live for example I know that electricity didn't make it all the way out the the farming areas until sometime around 1940 although they had had it in town for a long time. That's why there were still some cook stoves around the farms in my childhood a generation later. My mom didn't have electricity growing up they got it when she was in high school or had already graduated.

Be sure to come back next week to see how I decide to finish the stove.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Nail Polish Marbling

This week I decided to show you a really cool technique for marbling. A couple of years ago this was all the rage for a really awesome manicure. I watched a bunch of videos back then on doing nails this way but never got around to trying it out. For some reason I never made the connection to using this for minis at the time. Then a few days ago I was watching some of the older videos on one of my favorite crafting YouTube channels (Craft Klatch find her channelhere) and she had used this technique to color some beads and a napkin ring (here is the bead video) and that got me to thinking that this would work just as well for minis.

I decided that for this project that I was not going to buy anything at the store, only use what I have on hand. Now I may be at an advantage in that I may very well have more nail polish than even a lot of salons (LOL) but you really only need a couple of colors. I recommend working with 3 colors on an object. Three of something is almost always my go to number because according to my high school painting teacher that number is magical in art work and makes for a more appealing grouping of anything. I'm not sure if that is accurate or not but thanks to Miss Marsh I almost always put things in threes.

The other things you need for this project are the item to coat in marble, a container for water (I highly recommend a disposable cup for this), some warm or room temperature water and a way to hold on to your item to dip it and a way to let it dry. To solve the how to hold the items I decided to use my normal golf tees to hold them. I was afraid that the tacky stuff I normally use would not hold so I got out my glue gun. I just put a dab of hot glue on the top of the golf tee and placed the item onto the hot glue. I figured worst case scenario I might have to get out my heat gun to soften the glue. In the end the glue just pealed off of everything just fine. This is my new favorite way to hold things, the hot glue works way better and doesn't release at inopportune moments.

You will also need lots of paper towels and toothpicks.

A few things I learned in playing with this. Warm water works the best. Just do one dip at a time and then clean the top of water of all the film left before adding fresh polish. I found that lifting the film off with a toothpick then following with a paper towel worked the best.

Some nail polishes worked better than others. For some reason the fast drying brands didn't work very well for me, I'm not sure if it was the brand or the fast dry formula. The brand that worked the best were the LA Colors that I buy at Dollar Tree. I love those polishes anyway for all the fun colors and the fact that they are only $1 each is just a bonus.

If you care about your manicure wear some latex gloves to do this, I ended up with misc polish all over my nails and hands (I some on my elbow too and I have no idea how that happened.

I base coated my items with white paint before I did then for the video. That way there was no wood showing through.

After the paint is dry drop a few drops of your chosen nail polish colors on top of the water. Swirl with a toothpick and carefully dip your item into the water move it around carefully and remove. Set aside to dry. If you need to do a second dip (I only needed to do a second dip on the very largest piece) let the first coat dry completely before doing the second coat. Be sure to clean the top of the water before doing another coat or another piece.

Allow to dry and then top coat with a clear coat. I used some clear nail polish on all of mine and I love how they turned out. I ended up gluing the little egg shaped one to a black washer shaped bead and I love it so much.

When you are cleaning up and dumping the water please do whoever has to clean the sink a favor and be sure to wipe up any nail polish so it doesn't dry in the sink. This can make a big mess when you are cleaning up if you are not careful.

This technique should work well in any scale the possibilities are endless.

So a huge thank you to both whatever nail artist thought this up in the first place and also to Mona of Craft Klatch for making me think outside the nail polish bottle and into the craft room. 

the group of items I made with the technique

vase made from a wooden candle cup

made from a wooden block

wooden egg shape mounted on a washer type bead

Avon lipstick sample lid

wooden flower pot

cake stand (?) made from a button glued to the plastic part of a push-pin

another vase from a candle cup

small wooden bowl

larger wooden bowl

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Stove Kit part 1

This week we will begin to tackle the assembly of the cook stove kit. I decided to split the assembly into two parts and then do a third video on the finishing of the kit. I didn't want this to be as long as the assembly video on the hutch kit ended up being. I actually ended up filming the entire assembly process and then just deciding where to split it. It ended up to be two videos that are each around 20 minutes so I think that worked out well.

So the first step in any kit assembly in my opinion is to determine 2 things:
1- are all the parts that are supposed to be here actually here.
2- do I understand all the directions

After getting those steps out of the way I proceeded (off camera) to divide up all parts into small plastic bags that I labeled by the step numbers on the instruction sheet. This way when I was ready to do a step I simply picked up the bag labeled for that step and was ready to go. No searching through all the parts and hoping that I was gluing the right pieces in the right places. This way if when I put the parts into the bags I had made mistakes I would determine it when I went to do the bags for later steps not after they were glued together and I didn't have the right piece on a later step.

I do apologize for the really bad camera angle during the last part (heck most) of this video. I didn't realize that my camera had been moved on the day I didn't film I should have more carefully checked the view in the preview screen. I really need to get my second camera set back up, I still need to update some software to get the system to work on my new computer.

A couple of hints for working with these kits.

Always let the glue dry between steps.

When you are gluing long edges of pieces together try to just add glue dots to the pieces then put them together. If the fit is correct add more glue, if not you have a better chance of moving the parts to where they need to be. After you are sure everything is in place feel free to add a heavier bead of glue in an area that won't show. Just be sure you can visualize which places will be hidden when the project is complete.

Always dry fit pieces together before you glue. Since model cement slightly melts the plastic to form the bond it can be next to impossible to take parts apart after they are glued, even before the glue cures.

So come back next week to see how we go about the rest of the major assembly. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Cat Condo

This week on Trash to Treasure Thursday I show you how to turn a simple toilet paper tube into a cute cat condo for the cats in your dollhouse. I have been meaning to post this project since the beginning of the channel and just never got around to it.

This was one of those projects that came up because I was in a panic several years ago about what to make for a swap on one of my Yahoo groups. I had signed up for a cat/ pet themed swap and a bunch of people signed up. This was not one of the groups that put a limit on the number of people in a swap and I remember there were at least 20 people in this one and most seemed to sign up at the last minute. This meant I needed to come up with a project that could be made up quickly in large numbers, it had to be cheap but be something that would have enough value for the swap, I wanted it to be light weight (for shipping reasons) and I wanted it to be different enough that chances are there wouldn't be several others made by other people in the return box. I always have the little wooden circles on hand (they are just so handy) and at that time all 4 kids were living at home so there was no shortage of toilet paper tubes, and I even had the carpet on hand because I had just finished carpeting my Brookfield and so the idea was born. I did have to do a bit of experimenting to get the project the way I wanted but it really did come together quickly and got rave reviews when the swaps were received.

Now one of you readers/ viewers can tell me if this project would work for the “Littlest Pet Shop” characters, I don't have any of those so I was not able to test any of them.

I have found that t.p. tubes do tend to be slightly different in size sometimes. I'm not sure if it is a brand thing or if they have changed over the years but it used to be that the 1 ½” round piece fit perfectly in the tube after the carpet was added. Not any more, I find I have to add a small strip of the carpet fabric to the edge of the circle to get a tight fit.

The disk I added at the bottom is because of the same change in tube size, I didn't used to do this but the last few times I have made these the base has become needed to keep the bottom in place.

You could probably make a 2 level condo too, just make it tall enough to punch out 2 circles and add another circle piece to the middle. I by putting this on a larger base and adding some dowels (covered in either “carpet” or twine) you could build a pretty impressive cat condo for the most spoiled cat in the dollhouse.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Extreme Aging

I kind of came up with this technique over a period of a few years by just playing with paints and such. I really got it to where I loved it on a bench several years ago. I needed a bench to set in a scene and I found a kit at the local mini store (really miss that place, <sigh>) that was exactly what I wanted. The kit actually made 2 benches so I made them both up and then wanted to figure out what to do with the second one. I decided to use it in the yard of a house I was working on at the time. I wanted it to look like it had really been around for a long time and had been abused, maybe left outside or in another unprotected place. I knew the look I wanted so I started to play around with paints and such. The process kind of evolved as I worked and I was really pleased with the end result. When I showed the photos to some online groups I got several requests to teach them how I had accomplished the end result.

So the look we are going to go for is a piece of furniture that has been around for a long, long time. You really want it to have very simple lines to work the best and it should be made of wood. Other than those things it can be anything although chairs, tables and benches work the best I have used this on cabinets of all types too. I am using the bench I made in last week's video for the demo.

If you are using a piece of furniture that has a shinny surface you will need to sand off the shine then just follow the steps in the video.

I like to start with a white base coat. This gets everything ready for the technique, acts something like a primmer and also when you sand down to the bare wood gives another layer of color.

The next layer I refer to as “Patchwork Painting” because when you are done although it looks scary it should resemble a patchwork quilt. Try to cover most or all of the white paint. Overlapping colors is recommended too, this layer is standing in for the many layers of paint that would have been applied to the piece over the many years since it was new. Try to pick dark, rich and/or bright colors. You want contrast here both with the white layer and with each other. The colors I used in the video were:

Ceramcoat: Blue Velvet
Seminole Green
Terra Cotta
Brown Velvet
Tomato Spice
Apple Barrel: Neon Blue
Folk Art: Neon Orange

Just use what you have on hand.

I usually use cotton swabs for this layer but you can use brushes if you prefer. I use the cotton swabs simply to save me having to clean brushes that many times. Try not to mix the colors together but that is really the only rule, oh and don't be too neat on this layer. Messy is better, small drips are fine (maybe encouraged even) and bumpy is fine too. You want this to look like there is a lot of layers of paint without the bulk of the layers.

Let this coat dry completely before you go on to the next step.

Now we need to add a very small amount of crackle medium. Be sure to read the directions on the label we need the kind that is painted on the piece allowed to almost dry and then a light top coat is added. I know there is another variety that works in a very different way and that will not work here. With crackle mediums the heavier the coat the larger the crackle so we want jut a whisper of it, and only in a few places. This is not the project to layer all over. We just want a few cracks, and be sure to apply it in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Now even though the directions will probably tell you that you want to leave this for maybe 30 minutes DON'T. Go wash the brush you used out and come right back and check it. We are using such a thin layer that it will probably be ready. Check it with your finger tip, it should be just a bit sticky I guess the word would be tacky.

So onto a thin layer of our topcoat I like to use a cream color craft paint for this since it will contrast nicely with all the colors under it. I used Ceramcoat in Buttercream but any similar color will work.

Let this layer of paint dry completely before you go onto the next step!

Now we are adding some abuse to our little piece of furniture. Gather up a collection of tools that you can use to really add some age and go to it. I like to sand some areas with an emery board, use pliers, dental pick, Exacto knife, etc to add some age. Just think about what the effect of the tool is giving you and place it in a logical spot on the piece of furniture.

Next we will add a dirty water wash literally a drop of a warm brown paint in a few drops of water. You are just trying to make the piece look a bit older and dirty it up a bit. I used a “safety swab” for this step but of course you can use a fluffy paint brush. Just be sure to just add a hint of a wash of the color. If you are making it brown, get more water in the paint.

Then comes the fun little “extra” touches, the ring left by some mystery can that was set down, the speckles of paint, just use your imagination and see what you can come up with.

If you are unsure about the process this is one I highly recommend doing some samples up on extra wood. I like to use craft sticks (or better yet the jumbo craft sticks) for things like this, they are small but still large enough to see the effects and really cheap to have on hand.

So get out you paints and have some fun adding some age to a piece of furniture. 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Table

This week on Trash to Treasure Thursday I am transforming the lid to a gift card tin into a cute and useful table.

A while back I was standing in line at my local JoAnn's fabric store. It was one of those days when they were running a good ad but had neglected to schedule enough staff so the line was pretty long. At one point I was standing near a display of little metal tins that were being marketed to hold gift cards. They had a bunch of different designs suitable for almost any gift giving occasion. Being a miniaturist instead of a tin what I saw were Table Tops!! These particular tins measured about 2 ½” by 5” perfect for a kitchen or work table. As the line finally moved on forward I grabbed a Christmas themed one and added it to my purchase. The lid for this tin has been sitting on my worktable in my pile of “things to do soon” for a while now. I was on the lookout for the right thing to use as legs. Several things came to mind but none seemed to fit the modern look of the table until I happened to need to pick up some nails to do a home repair. Just down the shelf from the ones I needed were some nails that were 2 ½” long, perfect for table legs. I grabbed the package of those since I can always use nails around here (20 acres with the buildings and repairs that go with it mean I try to have these kind of things around- or I should have them)

When I got home I tried the nails as table legs and they gave the perfect “modern” look to my table. Since I wanted to protect the floor of where ever I decide to use the table I added some bead feet to the legs.

If you don't have nails look around at what you do have, I bet you can find something to use if you look around.

I tried a couple of different glues and settled on using Household Goop to attach the legs. I did use my faithful 527 Glue to add the beads though.

And before you say anything, yes, I know one of the legs is not straight. Remember how I said to be sure that the legs on your table are straight and if they aren't you are going to be stuck with a crooked leg? Well, I should have taken my own advice. LOL I guess I will be using something to disguise the leg when I eventually use the table.

As far as chairs, I haven't got anything special planned but I think the ones I made years ago on a video (Chair video is here) would work just fine and stay in the theme of
Trash to Treasure project. 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Bench

This week's project is actually part one of another two part series I guess. You see as I was deciding on the finish for the hutch kit I did the last 2 weeks I realized that I had never made a video showing my “Extreme Aging” technique so I decided then that I needed to do one. I didn't really have any furniture on hand to demo the technique on so I decided to just make up a really simple bench to use. Then as I was gathering my materials for the bench I realized I should probably be filming it so you can make one of your own.

This bench will work in so many places and of course you are not limited to do the aging on it that I will be showing in next week's video. You could leave it plain (although I think I would still put a clear finish on), you could use some wood stain (be sure to do this before assembly), or you could just paint it. The choice is yours and you may even think of another finish to use. Feel free to post other ideas in the comments. Even better if you make one come on over to the Facebook page and post a picture for all of us to see.

You are also not limited by the size I made my bench, you can make it as big or as small as you like. Only have room for a 2” long bench, no problem just adjust the length of the top boards. Need a bench for Barbie, again just adjust the measurements. This bench could be any scale from tiny to real size, just adjust the size of everything and go for it!

Need a table instead of a bench, again not a problem just adjust the length of the legs and the top to fit where you need it. By just adding longer legs this would be a really cute sofa table, make the top wider and you could have a kitchen table or a work table.

Since originally I was just going to throw this together for the aging video I used what I had on hand so hopefully you can just go to the craft room and make your own. I always have at least one package of “skinny sticks” on hand, they are so useful in so many projects so that is the basis of the table. Other than the skinny sticks you will need something for the legs, I used some ¼” x ¼” strip wood for those, use something close to this size (if you do use something else you may need to adjust your stretcher bars a bit to fit. For the pieces to hold the table top together I used some 1/8” x 1/8” strip wood, you need something pretty small here although if all else fails use some skinny stick.

Cutting list:

Table top 4 Skinny Sticks cut 5” long
Table support 3 pieces 1/8” x 1/8” cut just under 1” long
Legs 4 pieces ¼” x ¼” cut 1 ½”
Long stretcher piece (skinny stick) 4 ¼” long
Short stretcher pieces (skinny stick) 2 @ ½”

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Log Plant Stand

This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I decided to take advantage of some of the limbs that blew down in the last windstorm to make a little plant stand.

The inspiration for this project came last summer. I was trying to find a house address so I was looking at front porches as I drove slowly down a street. As I was going along I saw the cutest plant stand on one of the front porches. I made a mental note of it as I drove. It had been bouncing around in my brain ever since just waiting to be made. Since we have had several large storms come through here lately I have a lot of branches down everywhere. As I was cleaning up a few of them the other day I grabbed a likely candidate for the project.

Since the branch was a bit wet from the rain and also I was a bit concerned about any bugs that may have made a home in it I wanted to both dry it out and kill off any tiny critters. The easiest way to do this is to bake the wood piece. I do recommend baking before cutting since sometimes the ends will split from the heat. We do need to use a fairly low heat (250 degrees Fahrenheit) and be sure to lay the wood piece on a piece of aluminum foil. I like to bake things like this for about an hour, that seems to dry them out and I have never had any bug problems after baking for this length of time.

After the wood has had a chance to completely cool to room temperature it is time to cut it into 3 pieces. I choose to make mine 2 ½”, 1 ½”, and 1” approximately, don't stress aboout the exact measurement on this. I would say for 1/12th scale anywhere between 1” and 3” would be fine. Just make sure they are definitely all different heights, don't make them too close or it will not look as good.

I used hot glue for this one, I think that is what will probably work the best but feel free to use what you have.

You can either glue the plant pots on the top or just use a temporary sticky product. If you use a temp. product you could change them out seasonally. This might be really cut with plants in a Christmas theme too.

Just have fun with the project that is the idea of these Trash to Treasure projects they are supposed to be no stress fun things to put together with things you find. 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chyrsnbon Hutch Kit- Finishing

This week I am moving on to the finishing of the hutch kit, I know a lot of people do say to do the painting first before construction but I don't do it that way. That is why I am doing the video this way, it is the way I have been doing these kits for many years and the way that works best for me.

I find several problems with painting first. Number one on my list is that I try to always avoid gluing painted surfaces. I do have some projects that I do paint before assembly and even on these I do some of the gluing after painting but for the majority of the hutch I really think gluing first is the way to go. I have had these plastic cements react very badly with some paints.

Another reason I like to paint after assembly is so that if I am trying to show age on the piece (I didn't do this on this one but I do sometimes) it is much easier to do that process with the project glued together. In order to age things appropriately you need to be able to “see” what caused the age. This is very hard with a bunch of loose pieces.

Also I always feel like the paint helps to disguise those seams and cover some of the glue areas on the kits.

As far as finishing these, I almost always use a good quality craft paint. There are dozens of techniques to use and I show you one in this video. If you know what effect you are after try to find a painting method that will re-create it. I wanted an slightly aged wood look so I base coated with a dark, rich brown (I used Ceramcoat's Brown Velvet- my go to brown paint) for this dark base. The next layer was a simple dry brush of a lighter, warmer brown (I used Americana's Cocoa) the secret to dry brushing is to make sure you have as little paint on the brush as possible. I then sealed it all with a coat of clear sealer, I used Americana’s Multi-purpose Sealer. The sealer has several functions. Of course it seals and protects the paint but more importantly it takes away that dull, almost dead matte finish that craft paint has. You never really know how the color will look until you put on the sealer.

If you want to practice your painting techniques use the back of the hutch, perfect place to experiment. You can always paint over it if need be.

I did choose not finish either the back or top of the hutch. My real one is totally bare unfinished wood in these places. I also didn't get any paint into the area the drawer slides into or on the anything but the face of the drawer and the flour bin. This way these will still open and close just fine.

These kits also work really nicely with a crackle paint finish and I will try to cover that another time. Just have fun with whatever you choose to do.

I think the drawer pulls and door handles were probably the hardest step of the entire kit. It literally took me 10 minutes to put on the little pulls on the fake drawers on the top of the hutch. These are the same little pulls that are used on the doors on the bottom of the hutch. Only problem there was I had dropped 2 of them. I was down on my hand and knees looking for them under my table when my youngest son came into to ask for some help with his school work (we homeschool) so before I could go back to being his teacher he had to join me under my table looking for those little tiny knobs. It took the two of us almost 10 minutes to find them. I was not about to walk away from the table before I found them either since his cat was there to “help” also. LOL

Since I have always had problems with the little “glass” inserts in these kits I used some of my scraps to test some of the various glues I have to see just what would work the best in attaching that particular plastic to the hutch. I found that my plain old super glue (Loctite- professional liquid) worked the best. The biggest secret here is to just use the minimum amount of glue you can. Just a few drops on each side. You don't want any glue to seep out onto the visible part of the plastic.

So that is one way to finish one of these kits. Over the next few months I will try to do the other kits and show you some other options.\


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Laundry Basket

This week I am showing you how to make a laundry basket for the dollhouse. This is the project I had planned for this week, kind of. I had planned to show you how to make a laundry basket just not this one. I had planned to use the basket from a package of solid Jet Dry (a rinse agent to place in the dishwasher) so I added the product to my grocery list confident that I would be getting it. Problem was when I got the correct aisle in the grocery store there was no solid Jet Dry to be found. Okay, on to plan B. Just what plan B was I had no clue. So I started wandering the store looking for an idea. I had just about given up when I got to the area where they sell towel (I got to a super store type store so they have just about everything) and hanging on the shelf in front of the towels was this device to keep hair out of the drain. Hum, I looked at it and it was made of a soft rubber like material. Then I looked at the center of it, there in the middle was an almost perfect laundry basket. Problem solved and plan B figured out!

So if you can get the solid Jet Dry you can use that basket (it also needs to be cut down) or just look for one of these little devices.

I also just put a clothes line on the list of things to do for videos so next summer hopefully we can make that so the dolls can hang the laundry out to dry.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chyrsnbon Hutch Kit- The Assembly

Last week I asked on the Facebook page if anyone would be interested in seeing a video on how to assemble the Chyrsnbon Hutch kit that I had purchased at the mini show. The response was fast and positive.

First let me take you on a quick journey with me. I have wanted to make this particular kit ever since I first saw one in a craft store many years ago. This is actually the 4th of these kits I have purchased and I am finally going to be building the hutch. The first 3 kits I got all had pieces missing so completing them as intended would have been impossible. I did learn that you can kit-bash this kit to make a nice desk (that's the desk in my Harrison) But what I really wanted was a mini hutch.

I don't remember the exact order of the trials of getting my hands on this kit but here have been my prior experiences.

Twice I purchased this same kit from craft stores that were closing out their mini departments. Both of those kits had been opened and were missing a lot of parts. You would have thought I would have gotten smart after the first time but no, I tried a second time. Those kits I ended up being able to put together one top part of the hutch from for a friend.

Another time I was on vacation and happened to find a mini store in a small town we were driving through. I didn't have the luxury of a lot of time to shop and look but did manage to do a very quick shopping stop. I was thrilled to have found the hutch kit in stock but when I opened it up after I got home I found that again I was missing major parts of the kit! This was the one I was able to kit-bash into a desk.

I think I have good reason to want the mini hutch, you see I have a real one in my own home and I really wanted to put a mini one into a scene at some point. The real one I have has been passed down to me through my mom's side of the family and is very dear to me. It was actually build by my great-grandfather for my great-grandmother as a wedding gift. After he passed away she moved herself and her two remaining children from Minneapolis Minnesota to Tacoma Washington. The hutch was one of the few large things she brought with her. We had never really thought about how she had went about getting the hutch that distance. That is until I decided about 25 years ago to refinish the hutch. During the years since great-grandpa had built it many (empathize the many) coats of paint had been applied to all visible surfaces. Lucky for me no one had bothered to paint where it was hard to see. As I was cleaning the piece in preparation to refinish it I noticed a small piece of paper glued to the inside of the top. I had to do some pretty interesting contortions to actually be able to see what it was. What I found was the mailing label that great-grandma had used to mail the hutch to herself from Minneapolis to Tacoma! For me that just made the piece that much more special. I was very careful to preserve that label for future generations too.

Anyway on to the kit construction:

First step is to make sure that all the needed pieces are in the kit and that you know and understand what each piece is and where it goes.

I later went back (off camera) and put all the pieces for each step into a separate plastic bag. This made the remainder of the kit much easier to do. I would recommend doing this as soon as you open your kit.

I started out following all of the steps in the instructions except for putting on the door handles and drawer pulls. In the middle of the night I realized I really shouldn't have put the “glass” into the doors since this would make the finishing step harder. On the bright side they popped out when I was putting the doors in place. We will glue them in better after the finish is done.

Have some masking tape or painter's tape on hand to help you hold pieces in place. Once I ran and got mine the task of assembly was much easier.

I think the real secret to these kits (like most things in mini) is to take your time and really understand what each step is and what comes next. Keeping that simple bit in mind really does make this easier.

I was really surprised that the instructions did not include putting the top of the base unit on. I did glue it on by running a bit of glue around the top edge of the base and lining up the top with the sides and back. Be sure to dry fit it before you get the glue out. (I could have sworn I had hit record on the camera before I did this step)

Next week I will show you how I am finishing this particular kit and talk to you about some other options.