Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Little table

Hi all,  first let me say thanks for all the great feedback on my chiminea project.  I hope you have a go at it and post your efforts.  

I just finished a little table for my shadow box.  It is made from some spindles and strip wood and finished using acrylic paints in the same style as the window frame.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Terracotta Chiminea - Tutorial

Hi all,  I have been waiting for my latest mini make to dry so I could post it.  I saw this picture of a terracotta chiminea on the internet and finally got round to having a go at making one in 1/12 scale.   

It is actually very easy to make.  You start with the basic shape of the chiminea which is made from a ping pong ball and some plastic tube.

Using a craft knife you need to cut the hole in the front of the chiminea from the ping pong ball, it is quite easy to do as long as your craft knife is sharp and you draw the shape on the ping pong ball first.  Make sure to make the hole bigger than the one you want to end up with as it will get smaller once you cover it with clay. 

Cut a piece of plastic tube 3cm long and stick it on the top using contact adhesive.  Cut a piece 4mm long and stick it on the bottom as a base.  Make sure it stands up straight.  

The next step is to cover it all in DAS terracotta air dry clay.  Roll it out to approx 2mm thick.  I used a pasta machine for this.  You need to coat the ping pong and tube base with PVA glue to get the DAS to stick.  Cut pieces to cover the inside and outside of the entire thing.

it doesn't matter about any joins, you can just rub them together with a wet finger till they disappear.  Make sure you fill any gaps with small pieces of clay.  Leave to dry. 

Once it is completely dry inside and out you can smooth over the surface to remove any bumps and tidy up the edges of the hole. Do this with a small piece of sandpaper or a emery board in circular motions to avoid getting lines on the terracotta.  Brush off all the dust and you are finished. 

Then you can put some logs in it and put it in your mini garden...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Pudsey Dolls House Fair

Well I am back, very exhausted but very happy after the dolls house fair....with the added bonus that the newest Dolls House and Miniature scene magazine was on the doormat when I got in.

The Children in need stall was very successful.  I think we raised over £400, which is amazing and thanks to everyone who donated items for us to sell. I also had the oppotunity to wander around the fair several times and bought some things...

I bought the things in the picture above from Tee Pee Crafts.  They sell all sorts of little metal filigrees and have lots of things for DIYers like myself such as fimo and beads and ribbons.  The thing in the top left is a very small opening book box.  I thought I could make a telescope from the thing on the top right.  I also bought some seed beads from them.

I bought these resin mouldings from the same stall.  I have no idea what I will use them for, I just liked them.  

I bought this little gingerbread people mould from Solway Miniatures.  They sell food and moulds.  We are going to have a go at making gingerbread men at club.  The people are actually only 1cm tall.

I bought an assortment of metal stuff to go into my Hagrids hut.  I will show you all some pictures of it another time.  I have been working on it for quite a while, and so far it is completely empty inside.  I finally decided I want lots of dirty copper pots and tools and things in it so bought these from Matlock Miniatures to distress. I really like this stall as it has a good assortment of furniture and little pieces at reasonable prices. 

These bowls were hand turned by Robin who goes to our club and were for sale on the children in need stall.  I absolutely love them.  

I have been looking for a chair for Hagrids hut for a while.  I didnt want to pay too much as I want to disress it a bit, and finally spotted this one  I cant remember which stall it was from.  The picture is of it in Hagrids hut.

Finally I spotted these in a little bag in a rummage box on a stall of vintage furniture.  The item on the left is a money clip but I think it would make a great fire screen and the two on the right are metal buttons but I thought they would make nice lids for fancy boxes.

Well thats all my fair news.  off to read my magazine and have a cuppa :o)


Friday, 15 April 2011

Thankyou for all the comments ....(plus settle and jars)

I just wanted to say THANKYOU for all the lovely comments.  I really enjoy being able to share my minis with you all, and a special thankyou to Janice who got the ball rolling by putting a link on her blog. 

Yesterday I got out my fimo for a play then realised how bad I am with it after a couple of fruitless hours and promptly put it away again.  I really take my hat off to the talented polymer clay artisans. 

After that disaster I fished out some UFO's...(UnFinished Objects to the uninitiated) and managed to finish a whole heap of little jars. 

When I started these I was finding mini glass jars hard to come across. These are made from an old plastic transparent pen barrel cut to size.  Then I stuck a punched circle of plastic from a blister pack on the bottom.  Filled them with assorted greenery such as reindeer moss and potiony things including no hole beads and silica gel from those little packs you get in handbags. I then stuck a punched card circle on the top to seal it all in. The fabric lid is a tea dyed calico triangular bandage from my first aid kit cut into a circle and secured by winding cotton around. 

The settle is really special to me.  It was made and given to me by a lovely man called Dennis who went to the first dolls house club I went to.  He has now sadly passed away but I just love it.

Finally I am really looking forward to the Pudsey Dolls House Fair tomorrow which is at Pudsey Civic Hall near Leeds.  I will be helping out on the Children in Need stall for the second time with other members of the Aire Valley Dolls house club.  Hopefully I will be able to look around too.  I will let you know what I buy.  


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Finishing the shadow box!

Yesterday I worked on my shadow box some more, painting the window, making curtains and painting the papier mache. 

I took my dremel type tool with a steel polishing brush to the soft wood of the window frame and distressed it.  It was so much easier and quicker than sanding  I did the same with some wood that I had cut for the shelf that would go over the top of the window.  I saw Nikki make these a while ago and loved them so much I wanted to try it out here.

Then I painted it all green, aged it again and put on some washes of dirty green and brown here and there to really muddy it up. 

While I was using my paints I used a wash of sandstone to get rid of the white of the papier mache and some dirty green on the ceiling and in the corners. 

I made some curtains using a fabric I had by simply gluing a hem at the top for the curtain pole to go through. Then fraying the bottom. 

The masking tape is there because I discovered that my spray starch, or more accurately the solvent in it caused my PVA hem to come apart.  I spray starched the curtains and pinned them into place on a cork board.  This is the first time I have done this and it was remarkably easy.  

Then I leaded the acetate that came with the window.  I cut 1mm lead strips from a self adhesive roll I had bought from Romney miniatures. Then I stuck it to the acetate following a grid I had drawn onto graph paper. (Thanks for this recent tip Janice)

Finally I put it all together and varnished the shelves, window seat and floor as they were looking a bit dull.

And here it is.

I really love how it has worked out.  Now I just have to fill it.....

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Making a Candlestick - Tutorial

I have been trying to find a suitable candlestick for my wizards house for quite a while without success.  I finally worked out how to make one so I thought I wouls share it with you all. 

It is made from thin metal, you can buy this but I got mine from an old tomato puree tube which I washed out and flattened. 

The first step is to mark out the key shaped pattern shown below.
The circle part of the pattern measures 15mm diameter.  You could print off this picture and size it to make your own.

I used curved scissors to cut out the circle and straight scissors to cut out the rest of the shape.

Using a sharp tool I pushed a hole up through the middle of the circle. The metal sticks up but this is OK as it will be covered later.

Next I used a ball tool and a circle template to shape the base of the candlestick so it bends upwards.

Then I curled the fatter part of the metal strip around an orange stick.  This will form the part that will hold the candle.

Next I bent this newly formed part down to the hole and glued it in place.  I used PVA but it needed to be clamped while it dried. I also used tweezers to bend over the top lip slightly.

To make my candlestick look bronze I first painted it with black paint.  I used Humbrol black satin as it covers well but it does take a while to dry. 
Once dry I dry brushed it using folk art metallic antique gold paint. 

 Finally I made a simple candle using fimo, 3 parts transluscent to 1 part white with a tiny piece of yellow and a tiny piece of light brown, mixed well, shaped and cooked with a cotton wick stuck in the top.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Please feel free to post a link to it on your own blog.  I hope to post more in the future so please become a follower of my blog so you will see them. Also I would love to see any candlesticks you make using this method.


Papering over the cracks...

Well my room box finally dried but as you can see from the picture below it had suffered badly from cracking during the drying process.  Because it is in the corners I think it must have happened because of trapped air.

I used the remaining papier mache to fill the cracks.  I covered them in some thick PVA, pushing it into the cracks then I filled them with the papier mache.  I was really careful to push it in firmly to minimise the amount of trapped air.  Then I smoothed it all out. 
I will have to wait till it dries...again....to see if it has worked.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Shelves, window seat and floor done but not quite dry....

So I got impatient yesterday and put the shelves and seat in while the papier mache was still wet.  I am a bit worried my shelves might fall out though as I forgot to put any glue on them...oops! Anyway the drying process is well and truly underway now, the dark patches are the parts that are still damp, and some cracks are forming.  I will have to decide if they are aesthetically pleasing or not. 

I still have to decide what colour to paint the window.  I am thinking a sage green colour rubbed back to show something else underneath.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

covering the box in papier mache

I decided to try some stuff I bought by accident (thinking it was paperclay) to cover the box with to give it a stone look. 

Michelle from the blog "Michelles Mad world" which I follow mentioned she used this stuff to make her houses but leaves it for a while after making.  I am far too impatient for that so left it little more than the hour it said on the packet after I had mixed it.   It looked like this....
It was very soft but light and very sticky...so I immediately realised the rolling pin I had dug out from the drawer would be no good.

I coated my room box in PVA glue where I wanted the papier mache to go.  This is what you do with paperclay....so I thought I'd do the same thing, which was just as well as as I progressed I realised it did not stick as well to places without PVA on.  Then I just sort of smooshed the mixture into the corners and over the surfaces smoothing it with a finger or the pad of my thumb as I went.  It did not cover evenly so I had to go back and fill in gaps where I could still see the foam board, but as I went on I decided  I like the uneven texture...very rustic.

I covered the entire inside except the floor which will be floor boards and also the outside sides and top then using my paperclay stippling brush added a bit of texture.   Here is what it looks like now.

I'm not sure how long it will take to dry but I made sure I kept a little bit of papier mache in a sealed container in case of cracks.


Making a shallow room box

I haven't done much minis for a while apart from going to my monthly club as I haven't felt particularly inspired.  This week inspiration struck in the form of this picture I spotted while surfing the net. A bit of research later and its by Penny Thompson who also does other wonderful mini scenes and figures.  I liked it so much that I wanted to try and do my own version of it.

So I dug out my foam board, ruler, pencil  and scalpel and a few hours later I had built this......

I really like using foam board as it is so easy to work with.  No power tools needed, it sticks together with good old PVA and you can stick pins in it to secure it while it dries and use masking tape.  Both of which can be removed later.

I let it dry a bit and then decided I did not like all the sharp edges so took the scalpel to it and hacked them off. 

On the left is a recessed wall which will have shelves.  There will be a window on the back wall, just have not cut out the hole for it yet.  There will be a window seat under the window, was playing around with the idea of some drawers in the window seat. 

Well thats all for now, will let you know how I go on.