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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Building a Mini Building the Wallpaper

This week we are going to put the wallpaper into our little building. I normally use Yes! Paste but I haven't been able to pick it up locally so I decided to try something else. I had heard a lot of people on one of my online groups talking about using the paste made for real size wallpaper boarders so I decided to give it a try. I found my container at the local Sherwin Williams store, that it the paint store that was most convenient to me. I am pretty sure you can find the same type of product at other stores. I paid $9.40 for the 1 quart container I picked up.

If this works as well as Yes and lasts as long that makes it cheaper, since I think I was paying around $10 for a 16 oz container. That price and size is just off the top of my head and I haven't actually looked it up.

So first impressions of the paste is that it has a very similar texture. My son did mention he could smell it out into the hallway but since spring has done a number on my nose I hadn't noticed it. He said it smelt something like a combination of glue and paint. So keep that in mind if those kind of smells bother you.

I had thought I had plenty of the paper I normally use for walls on hand so I hadn't bought any on my trip to town. Unfortunately, when I went to get my paper that was not the case. I found I had 3 sheets (or partial sheets) and they were all different colors. I needed two sheets to cover the walls in the larger section of the building. I decided to use two different colors a white and a cream. I think it will be okay in this space to do this. I may decide to age the walls a bit of cover parts of them when I fill the building so I can disguise it then.

I tried to film the making of the template for the one wall when I filmed the video but totally failed. I did go back and film that after the fact and the link to it is here.

For the smaller room I used some actual dollhouse wallpaper that has been sitting here for a couple of years. It is a plain green color and I think will be really pretty in the space when I am done.

I did get some wrinkling especially in the small room. It is kind of funny because I thought for sure the front wall was going wrinkle really badly but when it dried it was fine. The bubbles and wrinkles shrank out just fine. On the side wall however I have a huge wrinkle that didn't really show up until it started to dry. I will have to get creative to hide it when I fill the room.

If you have any questions be sure to post them. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Planter Kit

This week I thought I would put together another of the kits I picked up at the recent Seattle Miniature Show. I do love to put together kits and it seems most of you enjoy watching them go together also.

This is another kit from Modern Miniature Magic, (you can get in touch with them here)

I picked up two kits at this lady's table and they have both been really simple and fun to put together. I do hope to get more kits from her in the future.

This one is just a simple square planter box, it is a very versatile kit and could fit into so many different scenes.

As you saw in the video this kit went together really quickly, it took less than 5 minutes to get it from opening the package to having it glued together. I only had to do a minimal amount of sanding on the edges where the pieces were attached to the scrap wood.

If you decide to use a stain on your kit remember to do this before you glue it together since any glue spots will resist the color of stain. If you are are going to either paint or use my technique you can wait to color it when it is finished. And really this kit would be really nice left as the raw wood too.

For my kit today I wanted to share something I have been playing with lately. I do a lot of different crafts and so I have a lot of different supplies. One thing I try to do though is to use as many of those supplies in as many ways as I can think of. So when I purchased some new water based markers a while back I started to think of other ways to use them. I started experimenting with them on wood and I love the way they look. Water based markers have several advantages, they are relatively inexpensive and they come in a rainbow of colors to name just a few. As far as using them to stain the wood they are virtually mess free, not something that can be said for regular wood staining techniques. Also they normally have very little smell which for some people is a big advantage over other mediums.

I played with several different colors and decided for this project I liked the green the best. The exact color I used was “Bamboo Leaves” and this marker is from the Memento line. These particular markers usually come in a set of 4 markers that are in color families. They normally run about $10 per set but they go on sale really often. I think I picked mine up on a 50% off sale. So really not bad for the quality of the markers. Especially since I have been using them for so many things since I got them.

It is up to you if you want to seal the planter when you are done. I decided not to this time because I think it looks more realistic left as is. Any wood sealer should work although I think a spray one might be better than a brush on water based type. I even tried sealing some of the marker on a scrap of wood with some clear nail polish and it worked just fine.

Now I need to find a plant to go in my planter but that might be a project for another video.

If you do contact the maker of the kit please let her know where you heard about her kits from.

In the meantime be sure to stop by the Facebook page to see what is going on over there. And also share your pictures of your projects with us.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Building a Mini Building- the Look of Poured Concrete

A while back one of the folks on the Facebook page asked me about making wood look like concrete. She is working on a lighthouse and was trying to make the foundation look like it was made of concrete. She had tried painting it and it just didn't do the trick.

The problem with using just paint is that while you might be able to get the color you want that way you miss the texture. I am starting with paint, a good quality craft paint. I didn't have enough gray paint to do this so I decided to just mix my own gray. I have gotten in the habit of buying my white and black craft paint in the larger bottles since it seems like I was always out of at least one of those colors. For my gray today I mixed together some white and black and then added just a touch of the same dark blue that I used for the trim on the doors a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to cool down the tone of the gray color and by using the same blue (even though you can't really tell it's in there) it ties the colors together a bit better. You can either mix you own gray like I did or buy one already mixed. You can also tone your gray with either a blue or a brown paint depending on the look you are going for. I am going to be using some brown paints later in the process to dirty up and age this concrete.

I decided that I wanted to show you two different textures of this faux concrete. For the interior floor area I figure the concrete would be smooth and a bit polished looking. For the outside area I wanted more texture. Something that looked like it would belong outside.

For the smooth interior finish I poured some of my gray paint into a separate container. To this I added some white glue (any cheap white glue is fine) mixing it in really well. Then I added enough cornstarch (from the kitchen) to make the paint mixture fairly stiff. You want to thicken this paint up quite a bit. When I had a mixture that looked about right I spread it over the floor of my mini building using a cheap paint brush. Try to get it fairly smooth and even across the area.

Be sure to wash out your paint brush right away.

For the more textured outside areas I added a bit more white paint to my remaining gray paint. My thinking is that weather and time might have lightened the color a bit. Then I added some glue and some cornstarch, you don't need as much of the cornstarch for this mixture because we are also going to add some sand to this paint mixture. I am just using some white sand I got in the garden center of my local store. I think it was meant to go on top of the soil for potted cactus and such. I added a couple of scoops of sand to my paint, enough to get a really thick mixture. Now just spread this where you want the more textured concrete to be.

After I again washed my brush out really well I checked my painted surfaces to be sure I hadn't missed any areas and that the concrete was smooth. Now for one of the hard parts- let it dry without messing with it. I don't know about you but I have a hard time not fussing with stuff like this while it is drying. I almost always mess it up by fiddling with it. This time I just left the room and got busy on the computer until it was dry.

Once this first layer of the concrete texture was dry it was time to make it look old. As always making it old and gungy is optional. I really love the gunging up phase so I tend to use it a lot. Today I just picked out some craft paints: burnt sienna, espresso, eucalyptus, and black. I then watered these colors together and using a piece of a kitchen sponge I randomly sponged the colors onto the interior floor. I then wiped it down with a paper towel. This removed excess paint, mixed the colors a bit more and worked it into the surface of the floor. I used the same paints with a lot more water mixed in to basically wash over the outside area.
in the process of sponging and spreading the dirtiness

more sponging done

wiped and ready to dry

Once this “dirtiness” was completely dry I coated it with a layer of Mod Podge. I wanted to seal the colors down. I am happy with the interior floor- I used a Satin finish there and it looks just like I wanted. The outside area, I used a matte finish there. Is a bit too shiny. I will need to dull it down in the future. I will have to think about what to use for that. At least for now everything is sealed so it won't be damaged while we work on other parts of the building. 

finished interior floor

finished (?) outside pad

I hope you found this to be a useful technique to learn. Be sure to share photos of your projects with me. I love to see what you are doing.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Daffodil Kit

I have to admit I was pretty terrified about starting this kit. I have been looking at this line of plant kits for a couple of years and have almost purchased them before. I have always talked myself out of the purchase because I was too worried about the difficultly of putting the kits together. This year I decided to go for it and buy not just one but 3 different flower/plant kits. I looked at all three this last week and decided to go ahead and do the Daffodil kit since at that point I had a bunch of daffodils in my yard that were just starting to bloom. I had planned to pick a couple of them to have for reference while I worked. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas and with a really fast and hard hail storm wiped all of my pretty daffodils into a pile of wilted petals and broken leaves. Since I didn't want to wait until they all bloomed again next year I decided to just go ahead without the benefit of the real thing in front of me. 


This kit is a paper laser cut, printed kit with all the parts of the flowers included. You still need to provide glue and tools.

If you want to purchase a similar kit here is a link to the website for the lady that makes these. I only see her book on making decorated tables on her website but her contact information is all there. I am sure you could email her if you want to purchase some of her plant kits.

Here is a list of the tools I used:

Sharp craft knife
locking tweezers
dental pick
wooden skewer
wire cutters

For glue I used Tombow Aqua glue and a small bit of super glue.

I have to admit this was probably the most stressful tutorial/demo I have done in a long time. I was truly worried about how it would turn out and if I was skilled enough to actually complete the kit. I bet you know the feeling. You look at the dealer's table at the show and see all the pretty plants all made up and so pretty. You take a look at the kits available and while you are standing there in the middle of the show you feel like this is going to be easy. You think to yourself “I can do this” and you dream about how nice all these plants are going to look in your scene.

Then you get home and the cold cruel reality of fear sets in. You start to question yourself, “why did I buy this?” you ask. You think about the money you spent and you look longingly at the pretty picture on the front of the kit. You know you really want to do this but, you ask yourself “what if I mess it up??”

Yeah, I went through all that and more the last couple of weeks. I decided the best way to get past my own fear and hopefully to get you past your own fears was for me to just jump in and do one of these kits. Once I made that decision I was still really worried about messing up the kit and not having it turn out.

That was the reason I decided to make up one flower before I did the demo on camera. I wanted to at least figure out a few things. I am still very much a beginner at these kits but I hope that you are now brave enough to try one for yourself.

I still have two more plant kits: a Tea Rose and an Oriental Lily to do in the future. I hope to do videos on those too and I really hope that we all see improvement in how I do with those.

One thing this kit did for me was to really make me appreciate the wonderful artists that do make miniature plants and flowers. I am always blown away at how real some of them can make their plants.

The big question I guess at this point is will I buy more kits for plants? I think so but I do want to try kits from different artists so I can see how different people put their kits together. I really don't feel like I know enough about the kits to give you an in depth critic on how well this kit was made.

I think it was well made. I think the wire in the kit was a bit too heavy for the laser cuts but that is just my opinion and maybe with more experience that wouldn't have been a problem at all.

I would have liked to see some illustrations on the instruction sheet or the ability to go to a website to see illustrations of how to do some of the steps. I am not sure if that is something any of the artists that put the kits together has available or not.

I do recommend trying some plant kits either from this artist or another. If you are like me and have never done this it is a great oppurtunity to learn some new skills and the end result is a plant to display that I can say “I made that!” So even though my daffodils are not perfect I am perfectly happy with them and I am looking forward to learning to make more plants in the future.