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Chủ đề: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make a Miniature Reading Lamp
    Miniature reading lamp for a mouse, made in 1:24 scale with a lampshade made from an acorn.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Shown here designed for a table in a mouse house, this simple reading lamp can be made in miniature with several different shades, to take it from a mouse abode to a floor lamp for a modern setting. The design will be the same, only the shade, and possibly the color of the metal you make it from will need to be different. The lamp is shown here made using cool running LED bulbs which allow the use of small shades in tight quarters. I've set up this lamp with LED's from Evan Designs, which can be set up on a watch battery system that will run up to 10 lights. In the scale of 1:24 shown here, the lamp casts very little light on it's own, but with a reflective modern metal shade, it makes a great miniature lamp.
    If you are going to use a metal shade for your lamp, you can use regular dollhouse light bulbs in a size suitable for your scale.


    Materials Needed to Make a Miniature Reading Lamp for Floor or Table
    Parts for a miniature reading lamp for a mouse house.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To make the miniature reading light you will need:
    • Fine Metal Tubing - for the brass version shown here I used 1/8 inch diameter tubing, the tubing must be large enough to hold the wires for your chosen light bulb, plus an earring post, which will serve to hold the lamp base stable. You will need a length of tubing roughly 1/2 inch longer than the height you want your lamp to stand.
    • Jewellery Findings - Choose items in the same metal color as your tubing to make a simple base for your lamp. For my lamp I used a flat based earring post, a metal washer or grommet, and a simple bead.
    • Fine Tubing Cutter or a Jewellers's Saw - to cut your tubing to size - if you don't have either of these, you can also use some heavy shears or a sharp file, depending on the type of tubing you use. You want to avoid crushing your tubing when you cut it.
    • Pliers - you will need pliers to help bend your tubing to shape. If you have very stiff metal tubing, you may also need a piece of wire that will fit in the tubing, to help prevent the tubing from kinking when you bend it.
    • Glue - I used an acetone based jewelry glue to hold the findings together, silicone glues work well or epoxy glues like Apoxie Paste or any other thick glue designed for metal jewellery findings.
    • Acorn or Metal Sheet or Bead - I used an acorn for my mouse light shade, but for a similar natural effect you could also use a berry shaped bead, or for a modern light, a scrap of lightweight metal (try a scrapbooking supplier)
    • LED Light - I used one from a set designed to run off a watch battery. Most electronic stores and several dollhouse shops will sell suitable LED light bulbs and battery cases.

    Prepare the Acorn For the Shade of Your Miniature Reading Lamp
    A mini drill is used to drill a hole to fit a brass lamp stem for a miniature mouse reading lamp.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To prepare the acorn shade for the miniature lamp you will need to drill a hole through the cap just below the stem using a mini drill or pin vice. The hole will need to be the correct size for the diameter of tubing your are using for your light stand.
    You will also need to cut an acorn in half lengthwise and remove the meat from the nut. If you can't find a large enough acorn, a hazelnut (filbert) will fit in many acorn caps and can be used instead. When you have cut the nut in half, sand the cut edges to make them even.


    Fit the Acorn Cap or Metal Shade To the Miniature Lamp Stem
    Fit the acorn cap over the bent end of the brass tubing lamp stem for the miniature reading lamp.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    For this lamp example I am going to use an acorn as the shade for a miniature lamp. If you prefer, instead of fitting the acorn cap over the lamp stem, you could form a flat section of metal over the bent section on the top of the tubing and glue it in place as a miniature lamp stem. You may want to wait until you understand the electrical and base assembly before you glue a metal lamp shade in place.
    To begin setting up the lamp with an acorn shade, test fit the acorn cap over the curved end of your brass tubing. At this point, you will need to decide if your lamp assembly will fit under the shade you intend to use. With the cap in place at the bend of the tubing, it becomes obvious that this bent piece of tubing is too long to fit under the acorn shade, so it will have to be cut down in length.


    Test Assemble the Lamp Stand Base
    Test assembly of the stand and stem of a miniature reading lamp.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Before you insert your light system and add a shade to your miniature lamp, test fit your base parts to make sure everything will fit together. In my case I have a bent piece of tubing, which will sit on top of a small round bead, which fits inside the hole on a grommet, which sits over the post on an earring post.
    As everything will look finished, and the base will support the lamp stem, I will proceed to assemble the lamp


    Fit the Light Bulb and Wiring Into the Miniature Reading Lamp
    With the lamp stem inserted through the acorn cap, the LED light assembly is threaded through the lamp stem to make a miniature reading lamp for a mouse house.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Begin assembling your light by threading the wires from the miniature lamp through the brass tubing of the lamp stem. If you are making a lamp based on an acorn, fit the acorn cap on the brass tubing at the curve of the tubing and glue it in place before you begin to thread in the light bulb. My led wiring will not fit completely down into the tubing, but I can bend it up or down to adjust it to fit inside my acorn shade. If I was making a modern lamp with a brass shade I can adjust he length of the shade to cover the bulb.


    Assemble the Reading Lamp Base Over the Lamp Wiring
    Brass jewelry findings make up the base of a miniature reading lamp.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    With the lamp wires strung through the brass tubing it is time to fit the base on the miniature reading lamp. Run the wires through the bead and the hole in the grommet or washer that make up the lamp base. Make sure the wires are tight to the bulb at the top of the lamp, and glue the lamp base to the bead, and the bead to the grommet.


    Stabilize the Lamp Base and Lamp Stem with an Earring Post
    The final piece in the assembly of the miniature reading lamp base, is the insertion of an earring post up through the eyelet,and brass bead and into the lamp stem.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To stabilize the base, pull the wires out to one side of the base grommet and apply some glue to the earring post. Keeping the wires free and off to one side, insert the earring post up through the base parts and into the brass tubing containing the wires. Make sure you don't puncture the plastic covering protecting the wires. Make sure the lamp base is tight to the top of the lamp stem. In the photo, the wire at the top of the lamp stem is hanging loosely out of the stem and needs to be pulled back down towards the base a bit. If you suspect your lamp will need weight to hold the base balanced against the shade, add a few fishing weights or a bit of heavy wire under the grommet before you glue the earring post into the base. Allow the glue to dry.
    If your lamp won't stand you can use a bit of Museum wax to hold it in place when you use it in a display.
    Once you have the lamp assembled, you can glue the acorn into place in the cap as the lamp shade. If you are making a modern lamp, cut a length of heavy metal foil and shape it over a skewer, or paint brush handle so that the curvature will lay over your bulb assembly. Glue the shaped metal foil to the curved end of your lamp, trimming the foil if necessary so it acts as a hood for your light assembly.


    Alternative Styles of Lamp Shades for Acorn Caps
    Styrofoam beads,covered with a clear lacquer and coated with glass beads are often seen as 'fruit' for Christmas wreaths and decorations. They can be hollowed out for use as decorative lamp shades for 'woodsy' miniatures
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    There are a range of shapes you can place into the acorn cap to make a 'natural' style lamp. Here you can see decorative beads often used in Christmas arrangements and wreaths to resemble frost covered grapes and berries. The beads are made over a round piece of styrofoam on a wire stem, the styrofoam is covered with lacquer and then a coating of glass micro beads. Unusual shapes, like acorns, make be based on a resin core, and will not allow light to penetrate. Look for ornaments which have styrofoam centers, or ornaments which are based on a spherical shape.
    To use these types of decorations for decorative lamp shades over cool running LED lights, (they are not suitable for use with regular bulbs) puncture a hole through the bead at the wire end of the decoration, having first removed the wire. If the decoration is suitable for a lampshade, you will see a filling of styrofoam. The beads should also have a clear color, rather than a metallic color in order to make them easy to use for lamp shades.


    Hollow Decorative Beaded Shapes to make Miniature Lamp Shades
    Styrofoam bead based 'berries' can be hollowed out with an awl or a toothpick to make glass lampshades for miniature lamps.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Styrofoam centered beads can be carefully hollowed out to make a clear decorative lampshade. These frost covered 'berries' from a a Christmas decoration have their wire stems removed, a hole poked throught the beaded coating, and a sharp awl or darning needle is used to break out and remove bits of the interior styrofoam without damaging the outer layers of the bead. When all the styrofoam has been removed, test that the bead allows light to pass, by setting the bead over the bulb on your miniature lamp and turning the bulb on. If your bead has an opaque paint coating on the interior that prevents the passage of light, you can use a cotton swab dipped in acetone (nail polish remover) to clean the inside of the bead, taking care not to damage the lacquer and bead coating that makes up the outside of the berry. Red or green berries are usually not coated on the inside with a opaque coating.


    Miniature Reading Lamp Fitted With a "Berry" Lamp Shade
    Instead of an acorn, this varient of the miniature acorn reading lamp uses a hollowed out decorative berry as a lamp shade.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Berry beads emptied of styrofoam (see previous step) can be glued inside the cap of an acorn to make a woodland style miniature lamp. The beads can be used for reading or floor lamps as shown in the photo here, or the acorn cap can be wired and glued to a wall with the berry bead hanging down from the acorn cap. The amount of light cast by these lamps will be restricted by the thickness of the bead coating and the colored lacquer making up the bead, as well as the power of the LED bulb you use for the lamp, but they will cast noticeable light.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make a Working Miniature Light House From an LED and Beads
    A working two inch high miniature light house built with a flashing LED and beads.
    Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Make this miniature working scale light house from scraps of balsa wood, beads, and a flashing or steady LED (light emitting diode). It can also be built as a non working light, by substituting a clear bead for the LED.
    LED's are useful for miniature projects. They can be powered from a 9 volt battery if you want to locate a light in a scene which is not wired for electricity. They don't emit very much heat, they have a long burn time without replacement, and they can be purchased either flashing or non flashing in a number of colors. This is an easy project for a beginner, and a cute little light for a toy shop or dolls house scene. It can be built in several sizes, depending on the size of LED and beads you choose.


    Assemble the Materials to Make a Working Miniature Lighthouse
    Materials which can be used to make a working miniature light house
    Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To build a miniature lighthouse you will need:
    • A Light Emitting Diode (LED) or clear bead in your choice of sizes, the size will determine the size and scale of the lighthouse you build. If you are going to use an LED, purchase it before looking for beads, as the wires will have to pass through the centre of the bead. Check with your supplier to make sure your chosen LED has a resistor built in, or you will need to add an appropriate resistor to your wiring system to keep the LED from burning out. I used one from Evan Designs which is prewired with a resistor.
    • A cylindrical bead of a scale which can be used with your chosen LED as the lighthouse tower. If a suitable bead is not available, you can carve a tower from balsa wood, or make a cylindrical bead from polymer clay.
    • A Circular Beador washer to act as the base for the LED
    • Scraps of Balsa wood or another soft wood, you will need a piece for the base of your light, as well as a piece to carve into the shape of a small house for the base of the light.
    • Acrylic Paints to color your light house.
    • Craft knife to cut and trim wood to the correct shapes.
    • Paint Brushes
    • PVA or White Glue
    • 9 volt battery and terminals or a transformer and wiring board to power the light.

    Size the Miniature Lighthouse Tower and House
    Cut the bead if necessary and make a miniature house for it's base from a piece of balsa. Use a file to hollow out one end of the house so it fits against the light.
    Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Test your light for size- Test your chosen LED or clear bead on top of the bead you have chosen for your light house tower. Decide how tall you want your tower and cut the bead to fit (or make one from polymer clay, hollow tubing, or carve a piece of balsa to the correct size.) Enlarge the hole in the bead to carry the wires from the LED if necessary.
    Make the House for the Light Tower-Cut a small square of balsa to use as a house against your light house tower. Look at some photos of lighthouses to decide how tall a tower you want compared to your house. Cut a triangular piece of balsa slightly wider than the house base to use as your roof.
    Fit the House to the Tower - Use a craft knife or round file, to carve the house and roof pieces so that they fit snugly against the base of the tower.


    Test Fit Your Miniature Light House Before Final Painting and Assembly
    Test fit the parts of the miniature light house together to make sure they fit before you finish the sections.
    Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Before you complete the assembly of your lighthouse, test fit the parts to ensure everything is to scale with the LED or clear bead you have chosen for your light. When everything is to your liking, and the wire fits inside the tower proceed to finishing the lighthouse.
    Cut a Base-When you know how large your lighthouse will be, cut a small base from basswood or a scrap of balsa or mat board, and round the edges. Drill a hole for the LED wires at the point on the base where the tower will fit and carve out a channel on the underside of the base to allow the wires from the light to fit up into the base. This will keep the base level on a table so the wires won't make it tip.
    Paint your Parts Paint your lighthouse tower and house in your chosen color scheme. Set aside to dry.


    Final Assembly of the Miniature Working Light House
    A working two inch high miniature light house built with a flashing LED and beads.
    Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When the paint is dry, glue the pieces of your light house and tower together, and assemble the LED, the platform below the light and the lighthouse tower.
    Glue the tower and building to the finished base and use a piece of masking tape or glue a piece of paper to the base to hold the wires up in the channel under the base. The masking tape or paper will finish the underside of the light and help protect any table surface the light may stand on.
    If you are using a battery to power the LED, test the contacts by holding them against the battery terminals. If it doesn't work, change which wire is against the terminal, you may have the wires reversed and LED's are polarized and will only work with wiring running in one direction. When you are sure the light is operational, attach the LED wires to the battery cap (lengthen them if necessary) and place the battery assembly out of site in a trunk or chest of drawers in the scene, or on the back of the roombox or scene.
    If you are not using a battery to power the light, attach it to a plug which fits your dolls house or roombox wiring, or wire it into your lighting system.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make a Simple Whimsical Miniature Wall Lamp From an Acorn
    Wall lamp for the exterior of a mouse house made from an acorn and tissue paper, with an LED light bulb.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    For the Mouse House project to house the Poseable Felted Mouse I wanted to have lamps that are made from natural materials. These acorn lamps can be used on the interior or exterior of a house and are easy to make. If you want to wire them up for light, you must use cool running LED light bulbs instead of grain of wheat or other incandescent light bulbs, as the heat from regular bulbs could set the wooden nut or paper shade on fire. Alternative shades for acorn wall lamps can be made from decorative floral 'fruits' following the instructions for hollowing out the beads given in the instructions for making a miniature reading lamp.
    Materials Needed to Make Acorn Wall Lamps

    • Acorns and Acorn Caps - Allow these to dry thoroughly before you attempt to assemble a wall lamp as the acorns will shrink slightly as they dry. To make the lamp shown here, I cut an opening in the acorn and hollowed out the nut. Wiring for a lamp bulb can be fed through a hole in the acorn cap, and through the dollhouse or building wall.
    • LED Lights I used small bulbs which can be run from a watch battery. They are available as sets for roombox lighting from Evan Designs.
    • Thin Tissue Paper To make the transparent light shade.
    • Sharp Craft Knife
    • PVA glue to hold the tissue paper.
    • Sharp Scissors
    • Mini Drill - not essential but useful to drill holes for wiring
    Note These lamps can also be made purely as decorative elements without any light source.


    Make a Paper Lamp Shade and Assemble the Miniature Acorn Wall Lamp
    Tissue paper is laid over half an acorn and coated with glue to shape a colored lens for an exterior lamp made from an acorn for a miniature house.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To assemble the miniature acorn wall lamp, take the prepared acorn out of the acorn cap and press a bit of colored tissue paper over the acorn shell. I used an ochre colored tissue paper to match with the color of acorns. Apply a bit of pva glue to the top side of the tissue paper and mould it around the acorn. Leave to dry. When the tissue paper has dried to the acorn shape, peel it off the acorn and apply a bit of pva glue to the inside of the paper shape. Leave to dry. Trim the acorn shape away from the tissue paper as shown in the photo.
    Set the paper shade inside the acorn which has the trimmed opening. Trim if necessary to make a better fit, then glue the shade inside the opening of the acorn.
    Drill a hole in the acorn cap on the wall side of the lamp. Insert an LED bulb into the acorn, threading the wires through the acorn cap. Insert the cap on the acorn.
    Drill the hole for your lamp wires on your wall, and run the wires through the wall, papering over them on the interior of your house. Glue the acorn lamp in place on the exterior wall, covering the hole for the wires.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make Miniature Dolls House Books and Magazines
    A simple dolls house book made from a paper cover and textured painted wood.
    Photo Copyright 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    You can make a range of dolls house miniature books and magazines from printed paper or card covers and wood, paper or card 'pages'. The covers can be made on your computer, from free printable book covers, or (for personal use only) from cutouts from magazine advertisements. The same techniques can be used to make books with more detailed 'leather' covers from real thin leather skiver, or pseudo leather made from textured polymer clay. The method to make the miniature books is first make the 'pages' from pages, wood or card, then add a cover. It is a very simple method that can be used to make books of any size. As you become more skilled, you can make more detailed books with printed opening pages, using similar methods.

    Materials Needed to Make Miniature Dollhouse Scale Books
    Materials for a dolls house scale book can be as simple as a piece of scrap wood and a paper book cover.
    Photo Copyright 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Dollhouse scale miniature books can be made from a range of materials. The book 'pages' can be made from a scrap piece of wood as shown here, or they can be assembled from layers of card or thin paper. Card and wood centers can be stacked and glued to the right thickness for your book spine (the center back of the book). If you want actual paper pages, you can use the top edge of a glued note pad. Cut a section of the pad with the glued edge the correct size to fit into the book spine, leaving the notepad pages for the book pages. You can also create your own pads of paper by cutting pages to size, lining them up along the back edge and clamping them together with a paper clamp, then applying a layer of glue along the edge where the back book spine will be. When the glue is dry, you can use the glued pages in the same way the cardboard or wooden cores are used to assemble the book.
    For any scale of dollhouse book, the page core should be slightly smaller than the book cover, so that a slight edge is visible around the pages, just as in a real book.
    You can use these printables for travel books to make a range of dolls house scale books in 1:6, 1:12, 1:24 and 1:48 scales.

    Preparing the Page Section for the Center of a Dollhouse Miniature Book
    A book cover made from paper or lightweight card and a center of wood, card, or paper can be used to assemble dolls house books.
    Photo Copyright 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To prepare card or wood scraps to make the core of a dolls house miniature book, first cut the page sections to size. As mentioned in the previous step, the page center should be slightly smaller than the book cover. If your wood or card is not thick enough for a particular thickness of book, you can make it thicker by glueing several layers together. Try to match up the edges as neatly as possible.
    When you have a solid core assembled You will need to give the core the look of individual pages. To do this, use medium sandpaper wrapped around a toothpick, or brush handle, which is close to the width of your book spine. Use the sandpaper to sand a slight well down the length of your 'pages' on the opening side of your book. Sand the upper and lower edges of your book filling as well. If you are using paper, cut the pages and glue them together along the spine while clamped as outlined in the materials instructions.
    If you are using a solid wood or card core, you can mimic the effect of individual pages with thick acrylic paint, gesso, or an acrylic artist's medium. Apply one of these materials with a brush, to the upper, lower and front edges of your book blank after you have sanded the edges. Take a stiff bristled brush and gently pull it through your paint or medium layer, dragging the medium out to resemble individual book pages. Take care to drag your brush evenly from the top to the bottom of the 'opening' book edge so that your painted effect looks like full pages, not individual brush strokes. Use the brush again on the top and bottom edges, pulling the paint or medium from the 'opening' edge to the back or spine edge in one stroke. Set your painted set of pages aside to dry.
    When the medium, gesso or paint is dry, sand the edges of your book 'pages' without sanding the brush stokes you created. Take a dilute layer of an ochre or putty colored acrylic paint and wash it over the textured edges of your book. Wipe the excess paint off with a paper towel. This will put a bit of dark paint between the 'page lines' on your book to make them look more realistic. Set your page filling aside to dry.
    On your paper pages, you can treat the book edges with a gold marker or gold paint to resemble gold edging, or dip the edges of the book in a marbling solution to create a marbled edge for your pages if you wish. Make sure paper pages are securely clamped together before you attempt this or the marbling or gilding may run into the pages.


    Adding the Cover to a Dolls House Miniature Book
    Textured page edges for a miniature dolls house book made by texturing a coat of gesso over a blank wood or card form.
    Photo Copyright 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    When your central core of pages is finished and dry, gently wrap your book cover around your book to shape it and check the fit against the core of your book. Adjust your page center if necessary.
    The easiest method of finishing the book is to apply glue to both side edges of the page center and glue the sides of the cover to the sides of the pages, leaving the spine area free. When the glue is dry, use a piece of firm plastic or an embossing tool to run a line down on either side of the book spine where the cover meets the back spine to form a crease.
    Some books and miniature magazines will look more realistic if the cover is glued across the spine edge. Check real books to see which method looks better for your particular miniature book model.
    If you are making book covers from polymer clay to resemble leather, you may want to make the book 'pages' from wood scraps which will take the heat of the oven used to cure the clay. In this case you may be better to finish the page 'edges' after you have baked the cover and glued it to the book.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make Miniature Bells for Scale Scenes Or Use Fondant and Make Them For Cakes
    Miniature scale bells in various sizes and styles made from polymer clay.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Sculpting bells is a useful technique that can be employed to make scale miniatures from polymer clay or two part epoxy putty, or to make edible cake decorations from a fondant base. You will need to adapt your tools to suit the size of the bell you wish to make.
    The dolls house scale bells shown here were made using large and medium embossing tools with rounded ball ends. A method for making silicone putty molds for miniature bells (suitable for paper mache, fondant, or polymer clay) is also shown. The bells on the right of the photo, the large bronze bell with the small crack and the red glittered bell, were shaped in molds made from a golf tee (the bronze bell) and the plastic top of a china glue tube (the red bell).The size of your bell will depend on both your skills, and the type of polymer clay or fondant that you are using. Large bells with thin sides are easiest to make using very elastic clay. If you want large fondant bells for the top of a wedding cake, you will find it easier to use a special mold than to make bells by hand, but smaller bells to decorate garlands on the sides of cakes, are easy to mold freehand.
    The hand bell was made from a polymer clay bell, with a handle cut from a decorative toothpick inserted into a hole on the top of the bell after it was cured. The bell clapper was made by dipping a piece of thread in glue to form a rounded blob, which was then trimmed to length and glued to the inside top of the handbell.

    Materials Neede to Make Miniature Bells
    Embossing tools, polymer clay, and two part silicone mold putty used to make miniature bells.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To Make Miniature Bells You Will Need:

    • Modelling Medium polymer clay (I used translucent), paper clay or another form of elastic paper mache, or fondant paste (for edible cake decorations)
    • Embossing tools For this project you need round ended tools, I used a large and medium rounded embossing tool. Silicone shaping tools will also work. If you are working with fondant for edible bells, use cake decorating tools, and use them only with food.
    • Decorative Finishes I was making miniature glittered bells for Christmas ornaments, so I finished many of my samples with glitter. Fine Flocking will give a velvet finish to miniature bells, and mica pigments like those from Jacquard can be added to plain polymer clay or painted on afterwards to create a metal effect. The metallic effect bells shown in the photo on the first page of these instructions had Jacquard antique bronze powder mixed into polymer clay. The handbell was painted with antique bronze powder after it was baked. Edible fondant bells can be decorated with food colors, icings, or special sugar glitters. Edible gold foil and flakes are also available.
    Mold Materials If you want to make molds for miniature bells, you will need:
    • A Bell Shaped Original I used a bell shaped cap from the top of a tube of ceramic glue, and also a golf tee to make successful molds for miniature bells.
    • Two Part Silicone Mold Putty or other suitable molding compound. Two part silicone mold putty is available in forms which are safe to use with edible materials (including the Easy Mold Putty from Dick Blick Art Materials (Buy Direct). Completed molds used for edible materials, cannot be used for non edible materials (like polymer clay) as well. You need to keep materials used with food away from craft materials to avoid contamination.

    Begin To Shape Miniature Bells
    The rounded end of an embossing tool is inserted into a ball of polymer clay to begin to shape a dolls house bell.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To begin shaping miniature bells start with a ball of your modelling material. For the dolls house scale handbell I used a ball just a bit smaller than 1/4 inch across. The amount of material you need will depend somewhat on how thin you can work the walls of your bell. If you want solid bells you will need more material than for hollow bells.
    Press your round ended embossing tool into the top 1/3 of your ball of clay. Holding the ball in your hands, gently pull out the bottom edge of the ball to form a rough cone. As you work with the ball, it will form a point on the end in your hands. That will be shaped in a following step.

    Widen the Rim for a Miniature Bell
    An embossing tool is used to widen a rim for a bell from a tiny cone of polymer clay.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Use your ball headed embossing tool to gently spread the bottom third of your modelling material (polymer clay) into the rim of the miniature bell. Try to find photos of the type of bell you would like to make, as they all have slightly different shapes. Keep the rim as evenly round as possible while you are shaping it.


    Keep the Main Bell Shape Constant
    Use an embossing tool to widen the rim of the polymer clay bell shape without going deeper into top of the bell.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    In this photo you can see that the rim of the miniature bell is being shaped like a saucer with a raised edge. The main shape of the bell is still closed, the embossing tool is only working on the bottom edge. By comparison, the shape beside the piece being worked is the original cone shape which resulted from first pressing the embossing tool into the original ball. In future photos this original cone shape will be shown beside the bell so you can compare how the shape is changing.


    Shape the Top of the Miniature Bell
    Tamp the cone shape on a flat surface to prevent the bell from becoming too pointed at the top.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    As you gently roll the shape of the bell around in your fingers to help keep the rim shape round and even the bell may turn into a pointed cone. To keep it to it's bell shape tamp the top of the cone onto a flat surface if it begins to come to a point.

    Round Out the Top of the Dolls House Bell
    The cone on the right has a wider rim and a broader top, turning it from a basic cone into a bell shape of polymer clay in dolls house scale.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When you have a defined rim, you can begin to work your rounded shaping or embossing tool into the top of the bell to help produce the characteristic rounded bell shape. Gently spiral down into the bell from the rim with your tool, making sure you are pressing evenly on all sides of the bell top. If your modelling material becomes too soft, set it aside to harden before you continue to shape the main bell. You don't want your rim shape to become floppy.
    On most bells there is a slight narrowing of the main shape just before the flare of the rim.


    Make Sure Your Bell is Even
    Almost complete, the bell shape with its wider rim is shown beside a rounded cone of polymer clay that resulted from the first shaping of a ball.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When your bell is almost complete, set it flat on its rim and check to see that your shape is even. Look down on your bell from above to make sure the center of the bell at the top is centered on a rounded rim at the base. If the bell is off center, gently work on the inside of the bell on the lowest side to match it to the rest of the bell.
    The bell in this photo shows how the shape has changed from the beginning cone. The top still needs to be pulled out a bit, after the bell has been tamped again to eliminate the point that has begun to form. Once that is done, the bell will be ready to finish.


    Making Molds for Miniature Bells
    Beginning to make a silicone putty mold for a miniature scale bell from the top of a wooden golf tee.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To make a mold for a miniature bell, you can either work from a bell you have sculpted, or make a mold from an object which has a bell shape in a size you can use. To make miniature bells, I used a mold made from the top of a tube of ceramic glue, which had a long bell shape, and also a mold made from a golf tee. I've shown the steps for making the golf tee mold here, as the glue top, like any bell shape you want to use, only had to be pressed into the mold compound with the widest end of the master original facing out.
    The golf tee required a slightly different technique as I wanted to leave the master shape (the tee) intact and not cut it down to a bell.
    To make the bell mold from something which is attached to a larger original, or which has a bell only as part of the shape, you can use this technique. Begin by mixing sufficient two part silicone mold putty to cover the bell section of your original. Make sure you leave the opening of the bell to be the bottom opening of the one piece mold. The widest part of the original has to be at the open end of the mold.


    Trim the Mold To Prepare for a Flat Base
    A tissue knife is used to neatly trim the area that will become the base of a dolls house bell mold made with a golf tee.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    My bell mold will always have a piece of the golf tee stick coming out of the top of the bell unless I can fill the hole left by the tee stem and make the top of the bell rounded. To fill the hole in the top of the mold and shape it into a bell, first use a knife (I used a tissue blade) to trim the mold material away from the golf tee, just above the base of the cup that holds the ball. Remove the golf tee from your mold.


    Make a Base for Your Bell Mold
    The golf tee is removed from the first section of the silicone putty mold, and extra putty is used to fill the gap where the stem of the tee was, to make a mold for a dolls house scale bell.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    You need to plug the hole where the stem of the golf tee came out of the mold. Fortunately, two part silicone mold putty will stick to itself so that you can add on to existing molds.
    To finish the mold, mix enough two part silicone putty to fill the hole on what will become the bottom of the mold (at the top of the bell). Have an embossing or shaping tool ready as you will need to shape the inside of the mold to keep the top of the bell round, instead of having a plug of silicone putty intruding into the top of your bell shape.
    Start by gently pressing your putty onto the existing mold to cover the hole where the base of the golf tee came through. Use your fingers or a shaping tool to blend the new putty into the old shape and then flip your mold over and press the soft putty down gently onto a flat surface so that it will stand upright, with the opening for the base of the bell showing.
    Use your shaping or embossing tool to work the soft putty at the top of the inside of the mold, blending it into the main mold piece so that the top of the bell will be gently rounded (the mold putty you added will have pushed through the hole at the top of the bell). You can also use this method to add putty to any small indentations that show up after you have made a mold, so that you have less repairs to make to objects you cast from the molds. Once you have the inside top of the bell mold gently rounded, let the putty harden. Your filled hole will allow you to cast bells without having to trim off material where the stem of the tee came through the mold material.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Introduction to Making a Dolls House Scale Fitted Picnic Basket
    Miniature Bears Picnic with a Dolls House Picnic Basket
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    This miniature picnic basket in 1:12 dollhouse scale, can be used for a teddy bear's picnic or made larger or smaller to suit your doll's house scene and scale. The basket easily accommodates the printable miniature plates and casserole dishes which are also projects on this site. Although this picnic basket is made with a colored cross weave, you can choose to make your basket out of other materials, including paper or card, or make it from plain needlework canvas.


    Assemble the Materials to Make a Miniature Dolls House Picnic Basket
    Diagram for the Parts of a Dolls House Miniature Picnic Basket
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To make a miniature picnic basket you will need:
    • Needlework canvas. I used 11 mesh per inch canvas measuring measuring 9 inches by 4 inches. You could also make this basket using card, or a fairly heavy fabric and interlining.
    • Embroidery thread I used three strands of two colors for the woven color work.
    • Leather trim- or drapery cord, or embroidery floss, or thread wrapped wire. I used 1/8 inch leather cord.
    • Co-ordinating lining fabric or paper. I used a piece 6 inches square for the tablecloth, and approximately 9 by 4 inches for the lining.
    • Scraps of ribbon If you want to create holders for cutlery and plates.
    • Fine elastic thread to create elastic ribbons for the plate holders.
    • Card or photo weight paper to attach the fabric for the lining.
    • Sharp Scissors
    • PVA Glue White Glue
    • Basket former- a small piece of wood, 1 ½ inches by 2 inches , by 2 inches with rounded corners, or a suitable sized tin, or a piece of Styrofoam the same dimensions as the wood. This is not essential but it is very helpful.
    • Needle and sewing thread.
    Diagram of Parts The scale diagram for the parts of the picnic basket is available as a pdf (acrobat reader) file.


    Form the Colored Pattern for the Miniature Wicker Using Needlework Canvas
    Weaving embroidery thread through needlework canvas to create miniature wicker patterns.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Use three strands of embroidery thread to form a woven pattern in your needlework canvas. I alternated between a dark and a light green, chosen to match the Christmas Rose Plate pattern leaving a blank row between each color, then forming the same pattern in the opposite direction..
    Weave enough of the canvas that you will have decorated canvas for a top and bottom, approximately 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches each, and a side piece, approximately 1 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches. Do not cut the pieces out until you have woven your pattern.
    If you will be using a different fabric, you can ignore this step. If your chosen fabric is not as stiff as needlework canvas, stiffen it by backing it with iron on interfacing.


    Shape the Top and Bottom of Your Miniature Wicker Picnic Basket
    Shape needlework canvas over a mold to make the lid of a dolls house picnic basket.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Using your wooden form or a tin (as shown in the photo), cut the top and bottom of your picnic basket from the woven material, leaving about 1/4 inch of extra fabric on all sides. Dampen the material and shape the top and bottom of your basket over your chosen mold.
    Needlework canvas has a lot of sizing which loosens when dampened, allowing you to shape the canvas over a form. Hold the canvas pieces in place with a rubber band, or a piece of string, until they dry.
    Carefully remove the shaped canvas pieces from the form.


    Shape the Sides of the Miniature Dolls House Wicker Picnic Basket
    Shape the sides of a miniature dolls house picnic basket around a mold.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Cut the side piece of canvas larger than the pattern, and carefully bend the top edge over 1/8 to ¼ inch, following along a line of the canvas (or the grain of your fabric.) Glue this top fold to the inside of the basket side.
    When the glue is dry, fold over one end of the fabric, dampen the piece, and wrap the side around your basket form so that the folded piece is in the center back of the basket.. You can hold it in place with an elastic band. Leave to dry
    When the side is dry, remove it from the form, and glue the folded end over the other end to form the completed basket side.
    When the piece has dried and is glued into an oblong shape, turn up the bottom end of the side by about ¼ inch, towards the inside. Use scraps of leather trim, ribbon, or cord to make handles in the centre of the ends of your basket. Glue these in place and leave to dry.


    Add the Trim to The Top and Base of the Miniature Wicker Picnic Basket
    Glue trim around the edge of the lid of a miniature dolls house picnic basket, then trim away the waste canvas.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Beginning at the centre of the back edge, while the dried top of the basket is still sitting on your mold, draw a small line of glue about 1/8 inch down from the top of the basket on the side overhang.
    Starting at the center back of the picnic basket lid, glue a piece of leather trim, embroidery thread, or ribbon to the edge of the basket lid, just below the top along the glue line
    Completely encircle the lid with the trim. Cut the trim to meet at the back and set aside to dry.
    Repeat with the basket bottom. When the trim is glued in place and everything is dry, use small sharp scissors to trim the excess fabric away from the bottom of the trim, leaving the trim and the basket top in one piece. Cut as close to the trim as you can.
    Run a small bead of glue around the inside edge of the basket along the edge close to the trim (on both the top and the bottom). Set aside to dry
    Add a loop to the top front edge to act as a basket closure if you wish.


    Prepare the Lining for the Miniature Picnic Basket
    Glue fabric to card to create linings for a miniature dolls house picnic basket.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Prepare the lining.
    Cut pieces of card the same shape as the top and the bottom of the basket, and the same size as the side of the folded basket edge. Trim these pieces slightly smaller and test fit them to make sure they will fit inside the top and bottom of the basket, and inside the basket side, with a bit of space between the trim and the walls/top/bottom of the basket. Cut pieces of lining fabric ¼ inch larger on all sides than the pieces of card you have just cut.
    Glue the side basket lining card together and test it to make sure it fits into the basket. Adjust it if necessary. When it fits correctly, begin to line it in the center back, folding the lining fabric over the card oblong, and gluing one edge at a time to the back of the card. Fold the final edge over to cover the join at the center back and glue in place. Set aside to dry
    To make the plate holders
    Cut small pieces of ribbon ½ inch longer than you will need to cross over the plates. Fold a tiny hem on each end, and sew them in place on the lining fabric for the top of the basket.
    When you have the ribbons sewn to the lining fabric, (make sure the plates will fit side by side in the space you have allowed), add the elastic. Sew a thin clear elastic thread through the centre of each ribbon section, gathering the ribbon with the elastic as you go. Tie off the elastic securely on the back of the lining fabric.
    When the top lining has the ribbons sewn in place and the elastic added, put some glue on the back edges of the piece of card for the top of the basket, and carefully fold the fabric over the edge, centering the fabric on the card, and starting the glue process in all four corners before carefully stretching and gluing the sides. Set aside to dry.
    Glue the bottom lining to the card the same way. Set aside to dry.


    Fit the Sides of the Miniature Dolls House Picnic Basket to the Base
    Glue the base to the sides of the basket. The top is held on with two sets of hinging stitches which you can see on the back of this basket.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When the basket outer sections are dry, fit the base of the basket onto the folded side edge of the basket, so that the side edge fits inside the bottom trim. Run a bead of glue around the inside edge of the bottom, and glue the folded edge of the side inside the basket to the base. Set aside to dry.
    Fit the top onto the side of the basket, so that the trim overlaps the side of the basket. Make sure the back of the lid trim is lined up with the back of the basket. When the lid is fitted in place, use two strands of embroidery thread to sew the lid to the basket and form hinges. Do this on either side of the back side seam, sewing just over the trim on the top of the basket, and only one or two threads down into the side. Make these stitches loose enough that the basket lid will hinge easily. Tie the hinge stitches off inside the basket side.


    Fit the Basket Linings to the Miniature Dolls House Picnic Basket
    Fit and glue the miniature lining to the inside of the dolls house picnic basket lid.
    Photo ©2007 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When the linings are dry, and the outer side is firmly glued to the outer bottom of the basket, put a small amount of glue on the back of the card and glue the top lining to the inside top of the basket. Make sure the glue does not ooze out through the top of the basket!
    Place the side lining into the basket, then press the bottom lining into place. You do not need to glue the bottom lining, although you may if you wish.


    Finish the Miniature Dolls House Fitted Picnic Basket
    A Miniature Dolls House Picnic Basket with a Fitted Lining.
    Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Sew a bead on the front top edge of the basket side to catch in the loop you made (or add a loop now!).
    Fit the plates into the top of the basket. The basket dimensions should allow you to use items from the Christmas rose set of canisters and casseroles as containers for inside the basket.
    Cut a 6 inch square of the lining fabric, and hem or fuse the edges to make a matching picnic tablecloth.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make Miniature Palm Trees in Several Styles for Scale and Model Scenes.
    Scale miniature palm tree made from fabric plant leaves and paper used for a miniature Christmas nativity scene.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    These miniature palm trees are easily made in many styles and scales for all kinds of scale scenes, gaming terrains, Christmas nativities, or dollhouse interiors or exteriors. The trees can be made from pre-wired fabric plant leaves available from a craft store or florist, or you can make the basic leaves from paper with a wire in the center. The palm 'trunks' are made by wrapping wire stems with dry brushed kraft paper.
    Before you start making a particular type of palm, study the shape of its fronds, as well as how the fronds come off the trunk, and the relative size of the fronds. For most scale miniatures, generic palm fronds should be about the size of a doorway or the height of a person in the same scale. This will create palms that appear to be in scale outdoors. Indoor palms only have trunks in conservatories. Household palm trees usually appear to spring from a tip at ground level in a pot, and can be made following the same instructions, just without the trunk.


    Materials Used to Make Easy Model Palm Trees In Any Scale
    Fabric plant leaves, glue, kraft paper, paint, wire and tape used to make a scale miniature palm tree.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To Make Model Palm Trees in Any Scale You Will Need:

    • Kraft Paper for the palm trunk. A brown paper bag, or used sheets of parcel wrap are fine. Use thinner paper for smaller scales.
    • Acrylic Paints in raw umber and black, to dry brush the kraft paper to give a bark effect, in dark green, mid green and yellow green to create palm fronds from paper instead of fabric leaves.
    • Stiff Paint Brush for dry brushing the trunk paper, or painting the fronds.
    • Textured Fabric Leaves in the correct color and slightly larger than you need for your palm fronds. Each palm tree will need five to seven leaves. You can substitute fabric or paper wrapped florist's wire and printer paper (tissue paper for smaller scales) if you wish.
    • PVA (White) Glue
    • Florist's Tape You can also use masking tape, the color isn't important as it will be covered.
    • Wire Cutters
    • Sharp Scissors

    Choosing Fabric Plant Leaves Suitable for Making Model Palm Trees
    Textured fabric plant leaves suitable for making miniature palm fronds for scale villages, terrains and nativities.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    If you want to make palm trees from fabric plant leaves, try to find a leaf with a stem long enough to form a trunk for the size of palm tree you want to make. Choose leaves which are dark green colored and have veins that curve out from the center of the leaf if possible. Try to find leaves which are paler underneath. I used magnolia style leaves here for palms suitable for a dolls house or small Christmas nativity scene. These leaves were the correct color with good leaf veins and long wire stems.
    Don't worry if the leaves are large, you can easily cut them down to size. You can also usually easily remove any plastic veins beneath the leaves if necessary. Check the cluster of leaves you find, to make sure all the leaves in the group are the same. In the group of magnolia leaves I purchased at the craft store, some are dark green and some are yellow green. This works fine, as long as you remember to use only one kind of leaf in each palm tree. Leaves with natural wavy texture look very realistic for several miniature palms. If you want your palm to have dead fronds as well as living ones, try to find similar leaves in light brown or yellowed colors. If necessary you can make the dead fronds from paper and combine them with the fabric fronds.


    Remove Any Veins From the Fabric Leaves
    Peel any excess plastic trim from the bottom of a fabric leaf before cutting miniature palm fronds to shape.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    If your fabric leaf has plastic veins on the underside, peel them off the leaf before you cut it into the shape of palm fronds. The plastic veins will get in the way of your cuts for the frond. On most fabric leaves the veins will simply peel away from the edge back to the wire center of the leaf, where you can trim them away from the center vein.


    Cut Palm Frond Shapes From Fabric Leaves
    Making a miniature palm frond by cutting it from a silk plant leaf.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Decide what shape and length you need for the type of palm you want to create. The easiest palms are date palms and phoenix palms, which have oblong leaves, that are slightly pointed at the tips. The length of the frond should be roughly equally to the height of either a doorway or a person in the scale you are working in, although they can be larger or smaller and still look in scale. For this set of instructions I cut the rough oval shapes close to five inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide before they were trimmed.
    Cut your rough oval shape starting from the tip of your leaf, to keep the stem of the leaf as long as possible for the palm trunk.
    To see a clearer example of the shape of the leaf, see the step on for cutting palm frond shapes from paper.


    Remove the Excess Fabric From the End of the Frond
    Trimming the excess fabric from a miniature palm frond cut from a fabric plant leaf.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When you have cut out your basic palm frond shape, peel any excess leaf (from the main leaf shape you started with) off the wire below the base of your newly cut palm frond, making sure the frond section is not peeled from the wire. Trim any excess fabric off the wire as shown in the photo.


    Cut Basic Palm Frond Shapes From Paper
    Paper ovals cut to shape to make miniature palm tree fronds.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To make palm fronds from paper instead of fabric plant leaves, cut roughly oval shapes with a slight point on one end as shown in the photo. Double the sheet of paper to make two identical cuts for each leaf. You will need one paper leaf for the top and one for the bottom of the leaf, with a length of fabric or paper covered wire glued in the center (see the next step).


    Paint and Texture the Miniature Paper Palm Fronds
    Painting two tone coloring on a paper leaf for a miniature palm frond in dolls house scale.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To finish miniature palm fronds made from paper, first coat one side of an oval shape with glue, then center a piece of florists wire along the length of the oval, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch free at the point of the oval. Cover the wire with the second piece of paper to sandwich the wire between the upper and lower layers of the palm frond.
    When the glue has dried and the wire is secured between the two layers, paint the upper and lower sides of the leaf with yellow green paint. Allow the paint to dry.
    Dry brush a layer of darker green paint over the frond as shown in the photo (not all the frond has been painted) making 'S' shaped curves in the paint that run out from the wire in the center of the leaf. This will create the leaflet veins. Allow some of the yellow layer of paint to show through. Dry brush the underside of the leaf with mid green paint the same way, trying to line up the veins in the same direction. Set the basic frond shape aside to dry. When dry, carry on making the frond as in the instructions for the fabric fronds. You may need to touch up cut edges of the paper frond with a bit of darker green paint if the paper underlayer shows through after you cut it.


    Cut the Basic Palm Frond Into A Fringe
    A slightly pointed oval leaf is cut into a fine fringe to make a miniature palm frond.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To shape the palm frond, cut it into a basic fine fringe, from the outside edge into the wire centre. Try to cut along the vein lines in the leaf, or the s shaped lines you painted on your basic paper frond. Keep the width of the cuts as equal as possible, and angle them slightly as you go around the end to cut those fringes back towards the wire as well. See the photo for an example


    Add Points to the Ends of the Leaves on the Palm Frond
    Each fringed segment of a miniature palm frond is cut to a point.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Use sharp scissors to trim each of the fringed sections on your miniature palm frond to a point. The points do not all need to be the same lengths or size, all leaves vary slightly in nature. Just try to keep the rough pointed oval shape of the frond close to the shape you first cut.
    Make at least five to seven fronds for every miniature palm tree. For fuller palms, make more fronds.


    Assemble the Miniature Palm Fronds Into a Palm Tree
    Miniature wired palm frond stems are gathered together with the bases lined up to make a scale miniature palm tree.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When you have at least five to seven fronds for your miniature palm, gather the fronds together so that the bases of all the fronds are lined up together. Don't worry about some stems being shorter than others. If you want your palm to be thicker just below the fronds (as if it has been trimmed wider) cut some of the stems to about 1/3 to half the length of the frond, leaving enough long stems to make a full length trunk in an appropriate thickness.
    When you have all the fronds lined up, gather them together at the base of the fringed leaves, with a piece of florists tape or masking tape as shown.


    Tape the Palm Tree Trunk Together
    Individual wired palm frond stems are wrapped together to make the trunk of a scale miniature palm tree.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Use florist's tape or masking tape to wrap the wires on the palm fronds all the way to the base to form a trunk as shown. If you wish, you can add extra wrappings to the upper section of the trunk to thicken it. If you use brown florist's tape, you may find your palm tree is finished enough for your purposes after this tape wrap. You can create a more realistic trunk using prepared kraft paper strips for a final wrap for the tree.
    Check that your trunk is the correct length for your purposes and trim all the wires, leaving one wire one inch or so longer if you want to secure the palm in a base made from a circle of wood, or anchor it into an existing terrain. You could also trim all the wires the same length and create a small plaster or polymer clay base to anchor your palm tree into position for the scene.


    Prepare the Kraft Paper for the Palm Tree Trunk Fibers
    Tearing zig-zag sections of painted kraft paper to make a strip for a miniature palm tree trunk.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To make the wrapping for the palm tree trunk, dry brush a long section of kraft (brown) paper with dark brown or raw umber acrylic paint, brushed over with black paint. Matt paint is more effective than gloss paint. You do not need to entirely coat the kraft paper.
    To dry brush paper, load your brush with paint, then tap the brush on a rag or paper towel to dry off the ends of the brush. Drag the brush over the paper covering it with light lines of paint, instead of the regular solid coating.
    When the kraft paper is dry, use your fingers to tear a narrow strip (less than 1/2 inch, narrower for smaller palms) along the long edge of the kraft paper in the direction you made your brush lines. Try to tear the paper in a slight zig-zag, as this will mimic the small triangular scars on a palm where old branches have fallen off or been cut away. You may need several strips of torn paper to cover the trunk of one scale miniature palm depending on its height and trunk thickness.


    Wrap the Trunk of the Miniature Palm Tree
    Dry brushed kraft paper is wrapped around the area just under the fronds to form a thickened trunk for a scale miniature palm tree
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Take your strip of prepared kraft paper and run a thin line of glue along one unpainted inner edge, this will be the bottom inside edge. Begin to wrap around the top of the trunk just under the join of the fronds to the trunk. Make sure you cover all the tape from previous steps. Wrap the top section of the palm several times in order to create a fairly thick top, gluing the layers together as you go, but avoid having glue show between the edges of the paper.
    When your trunk is the correct thickness, continue wrapping the trunk towards the base of the palm, leaving 1/8 to 1/4 inch of space between the lines of wrapping. Leave the glue to dry.
    To make the trunk more realistic, use tweezers or a toothpick to tease some of the zig-zag sections free of the trunk. These will give the semblance of old frond bases to the palm.


    Shape the Fronds of the Miniature Palm Tree
    Finished scale model palm tree made from fabric leaves and kraft paper.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To shape the fronds of the miniature palm tree, consult the photos of the palms you are trying to reproduce. Some palms have fronds that stand more erect than other varieties. Gently curve the wire on the back of the leaves over your hand to curve each frond into shape. If you need to store the palm between uses, you can bend the fronds back up into a tight group for storage. As the fronds are taped, but not glued together, you can also gently adjust the position of fronds in the group if necessary.
    If you want curved palm trees, remember that palms only curve in one direction, they make C curves, but not double S bends with their trunks. Palms also look more realistic if planted in groups, rather than placed singly in a scene.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make Scale Miniature Model Water Features With Clear Sheet Styrene or Acrylic
    A wide range of materials can be used to landscape a dolls house scale fish pond. Here you can see potting soil, budgie grit, and fine sawdust.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    You can make still or flowing water features in any model scale using simple techniques based on dry florist's foam and clear sheet styrene or acrylic. There is no need to use noxious chemicals to create the water effect. Acrylic Artist's Mediums are used to create a textured 'water' surface on top of sheet styrene or acrylic, available from model shops, online or from some framing shops.
    The basic technique involves creating the underwater scene on shaped dry floral foam, sections of which can be glued together before shaping if you need a long feature for a model railroad layout. Once the underwater scene is created, the area is 'landscaped' into the floral foam, and a sheet of textured clear plastic or styrene is laid on top of the water feature glued into position, and landscaped to disguise the edges.
    Take a look at all the steps for how this dollhouse scale koi pool was created, then plan your own still or running water features, in any size or scale. Just make sure you use clear sheet plastic or styrene that is thick enough it will not bend in the middle when laid over your chosen water feature.
    This technique is especially useful for simple water features like scale swimming pools and water hazards for model horse jump scenes.


    Carve Out a Miniature or Model Water Feature in Dry Floral Arrangement Foam
    Model water features made in a base of dry floral arrangement foam are easily adjusted for size and shape, even after you have completed a scene.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Dry floral arrangement foam, available from florists or craft stores, is an easy to carve materal which will hold wire landscaping materials easily. It can be finished with a coat of gesso to protect it from dents, and shapes can be adapted if your model changes in the future.
    Straight polymer clay blades work well to make slices of foam for thinner display pieces. This koi pool was built in a piece of foam just under 1 inch thick. When finished it can be glued into a larger garden of similar pieces, or used to create a stand alone water feature.
    If you need pieces of floral foam larger than the ones you can buy, cut the pieces to your desired thickness and glue them end to end with pva (white) glue. For larger scenes, glue all the pieces of floral foam to a solid base, then carve your landscape details, including water features, with regular sculpting tools and loops including ribbon tools and clay cleaning knives.
    A pool I built earlier to 'house' my butterfly koi was easily expanded by gouging out more foam and rounding the shape into an existing round pool. The foam is so easily worked that I could enlarge the pool while the koi and pool bottom remained in place.


    Color and Landscape the Model Pool Interior
    The bottom of a dolls house scale koi pond is landscaped in preparation for finishing the pond. As no plastics or chemicals will touch the landscaping, a variety of materials can be used to finish he base of the pond.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    As you can see in this simple model pool made with melted plastic 'water', the basic floral foam shape needs to first be coated with a layer of gesso or thick tube acrylic paint and left to dry. Once dry, you can paint the entire surface of the pool with a layer of basic 'mud'colored paint, then begin to add landscaping details. In the case of this particular pool, which I wanted to resemble the standard backyard fish pools, I painted the pool a deep gray, then dry brushed the sides with green and brown paint. Darker paint colors will make the pool look deeper and shadier. Color the areas of the pool which you want to appear 'deepest' with your darkest shades of green, blue or brown, depending on how you want your final pool to appear.
    When the paint has dried on the interior of the pool, glue your landscaping (in this case coarse sand) to the base of the pool in a thin layer. Add any other features, like the Miniature Butterfly Koi and any plant materials, logs, or rocks you want to include. Miniature plants on wire stems are easily inserted into the floral foam to hold them in place on the base of your water feature.


    Add Color And Texture to Create Deeper Water in Your Model Water Feature
    Touches of tar gel acrylic medium tinted with green and blue watercolor are added to areas of a dolls house koi pool where you want the illusion of greater water depth.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To create the effect of deeper water in a model scene you can add colored layers of 'water' to the areas of your water feature where you want the illusion of depth. The easiest material to use for this purpose is clear acrylic artist's medium. I prefer to use a type of medium called "tar gel" which is thick enough to drip to create minature waterfalls and running water textures, but you can use any acrylic medium which dries clear. If you don't want to try acrylic artist's mediums, gloss acrylic varnish will work as well. You can even use clear acrylic floor polish.
    To color acrylic paints, varnishes and floor polishes you can use strong watercolor. Tube watercolors work best, and have the finest pigments to keep from clouding your water effect. Mix the color a small amount at a time, into your tar gel or clear medium. When you have a color you think will work (hopefully not too well mixed, so there will be streaks, like in natural water depths) apply your colored acryic to the areas you want to appear darker in your finished pool. See the photo above for the layer of tar gel applied to the back wall of my minaiture koi pool.


    Finish The Landscaping Of Your Model Pool and Prepare to Add the Water Surface
    When dry, a layer of colored tar gel acrylic medium painted along one side of a dollhouse koi pond interior creates a sense of deeper water.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Here's my dolls house scale koi pool, ready to add the water surface layer. You can see here how the layer of 'tar gel' has dried to a deep blue green 'slime' which will work well for the effect of deeper water in this part of my pool where I am planning to have a stream of water enter the pool over the edge of a rock.
    All the landscaping elements are securely glued in place in the pool. Once I finally glue the water surface in place I won't be able to adjust anything in the pool, so I need the scene to be stable, and dry.


    Prepare the Water Surface for a Miniature Water Feature Made from Sheet Plastic
    A felt marker is used to make an edge outline of a miniature dolls house koi pond on a sheet of clear styrene which will become the water surface for the pond.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    The water surface for these types of model water features is made from a thin sheet of clear styrene or acrylic. Choose material which will not sag across the width of your water feature. Most model shops and picture framers stock thin clear sheet styrene (for models) or acrylic sheet (for unbreakable photo frames). You will need a piece of clear sheet plastic which is slightly larger than your water feature.
    Lay the clear sheet material over your landscaped water feature and use a marking pen to maker an outline roughly 1/4 inch larger than the shape of your water feature. (see photo). You can lay this water surface sheet on top of your water feature and glue it in place, or you may be able to fit it into the foam structure of your model, depending on how you have shaped the foam.


    How to Level the Water Surface of a Model Water Feature Made From Sheet Plastic
    A level water surface line is marked on the side of a dolls house pool and a slot is cut along the mark so the styrene sheet can be slotted into the pool at the end to keep the water surface level.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Water naturally creates its own level, so it is very important that a natural level is created when you make a scale model water feature. If you are making moving water, rivers or creeks, you need to tilt the surface of your sheet slightly to give the water surface the effect of running down hill. As I am creating a miniature pond, I need my water surface to appear flat and level.
    Use your trimmed sheet of clear plastic to mark a line around the edges of your pool where the natural level occurs. If your foam pool is carved with a flat top, you may have a level water feature when you lay the clear sheet over the top of your pool. If your water feature is not level, use the edge of your pool surface sheet to mark the level on the sides of your pool and cut a slit into the edge of the pool along the level line. You will insert your pool surface into this slit and landscape over it to create the effect of a level water feature.


    Texturing the Surface of Model Water Features To Resemble Natural Water
    Clear styrene sheet is textured with acrylic tar gel medium to make a rippled water surface for a dollhouse scale fish pond with a waterfall.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To create realistic model and miniature water features, you need to get the surface of the water right. Many modellers simply rely on heavy texturing of materials such as silicone caulk to create water surfaces, but this is not suitable for realisitic detail. With a clear flat surface to work on, you can create very detailed textures to show fast or gently flowing water, still water, or ripples where items have been thrown into or out of a pool. These surface effects are much easier to do on sheet plastic, than with other methods of making scale water.
    To make the textured surface for my koi pool, I wanted an area of fairly still water above the koi so they can be seen clearly, but I want to imply running and moving water in the area of the pool near where I will have a small waterfall feeding the pool. Using thick acrylic medium and a stiff brush, I brushed ripples onto the surface of my clear plastic, roughly where I want the effect of moving water to be. Take a close look at real water features to see how water looks as it is moving. Photographs rarely show the correct 'shape' of the water.
    When you have your ripples roughly where you want them, set your water surface aside to dry in a dust free location. Don't apply too thick a layer of acrylic medium (or varnish) to make your ripples, you can always add more (or smooth out too many) later.


    Color The Model Water Surface to Add to Depth and Movement Effects
    The textured surface of a piece of clear sheet styrene used for a dolls house koi pool surface is stained lightly with glass stain to color it for a more realistic water surface.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To further add to the realism of scale model pools and water features you can add color to the textured surface of a flat styrene or plastic sheet. In this photo you can see how a thin coat of Pebeo Vitrea glass paint has been brushed onto sections of the textured plastic pool surface, creating the effect of dappled water. The areas where the water needs to be clear to enjoy the koi in the pool below have been given less color than the rippled water sections which will be near the waterfall. In this case a mixture of green and blue colors were used on the surface.
    To make the most realistic effects, use light layers of color and check between applications to see how your water surface layer compliments the landscaping you did on your water feature. If you still need darker areas of water, you can add more color to the top surface to give it the effect of dark water beneath. You have the option of using glass 'stain' paints or markers on either side of your clear plastic water surface to give even more of a layered effect, just check that the paints or makers you use do not destroy or cloud your clear plastic. Test them on a scrap of your water surface materials before you apply them.


    Test Fitting The Water Surface to Your Miniature Pool
    A textured and colored sheet of clear styrene is test fitted over a dollhouse koi pond to make sure the rippled surfaces are in the right places
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Although you can continue to adjust it, you should check the textures and colors of your water surface sheet in relation to the landscaped base of your model pool. Lay the colored and textured plastic sheet over your landscaped pool base to check that the water has the depth and textured appearance you want. Don't panic if you can't see into your pool the way you expect. You can make minor adjustments even after the pool surface is glued into position.
    At this point of your modelling, you should check that the sides of your pool show the effects of light enterin the water (lighter at the top in shallow areas) and that the pool looks to be made from the material you intended (my mimics your common garden variety concrete pool, which is disguised everywhere but on the sides, where only green algae will grow).


    Fit the Flat Plastic Water Surface to Your Model Water Feature
    A textured styrene sheet usd to emulate a water surface for a dolls house koi pool is glued to the edge of the pool surround.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Once you've checked your final water color and texture over the top of your model water feature it is time to secure it in place. Make sure all the contents of your water feature are securely glued and all paints and glues are dry. If you cut a slot in your foam to help you level the surface of your water, slide your sheet of textured plastic into place into the slot. Glue any edges which are on the top surface of your water feature to the flat areas of your foam as shown. If necessary weight them in place until the glue dries.
    Depending on the type of plastic sheeting you use, you may want to use a heavier glue than your normal craft pva glue to hold the water surface in place. I used jewellery type pva glue for my pools as they are a bit more elastic and thicker than regular glues. Silicone caulk and silicone glues will also work as well, but avoid any which are highly acidic. Your pool is a closed system, and acidic glues may cause it to discolor over time.


    Landscape In the Edges of Your Sheet Plastic Model Water Surface
    Notice the covered edges which disguise the fact that this dollhouse koi pool is made from sheet styrene. The painted areas of the pool bottom add to the illusion of deeper zones in some areas.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    When the glue has dried to hold your water surface in place over your model water feature, you can cover the exposed edges with your chosen landscaping material. I use a glue spreader to apply glue to the edge of the modelled water, just where it meets the 'bank', and back over the area to be landscaped. I can then carefully press on a layer of dried coffee grounds, dried sterile potting soil, sand, or another material to cover the edges of my plastic pool.
    If you are working with thicker types of sheet plastic (Plexiglass for example) you may need to use a filler to blend the edges of your pool into the terrain you made from floral foam. If necessary, you can glue thin layers of floral foam over top of the pool edges and your surrounding landscape. If you have to add on floral foam, make sure you glue it together with a thin layer of glue. Otherwise you may have difficulty inserting landscaping materials (trees, bushes, plants) through the dried glue layer.
    For most areas where I will be "planting" a landscape, I cover the edge of the pool with the same basic 'earth' color I use to prep the surface after the application of gesso. This saves me from needing to work the plant material through a layer of glued sand or soil.
    You can see in this photograph how the end of the pool which was designed to be deeper, now has that appearance, as well as a suggestion of moving water. The pool is the same depth across the entire model, paint and surface techniques have given one end the effect of being much deeper, with moving water.


    Adjusting the Water Surface Of Your Sheet Plastic Water Feature
    The surface of this dollhouse scale koi pond shows moving and still water areas just like in a full sized pool.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    With your model water surface in place over your landscaped miniature pool or stream, you may notice areas where the suface ripples are too pronounced, or where the view into the pool is obscure and needs to be clearer. You can take the water surface back to a clearer view by adding a self leveling layer of acrylic varnish or clear acrylic floor polish to areas of your water where you need less texture to enhance the view into the water. You can also add more acrylic medium to create heavier ripples for rapids, or make ripple effects that mimic items passing through the water surface.


    Adding Water Splashes to a Model Water Feature Surface
    The surface of a clear styrene sheet can be textured for individual ripples for water currents as well as splash marks to indicate the activity of dollhouse scale fish.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To add splash marks to the surface of a model water feature made with clear plastic sheet, you can remove areas of the surface texture to leave behind a circular ripple. In this pool you can see a ripple which was formed by applying a small amount of water to the almost dry surface of the textured pool. Where the water softened the acrylic, it was removed with a bit of paper towel and a cotton but, so that a depression with a surrounding line was left in the water surface. You can achieve the same result by building up your water surface layer with a brush leaving a circular area without the build up if you prefer. With a pin, you can add small water droplets to areas surrounding the pool, to imply a fish has just gone beneath the surface, or flashed its tail.


    Adding Running Water and Waterfall Effects to Model Water Features and Ponds
    The realistic stream of water entering this dolls house scale koi pond is made from tar gel acrylic medium painted over the edge of a rock and allowed to drip onto the pool surface.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    My favorite part of creating model pools and water features is adding details that suggest running water. These are much easier to create with artist's acrylic mediums than with any of the commercial modelling materials. My favorite material for these features is Tar Gel Medium.
    Tar gel medium forms thick, ropy strings, when dripped off the handle of a paint brush onto a model surface. To make my small waterfall, I dripped stings of tar gel from the top of the rock edge above my pool, using a toothpick to draw the strings down to touch the pool surface. The waterfall was built in three applications. I began with two lines of tar gel which were allowed to dry, connecting the top of the rock to the surface of the pool. Then I added more tar gel to get the 'arch' of the water out from the rock to the pool. Finally I added tar gel to the top of the rock to give me flowing water leading towards the pool. As this is a 'garden' pool, the water source is hidden behind a group of rocks and plants as it is in most gardens.
    When the tar gel had completely dried I added a bit of frosted glass stain to the base of the waterfall to mimic the action of foaming water. Unlike silicone, which dries with a tacky surface and often attracts dust, tar gel dries clear and firm, but remains flexible. It is great for wet footprints and spilled water effects as well as it can be teased back up into 'frozen moments' splash lines.


    Adding Lilies and Other Water Plants to a Model Water Surface
    Water lilies can be added to the still water areas of a dolls house scale pond to add to the realism of the miniature scene.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    If you wish, you can add miniature water plants to the surface of your model pool. The easiest to add are water lilies (a tutorial is coming!). Although water lilies grow from stalks, they prefer growing in still water, and the stalks are not easily seen from above. The leaves of water lilies, with flowers glued to the edges, can be placed on the top surface of a pool in an area of still water where they can be very realistic. Water liles and other surface plants are also a good way to disguise any imperfections in your pool surface. Their bright color can create focal points, and draw attention to hidden details, like the koi rising to the surface in this photo.


    Adding Tiny Finishing Details to a Model Water Feature to Finish the Action
    To add to the illusion of fish coming to the surface, dry embossing powder 'fish food' has been sprinkled on the surface of the dolls house scale koi pool. Details like this make the pond seem even more realistic.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Planning is everything, and of course I'm sure many of you are wondering why the koi in my pond are facing away from my attractive waterfall feature. Knowing the details of real life help to make it realistic when you create a miniature version. Koi are very sociable, but tend to hide out until a food source appears, when they suddenly become very active. To show off my miniature koi, I want them coming to the surface of the pool, so I need to create a feeding scene or they will just appear static, mildly interesting, but without the realism I love. I want to be able to view the koi, the waterfall and the fish feeder, so the koi need to be facing where the person who feeds them will appear.
    I've added some 'fish food' pellets made from unmelted bits of embossing powder to give the koi an excuse for appearing to rise to the surface. Tiny drops of tar gel near the embossing granules make it look as if the food has just splashed in to the pond.
    Try to work out a view with some type of action whenever you are using animals or moving features in miniature scenes. You can create a much less static scene with a bit of planning.


    Model Pool Ready to Install in a Dolls House Garden Scene
    As koi usually come to the surface looking for food when a human approaches, this dollhouse scale fish pond needed to be designed for the eventual use with a doll. The fish have to be correctly positioned to appear natural
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Here's a view of the finished koi pond, ready for its final landscaping into a dollhouse scene. With the doll standing behind the pond, you can see all the details I want the viewer to notice, and why the koi were set on the far side of the pool facing away from the viewer. I want the viewer to see the fish being fed, rather than notice the back of the doll that feeds them.
    In this view you can also see the effects of three different types of landscaping materials used around the edges of the pool. Budgie grit or gravel makes a useful fine gravel surface for paths, fine sawdust blends (you need to use two colors, to mimic the effects of bark) can create bark pathways, or real soil glued to the floral foam surface can give the effect of manicured flower beds.
    As it is made from floral foam, this pond can be set into a larger landscape made of foam, or it can be set up as a 'raised' bed in a corner of the garden, and blended into the scenery with more bits of floral foam and pebbles.
    Woman of short-lived passions

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    Aug 2008
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Make Simple Ponds or Miniature Water Features From a Range of Materials
    A finished miniature pond made from E-Z Water in dolls house scale is set into a foam base ready to be completely landscaped.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    The simple dollhouse pond shown here can be set into a landscaped garden or used for a stand alone vignette. Realistic water models in dolls house or other scales are not difficult to make, and this tutorial will show you some ways which are easier than the ones which require you to take a leap of faith and pour permanent materials you are unfamiliar with. Regardless of what you want to model water for, a bit of practise with several materials will give you a feel for the water looks you like, so that you can go on to work confidently on larger scale models.
    The pond above was built using E-Z Water from Woodland Scenics. Usually this material is poured onto dense finished plaster or hydrostone surfaces for railroad scenes, but it can also be cast separately and added to landscapes, which makes it much easier to practise with. Other materials, including Two part epoxy resin can be used in a similar way. E-Z water sets up much faster and is easier to work with for beginners than is any form of two part epoxy resin or casting resin. If you only need thin layers of water for a surface effect, you can also follow the instructions for the pond settings shown in these instructions and glue the pond materials into the foam 'pool' area, then top the pool with a layer of thin clear acrylic sheet. The acrylic sheet can be painted with 'glass' stains, or have layers of Tar Gel Acrylic Medium added to the surface to mimic moving or rippled water. This is the easiest method you can use to create a pool deep enough to display 'fish' or other miniatures set below the water line.


    Materials Used to Make a Simple Miniature Pond or Water Feature
    To form a small pond or pool in miniature, basic elements for the base of the water feature are set into a disposable metal pan.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    To make a miniature pond you will need a foam base, made either from dry floral arrangement foam (sold in blocks at florist's and craft stores) or high density insulation board or insulation foam from the DIY home store. The foam is used as a base for the pond, and is an easy material to add plantings and landscaping to.
    In addition you will need Artist's Gesso or a thick acrylic paint medium to seal the foam surface and a range of acrylic paints to color the bottom of your 'pool' and your 'ground'.
    You will need small stones and sand or fine gravel (budgie grit), as well as bits of artificial plants or other items to decorate your pond. The area around the pond will need sterile plant soil for 'dirt' or dried coffee grounds, as well as an assortment of landscaping materials of your choice.
    To make the water I will use this tutorial to show you how to work with thin pours of E-Z Water pellets by Woodland Scenics (available from model railroad supply houses) or you can use a thin sheet of acrylic over top of your landscaped 'pool' and texture the water surface with tar gel artist's medium (available from art supply stores) or a thin application of clear acrylic floor wax.
    I suggest you read through the instructions thoroughly before you start on your first water feature. There are many ways you can make a small water feature, using a dollhouse metal pail, a small stoneware plant pot, or any item that will either support the acrylic sheet for the water surface, or which will stand up to the heat of melted E-Z Water (up to 180 degrees F).
    To Begin Making a Miniature Pond or Water Feature
    As I am going to begin my pond by casting a layer of E-Z Water over a pond 'bottom' I will start by setting up the base of my miniature pond in a small disposable aluminum tart pan. If you prefer a different shape you can either break up the cast when it is finished (how I made my pool) or you can make a free form shape from aluminum foil, having walls at least 1 inch high, and from thick, doubled foil, taped securely together at the ends of the shape to prevent the E-Z water from escaping. If you try this method, make sure you pour your first layer of E-Z Water into the aluminum foil form, which you have set into a disposable tray, in case the E-Z Water finds a way out of your shape.
    If you are going to use E-Z Water pellets, check that all the items which will come in contact with the E-Z water will withstand hot water. You can heat water in a disposable container in the microwave up to the boiling point, then drop samples of your pond materials in to see how they do in the heat. Watch what happens to the small plasticized fabric 'fern' leaves in my pool once they are covered with E-Z Water.


    Tips on Working With E-Z Water to Make Miniature Pools and Water Features
    E-Z Water needs to be poured in layers which are sufficiently large enough to cover the entire surface evenly or there is a risk of bubbles and air layers forming.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    E-Z Water from Woodland Scenics comes in the form of small plastic pellets which must be melted and poured onto a heat resistant base. The instructions which come with the material should be followed carefully. They advise you to melt the pellets while stirring, over a stove burner on medium heat. You must use a dry, disposable container, or a pan used only for the E-Z Water as the pan cannot be cleaned after use, although it can be reused to melt more E-Z Water.I had arranged my rocks and gravel for my miniature pool in the bottom of a tin, wiped lightly with vegetable oil as a mold release. To try to avoid getting bubbles in your water feature, pour the melted E-Z water into your container in thin layers, covering everything in each pour.
    In the photo on this page you can see how not melting enough pellets can cause you to have transition lines in your pond. The lines will vanish with successive layers of E-Z water as each layer melts the surface of the layer below it slightly.
    There are some things you must avoid when working with E-Z Water.
    • First, check everything you are pouring the melted plastic over, will remain in shape. The artificial fern leaves curled up with the heat. (See previous photo for how they should have looked). That is okay as they still give the effect of something growing beneath the water surface.
    • Second, make sure all your materials are sealed so that air bubbles will not escape into the E-Z water. Wood and other materials with air pockets, will create bubbles in the material which cannot be removed. Paint wood pieces and similar materials to seal them before encasing them in E-Z water.
    • Third, pour the easy water in a thin stream, so it has time to fill around larger rocks allowing any air beneath them to escape.
    • Fourth, don't worry if there are imperfections, this is a trial, and there are lots of ways you can cover up imperfections.
    If you look at the photo you can see how many problems there are with this particular pour of E-Z water. There will be bubbles and highly reflective lines of light where the layers meet, but didn't melt together. For a better water effect, melt enough pellets to compelte a 1/8 inch deep pour across all your materials each time you pour a new layer.
    You can color E-Z Water with very small amounts of powdered Rit Dye. (see the article on E-Z Water linked above). Never use E-Z Water with water or other liquids, dangerous spattering may result.


    Still or Rippled Surfaces On the Top of Faux Water Pools in Miniature
    A small circular pond model cast in an Aluminum foil tart pan using E-Z Water from Woodland Scenics.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    If you make sure your pours of melted E-Z water cover the entire mold container evenly, and your mold container is resting on a flat surface, your final pour will have the smooth surface of still water. If you want to have ripples, there are two ways of achieving them. You can blow ripples across the surface of the E-Z Water by melting the surface carefully with a heat gun, normally used to strip paint, or the type used to shrink film onto flying model plane wings, or an embossing gun. A hair dryer will not get hot enough.
    To make ripples that look like a wake caused by water running past a rock or other feature that sticks up above the water surface, use a craft knife to cut a line where you want the ripple to be, then melt the line gently with a heat gun, to give it the appearance of a ripple in water.
    If you prefer, you can add surface ripples later by painting them on the top of your water using one of several materials. White water areas can also be created with paint and artist's mediums.


    Removing the Cast E-Z Water From Your Foil Mold
    A dolls house scale pond made of E-Z Water from Woodland Scenics, removed from the aluminum foil mold.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    When you have finished your final pour of melted E-Z Water, allow the mold to rest until it is fully hardened. Your finished cast should slip easily out of the mold. It may leave a fair amount of your bottom sand behind in the mould as the E-Z water does not 'stick' to substrates very well.
    When you are planning your pond, you should give some thought to how deep you want it to appear. If you use light sand on the bottom (as I did) the pool will appear quite shallow. If you don't set any sand onto the base of the mold, you can later use acrylic paint to create the effect of deeper water. Do not use decorative materials as a base for casts of E-Z water if you want to have deep rather than shallow water effects.


    Make a Foam Base for Any Type of Miniature Pool or Pond
    Making the outline for the recess for a cast miniature pond on a sheet of insulation foam board.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    This step applies to any type of model pool or pond, regardless of whether you pour, cast or layer it.
    Take a piece of foam the size you want your base to be and carefully trace around the base of your pool to mark where you need to carve out a recess for it in the foam. Make sure your layers of foam are deep enough to carve out the base. If you have thin layers of foam, it is often easier to carve out successive layers, then glue the final shape together when you have trimmed out the centers to hold the miniature pond.
    Once you are comfortable working with various materials that resemble water, you can build up your terrain and pour your water material directly onto it. As this is a practise project, using a mold and carving a space for the molded pool works better than preparing the base and attempting to pour the material into it.
    E-Z Water is fairly brittle when set, so if you prefer, you can break apart your molded water to make irregular sections for smaller ponds or puddles. If it breaks when you try to fit it into your foam recess, don't worry, just take a broken piece and adapt it for a free form pool.


    How to Carve Out a Recessed Space in Foam To Set Your Pool Into.
    To carve a recess for a miniature model pond in foam, cut into the foam along the outline, then cut the center into sections and remove the sections with a flexible polymer clay blade.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    I generally use foam for landscape bases as it is very easy to insert wire stems for miniature plants. If you prefer to model your basic scene with plaster, hydrostone or Plaster Cloth you will need to attach your landscape materials to the top surface with glue.
    To carve recessed spaces into foam, use a polymer clay blade to outline the shape you want, then cut across the shape and cut it into squares. Use the flexible polymer clay blade to remove these squares, then use a craft knife to trim the interior of your recess.
    If you want an easier method, use florist's foam, which cuts very easy. You can use the flat end of the polymer clay knife to scrape the bottom of the recess flat. When working with dry floral foam, make sure you work somewhere that dust is not a problem. Dry Floral foam is a great dust maker, until it is sealed with gesso and paint.


    Test Fit Your Cast 'Water' Into the Recessed Space on Your Foam Base
    To make a miniature pond, a hardened section of E-Z water is set into a recess carved in a block of dry floral arrangement foam.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    When you have carved out your foam base so that it will hold your chosen mold shape, or piece of a mould (or so it is the shape you want to use to build a layered pond or pool), test fit your mold into the recess.
    You need your water section to fit slightly below or just at the surface of your 'ground'
    The section you can see here is a piece broken from the mold I showed in the earlier photos. I decided my original pool was too big for the scene I wanted to build so I broke it into several sections which would give me a more relaxed shape.
    If you wish, glue foam sections to your foam base to create different heights for plantings or a more natural effect, or plan them and carve them out as you shape your base.. A glossy pool in the middle of a lawn or other flat surface can be fairly boring.


    Coat Your Foam Terrain to Prepare to Landscape Your Miniature Pool.
    A finished miniature pool recess in florist's foam is coated with a protective coat of acrylic paint
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Once you have your pond cut out of your foam, and you have tested that your pool will fit into the recess so that the water surface is level or slightly below the surface, you will need to coat the foam so that you can paint and landscape it. The best materials for this are Artist's Gesso available from art stores, or Rosco Foamcoat available from theatrical and film scenery suppliers. Plaster or unsanded grout will also work although they make a heavier, thicker surface. Gesso is the easiest to use, and can be purchased in fairly small amounts for miniature projects. Rosco Foamcoat, which only comes in gallon or larger containers, is wonderful if you have a large area (a gaming terrain or model railroad) to prepare. If you must, you can use thick tube acrylic paint on it's own as a coating, but it doesn't seal the foam with as hard a surface as gesso.
    The photo on this page shows dry floral foam coated with artist's acrylic paint. You can see that the coat has not covered the foam completely. For a first project you can use thick paint alone, but let it dry completely between coats and make sure if forms a coat with no visible holes like those you can see in the photo above.
    Let your base coat dry thoroughly.


    Coloring the Base of a Pool or Stream to Create The Effect of Deeper Water
    Cast section of E-Z water and the base of floral foam made to hold it so that it can be landscaped for a dollhouse garden scene.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    If you want to avoid using poured resins or plastics for 'water' effects this is where you begin to build a layered pool with an acrylic sheet water surface. Cut your acrylic sheet so that it extends roughly 1/4 inch beyond the edges of your pool bed on all sides.
    Painted effects to Mimic Deep Water
    Water is rarely actually blue. On land, most water has a lot of brown or yellow tint in it as it flows through various soils. If you didn't add a gravel or sand base to your miniature pool, you can give it the effect of deeper water by painting the bottom of your pool or stream bed in several colors, using darker tones where you want the water effect to be deeper. Water pools are usually deepest toward the center, or under waterfalls. Paint your pool with the lighter tones you want, then add darker blends in the areas you want to seem deeper. If you have a cast pool with a gravel or sand base, paint the bottom of the pool a color which is a deeper brown , or a similar color to the sand or gravel you used on the bottom of your cast. Paint the upper surface areas of your miniature landscape a basic 'soil' color to match the landscaping materials you intend to use. Brown is always useful as it looks like soil if it is seen, while green makes the scene very flat if you are going to landscape with a range of materials.
    If you are building a layered pool with an acrylic surface paint the base of your pool and allow it to dry. Add sand or landscaping details (rocks, water plants) if you wish. If you want to have fish, you can glue them to small ends of wooden toothpicks or bits of wire and insert the toothpicks or wire into the foam beneath the fish so that they are at various heights from the bottom of your pool.
    When you have colored your pool and arranged your bottom landscape for a layered pool, glue the acrylic sheet across the top, by applying glue to the edges of the pool then setting the acrylic sheet into the glue.


    Adjusting Your Water Color for a Miniature Pool or Pond
    Two sections of hardened E-Z water, both with a sand base. One has been stained with Pebeo Vitrea Glass colors on the top surface, while the other is the color E-Z water hardens to.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Once you have the base of your water feature colored, test the pool in the base to see if the water is the color you want it to be. If not, there are several ways you can adjust the color.
    The piece of E-Z water pond shown above has been coated with clear paints sold as "glass stains". I used Pebeo Vitrea Glass Paints from my art supply store, but there are several suitable brands. If you are using clear glass for the top of your miniature pool, you can bake many of these stains on glass using your kitchen oven to set the paints permanently. The paints cling to flat surfaces very well, even if they are not baked in place. Another way to color E-Z water which has set, or to color the acrylic sheet used on the top of a layered water feature, is to mix watercolor paint into clear acrylic floor polish to tint it, and flow the floor polish over the hardened 'water'. Allow the tinted floor polish to dry thoroughly in a dust free environment. You can use several different strengths of color in various layers to make the acrylic coating look more realistically like water.
    If you want to mimic fast flowing water, use thick acrylic paint mediums, tinted or clear, and stroke them to create the effect of flowing and foaming water, allow the medium to dry, then add touches of white paint to create white water.


    Effects of Base Color on the Model Water Layers Above
    Sections of hardened Woodland Scenics E-Z Water are set over dark and light backdrops to show the different effects.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    In the photo above you can see how the color of the base beneath the model water affects the appearance of the water. Dark color bases make the water appear deeper, while lighter color bases make the water layers shallower or create the effect of faster flowing water, depending on the colors and patterns of colors used. When you are working with your first attempts at modelling water, try various colors and write down what you feel about the pond or pool you created. Experimenting with color will allow you to place many different water effects into miniature and model landscapes.


    How To Fit Your Model Pool Naturally Into a Miniature Landscape
    Beginning the landscape around a cast E-Z Water pond for a dolls house garden using pebbles, sand, artificial 'ferns' and dried coffee grounds
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    Insert your cast water section into the recess in your foam base, or set the acrylic sheet to go across your pond feature. Apply a layer of PVA (white or craft) glue to the edges of the pool and glue your landscaping material so it just barely overlaps the pool edges. Different materials will give very different effects. Sand on the bank does not look natural unless the layer of water is very shallow. Then the sand can be blended into a 'beach'. Dark, loamy soil is easy to mimic in scales as small s "G" or 1:24 scale by using fine sterilized dry potting soil, or dried used coffee grounds (fresh grounds smell too much of coffee and have oils which make them harder to glue). Coffee grounds can attract insects. Various railway landscaping 'ballasts' and other materials can be used as well.
    You may want to lay a few logs along the bank of a pond so they overlap the edge, or you can also use some pebbles and apply a bit of 'tar gel' or acrylic floor polish to mimic the way water drips from banks behind rocks.
    If the edges of your pond need to be disguised further, you can always overlap the edges with plant material. Small ferns, grasses or rushes are good and easy to create or adapt from artificial plant materials.
    Don't worry if you glue a material in place that later looks a bit awkward. You can always paint the material and soften it with something resembling moss. Flocking and railway scatter work well for this.


    Finishing a Miniature Landscape Around a Small Water Feature
    A finished miniature pond made from E-Z Water in dolls house scale is set into a foam base ready to be completely landscaped.
    Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd
    As you have used a foam base for your practise miniature pool, you can easily adjust your landscaping with plants of various heights. For natural looking pools, try adding flowering wildflowers like the foxgloves shown here. Experiment with using tall plants as focal points to draw your eye away from the flat surface of your water feature. Remember the bubbles in this section of the E-Z Water cast? They are still there, showing where moisture condensed between the layers of the pour. Now they are hardly noticeable because you eye is drawn to the water lilies on the surface instead. Scatter 'disguising features' naturally across the scene rather than clumping them on top of your mistakes. It will make your errors harder to distinguish.
    When you have most of your details in place, add any final details, like a coating of acrylic floor wax to make the water surface look fresh and clear. With all your experimenting, it is easy to scratch the top surface of your water. A few strokes of clear gloss acrylic medium or acrylic polish, and you can correct the surface shine easily.
    Enjoy experimenting with small and large water features, paying attention to natural water features when you find them, and incorporating what you notice into your scale models. Have fun!
    Woman of short-lived passions

  10. #110
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    Aug 2008
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Introduction to Making a Miniature Jar Full of Tadpoles in Dolls House Scale
    Epoxy Resin is Good for all Kinds of Miniature Liquids.
    Photo © 2007 Lesley Shepherd
    This is a project to introduce beginners to using epoxy resin in scale miniature and dolls house projects. The tadpoles need to be set at various layers in the jar. If you would rather have pickles in a jar than tadpoles, follow the same steps but substitute polymer clay vegetable miniatures for the tadpoles. On the other hand,a jar of tadpoles are easy, fun, and suit the theme of the cabin front porch display scene (which now seems to have a young naturalist in residence). These instructions are written for 1:12 scale, but can be adapted to smaller or larger scales.


    Materials for a Miniature Jar of Tadpoles in Dolls House Scale
    Materials to Make 1:12 Scale Tadpoles in a Jar
    Lesley Shepherd
    For the tadpoles in a jar project you will need the following:
    • A 1:12 scale (dolls house scale)miniature wide mouth glass jar or bowl to hold the tadpoles.
    • A small piece of reindeer moss or other suitable greenery (you can make some from polymer clay if you like)
    • Brown polymer clay for tadpoles
    • A ceramic tile to bake the tadpoles on
    • Two part epoxy resin for simulated water
    • Disposable plastic mixing cups with straight sides and visible measures (you will need two cups for each pour of resin, and you may need two or three resin pours depending on where you want to place your tadpoles)
    • Straight sided stirring stick/craft stick for plastic resin
    • Rubbing alcohol or alcohol and paper towels for clean up if necessary.

    Make Miniature Tadpoles from Polymer Clay In Dolls House Scale
    Steps in Creating Tadpoles from Polymer Clay
    Photo © 2007 Lesley Shepherd
    • Roll out a thin roll of brown polymer clay to a diameter equal to 1/12 of an inch.
    • Use a pin to slice off a 1/8 in. to 1/12 inch slice. This size makes a 1:12 or standard dolls house scale tadpole.
    • Roll this slice into a ball.
    • Gently roll one side of the ball to elongate this side into a tadpole tail.
    • Roll the other side of the ball gently to form a slight point on the ball opposite the tail.
    • Use your pin to make a throat for your tadpole by pushing up slightly just in front of the bulge of the main ball. Make 8 or so tadpoles for each jar. (some might not make it to the final stage).
    See next page for drawing of tadpole shape
    Bake your tadpoles on the tile in a toaster oven or oven according to directions for your polymer clay.


    Illustration of a Tadpole
    Simple Drawing of a Tadpole
    Photo © 2007 Lesley Shepherd
    Use the illustration above to shape your polymer clay pieces into miniature scale tadpoles. Real tadpoles are 1 ½ to 3 inches in size, so your scale tadpoles should be no more than ¼ of an inch long in 1:12 or dolls house scale.

    Pour the First Layer of Epoxy Resin for Pond Water
    Carefully Measure Equal Amounts of Epoxy Resin and Hardener
    Photo © 2007 Lesley Shepherd
    Carefully measure out equal small amounts of your epoxy resin and the hardener into disposable plastic measuring cups according to the package instructions. Mix following instructions using the stirring stick to scrape down the side of the plastic mixing cups. Make sure you stir the mixture thoroughly to make sure it will set up correctly.
    Set the resin mixture aside to allow bubbles to rise. Exhale over the mixture to add CO2 to help pop any bubbles which rise to the surface.
    Place a tiny piece of reindeer moss or polymer clay greenery in the dolls house scale jar to represent pond weeds. Use a small amount as too much greenery will hide your tadpoles.
    When your epoxy has very few bubbles, pour or drip some off of the mixture over the greenery in your jar. Stop when your layer of epoxy is less than ¼ inch deep. Set aside to harden. Exhale gently over the resin in the jar a few times while it is hardening to help reduce any bubbles trapped in the greenery. Your miniature jar will be 1/3 to ½ full of resin. Set the jar aside for up to two hours to allow the resin to begin to thicken.
    Clean up any spills of liquid epoxy resin on your jar, or on work surfaces or tools using alcohol on a paper towel. Once the resin has hardened it will need to be sanded off so it is much better to clean it up before it hardens!


    Place Tadpoles in the Epoxy Resin in a Dolls House Miniature Jar
    Place the First Group of Tadpoles into the Epoxy Resin
    Photo © 2012 Lesley Shepherd
    When your resin has begun to gel after step 4, you can add your first scale miniature tadpoles. If you add them too soon they will all sink to the bottom. The resin must be beginning to gel before you put in tadpoles if you want them to be found throughout the jar.
    Use tweezers to place two or three tadpoles around the outside edges of the jar. Leave the first resin layer to set. Different types of greenery will cause different amounts of bubbles to form. Artificial greenery may not cause as many bubbles in the epoxy, but you will have to test it by dripping a bit of epoxy on it first to make sure the epoxy does not dissolve your plastic greenery. Any greenery should be in an appropriate dollhouse scale to match your jar and tadpoles.

    Finish the Miniature Tadpoles in a Dollhouse Jar
    Jars of Pond Water are Just One of the Many Uses for Epoxy Resin
    Photo © 2007 Lesley Shepherd
    When the first layer of resin has set, (this may take overnight in a dust free area) follow the same directions for preparing a second pour of resin to finish off your miniature tadpole jar. If you noticed bubbles in the first pour, leave the second pour to sit (exhale on the bubbles once in a while) until most of the bubbles are gone, before you carefully drip the resin into the dolls house scale jar.
    This time fill the jar to just below the top rim, leave the resin to begin to thicken, and add your second layer of tadpoles. They will sink into the resin. If you notice your second layer of tadpoles are floating, not sinking, use tweezers or a toothpick to position the tadpoles below the rim of the jar.
    Set the tadpole jar aside in a dust free area to allow the resin to harden.
    Woman of short-lived passions

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