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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)

    Paint A Traditional Rich Mahogany Finish On Raw Softwood Or Painted Surfaces

    By Lesley Shepherd, About.com Guide

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    Faux Mahogany Finish For Full Size or Miniature Projects
    A faux mahogany finish on a dolls house fireplace set beside a piece of finished fine grain mahogany for comparison.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

    The techniques in these instructions will take you through the steps to create a realistic faux mahogany finish on unfinished softwood or a painted surface - anything from illustration board to painted metal. Cuban and Honduras mahogany is often used for high quality furniture, and the wood is also used for scale miniature furniture as it has a fine grain which suits several scales without adjustment.
    It helps to have a reference piece of mahogany to match. If you are trying to match commercial frames or faux mahogany finishes on modern full scale or miniature furniture, you may need to modify the process. Most modern faux mahogany finishes from Asia are a much brighter red than true mahogany, and often show little graining. If you need to match these finishes, adjust the final glaze coats to the color of your furniture.

    Materials Used to Create a Faux Mahogany Finish on Unfinished Wood or Painted Su
    Finished piece of softwood with a faux mahogany finish, shown next to unfinished wood, and compared to the overly red finish of a commercial dolls house chair.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    To Create a Faux Mahogany Finish You Will Need:
    • Prepared Piece to Finish - a raw wood or painted finish should be sanded with 120 or finer grit sandpaper then thoroughly cleaned to remove all sanding grit using a tackcloth or damp rag. If you are starting with a painted piece, apply a pale apricot undercoat, then use a brush and some mid orange/yellow paint to add jagged grain lines to the painted piece similar to those you find on unfinished softwood. Remember to always sand along the length of the grain, never sand across the grain lines, real or imaginary!.
    • Clear Acrylic Glaze It is easiest to use a glaze made from your finishing coat, so use gloss if you want a gloss finish, or semi gloss if you want a flatter finish. Acrylic glaze is used so you can tint it yourself. If you are finishing large pieces of regular furniture, you can use acrylic 'clearcoat' or a water based Diamond Varathane (do not confuse water based varathane with oil based varathane). If you are trying to match an existing finish for repairs, check to see what type of coating is on your piece, before you use glaze coats. You may have to adjust your choice of materials to blend with existing finishes (traditional shellac, french polish or other coats).
    • Acrylic Paints Tube paints work better than liquid craft acrylics as they are more concentrated, but you can use either type. For my sample I used a flat black, a deep brick red (sometimes called rosewood in craft paints - slightly blue rather than orange) a cadmium (bright) orange, and raw or burnt umber (either works) Depending on the color you want to match you may also need a bluish red and a deep brown.
    • Fine Paint Brushes The size will depend on what size and scale your project is. I use a stiff student art brush for the dry brushed sections of my miniature wood, or a stiff small paint brush for full scale pieces. To apply the orange glaze coat vein lines I use a rounded watercolor brush in an appropriate size (form minaitures) or a large rounded paint brush for full size projects. For overwashed glaze coats I use a soft broad square tipped water color brush for miniatures or a soft bristled standard paint brush for full scale pieces.
    • Fine Sand Paper To sand between coats and keep the grain from raising, I use 120 to 320 grit for miniature pieces
    • Tack Cloth to remove sanded paint and grit after sanding.
    • Fine Beeswax Furniture Polish To put a final realistic glow on the miniature pieces, or to match the finish on larger pieces.

    Dry Brush Fine Pores for Faux Mahogany
    The first step in creating a faux mahogany finish is to use a dry brush technique and black or dark brown paint to mimic fine dotted pore markings.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Real mahogany has fine dark flecks as well as grain lines. To make these for your faux finish, use flat black acrylic paint, and a dry brush technique to create tiny dots and slightly dragged lines on your raw wood or painted undercoat. You don't need a lot, but you do need to make the dots fairly tiny and not clump them.
    Using a dry brush technique with most of the paint removed, touch your brush straight down and bounce it lightly (pouncing) to produce the tiny dots. If your paint coat is too thick, dab it off without wiping it into the wood or paint finish, or sand the excess off when the paint is dry and try again.

    Dry Brush Some Fine Red/Brown Grain Lines
    A dry brush technique is used to draw faint grain lines with deep brick or barn red paint to create grain lines for a faux mahogany finish.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Mix up a bit of brick red or rosewood (deep blue/brown red) acrylic paint (add water to make it a good consistency to brush out thinly if you are using tube paints) and use the dry brush technique to feather some small red grain lines in your faux mahogany. For miniature projects make these lines fairly fine, for larger projects you can make them slightly larger.
    The sample on the bottom in the photo above shows some splotches where the brush added too much paint. You can usually sand these splotches out when the paint is dry to break them up and make them blend into your faux finish.
    For this dry brushing section you want to press the brush gently onto the surface of the piece and draw it gently along to create lines as shown above. The lines should have a slight curve or a wiggle to them and not be perfectly straight.
    Lightly sand your piece when the red/brown lines are dry to break them up a bit. Check the edges of your piece to make sure some of your lines go right to the edge. Sand off any excess paint that sticks to the edge if you are painting on more than one side of a piece.

    Add Orange Glazed Grain Lines To Your Faux Mahogany Finish
    Cadmium orange paint mixed with clear glaze is used to create orange grain lines for a faux mahogany finish on softwood or a painted surface.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    The next step in a realistic faux mahogany finish is to create orange grain lines which will remain as you complete the finish. For this step mix some cadmium orange acrylic paint into some of your clear glaze or clearcoat to make a light orange glaze that will allow a lot of the original color of the wood to show through (see the sample above to judge how transparent your glaze needs to be). If you are working with a piece that started as painted apricot base coat instead of raw wood, you will need to add a few more lines to mimic the type of grain that unfinished softwood has. You can mix a slightly stronger orange glaze and brush on some wavy lines in the direction you want the grain (usually lengthwise) allow this to dry, then add some more glaze to your paint and add the light orange glaze lines.
    If you are working with unfinished softwood, use your thin orange glaze to lay down some slightly wavy lines about the same size as your existing wood grain lines are. This glaze coat will seal the wood or painted surface beneath it and keep some light areas in your finished faux mahogany surface.
    Sand this coat very lightly when it is dry before adding the over glaze coats.

    Mix and Apply a Red Brown Overglaze For a Faux Mahogany Finish
    A first coat of red brown glaze applied over the graining for a piece of faux finish mahogany. The smaller sample shows the glaze alone over wood with no added graining.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Take some of the same or similar brick or rosewood red you used for the fine red grain lines, and add clear glaze to it, along with a small amount of raw or burnt umber acrylic paint, to make a reddish brown overglaze. This coat needs to be fairly transparent. In the photo above you can see how transparent it is on the sample of raw wood which has only the overglaze coat applied to it.
    Brush this coat completely over your pieces, trying to avoid any build up or drips on straight edges.
    Set the piece aside to dry, then sand it, sanding it out unevenly to create several colors on your piece. Use a tack cloth to remove any sanded bits of paint before you proceed to the next step.

    Add A Second Darker Coat of Overglaze to Your Faux Mahogany Finish
    A second coat of red brown glaze is applied over the previous coat for a faux mahogany finish on softwood.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Check your finish so far against anything you want to match, or a sample of finished mahogany. Add a bit more red and brown to your glaze coat from the previous step, or adjust it by adding some orange if your piece needs more orange to match an existing sample or finish. Apply this coat over your piece making sure all areas are finished evenly. With any luck this will be your final coat!
    After I applied a second coat of darkened glaze, my mahogany still needed more brown and orange, so I applied a final coat of brown and orange mixed into my basic red glaze to create the finished coat you see in the final sample on the next page.
    When the piece is dry, check the color against your sample or existing finish. If it matches, sand the dry finish lightly with fine sandpaper, and use a tack cloth to wipe off any sanded residue.
    If it doesn't match, sand it (heavily or lightly , whichever you need!) and adjust your glaze coat to be more orange, or more red, or more brown so that it more closely resembles your sample or finished piece.

    Adjust the Finish On Your Faux Mahogany
    The mantelpiece of a dolls house fireplace finished as mahogany with a faux mahogany painting process useful for miniature or full size finishes.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When your Faux Mahogany finish is painted to your liking, you can add to its realism by matching the sheen of antique or modern pieces.
    For an Antique Furniture Finish Use fine sandpaper (320 grit or finer) or a set of micro mesh sanding pads to sand your final painted glaze coat smooth. If you use sanding pads, you can get the finish to the degree of gloss you need by working through successively finer pads. If your piece is too complex to sand to a high finish, sand the final coat lightly, then apply a fine beeswax based furniture polish allow it to set up, then polish with a soft cloth to get the degree of gloss finish you want. If you need very high gloss finishes, use liquid 'ice wax' type car polishes, or a thin layer of future floor polish to give you a thin gloss shine. On full size pieces you can use a final gloss coating of clear acrylic finish if necessary. For miniatures, you can get a more realistic scale effect using fine wax to make a thinner gloss coat.
    This is an easy method of finishing inexpensive softwood to resemble quality mahogany. With a bit of practise, anyone can create a far deeper and richer faux mahogany finish than most modern 'mahogany' furniture is given, whether it be on a picture frame, a piece of commerical dolls house furniture made from unknown wood, or an inexpensive piece of assemble it yourself full size furniture.
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  2. #112
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Simple Techniques To Paint Realistic Granite Finishes In a Variety of Scales

    Big box store dolls house wooden counter with a painted faux granite top using techniques from a miniature tutorial on miniatures.about.com
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Paint faux granite finishes for a range of colors and scales using simple paint techniques with basic paint materials and techniques. The sample shown here is in 1:12 scale for a dolls house sideboard, made from a piece of inexpensive big box store dollhouse furniture, but the same simple painted finish can be used on full scale counters, furniture, or decorative items (bookend or lamp bases for example) where you want the appearance of granite but not the cost. You can mimic anything from the basic black and white flecked granites, to the highly figured 'granite' from South American and Europe used for counters and floors.
    To make the finish here I used acrylic paints, and tube watercolor paints as tints for acrylic glazes. You can also use oil or enamel paints if you wish, but the process will take much longer as the paint must dry thoroughly between coats. You will need paints in the colors of the granite you choose to imitate. A wide range of granite patterns can be found online at Granite Photos.com or several other websites. These photos are a good guide to the characteristic colors and patterns found in standard granite types. Before you start, decide whether you want your granite finish to resemble polished, satin, or honed granite. Polished granite has a highly reflective surface (like the sample above) Satin finish granite has a slightly reflective surface, and honed granite is a flat, matte finish.
    As with any faux finish technique, you will become better with practise. You can start on a scrap piece of craft wood, or with a sheet of smooth card. The card can always be cut into tiles for scale miniature projects if you wish. As you work on your sample granite finish, consider the shapes, lines and crystal patterns you see in the stone you want to mimic. You will achieve a more realistic result by using several layers of paint as discussed in this tutorial than you will if you try to mimic a granite stone with only one or two layers.
    Faux stone finishes, including granite, have been used for a very long time. Many pieces of antique furniture have highly figured painted granites and marbles painted over less expensive stone tops. This is a technique that can be used over and over when building scale miniatures, or creating decorative pieces for your home.

    Start Painting the Base Coat and Pattern for Your Particular Faux Granite
    Deep chocolate and white acrylic paints on a dolls house counter top are the first steps in the faux granite paint technique.
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Choose the Main Paint Color For Your Faux Granite Surface
    Check reference photos or pieces of actual stone to determine the main colors and crystals or mineral flecks that make your particular granite. Look for colors which run through the entire sample. It is best to use colors which show as thin veins or lines as the base coat. This allows you to build up or 'float' blocks of other color on top of the base, leaving thin sections visible. Any flecks or specks of shiny mica in the granite can be created with finishes above the base layers.
    Paint Colors I Used
    Brushes - I used a soft flat watercolor brush to apply flat coats and glaze layers, a round wooden toothpick and a pin to apply grain lines, a toothbrush to apply flecks and stippling, a cotton bud to apply iridescent medium and mica pigments mixed with glaze. You could also use a fine grained sea sponge to apply dabs of iridescent medium.
    My granite counter in 1:12 scale is based on a deep brown granite with red/brown and small amounts of black and cream. To make it I start with a simple base coat of deep chocolate brown acrylic paint, applied as smoothly as possible to a piece of wood which has been sanded lightly to remove any marks.
    When the base coat is dry, I used a toothpick with a tiny amount of white paint on it and rolled it lightly over the brown base coat to set some light areas into the base of my granite layers. If you need very delicate lines, you can also brush them in place with a fine brush, or draw a brush or feather through thin lines of acrylic laid on the base coat. It really doesn't matter what these lines look like as they will be covered by successive layers of glaze before the faux granite is completed. You just need to add some of the colors found in your granite into the base coat to start the pattern.

    Use Paint and Glazes to Create Depth in Faux Granit Coatings
    A first layer of ground color glaze and some thin blotches of iridescent paint are applied to the base color to begin building up a faux granite finish.
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Once you have your basic undercoat started for your painted faux granite finish, you can add the illusion of depth to sections of your faux granite by using glazes. You make a glaze by adding a bit of pigment or paint to a clear finish, either gloss or satin depending on the final finish you want your faux granite to have. (For honed finish granites use a satin or matte finish). Glazes allow you to layer the color effects in your stone and make your painted finish seem like a much thicker stone pattern. Glazes made with iridescent paints or mica pigments can create the effect of crystal layers in granite. For my miniature granite I used a glaze of a mustard yellow or 'gamboge' color across some areas of my base coat. I also applied a thin glaze of to add the shine effect of small irregular crystals along some edges of the white undercoat layer. (see photo above). You can also add thin washes or sponged on dabs of of Jacquard Pearl Ex Pigments to add colored mica specs to your granite layers. If working on a full scale finish, a section of sea sponge is the best way to add irregular paint flecks.
    You will be gradually building up your granite finish so experiment with one or two colored glazes in irregular sections of your faux granite surface. Don't apply these glazes everywhere, only in areas where you want to build up bits of a color.

    Creating The Color Shifts of Crystaline Structure for a Painted Faux Granite
    Thin layers of iridescent paint are sprayed or dabbed on to underlying glaze coats to build up the effect of quartz crystals and mineral flecks in a painted faux granite finish.
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Many granites have distinctive quartz crystal structures. You can mimic this effect in your painted faux granite finish by careful applications of thin layers of the same glaze, or by using iridescent paints, which create a slight color shift.
    To Mimic Large Irregular 'Plates' of Quartz - apply irregular dabs of a thin white glaze to your painted surface. After this coat has dried, apply a second layer of irregular dabs in places overlapping the first coat slightly to give layers of color which have varied transparency. If you need your glaze coat to spread out into irregular patterns, you can place a few drops of water or alcohol on your painted surface, and apply a little bit of glaze to the wet areas. Your glaze will spread out and collect at the edges of the damp areas.
    To Mimic Smaller Crystalline Areas - apply irregular flecks of white by using a small fine sea sponge or a stiff brush. Dip the sponge or brush lightly in your paint and remove most of the paint from the sponge onto a paper towel, before you dab it gently onto your painted surface.
    Apply Iridescent Paint Areas - to create the effect of tiny crystals, you can apply dabs of iridescent or pearlized mediums, using a fine brush. The tiny white crystal areas in the photo are thin layers of Windsor and Newton Iridescent Watercolor Medium applied above the first glaze layer. Alternatively, you can mix small amounts of mica pigments into thin transparent glaze, and spray or 'fleck' it onto the surface using a fine spray bottle, or a stiff brush, whose bristles you pull back with your thumb, then let fly to apply the paint. The blue green layers in the photo above are mica pigment in a transparent paint, lightly sprayed onto the surface and allowed to float to the edges of the thin glaze.
    When making your first attempts at a faux granite surface, experiment with adding paint to spots of water applied to the surface, try adding a thin layer of glaze, then breaking it up with a light spray of water from a bottle. Learn which paints 'float' and how sprays of water (or air) can change the look of paint layers.

    Add Fine Spots And Lines of Darker Colors to a Painted Faux Granite Finish
    To build up the effect of various layers and crystals, small amounts of darker and lighter tones are stippled over the first glaze layer. Here the stipple effect is applied in miniature using a stiff tooth brush.
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    You are probably worried by now that your painted surface will never resemble granite. You will have a base coat, and at least one or two glaze layers that give your surface depth, but don't help much to recreate the effect of your chosen granite. The next step is to add stippled layers of color to mimic the patterns of the stone.
    Stippling is a technique where you add small points of color by using a 'pouncing' motion of a fairly stiff brush (a toothbrush or stencil brush work well) making sure that the brush has very little paint on it. First pick up some paint on your toothbrush or stencil brush, then take most of it off the ends of the brush by bouncing the brush on a dry paper towel. When most of the paint has been removed, bounce (pounce) your brush lightly straight up and down on areas of your granite where you want small flecks of color. You can use this technique to cover or blend 'mistakes' you have made in previous layers, or just adjust the colors until they more closely resemble your chosen sample. If you want a few streaky lines, you can drag the stiff brush across the surface with it's thin layer of paint to create streaks.
    Use this technique to soften lines or break up glaze lines from previous layers, or to balance areas of your granite surface so that the colors look more like your sample. Make sure you still allow some areas of your transparent glazes or crystal washes to show through.

    Build Stain Layers with Glazes on a Painted Faux Granite Finish
    Semi transparent color mixed with a glaze is brushed or wiped over underlying layers to set the main tones for painted faux granite.
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Granites often have areas where the stone appears to be stained with strong colors. To create this effect on your painted faux granite, add another layer of a transparent glaze over the layers of color you have already added. Once again, this transparent wash of pigment (paint) mixed with a clear coat doesn't need to be applied over the entire surface. Apply it only where you want the stain effect to become part of your pattern.

    Add Dark or Light Flecks to Your Painted Faux Granite Finish
    A toothbrush with a thin layer of dark acrylic paint is used to create tiny paint flecks in a miniature faux granite painted finish.
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    As you get close to a finished painted faux granite, it is time to add any paint flecks to mimic the granulations or mica flecks you see in the sample you are trying to mimic. The easiest way to apply tiny paint flecks is to dip a paint brush in a fairly liquid paint, then gently pull back on the bristles to flick the paint onto your faux granite surface. Do this inside a cardboard box or other empty container if you are working on a miniature to prevent the flecks from discoloring your work surface or other projects. If sections of your miniature must remain unpainted, mask them off or drape them with a paper towel before flicking paint towards the piece. It is a good idea to test your brush, and the consistency of your paint, on the walls of your box before you try to flick the paint onto your faux granite surface. You may need to thin your paint, or use the brush closer or further away from your surface in order to get the tiny paint flecks you want.
    When you have the right amount of paint flecks, allow the paint to dry thoroughly, then sand your faux granite surface slightly (using a sanding block) to flatten the tiny bumps created by the paint flecks. Don't try to sand the entire surface flat or you will remove a lot of your details. When you have the surface sanded, proceed to applying a final finish.

    Applying a Final Finish To Your Faux Granite
    An enlarged view of roughly one square inch of a faux granite painted finish on a dolls house countertop.
    Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When your faux granite has all the flecks, steaks and colors that you want to see, it is time to apply the top coats to finish and protect it. You will likely need to apply several thin layers of acrylic varnish as a top coat, taking care to allow the top coats to dry thoroughly, then sanding them lightly with 220 to 240 grit sandpaper on a sanding block , wiping the surface with a tack cloth to remove dust, and reapplying another layer of top coat. You must build the top coats up gradually to fill in any differences between the paint layers.
    For the top coats on my dolls house counter top, I used an artists gloss acrylic varnish, and applied and sanded four coats of finish before the top coat was level. If you prefer a satin finish, use a satin or semi matte varnish. Use a sanding block when sanding down the top coats, and take care not to sand the edges of your piece or you may end up with lines of the base coat visible on the edge. If necessary, you can re-apply glaze or fleck layers between top coats to add detail, but this will create uneven coats which will require more finish layers to level.
    To create a 'honed' finish, dull your final coat of finish slightly by rubbing it gently with a small amount of toothpaste or rottenstone powder on a rag. For a final gloss finish, sand the final coat lightly, then apply a layer of regular furniture wax.
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  3. #113
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Lightweight, Inexpensive Scale Models of Stone Walls

    Model stone wall made from styrofoam bead board shown beside a palm tree with a base of florist's foam, both designed to fit with pieces from a Department 56 Little Town of Bethlehem Village.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    Lots of scale scenes could use a simple stone wall, or a stone finish on a simple building. These instructions show you how to use various supports and model all kinds and colors of stone walls from dense insulation foams, florist's foam or styrofoam beadboard, and various protective and paintible coatings. The durability of the piece will depend on the coating you protect the foam with, as well as how much handling the piece must endure.
    Although foam can easily be made into stone for walls, model horse jumps or buildings, or left to free fall down mountain terrains in railroad scenes, you may prefer more structured modelled stones from plaster, clay or paper clay. Instructions for using modelling materials to make stone finishes are given in this tutorial using paperclay to make a faux stone foundation for a porch on a rustic cottage.
    I've tried to give a number of methods in the following pages for creating walls and stone buildings from a range of materials. The carving and coating methods will work regardless of whether you want a single stone wall for a model horse jump, a few stone walls for a Christmas village, building fronts for a nativity scene, blasted stone buildings for gaming terrains or scree slopes for a railroad display.

    hoose the Best Materials to Make Faux Stone Buildings and Walls From Foam
    Styrofoam bead board is cut in a step pattern to make the sides for a faux stone nativity stable.
    Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
    When modelling terrains for villages, gaming, railroads or dollhouses, there are a number of material options. Before you choose, consider how you will use the model:
    Strength The strength of a terrain depends on the backing, the modelling material applied to the backing and the coating used to protect the modelling material. If pieces are handled a lot, use dense insulation foams glued to thin wood backings, or use the air dry clay or paper clay method of creating a stone effect on gatorfoam or wood. If pieces are viewed, but not handled you can use weaker foams, like styrofoam bead board (sheet styrofoam packing materials) or dry florist's foam, applied to backings if the pieces are larger or need to be supported for other purposes (tunnels, caves etc.) If pieces need to be moved and stored for occasional use, and don't receive a lot of wear (village displays) you can use the easiest obtainable foam, with an appropriate coating.
    • High Density Insulation Board or insulation foam is the strongest and easiest to work with, if you live in a cold climate where it is used for home insulation. There is little strength difference between brands, your choice should depend on the board thickness you need, and the availability and cost.
    • Dry Florist's Foam is easily obtained from florist's or craft shops and can be carved like butter. Sold mainly in brick shapes, is very brittle and crushes easily. If covered with a strong protective layer, it is still suitable for village building walls (applied to a wood or heavy card understructure) or for stand alone pieces that won't be handled a lot. Encasing it entirely in strong coating will make it more resistant to damage.
    • Styrofoam Bead Board is a commonly available packing material also sold in sheets in craft stores. It is very weak, breaking easily, and can be harder to use for fine details due to the bead shapes it is composed of. It is inexpensive and easy to find, and a heavy protective coating will make it stand up to reasonable use.
    • Rosco Foamcoat used for coating stage props made from foam, which is similar to a thick, flexible gesso and is available from theatre and photography suppliers.
    • Artist's Gesso - a thick coating which acts as a primer that can be tinted or sanded, and which forms a strong base for acrylic paints
    • Non Sanded Tile Grout, which can be mixed with the addition of an acrylic binder or Weldbond glue (one part glue to one part water added to the dry mix) to make the grout more flexible, with a slower setting time. Grout can be colored, sanded and painted and makes a very strong surface over weak foams. It's disadvantage is that it sets up quickly and once set needs strong carving or sanding tools to adjust it.
    • How to Carve Stone Effects in High Density Insulation Foams
      A sgraffito or clean-up tool is used to make stone shapes in a model wall made of dense insulation foam board.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      High density insulation foams are easily carved with craft knives, pottery greenware tools, or polymer clay blades. To create the stone wall shown in these examples, a suitably sized piece of dense foam was cut to size for a stone wall. The foam was trimmed from a thicker sheet of foam so one side was left with the flat 'factory' finish while the other side was roughly cut with a craft knife.
      Work Out the Scale and Size You Need To work out the size you need for a wall, measure a figure or a doorway (for a village scene) and assume a doorway is 6 1/2 to 7 feet tall and a figure is 5 1/2 to 6 feet tall. Use the actual measurement of the figure or the door, divided by the assumed scale height (6 1/2 to 7 feet for a door) If your door measures 5 inches, and should represent something 7 feet (84 inches) high, your scale will be 1 inch = 84/5 or one inch of your model represents roughly 17 inches if the scene was full size. Use these measurements to decide tall your wall should be, as well as a rough estimate of how many layers of stones there would be in a wall the height you want to build.
      Decide on the Style of Stones Do you want rough carved blocks, exactly square blocks, rough edged dry stone walls, walls made from river rounded cobbles? Look at photographs for styles of stone walls, or if you are working with existing commercial pieces, choose a style of stone from a piece in your collection.
      Mark Out the Stone Layers Use a pencil to mark out rough layers of stone on your wall. If you are making block walls, mark out the individual blocks with a pencil or craft knife. Cut the block lines at a very slight angle so you will have more than a knife slit separating them. If you are making rough stone walls, use a knife to carve out rough stone shapes, based on the style of stone you want to represent, roughly following your layer lines to make sure your stones are not oversized for the scale of your wall. Cobbles will be rounded on all edges, dry stone walls will have all shapes and sizes. For walls which are not held together by mortar, make strong separations between the cuts for the stones as shown in the photo on this page. Dry stone walls can have some deep crevices between stones. When you have marked out the outline of your stones, use your knife to carve into individual stones if you need them to have rounded or split surfaces. If you don't carve the surface, your wall will look flat, and you will need to build up layers of coating to shape your stones.

      Matching Rocks To Model Scenes
      A section of faux stone wall made from styrofoam bead board, colored to resemble existing resin miniatures for a village scene. One side shows an alternative color scheme of shades of grey.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      When coloring your faux stones or walls you should work with a simple palette of colors chosen to match your scene. You will need to decide on the characteristics of rock found in the area (check actual photos of stone walls), or match the stone to the colors you choose for soil (worn stone is the basis for many soils). If you are working with existing miniature pieces (village buildings for example) you should tone your stone to match that of the village pieces. Department 56's Little Town of Bethlehem uses resin rocks which have squared, hewn edges in a basic color palate of gray green, raw umber, and light ochre.
      Basic Color Palette for Stone Your basic color palette should have three main colors, a dark, a mid tone, and a lighter tone. They can be the same color (dark grey, mid grey, light grey) or they can be a range of colors found in the stone in a particular area, dark grey or grey green for the shadows, rust brown or raw umber for the iron stained stones, and pale grey, cream or ochre for the lighter or worn areas. In addition to the three main colors you should also have a highlight color. This might be a raw umber to add iron staining, a very pale cream color to resemble sandstone or light quartz, or a green color to resemble lichens or moss growing on stone.
      Mixing the Colors For the simplest color schemes for stone, I usually use some flat black acrylic mixed into my gesso to make a dark grey for the crevices in dry stone walls. I don't mix the color in completely, as the variation of color mix in the paint gives some depth to the final effect. I will paint this coating into the wall cracks first, (see the samples for the styrofoam wall) then add white to some of this mix to make a mid grey which goes on the faces of the stones, and add white, or beige to the mid grey to make a highlight color which is dry brushed, or spattered on the stones to add some texture and break up the other colors. I may spatter or dry brush the dark and mid tone colors on top of the lighter color in some places to break up areas which are too flat. Using the dark grey base I mixed first as the main color, and adding additional colors to this base color to lighten and adjust it, keeps the colors in the same tonal range and is quite effective. When the main colors are dry, and the stone texture and color is where I want it, I will use a highlighting color to give some interest to some areas of the stones, but not all. I can use bright green or orange to resemble lichens or moss, or dry brush or spatter on a bit of light beige to give some stones more highlights.

      Using Coatings to Strengthen Model Stone Walls Made From Foam
      Two coats of Rosco Foamcoat applied to one end of a miniature faux stone wall, while a similar amount of artists gesso is applied to the other end of the foam model.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      You can simplify the process of making model faux stone walls by using artist and stage craft modelling techniques rather than using products from the hardware store.Free standing stone wall sections made of insulation foam are considerably strengthened by using a coating. The side of the wall on the right in the photo has been coated with artist's gesso applied with a stiff brush to give a sandstone effect. I left the coating untinted for the purpose of this photo, but you should tint the coating for your darkest color using acrylic paint. (See the section on coloring for faux stones.) The section in the center shows the uncoated foam, while the section on the left has been coated with Rosco Foamcoat, an acrylic based gesso which is much thicker than the regular artist's brand. The Foamcoat creates a very dense but flexible coating, which stands up well to knocks and movement. The artist's gesso isn't as strong a coating, but it adheres well to the foam, doesn't flake or crack, and allows very fine details to show through (I could create a similar detailed effect with the Foamcoat, but I was using it straight from the pail to see how thickly it goes on, it is at least twice as dense as my gesso.)
      For very rigid coatings, possibly suited to use outdoors, you can use unsanded grout, mixed with some acrylic extender to keep it more flexible and help it adhere to the foam base. Unsanded grout allows you to create the texture you want with a brush or artist's knife. Sanded grout is also useful, but the size of sand used may not suit some scales.

      Joining Foam Layers or Corners
      Pieces of kitchen skewer are used along with glue to hold styrofoam together for a model stone building corner for a nativity scene.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      Gluing Flat Layers Together Foam boards can be difficult to glue. You cannot use glues which contain a solvent base as they can dissolve the foam. PVA (white) glue can be used to glue foam to a strengthening back support (wood, cardboard or book board as those materials allow air through to dry the glue. PVA glue will not dry if you attempt to use it to glue two layers of dense foam or styrofoam together. As florist's foam allows the passage of air, it can be usually be glued with pva glues.
      To glue foam layers together to build up thicker layers (for mountains or Christmas village scenes) use low temperature hot melt glue (applied with a glue gun), after testing to make sure the temperature of the glue does not melt your foam.
      An alternative to hot melt glue for foam boards are some artist's contact cements (without solvents) or special glues designed for styrofoam. These include UHU POR glue, Styro Glue (3M) and some craft glues for styrofoam. Liquid nails contractors glues designed for high density insulation foam application can be used to hold layers of high density insulation foam together.
      Gluing Corners for Walls and Buildings When gluing corners or other areas where foam may be subject to stress (rock outcroppings, stone arches) use small sections of wooden dowels or kitchen skewers inserted in the ends of the boards to help strengthen the join. If possible hold the dowels in the foam with glue, and also run glue along the board across the width of the join to hold the boards together.

      Making Stone Walls From Styrofoam Bead Board
      Use a pencil to draw out rough stone shapes on a styrofoam wall. Space the stones above the previous level's gaps.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      To make faux stone wall from Stryofoam bead board, first cut and assemble the pieces for your project, according to the scale and design you need. When the glue (if used) has dried, mark out lines across the wall using a ruler and pencil, to set the approximate layers for the stones. The lines can be curved or straight, but should be sized to make stones suitable to the scale you want for your project.
      Scribe the Horizontal Layer Lines with a pencil or a knife. The pencil will just pull away the styrofoam beads for rough seams between the stones, if you want a neat line for dressed stone block walls, use a craft knife to mark the lines.
      Create the Stone Outlines Now use the pencil or the knife to draw semi vertical lines between the layer lines to create the outlines of your stones. This is a messy process when using styrofoam as the beads go everywhere! Make sure you also roughen any straight edges of your wall if you want a rough or dry stone wall, instead of a linear dressed stone wall of blocks.
      Finally, carve some dents into the surface of your individual stones, or cut small sections away with a craft knife to make them less flat on the surface. This is not necessary for dressed (block) stone walls. Make sure you carve stones on all sides of your wall or building, most dry stone walls will have a capping layer one or two stones across on the top of the wall.
      Note These same techniques can be used to make square stucco walls with some exposed stone beneath in broken areas, just leave the foam board surface flat in the stucco areas, and create areas of exposed stone by outlining stones on corners, or areas close to openings where a stucco coating might have worn away.

    • Creating the First Layers of a Faux Stone Effect on Styrofoam Walls
      With a dark grey coating applied, mid grey tones are brushed over the dark grey undercoat to begin the stone coloring process.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      Before You Start make sure you have decided on an appropriate coating and three colors plus a highlight color for your stone wall. (see step 4 and 5).
      Fill the Crevices Between Stones Start with the darkest layer of your stone. This will set the shadows for the crevices between the stones and disguise the shape of the beadboard beads. Use a fairly heavy layer of foamcoat, gesso or grout, mixed to your darkest color, and apply with a stiff brush (or a palette knife for grout) to the entire wall, on all sides, including the bottom of the wall to help seal and protect it. This may take one or two coats (especially if you are using gesso). When you are finished the entire wall should be covered in your darkest color and no white areas should show through. Allow the coating to dry.
      Disguise the Styrofoam Bead Shapes When the first coat is dry, apply a second layer to any areas where you can see strong outlines of individual beads, or seams in your foam. You won't be applying much more color between the stones, so the bead shapes need to be well disguised with your darkest color in these areas. Allow this second coat (if needed) to dry.
      Add a Mid Tone Coat Mix some white acrylic paint into your previous color or mix up your second, mid ground color, and dry brush or dab this color onto the top surfaces of the stones. Try to leave some of the darker color underneath showing. If you want stones that resemble granite, or quartz based stones, touch your loaded paintbrush to a piece of waste newspaper or paper towel to remove excess paint, then lightly touch the ends of the brush to the surface of your stones to leave small spotted or blotched paint sections. If you want striated stones that resemble shale or sandstone, use a stiff brush to spread your compound in one direction across the top surface of your stones, leaving strong lines of colored compound behind.
      Fixing Mistakes Don't worry if you get too much color in an area (see the section of wall on the right in the photo) You can always go back over the section with another coat of some darker paint to break up large areas where you applied to much paint.
      Set the wall aside to dry with its second coat of finish. The finish should be building up in layers on the front edges of the stones, adding some more texture and depth to the shapes you originally carved.

    • Adding a Third Color and a Highlight To Faux Stone Finishes
      A faux stone wall made from styrofoam bead board with three shades of grey applied to mimic stone.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      Add the Final Color Layer To finish adding depth to your faux stone walls, dry brush a third layer of colored compound over your two previous layers. If you have been using a dry brush (a brush first loaded with paint that you press into paper to remove the paint from the tips of the brush) to drag across the stones, add the lightest color to some stones using the same technique. If you were using small blotches of paint, continue using that technique. Experiment to see what works best for you.
      Check Photos Compare your stone finish to photos of actual stone walls if you can. The lightest color should be only on the most outer surfaces of the stones, the areas which would be most exposed to light.
      Add Flecks with Spatter Techniques In some scales, a spatter technique works well. You can use a stiff brush or an old toothbrush and run a pallette knife across the bristles away from the surface you want to spatter, to produce speckles of color on the stone. Spattering can be done with any of your three colors, once you have the lightest color in place. Spattering will help balance color areas which appear too light or too dark.
      Balance Out Your Final Effect In the photo above, three degrees of grey Foamcoat have been added to the styrofoam wall section. On this wall more drybrushing of various colors is needed to balance out the wall colors before the final highlight layer is added. The highlight layer for this wall will be a green or orange tinge to resemble moss and break up the layers of grey.
      Change Colors if Required At this stage you can still go in a completely different color direction. Compare the photo of this wall with three grey layers to the version of it on the first page of this tutorial. To use this wall close to existing commercial models made of resin, raw umber and ochre colors were dry brushed over the greys to make a closer color blend to the commercial stones on the well. It is never too late to adjust your color range!

      Changing Faux Stone Finishing Effects With Texture
      A miniature scale stone wall modelled in dense insulation foam.
      Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
      This low free standing stone wall for a nativity scene was made using dense foam insulation and various coatings. The dense foamcoat coating made stones with a very similar surface texture to the ones in the commercial well it is intended to fit beside in the scene. The dense coating however filled the spaces between the stones, making the wall look too formally constructed, possibly mortared. For the final scene, sections of wall will be made using the same techniques and colors, but adapting the process by thinning the dark coat intended for the cracks between the stones. In the sample above, the deep cracks look more natural. A heavier coat of material will be applied to the top surfaces of the stones to make them have the same texture as the commercial (Department 56) resin models.
      If you have models you need to adapt to fit with other pieces, try a sample section like the one shown here to work out the best way to use your available materials. When you have the sample the way you like it, it is easy to create a range of other pieces to match. The stone technique used here can now be used on thin slices of foam glued to simple bookboard buildings, and more stone walls and outbuildings can be added to the scene keeping a similar look to the commercial pieces. Although your first attempt may not be exactly what you want, keep experimenting to find a method that works for you.
      Other Examples of Stone Models Made from Foam
    • Lizard Landscapes This wonderful site shows steps in making all kinds of foam landscapes from a castle to a sandstone desert scene. The techniques are the same whether you are making miniature terrains, railroads, dollhouses, or terrariums for your lizard!

    Woman of short-lived passions

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

    MAY, 2009
    (This little cottage is 1/24th scale, sometimes referred to by miniaturists as halfscale, where one inch equals twenty-four inches. So, everything in real life is smaller than it appears in these photos because I use such extreme closeups sometimes.)
    I finished Mother Goose's cottage in May 2009, but it began many years before that.
    I made its shell in the early 90s in a Bill Lankford Catch-Up workshop at The Little Shop in Lubbock, TX. At the time, most of the people in Norma's tiny workroom were working on different things (she later moved to a different location; not sure if she even has a shop any more). As he helped us, Bill was also working that day on a prototype for a Southwest church facade. It was an invaluable experience, because not only did he show me what to do to make my cottage, I was also able to watch the others working on various things, and, most importantly, observe his creative process as he designed a prototype, and I loved it.
    The wooden shell was already glued to the base; chimney, windows, door, wood stripping, bricks for steps and landscaping materials were provided.
    The thatching is made of patching compound, or spackle, that he had mixed with either yellow dye or paint in a big bucket. He showed me how to use a putty knife to glop it in place and distribute it, making sure to have a natural look at the overhang. Then I literally combed it with a cheapie large-toothed comb, like those found at the ollar stores.
    I was having problems with the light on the day I took these pictures. Although the pictures were taken years later, this was the stage of construction at the end of that workshop day in Lubbock. Here it is still lacking the color washes to give it an aged, natural look, as well as the door, front steps, etc.
    This was the left side of the cottage. It looks uneven because it didn't fit exactly on the turntable I was using to rotate it for picture-taking. In retrospect, I regretted adding the dried materials because over time some had faded and I might have used other flowers instead. However, the materials were provided aong with some valuable suggestions about landscaping, and I figured I could add or remove things later.
    The door hadn't been added yet, nor the brick stoop and steps. Some smears of "thatch" on the wall needed to be dealt with, too.
    Notice how the little cottage is placed; aesthetically it is more pleasing to place an object at an angle on its base, rather than lined up straight with the edges.
    This was the interior. Notice I got some "thatch" on the base which I had to clean up later, as well as needing to touch up the other wood. Because of time limitations, Bill had added a board to cover up the upper level which we wouldn't have time to deal with in that one-day workshop.
    We smoothed on plain white spackle to make the stucco walls. We took long strips of stained wood and just held them up against the wall, eyeballed them for fit, and cut them with a heavy-duty scissors. We pressed them into place in the stucco, being sure that they were even at the top and that they were imbedded slightly for a natural look. Bill pointed out that any irregularities at the bottom would be taken care of when we applied the floors and baseboards. I thought this was a terrific approach, a real freeing experience that fits my style.
    His approach with the bay window was essentially the same; eyeball it, cut to fit, glue in place. And the way it looked that day was the way it stayed for YEARS until I finally figured out who it belonged to - Mother Goose.
    When I got the cottage down from the shelf to work on recently, I decided to remove that flat piece and make a loft upstairs so I could create a wee bedroom. Here I have begun the laborious process of prying and cutting it loose. It took a lot longer than I expected because the combination of wood glue and spackle really held it tightly.
    Hmm; funny; I hadn't noticed that I had an audience when I began this project.
    After a great deal of work, it finally came loose. I saved it so that I could make a pattern for the plexiglass that might eventually cover the open area of the cottage if I decided not to put it in a display case or large dome.
    Here I have trimmed up the raw edges along the cut and swept out the interior. This handy emery board helped smooth the floor.
    I wanted to finish the upstairs the same way as the lower floor, with stucco and beams, so here is a use for all those Starbucks stirrer sticks that I save. I have stained them to match as closely as I can the beams that we stained in Lubbock so long ago.
    Here is the spackling compound stucco and the first beams. I waited until the stucco had a slight skim on it, then pushed the beams into place. Then I put it aside for a while to dry and worked on the furnishings.
    Many years ago I did a round table of a 1/24th open-back pewter cupboard, but when I decided to use it in the cottage, felt it looked too spindly for my sturdy little Mother Goose kitchen. So, I used a file folder to cut a back.
    After gluing that in place, the cupboard was much more stable.
    But as I began trimming the excess, I realized I still wasn't happy with those spindly legs so decided to extend the back to the floor, and add solid sides.
    Here I have glued the first piece in place.
    And to give a more finished look, I added interior coverings, as well. Now all that shows of those legs is the wood fronts; much better. I decided to leave the bottom open so I would have display space, but added a bottom shelf. I painted on, then wiped off a stain, and let the cupboard dry over night. It turned out pretty nifty, if I do say so, and was much more substantial looking. It looked as if it belonged on the right wall of the cottage.
    Then I spent almost the entire next day just going through my stash and mulling over and deciding and un-deciding what to put in it. The first things I added were the egg basket, dish towel, four plates, and two square canisters which I contrived from little wood cubes, stickers and findings. Since I didn't really have anything much in the way of already-made accessories or foods, etc., in this scale, much of my time was spent contriving with bits and pieces. Once again I discovered the value of having a stash of various bits of wood, findings, beads and scrapbooking accessories.
    Here is the interior of the upstairs after the floor was stained with all the beams and baseboards in place. I was pleased that it matched the boards of the lower floor so well. Sure was a little area to try to furnish, though, and those sloping walls made it a real challenge.
    One thing that I had to make a decision about. When we made the cottage in Lubbock, I didn't have to worry about this window because there was no second floor planned; consequently there is no opening inside all that stucco for an interior window. Since I have turned it into Mother Goose's bedroom, however, I need to decide - do I just ignore the window and leave the clean plastered wall and hope no one will notice, or do I try to figure out what to do about suggesting the window inside? I don't have a problem leaving out things like toilets in bathrooms or refrigerators in kitchens or fireplaces in living rooms, etc., because I can always explain they are on the invisible front wall. This was not one of those situations, however, and that explanation would not work for my literalist family members who always notice such things. So, I decided that I had to do something to suggest the window, much as I hated to.
    I had some frames in my scrapbooking stash, so decided to use one as a pretend window. I put a stain on it to tone down its brightness.
    At first I thought I would try to tone down the white of the curtain, but forget that!
    So this was my solution. Actually it looks better in reality than it does in the pictures. The flower is more pink than the orangey look it has here. Frankly, I would rather not have it, but what the heck. I didn't want to have to answer questions from people who would stand there and look first inside, then out, then inside, and ask, "Why isn't there ....?"
    At this point, I decided to put another layer of aging on the thatch. Nowadays thatch is done more realistically with the natural blackening that comes from age, including Bill Lankford's thatched buildings, so basically by the time I was finished that golden undercoat wasn't really visible any more. I also painted the upstairs window frame to match the lower window; however, I didn't get pictures of this process.
    As I manipulated the house, the original dried landscaping materials were crumbling and making a mess. Since I wanted to change it all anyway, I plucked and scraped and pulled and brushed away loose bits so they wouldn't keep falling into my glue and paint. And in doing so, I had a new vision of what I hoped eventually to do. Since Mother Goose is by her nature a thrifty, homey person, and totally unpretentious, that led to the decision to plant a kitchen garden for her.
    And gee, wouldn't it be nice to have a well, and I just happened to have this little resin well in my stash. Not sure where I got it, but it's the right scale and I figured it would be perfect outside Mother Goose's door. And how handy it would be for watering that garden, too.
    Gotta do something about that half-done paint job, though.
    A bit of chalk does a lot to help tone down the shine and cover up that red.
    I used that big emery board to take the sharp edges off the shingles and the top of the well. What DO you call it, a ledge, a rim?
    I used dark iron oxide to paint the well's interior, then added glue for the water and put it aside for the water to dry (heh heh).
    I wanted to use this little goose, but didn't like the base.
    So, I cut it off, which meant she had no feet. Oh dear! And, as it turned out, I didn't have room for her anyway. Well, one of these days I will figure out where to use her and then I will figure out what to do about adding those feet back..
    Many years ago on a vacation driving up the West Coast, I either purchased or took this picture of a real cottage somewhere; Carmel, California, maybe. I have always wanted to make it in miniature, including that fairy-taleish tree, and have kept the picture, along with the sponge-y makings for that tree, in a plastic bag for years.
    Finishing the Lankford cottage was finally my opportunity to create the tree.
    I realized it would have to be shorter, of course, and smaller, too, because of the addition of the well and the garden, and I didn't want it be so tall that it wouldn't fit within my display dome or box.
    For the trunk and limbs I decided to use some clippings from this clump of twigs that I purchased once at a dollar store.
    Here I have determined on five layers. These pieces were cut from a soft, spongy foam, not like the normal hard stuff; not sure where I got it. After all these years it is still soft, too.
    I decided to paint the limbs a more realistic greybrown, so first put on a coat of lichen, then dry brushed dark iron oxide. I have taped the branches together at the base with masking tape. Most of this will not show in the finished tree once it is "planted" and the greenery is in place around its base, although I will cut away the excess beyond the tape.
    Here I am experimenting to determine where to plant my tree.
    I've had that rustic little bench for a long time and decided it would be nice for sitting in the shade of the tree. You will notice I had roughed out a shape for my vegetable garden, which I kept moving around for the proper location.
    That wooden base was convenient because I could just hammer a nail into it to support my tree.
    I used model railroad landscaping materials; three different grades of grass and turf. (Empty spice bottles are great for this purpose, as are plastic kitchen containers, of course. I keep the larger containers out of the way in the pantry and just refill as needed.)
    I gave the tree sections a hefty coat of Tacky glue mixed with brown paint and shook them inside a bag with the foam mixtures. They were left to dry thorougly before I slid them onto the trunks. However, me being me, I didn't wait long enough, so a lot of the mixture came off. I figured, however, this was a very old tree, so wouldn't necessarily be pristine in its pruning and there'd be some dead stuff in there, anyway.
    I didn't particularly want to use these straight lines, but what was left of the green and that darn gravel were glued like iron to the base. I decided to leave it and just sort of build my grounds on top, keeping some of it visible, perhaps, anyway.
    I built up the sides with some paint and soil-coated bits of leftover foam, using my standard mix of brown iron oxide and coffee grounds for soil, mixed in with some grass foam.
    I decided Mother Goose would still need some kind of walkway to keep out of the mud, so I decided to try using eggshells again to duplicate stones, a technique I learned from the Steeles of Utah. You can see the first use of this technique in the Mouse House in a Holey Rock.
    After breaking the eggs and saving the contents for the next day's breakfast, I washed the shells carefully. Then I coated a piece of cardstock with a thick coat of Tacky glue. The trick is to use the palm of your hand to push the eggshell down into the glue. Don't forget to remove the thin membrane that lines the shell; I forgot to do that with one egg and had to go back and break another.
    After breaking them, I placed a piece of wax paper atop so that I could smooth them firmly into the glue. Obviously, the more you press, the smaller your pieces will be.
    Here a dirty water wash has been applied.
    I painted a glue and paint mixture where I wanted my pathway.
    I planned my garden to fit between the well and the tree, and figured I would have enough room for five rows of vegetables and two fruit bushes. Black cardstock was used for the garden base, then I added a thin coat of brown paint mixed with coffee grounds for the soil. After the plants were contrived from this and that, I added another coat of soil and used my pick to "plow" the rows and then glued the plants in place. That way the whole garden could be glued into the appropriate place after all the finicky planting was done.
    In the background you can get a glimpse of the stone path. After I had the garden in place I realized I would need to extend the path beside the well, too. I didn't like it, however, for this very small setting, so pulled it all up and decided I would use some railroad ballast to make a more gravel-like pathway.
    Here the well and garden are in place. Notice I have moved the nail over; in its previous location the tree would have obscured the window too much. My husband made this observation; he is so very good at catching things like that! Actually, I moved the tree's location twice. It was too hard to get the first two nails out, so I just used my heavy cutters and snipped them level with the base where they were later covered anyway. At this point I won't add any more soil or grass until all the other elements are complete.
    Here is the garden with the ballast walkway visible in the background.
    I used bunched cloth-covered florist wire to make the base of my climbing rose. The rose foliage was some I had purchased from Bill Lankford all those years before. It has held up very nicely. It was in a sort of compressed block form. I picked and pulled it apart into the various canes or vines.
    I coated the wire stems with glue and wound the foliage sparsely around them, and glued the base of the bush in place behind the barrel. Then I just added bits of the rose branches until I got the effect I wanted, always keeping them logical in their growth from the base of the bush.
    The rose has grown over the years and has crept past the lower part of the window and up over the top.
    This vine was made from artificial foliage stems from my stash. I cut off various pieces from the main stem and added them to my main trunk; also painted the stems a grayish brownish steaky color. They were a little resistant to gluing, so I had to insert a few pins here and there to make the stems conform as if they were clinging to the side of the house and the thatch on the roof. I am not sure what this plant is; I forgot to ask Mother Goose. lol
    At this time I decided I needed to add another layer of aging to the thatch, so went over it with another wash. More difficult because I already had creeping roses!
    Then I glued the sunflowers in place and added two or three blue blossoms for contrast.
    I have added the flower bed along the walk and scattered the ballast for the path, with more grass turf to meld the edges here and there.
    Here is the tree, snugly fitted over its nail. More grass has been added around its base.
    I used thinned grey paint over the plastic brick to suggest the mortar, then wiped it off. (It looks shinier in the photo than it does in real life.) Here it is glued into place in front of the door and the sharp edges are blurred with the grass foam. I still need to paint under the recess of the door and add a step halfway between the stoop and the threshold.
    This Karen Markland goose was one of my first purchases at a miniature show; I think it was the NAME regional at Colorado Springs in the 80s. That little goose stood happily in my McKinley wallhanger for many years and then in my curio cabinet until she was needed here. I probably need a better sign, and in the photo here I notice some remnants of the dried flowers that were once there by the bow.
    This goose is quite small. Sometmes taking good closeups causes the illusion that items are much bigger than they actually are.
    I will add more grass to cover the base here, too.
    At this point, I began working on the window seat.
    Here I have begun gluing a cushion, having gotten out various odd bits and pieces for possible use as pillows.
    I asked my husband what he thought and he commented, "Well, it's not a very good idea to have people leaning up against a glass window." Oops! Well, I wasn't satisfied with it anyway, so I decided to make a back of some sort.
    This filigree paper was from a small gift box. I used a stain marker to paint it, cut it to fit the width of my window and used one of those Starbucks stir sticks to frame it. It makes great "wood" fretwork.
    And I really like how my fretwork bench came out. Got rid of that big pillow that I worked so hard on, which allowed room for adding this goose, which was a gift crafted by my old friend Sandi many years ago. The crocheted pillows were gifts many years ago from an El Paso friend.
    I made the heart vine wreath.
    At first Mother Goose's cape and hat were hanging here, until I remembered I wouldn't have any place for the jelly cupboard that I bought from the Gills this year in Chicago. So I draped the cape on the window seat with the hat on top, as if they'd just been tossed there.
    The hat is made with paper flower petals and a tiny silk rose. I think I should've snipped off that ribbon more evenly.
    The blue chair was made by April Gill's daughter; the red table was purchased from Barb Lewis. The pitcher was also a show purchase in Chicago last year. I don't remember where I got the rug, or if I made it myself. It has a backing of iron-on interfacing and has been in my Rugs and Afghans drawer for several years. The copper pan and the other one hangng on the wall over the chest are from Mexico, as is the copper kettle under the hutch. The barely visible blue and white pan to the left is a muffin tin; I think there is another baking pan atop it.
    I don't recall where I got the crock filled wtih tomatoes; I think it was originally intended for my Pigness Protection Program setting.
    I made the table in a workshop once. The "Dogwood" was a purchase from LadyBug Sue Thwaite. The little grinning plant was a swap gift.
    Somewhere I have the name of its creator; I need to find it. Just love that personable little plant.
    That's real dried finescale fern in the basket; I used some lighter green paint for accent. The tiny bird is from Mexico. The watering can was a show purchase.
    I applied a coat of gesso to the grey plastic Grandt Line door to provide "tooth" for the paint. Then my mind just left me and I applied a stain instead of paint. Well, it was old and stayed sticky and looked terrible. I had to scrub it all off and start over. Fortunately, the gesso stayed, so I just painted over it with brown paint, then used a stain pen on it.
    This bedside table is a full-size table in 1:48 scale. The rug is paper, a show purchase. The goose is a button.
    The bed began life as a child's rocking chair, although I purchased it specificaly for this cottage, knowing I would use it in some way. I removed the dowel rod handle at the front and removed the seat and made a new base for my mattress.
    I had a completely different covering on the bed at first, and although it was pretty I was vaguely dissatisfied. When I found this marvelous tiny yo-yo quilt at the Three Blind Mice Show in Chicago this year I understood why I was dissatisfied - Mother Goose's bed needed a quilt, not a spread. I went to a lot of trouble to dress that bed, but the pillow barely shows at the head and the dust ruffle barely shows at the foot.
    At first I had the Markland goose upstairs, then replaced her with the grey goose purchased from MiniGems at the IMA Show in Chicago. The little trunk barely visible in the background is a full-size steamer trunk in 1:48 scale that I made from a kit. I just laid it on its side. The sloping walls of this little cottage made it very difficult to furnish and I needed something else in the bedroom. Trunks were often used for storage in old cottages.
    I made the sausage and cheese with Fimo. One trick I learned is that regardless of what scale the workshop is supposed to be, always keep any extras and make all sizes of canes.
    The eggs are made from tiny flower pips (and look much better in real life). The towel has a stamped design.
    This chest has been recycled a second time. It was originally used in a little SW setting, The Pigness Protection Program. You can see it in its original form in a tutorial here.
    I cut the trims from a Mary Engelbreit notepad. The pitcher was an accessory that came with a McFarlane action figure. That shallow bowl on the stand is actually supposed to be a plate. It and a plain white bowl in the hutch were the only pieces in what were supposed to be halfscale dishes that I was able to actually use; otherwise, it all looked way too clunky. I used a round jewelry finding as a stand for it.
    I really like Mother Goose's cottage and enjoyed creating it. It was worth keeping it around as a Someday-I-Wanna all those years.
    Woman of short-lived passions

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    Vượt ngàn trùng sóng obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan's Avatar
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    Sorry for the dim picture. I didn't know it was like that until I had already painted the little buggy, and that was the only carriage I had at the time. Maybe the battery was getting low in my digital camera? Anyway, that is a penny next to it, for size.
    Here it is painted. Notice how the mold lines show up. Next time I will use my craft knife to scrape those off first.
    I used my trusty dental pick to poke out the plastic between the spokes of the tires where they protrude below the carriage bottom. Tedious, but worth it for the final look, in my opinion.
    I had to work from the back, as well.
    Here is the carriage after the entire wheels have been painted gold; lightly stained to emphasize details.
    This is the stain I used, coating the entire carriage, then wiping away excess with a soft cloth. I like Minwax because it coats and seals. Oftentimes, I pour some into a small cup and just dip my little item in it, then wipe.
    Here is my little baby carriage floral arrangement. This was a gift to Lenora Smith on the CreationsinMiniature list for her dollhouse shop. Those are some of the tiniest silk roses I have made.
    Woman of short-lived passions

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    Miniature Landscaping part I

    I have a need to add landscaping to each of my dollhouses.
    I’ve spent a lot of time over the years designing and working on the gardens for my real homes, and find miniature gardening much more rewarding. After all, when you “plant” your mini shrubs and flowers you know exactly how tall they’ll be, they’re always in perfect bloom, and if you don’t like the way something looks, you just pick it up and try something else.

    In minilandscaping hiding an ugly foundation is easy as pie. Is your yard too flat? Make a little slope, no trudging around with wheelbarrows full of loam or sand. Is your house crying out for stone front steps? You don’t have to pay a stone and gravel company, just use some balsa wood.

    Yes, a minilandscape is a pleasurable thing.

    I’m going to show you some of my landscaping skills and tips. Let’s start with the Pumpkin House, simply because it’s in my living room and handy for picture taking.

    Yes, I know, the picture is not up to my usual standards, but in this case that’s a good thing, because I think it lets you see the basic elements more clearly.
    I started out with a fake pumpkin glued to a piece of plywood. The first thing I wanted to do was to “wed” the pumpkin to the ground. I couldn’t think of a better word offhand, but wed sounds good.
    I’ve used scrap wood, home made paper mache, and Styrofoam to build little higher portions in my landscapes, but this time I started with spongy foam. Since the pumpkin is round, the foam would be easier to cut to shape.
    I just used scissors, cutting the foam into a semi circular shape to fit around the base of the pumpkin. I didn’t worry about cutting it just right, because I knew I was going to add something else on top of it.

    I also visualized the front garden as being terraced, with various levels stepping down to the plywood base.

    Here you can see the plywood base and the foam platform at the bottom of the picture. The foam I used was the usual yellowish stuff. I painted it with green acrylic paint. If you prefer to use a handy can of green latex paint, that’s fine too.
    We’ll get to the painting part shortly.

    Here’s a closeup of the same sponge that was in the previous picture. Notice the jagged edge. If I want my sponge to have a smooth edge, I’ll cut it to shape with scissors, pinching tiny bits off with my fingernails to round off the edges and make them appear more natural. Other times I’ve even tried nail scissors. I’ll find a picture later to illustrate what I mean.
    In this case, however, I wanted a rougher look, so I cut the foam to size, then started pinching off pieces till I was satisfied with the result.

    You can’t paint them with a regular brushstroke as if you were painting a wall. I like to use an old larger sized artist’s brush, because that’s what I have handy. You can use a small paintbrush like you’d buy in the paint department of the hardware store if you like, although, it’s better to use an older brush. The reason is because you will be applying the paint by pouncing the brush up and down, over and over again. Wear latex gloves if you don’t want green paint under your fingernails.
    I load the brush with a nice woodsy, leafy, lush green grass color and start pouncing on the paint. You have to push it into the little holes and the only way to do it is just to keep shoving it in with your bouncing baby brush. Don’t worry if you see little bits of the sponge’s original color show up just when you thought a section was done, you’ll be applying more paint later.
    Generally, I like to paint most of the sponge, then let it dry before I paint the rest of it. The sponge absorbs the paint and it can get rather squishy.
    Remember, you don’t want a nice glossy, smooth coat of paint on your sponge. It’s best to practice ahead of time and let your sponge dry so you can see the end result if you’re unsure of yourself.

    To make your sponge turn into something that looks like living plantlife you need to apply more colors to create shadow and highlight. You can apply the
    next colors while the sponge is wet, or let it dry and do it then. I’ve done it both ways, depending on the circumstances.
    While the paint is wet, I’ll dip the tip of my old artist’s brush in a bit of black paint, rub off the excess on a paper towel and pounce on a bit of black towards the under side, inside deeper cuts and just a hint here and there. If I made a section to dark, I can wipe it a bit and add more green. If using black is too scary for you, and I can see your point, try mixing a little black with your green paint, or just use a darker shade of green. When applying the accent colors, I do advise the use of an sturdy old artist’s brush, or maybe a very small stencil brush. You should experiment and see what works best for you.
    Next you want to apply highlights. I like to use a good shade of yellow. I’m very picky about my yellow paint. I used to have a yellow that was perfect for highlighting leaves and grass, until it got discontinued. After that I just kept buying bottles and tubes of yellow paint trying to find another version of the right color. I should add a list of paint colors that I like to use for greenery, but not right now, I’m on a roll. If I stop to look for the paint, I’ll find something else that just has to be done before I can get back to writing this.
    In any event, I’ll add the yellow paint in pretty much the same way I used the black paint, except I’ll use it mainly on the higher surfaces of the foam.
    Sometimes I’ll also use a bit of a blue-green before I use the black and yellow. Adding blue-green to some plants is a good idea, especially if your little landscape has a lot of foam plantings. It makes it all look a little more interesting.
    If you prefer to wait, and let your sponge dry before you apply highlights and shadows, you’ll need to add a little watered down green paint to the sponge before you add the other colors. This will let them blend in better so you don’t get that dabbed on paint look. If you’re using some blue green, apply it right after you put on the primary green, then let the sponge dry.
    A word of warning…………Painted sponges can take quite a while to dry. Depending on the size of the sponge, and the humidity, it can take a couple of hours or overnight.
    Once painted, sponges stiffen up, depending on how much paint you used. They never get hard, though. Remember, if you find that after your sponges are dry, you have the original color of the sponge showing here and there, you can just touch those spots up. On occasion, I’ve even left a hint of yellow sponge showing on purpose.

    The arrow shows you a spot where I did just that. In this case, the little bit of yellow sponging peering through blends in with the yellow highlighting.
    By the way, although I prefer to use the yellow or yellowish sponges for mini landscaping, I’ve also used red ones, because that’s what I had handy.

    While writing this, it occurred to me that these sponges might be used to create granite steps. Here in Maine, granite front steps are quite the thing. They’ve been quarrying granite in my area for a very long time. Here in Kennebunk they say that if you live on the seaward side of the turnpike you’ve got sand, on the other side of the turnpike you’ve got granite. Either way, it’s a pain for gardening.

    As I looked at this piece of painted foam, it occurred to me that if it were painted gray, it would probably look like a rough edged granite step.

    Reindeer moss is a dandy thing for mini gardening. I’ve used it as ground cover, I’ve made small shrubs out of it, I’ve even stuck it in a tree.
    The stuff comes in two colors, green, and yellow-green. As you can see, I like to use them both, it creates a nice contrast. I’ve found that if I need to use a lot of it, I can even tint it, thereby creating several shades of greenery.
    I buy reindeer moss at a craft store like AC Moore or Michael’s. It comes in a bag, and if you dump it out on the table you’ll see that some of it will look smooth and compact, like tiny evergreen bushes, and some of it will be rather loose and airy. I’ll save the rounded compact pieces and use them as small bushes, or cut off bits of them if I want small bits of neat, compact edging. The airier stuff can be spread out, bunched up or torn into suitable bits.
    In the picture above, I placed more compact sections close to the pumpkin wall, to hide the gap, and spread the rest out in a mound below. I tucked bits of it into the section between the foam and the steps, and between the two “terraces”. I use hot glue whenever I glue foam or “plants”.

    Taking a look at the above picture, you’ll notice the steps end on another little “terrace” This one is cut from a piece of scrap plywood. I cut the outer edge in a semi circle, covering the cut edge with a thin strip of foam. I painted the foam, then glued it on when it was dry, touching up with more paint as needed. It doesn’t show up in the picture, but the yellow foam color does show through a bit here and there.
    I like to use sand to simulate a close cut grassy look. I’ll brush a thin layer of wood glue on to the plywood, which has already been painted green, then I’ll sprinkle on some sand. When the glue is dry I’ll paint the sand.

    Here’s a picture showing how I used just foam and reindeer moss to give a variegated look to the garden. I had two kinds of foam sponges. One had very small holes and was rather compact. The other sponge had bigger holes. They’re just basic sponges, the kind you can buy at your supermarket or hardware store. I’ve also used natural sea sponges on another project. With them you get an entirely different look.
    An important point to remember when making an artificial landscape is to use many different shades of green, layering color on color to give your work depth.
    Since we’re looking at the picture, I might as well cover a bit about steps and stepping stones.
    I used balsa wood to make the steps. I bought a bag of assorted balsa pieces once and had a couple of the chunkier blocks left. I cut them to size with my saw, making them a bit irregular, not quite square. I used my large disc sander to carve the blocks in order to make them look more natural. You can use a hand held sander, though it’s a bit trickier to do. You could also use a utility knife and hand sand, or use a Dremel sanding attachment.
    When I was satisfied with the general shape of my stones I sanded them smooth, then applied a light gray basecoat. When the paint was dry, I sanded again.
    The next step is to apply colors that will give the stones a more realistic look. I chose to go with a bluer color, some may prefer browner tones.
    I don’t recall exactly which colors I used this time. I know there was white, black and a dull blue. I’m pretty sure it was Soldier Blue by Accent. I use that color for lots of projects. I probably used just the teensiest bit of a dull brown, like burnt umber. Green is also a good color to use in stone painting. The best choice is probably green earth, though some might use sap green. I use just a breath of brown and or green when painting bluish gray stones. If you practice a bit, you’ll probably see what I mean. If it all sounds too confusing, forget all about the brown and green tones and your stones will still turn out nice.
    The effect you want to achieve is one in which all the colors blend so well that it looks like one color, until you look at it closely.
    The stepping stone at the bottom is cut from a thin piece of balsa or basswood. Sometimes I use scrap plywood to make stepping stones, and they work very well. There’s one thing to remember about using plywood, though. You can see the layers on the edges. No amount of paint or sanding can disguise them, so do what I do. Use reindeer moss or tiny slivers of sponge to make a groundcover to surround the stones. It’ll hide the cut edges, and looks really nice too.

    Miniature Landscaping part II

    Previously, In Miniature Landscaping part I, I mentioned using foam and plywood to make rises in the land to cover your dollhouse foundation and to create visual interest in your minigarden.

    Blocks of scrap wood can be a big help too. I’ll use bits of 2 x 4’s or 1” inch thick lumber scraps to build up areas. I round off any edges that face away from the foundation. Flat edges are great against walls, they fit snugly, and if you glue them to both wall and base, they’ll help strengthen your structure. On the other hand, cover a right angle cut with foam or reindeer moss and you’ll find yourself using more and more foam or moss to make it look right. I like to cut some curves and round off the edges of my wood blocks.
    Another thing you can use is Styrofoam. I save the good sized pieces that companies used to pack just about any piece of electronic equipment my husband brings home.
    To glue Styrofoam to wood, I use Weldbond glue. When I was working on Miss Nutkin’s tree trunk house, I learned that wood glue and white glue just don’t stick the Styrofoam all that well. I don’t advise using hot glue either. To use it, you need to apply it to the wood, let it cool slightly, then stick on the Styrofoam. If you wait too long, it won’t stick. If you don’t wait long enough, you’ll melt a hole in the Styrofoam.
    Of course, if you’ve used builder’s foam to make a project, use leftover bits of that. In other words, you can use just about anything.

    This picture shows how I used scrap wood and home made paper mache.

    Please keep in mind that before this the only paper mache projects I had ever done were those ones in elementary school, the kind where you cover a balloon or something with layer upon layer of newspaper brushed with paste or glue.
    I started with a long piece of wood and glued it along the foundation. Then I started tearing up newspapers into skinny strips. I had no idea what I was doing, I just sort of learned things as I went along. I learned that trying to tear up paper in a blender doesn’t work very well. I got tired of tearing paper, so I decided to try using a paper cutter. It did make things go faster, but it left a distinctive looking paper mache. I wound up liking the way it looked anyway.
    I mounded the paper mache along the wood strip, making a slope towards the base platform, then I waited for it to dry. I waited and waited and waited. For several days I waited.
    Eventually it did dry, and I painted it. I used a couple of shades of green, some yellow and just a little white. By the way, you’ll notice bits of white in the “bank”. The paper mache shrank more as it dried over the following weeks, days or months. It was quite a while before I noticed it. Someday I’ll probably touch those spots up.
    I made the little plants out of sponges and reindeer moss. I cut small blossoms of artificial silk flowers off their stems to stick into the sponge plants. I wanted a springtime feel, something that would remind me of daffodils, so I painted the fabric flowers with a little watered down yellow paint before gluing them into place.
    The airy pink flowers are dried sprays of baby’s breath from the craft store that I cut up.

    Getting back to sponges, here’s one of my first efforts, a tidy sponge bush.
    The picture was taken with a flash which really shows how I used different colors while painting the bush. In real life the varying colors aren’t really noticeable.

    I had mentioned that I’ve also used natural sea sponge. The plant in the right hand corner that’s sort of climbing upwards against the post is made from one. Sea sponges give an airier look, because they have more big holes.

    In order to make your plants blend in with your base better you can either simulate soil or mulch, or use a darker green paint to make the plant appear to be growing out of the midst of very short groundcover. I used one of my old brushes to pounce and blend some dark green underneath where some of my plants will go. Notice that I don’t do the same thing everywhere.

    In the next picture you can see how I mounded some of the lighter green paper mache up and over the edges of the steps. I then mounded some reindeer moss for an interesting contrast.

    The paving stones are cut from very thin plywood, and I pulled off bits of the moss to make it look like plants growing amongst the stones.
    You’ll notice that I did not encircle each and every stone in order to hide the plywood layers. If you give the eye enough to look at, it won’t notice every tiny little flaw or detail.

    I had mentioned using reindeer moss in a tree, and here it is. I went out into my yard to look for an interesting twig with which I could make a small tree. I hot glued the moss to the twig to simulate thick clumps of leaves.

    The plywood base is meant to simulate closely cut grass. I painted it in mottled shades of greens and yellow, coated it with a thin layer of glue, sprinkled on sand, then added some more paint. If you paint your grass in mottled shades, it’ll trick the eye into seeing it more like real grass than if you just painted it a flat green.

    Here’s an example of plywood paving stones nestled in moss. In this case I surrounded the stones with moss, because they were butted up to an area that was covered in it. Sorry the picture’s a little blurry.

    Before I forget, there’s yet another foam product that I’ve found handy in minilandscaping. It’s Great Stuff insulating foam. It comes in a can and you can get it at the hardware store. It’s meant to be sprayed into hard to reach areas where you want to add some insulation. It has a thin straw that you stick into the nozzle and the stuff comes out through the straw, sort of like DW40, the lubricant you spray on squeaky hinges, etc.
    Now, I must warn you, Great Stuff is very, very sticky when wet, and it whooshes out of the end of that straw and grows and grows. It’s meant to fill crevices, you see.
    I had bought a can once to fill up a gap in the mortar of the foundation of our garage. A mouse had gotten into the garage that way, and from there it was only a foot to another little gap in the mortar to get into the basement. After using what I needed I found I still had half a can left. You can’t store the stuff once the can has been opened so I decided to play with it. I found out that once the foam has dried you can slice it rather neatly. It makes great thin groundcover, just slice, paint and glue, then dab on a little more paint to blend the foam with the “grass“. It’s the low growing stuff in the foreground of the picture. It bends down over uneven areas well and doesn’t spring up like the reindeer moss. It’s also much easier to cut thinly than sponges.
    I also noticed that some little globs of dry Great Stuff look like they'd make nice round rocks. They have a smooth shiny surface, and would need to be primed before painting. I haven't needed any rocks like that in any projects yet, so I haven't tried painting them. Any readers who decide to try it are welcome to let us know how it turned out.

    I think I’ve pretty much covered the basic knowledge you need to go and start a minilandscape of your own. You’ve gotten tips on grass, slopes, bushes, groundcover, steps and stepping stones.

    Next will be how to make assorted plants, flowering plants, soil and mulch.

    Continue to landscaping part 3

    Miniature Landscaping part III

    Mulch, soil, flowers and plants
    Many people like to use dried, used coffee grounds or dry used tea leaves to simulate soil. Personally I prefer paint and sand.
    If just a little dirt is to be showing, I’ll paint the area with a dark, dull brown, like burnt umber, and while it’s still wet I’ll work in just a little black. If more soil is meant to be left showing, I’ll treat the area the same way I like to do my grass, painting the spot with brown umber and letting it dry, then brushing on glue, sprinkling sand, and repainting with a bit of brown and black.
    Why don’t I just glue on the sand, then paint it? In short, I think it’s easier and less aggravating than trying to work the paint into every tiny crevice. This way there’s already a base coat of color, so there’s less work later.

    I do like to use the tea leaves and coffee grounds as mulch. I discovered that if I blended them, the end result looked a lot like the mulch I have in my real life garden. The coffee grounds alone look like dark, fresh mulch, the tea leaves are lighter in color. I paint my base a dark brown, spread on a bit of glue, sprinkle on my mulch mix and let dry. When it's dry, I'll turn the board over and dump off the extra mulch. In the pictures you'll see coming up, you'll notice I don't worry about covering the whole exposed flower bed with mulch. I don't think it's necessary, but you can if you want to.
    Be sure to use only used tea leaves and coffee grounds, and be sure they are completely dry before you use them in your landscaping.

    There are two kind of miniature gardeners, the ones who insist a flower or plant look just like the real thing, and those who just want a splash of color and an interesting looking settitng for their dollhouse. I belong to the latter. You won’t find any of my miniature plans or flowers in a garden book, they all come out of my head and the artificial flowers section of a craft store.
    Here’s a picture of part of my gardening stash. Although it doesn’t look like it in this picture, the plastic box is one of those big plastic storage boxes that’s about knee high. The plastic bags are gallon sized. Right now I’ve got 2 full, big containers and the rest overflows into the crisper drawer from my old refrigerator.

    Every time I go to Michael’s or AC Moore (my local craft stores) I check out the artificial plants and flowers. If I’m lucky, I’ll find quite a few things that look like they have mini potential and the store will be having a 50% off sale.
    Of course, I look for small blooms, checking to see if the little blossoms remind me of anything. It might help if you look at the flowers through a small tube, as if you were peering through a telescope. Don’t worry about people thinking you’re some sort of nut, if someone stares at you just tell them that you’re a miniaturist looking for proper materials, and we do this sort of thing all the time. Use the phrase “miniature artisan” if you want to, or “an artist working in miniature”.
    Keep in mind that some little flowers work in the mini garden better than others. There are some widely seen little floral bunches that I’ll never use unless I’m doing a fantasy garden. These flowers may be quite pretty, and look small, but in a 1:12 garden they’ll still look enormous. You want to look for flowers that are no more than ¼” wide, remembering that translates into real life blossoms that are 3” across. A 3” wide flower is a big bloom.
    One way to acquire tiny flowers is to look for artificial stems that feature flowers that come in clusters. Below is one example. You can use these as is, growing in a tight cluster, or you can cut the stems apart, using the flowers singly or in 2’s or 3’s. The stems on this example are a bit short, others have longer stems.

    The leaves shown are the ones that came with this particular floral spray, and I used them together for the Gnome's Cottage garden. In actuality, the leaves are too big, and I would not have used this pairing as a rule, but it suited the gnome fantasy, and therefore was just fine.

    The next picture shows another example of these kind of flowers that can be cut apart. If you look carefully, you’ll see how they were cut at the stems. The petals of this flower were dipped in some sort of solution and came in white, pink, or purple. I w3anted some yellow flowers, so I painted the petals of some of the white ones. Some of the petals of silk flowers can also be touched up with paint to change their hue.

    Another example of clustered flowers paired with leaves. This time the leaves were from a different spray.

    More clustered flowers below, paired with leaves from other artificial sprays.

    The last two pictures featured the leaves shown below. I found these twice, once in a darker green, and later in a slighter lighter shade of green. You can see how they’d work to form a small shrub, and also how they can be cut to form a group of 3 leaves. I’ve even cut them down to 2 or even used the leaves singly.

    So how did I get the flowers and leaves to stick together into blooming plants and then stay put in the garden?
    Usually I used a drill, hot glue and round toothpicks. If you’ve ever taken an artificial spray or two apart, you’ve seen that they slide onto the plastic stems in one way or another. I’ll take advantage of this and slide them, whenever I can, onto a toothpick.
    Sorry about the fuzzy picture, somehow I accidentally changed the focus on that shot.

    So I’ve selected my flowers and leaves and am ready to plant them.
    I can either plant them directly into the garden, meaning attach them to the garden base, or to another piece of plywood if I want to be able to move this garden bed around.
    I’ll drill a hole, the size of the toothpick, into the plywood. Next I’ll snip the sharp ends off the toothpick, cutting the pick to whatever length I want it to be. At this point I can use hot glue, or, since the toothpick is wooden, a bit of wood glue, to insert and attach the pick. Sometimes I’ll use a short length of thick floral wire instead of the toothpick, in which case I use hot glue. Next I’ll slide on the leaves. Sometimes I’ll want to attach a single leaf into the arrangement, so I’ll hot glue it into place. When the leaves are arranged, and sometimes I’ll glue a leaf or spray of leaves to the mulch or dirt, I’ll add the flowers. They will either slide onto the toothpick, or have to be attached to the pick and leaves with hot glue.
    When I plant trees or shrubs, I’ll drill a larger hole. Sometimes I’ll stick the stem of the shrub right into the hole, gluing it into place, other times I’ll need the help of a dowel. It all depends on the plastic stem of the spray I’ll working with.
    With larger plants I find I usually need a thicker base. If I try to glue into a ¼” sheet of plywood, the stem won’t go in deep enough and the bush starts to tilt. When I planted the trees and bushes for the bungalow garden, I used a ½” thick plywood panel, si it wasn’t a problem, but otherwise, I would have cut a small piece of plywood which would be glued to the base, drilling through the double thickness so the “trunk” of my tree would have more surface to glue on to. I’d later cover the extra piece of plywood with some sort of groundcover.
    I first got the idea for this method when I was setting up my Dickens Christmas village. I wanted some trees, and something to suggest a small wood. I drilled holes into a thin piece of plywood, then arranged my little trees, covering the plywood base with polyester batting “snow banks”.

    Here’s a picture of reindeer moss as it comes out of the bag. The last bag I bought had a lot of neat clumps in it, the last one had only a few, the rest were much looser in form.
    You can see how the clump on the bottom left would make a perfect little bush just as it is.

    Here are some bushes, my tea leaf-coffee grounds mulch and some little flowers using my favorite leaves.

    Next comes a tall treelike shrub that I used for the Bungalow.

    I really liked this next spray, though I wasn’t sure when I would be able to use it. The flowers are pretty big when you think of it in 1:12 scale, but as I was working on the Bungalow garden it struck me that this would pass as a wonderful exotic specimen plant.

    Next time I’ll continue with more on the subject of flowers and plants in the minilandscape.

    Continue to landscaping part 4

    Miniature Landscaping part IV

    I had originally planned on just adding a strip of garden in front of the porch, but a desire to see springtime cheer up the dreary late winter views I saw through my windows, made me want to make more and more blooming garden.

    The blooming shrubs at either end of the picture are almost intact sections of artificial sprays. The one on the right gives an impression of a lilac bush, and below you can see it close up. I just realized something. In the last segment I showed some of my favorite leaves. I had a darker and slightly lighter version of them from two separate artificial sprays. Well, I just remembered, the darker colored leaves came from the parent spray of this “lilac bush”. It came with the little beads glued on to the leaves, and some sections had very few beads on them and so I scraped them off in order to use the leaves with other flowers.

    The small blooming tree, which gives the impression of a crabapple, also “blooms” with beads. Sometimes, if I like the blooming shrub potential of a spray, but I feel it just isn’t quite full enough, I’ll slide more sections onto the stems to fill it in.

    Below is another blooming shrub. This time I used the leaves and flowers from the same spray together. I liked how it looked like two plants growing closely together.

    I also like using the leaves from this particular spray on their own.

    Their light, gray-green color, shape and texture give a good contrast in the miniature garden. You’ll note that I’ve used some that are full length and others I’ve cut to varying lengths, this gives more of a feel that the plants are actually growing.
    I’ve also planted a couple different grasses. The taller grass is actually plastic grass I found at a craft shop. It comes in a square, and whenever I need some tall slender leaves I’ll pull a clump off the plastic base. The other, shorter grasses are actually from an evergreen spray or a fern, I can‘t remember which.
    You can also see how I used the plastic grass, this time with the red clustered flowers.

    I used the same flowers with different leaves to give this look.

    If I recall correctly, the original spray had the beaded clusters in a close mass, I just pulled them apart.
    Speaking of pulling apart, here’s another bunch of mini blooms I use in small segments. Do you recall seeing them as tiny flowers growing between the reindeer moss bushes?
    I liked the spray, but it was too stiff to use in a mini garden, so I pulled the clusters off the stems.

    The pink shrub planted in front of the Bungalow porch was the pink version of this yellow flower. I gathered several of the pink stems together to make a fuller bush.
    You know, you can get an awful lot of plant material from one artificial spray. The leaves of this stem are kind of big for mini gardening, and they fray at the edges, so I kept some of the better ones, just in case I’ll want them for a fantasy setting, and threw the rest away. Sometimes the leaves that come on a spray just aren’t usable.

    Here’s an interesting looking plant. It’s the tall, spindly, weedy looking thing. When I saw it’s parent stem I said to myself, “what a great weed”, and here it sits, outside the garden fence.

    A cutting from the same plant is growing here, next to the tall grass by the Gnome’s Cottage shed. This particular piece was a little tamer looking, so I used it inside the garden, to add visual interest.

    The next picture is a section of the Gnome’s Cottage garden, and this bit fits next to the section in the previous picture. In other words, this is what’s growing at the end of the garden next to the shed. My real life yard is full of tended trees, shrubs and planting beds, but at the back, it blends into the woods behind my house. I wanted to give the same effect to the gnome’s garden. Her little garden fence ends just as it hits “the woods”.

    Here’s another nice looking weed. I haven’t had occasion to use it yet.

    And here’s some leaves. I think I’ve got enough of these to last me a lifetime. They’re off a plastic hanging plant that came complete with a little pot. I got it for 50% off so it was quite a deal. I think I’ll mostly be using them by the leaf.

    Do you recognize the parts of the plants in the foreground? Back along the wall I’ve paired my “plastic grass” with some other blooms.

    Here’s a nice little evergreen. Plastic evergreens can be a little tricky to work with. They’re so stiff, and when you take them apart, they look so sparse, but if you can find the right spot, and gather them in the right way, they can add a lot to the minilandscape. When I find a piece with potential at a 50% sale, I’ll buy it.

    Here’s a close up of the Great Stuff foam groundcover I mentioned in a previous post. I think I forgot to mention that I usually cut it with my old electric kitchen knife.

    Here’s some more of the two kinds of grasses, and reindeer moss, together with some big leaves, the same ones that “grow” at the back of the garden. Ordinarily, I’d say that the big leaves were too big for 1:12 scale, but for a gnome’s cottage they were fine.

    Finally, here we have a clump of evergreen, which is actually from a plastic fern, a weedy plant, three kinds of groundcover (reindeer moss, sponge and Great Stuff foam), and a pine cone. I liked the pine cone. It seemed like just the right thing to have by the gnome’s front door.

    Lần sửa cuối bởi obaasan, ngày 17-06-2012 lúc 09:08 AM.
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    How to make a miniature planter

    I had originally published this tutorial on my old blog back in 2007.

    4 balusters: I used the traditional balusters, made by Houseworks

    1/16th " thick basswood: a small piece

    A very thin dowel: I happened to have some wooden old skewers laying around. My skewers are @ 1/8" in diameter.

    A square dowel @ ¼” thick

    A piece of wood 1/8 to ¼” thick. I used a piece from a bag of assorted craft wood I got at a craft store or Walmart

    A piece of decorative wooden trim

    Wood glue

    Wood putty, in case you drill your holes all the way through the baluster

    A drill, I used my Dremel tool.

    I began by drilling 2 holes in each of my balusters, you’ll notice one is slightly lower than the center of the block, the other hole is closer to the top of the block. This is important, or your holes will just run into each other.

    Be sure your holes are centered and spaced correctly. If your holes are wrong, your dowels will look all crooked.

    Try not to go all the way through the baluster when you drill your holes. If you find you’ve gone all the way through, don’t despair, just make sure you have some wood putty to fill the holes up before you paint the finished planter.

    Next cut the dowels. You’ll need 2 long and 2 short. I cut the longer ones 3” long, and the shorter ones 1 1/8 “ long.

    You need to give the ends of your dowels sharpened points, so that they can fit into the holes you drilled in the balusters.

    At this point, some might say, well why can’t I just make the holes in the bottom of the baluster bigger, so I cen just put the whole dowel straight in? The answer to that is, if you make the tiniest mistake in the placement of your drill bit, 2 bigger holes in the bottom of those balusters will eat up the whole piece of wood. Why not use a thinner dowel? If the dowel is too thin, it’ll break more easily, and the proportions of the plant stand won’t be as pleasing.

    I used an electric pencil sharpener to sharpen the ends of the 3” long dowels. I had to lift them in and out and turn them a bit, but they came out fine. You can’t stick a 1” long dowel in a pencil sharpener, so I sharpened one end of the dowel before I cut it. I found that a drum sanding attachment on my dremel worked very well to shape the other end of my 1 1/8” long piece.

    Dry fit the rods in place in the holes

    This shows how the rods go into the baluster block.

    Now you are ready to glue the longer rods in place. Be sure you match your holes up correctly. Dab the rod points with a glue and push them into their holes. Press them in firmly, but not too hard. Lay the 2 balusters which are now attached to each other by the rod. Make sure that everything is laying down flat, with no twisting. Readjust the rod before the glue has a chance to set. Make sure everything looks straight.

    Repeat this with the other 2 balusters and long rod.

    Let the glue dry and set a bit.

    Meanwhile, get the piece of 1/16th inch basswood.

    I cut 2 pieces, each ¾” x 3 ¼”. When the glue on my balusters was set enough so I could handle them, I glued the basswood pieces to the upper parts of the balusters.

    I used some small clamps to keep the basswood in place and let dry. My basswood strips turned out to be almost 1/16th” too long, which was fine. The extra bit can be sanded or cut off so that the ends of the basswood pieces are even with the baluster. Having them a bit too long is better than a bit too short. If they are too short, you have to recut new baswood strips.

    Again, when gluing, be sure you keep everything straight. A jig is helpful. I still haven’t gotten around to making or buying one, so I used a carpenter’s square and a square dowel to align my pieces.

    Be sure the glue on these pieces is quite dry and firm before you proceed to the next step. Look at the picture below to get a closer look at how the pieces fit together to form the box.

    I cut the square dowel into 2 pieces that would fit between the balusters. They were 2 and 13/16th inches long. I glued them to the bottom of the inner side of the basswood. Clamp and let dry. Below you can see the underside of the plant stand
    I then cut 2 small pieces of basswood, each ¾” x 1 and 5/16th inches. These will make up the sides of the “box”. I also cut a piece from the thicker wood, the one listed as 1/8 to ¼ inches thick. I could have used some thin basswood, but I felt the thicker wood might make the planter a bit sturdier. This thicker piece was 1 and 3/16th inches by 3 and 1/8”, and was notched in the 4 corners . This piece forms the bottom of the “box”.

    Now comes the tricky part, adding the side pieces and gluing it all together.

    Take one of the short dowel pieces and glue it into place at the bottom of the baluster, then carefully glue the small basswood piece into place. I held it in place for a few seconds, then gently layed it down on its side .

    I slipped a piece of the thin basswood under the lower end of the legs to keep everything aligned,while the piece was laying on its side, and let it dry. I then flipped the planter over and glued the other short dowel and the other basswood piece into place and let dry.

    When everything is dry and set, you can pop the thicker bottom piece into place. If it’s a bit big, just trim where needed. If it’s a bit too small it doesn’t matter, it will still hold everything together once it’s glued in place. Just apply a bit of glue everyplace where this piece touches another piece.. Let dry.

    If you’ve drilled through the baluster bases, apply some wood putty.

    Next you can apply some decorative trim. I had a couple of pieces to choose from, I selected the one I thought looked best.

    It’s important to lay out the trim pieces carefully so they are in perfect visual balance. No cutting through a flat part on one end and a curved part on the other end.
    Then cut to fit, glue and let dry. Small clamps are helpful.

    Sand any rough edges with an emery board.

    You are now ready to paint. I chose to use spray paint for this project. I have found, however, that if you apply a bit of acrylic artists paint to the cut edges of the wood, it’ll seal them and the spray paint will come out looking better, faster.

    I dabbed a bit of white paint in a few spots and when it was dry I spray painted. I used the fast drying paint, and was able to apply a new coat every 15 minutes or so.

    I did sand the flat trim surfaces slightly after the second coat had tried. I continued applying coats of paint til I was satisfied that everything was covered with an even coat of paint.


    You can place potted plants inside the stand. I have those wooden “pots” that I paint to look clay-like, however, they are a bit big. Mine are 1” tall which translated into human sized is a pretty big pot, or 1 foot high.

    I decided to just “plant” the flowers into the stand.

    I used a piece of the ¼” thick scrap wood I used to form the bottom of the “box”. I cut it the same size, with the notches, and painted it dark brown.

    I rummaged through my flower and leaf pieces and made my selections. I had purchased a clump of tiny leaved ivy in the floral department of a craft store to use when I did the exterior of the Nuthouse. I plucked off some of the smallest leaves, then trimmed them somewhat and used them

    to form the leaves of the yellow plant. Houseplants are actually tropical native plants, and quite a few, if you’ve noticed have rather large leaves, so the size of these works well for that.

    I also found that if you drill holes into the wood for your flower and leaf stems, they will be more likely to stand up just the way you want them to.

    When your selection is made, and the proper sized holes are drilled, dab a tiny bit of hot glue in 2 or 3 holes. The glue will melt the plastic stems if you apply it to the flower, but I’ve found that in the moments it takes to put down the glue gun and pick up the flower and place it into the hole, the glue has cooled enough so it is not a problem.
    The circled areas show where the stem of the plant is less likely to melt. I had to cut the stem of the longer flower on the left. When gluing it into place, I let the glue cool a couple of seconds longer. You can also tape several fragile flower stems together with floral tape, then drill a hole big enough to hold the taped stems.

    Once your plants are glued in the way you want them, you can add tiny pieces of reindeer moss underneath them, to partially obscure the painted wood and the occasional bare stems. I had originally considered using coffee grounds, but saw that the slight fluffiness and texture of the moss would suit better.

    Finally I glued the piece of wood holding my completed flower arrangement in place inside the planter using wood glue.

    Make a Miniature Spooky Boot Planter to Decorate the Dolls House for Halloween

    Mags Cassidy of Mags-nificent Miniatures

    Posted on 24 Oct 2011

    Materials Required
    • Cernit Clay Nature Range: Sienna (972) (or similar)
    • Cernit Clay Number One Range: Opaque white (027), Champagne (055), Brown (800)
    • Craft Knife
    • Ball ended or Hockey Stick tool
    • Rolling Pin or small glass bottle
    • Artist pastel - Ochre & Brown
    • White Tacky Glue
    • Raindeer moss (colour of choice)
    • Textured paper (Indian craft paper) or small piece of leather
    • Cocktail Stick
    • Paintbrush (Small)

    The Spooky Boot Planter
    Step 1
    • Work the clay until soft by rolling and flattening in your hands
    • Roll into a log or sausage shape and bend into a right angle.
    • Roll the toe of the boot between your fingers to make it pointed
    • Take a ball ended tool and hollow out the top of the boot.

    • Add a few creases by lightly pressing with a cocktail stick.
    • Lightly press paper or leather onto the surface to create texture.
    • Make a heel for the boot and press into place on the bottom.
    • Turn up the toe and twist slightly.

    Step 2
    • Roll out a thin piece of clay and make a buckle shape
    • This does not have to be perfect......
    • Press the buckle lightly onto the front of the boot.

    Step 3 - Toadstools
    • Work a little brown clay and gently press into the top of the boot
    • Make a few holes to push the toadstools into with a cocktail stick
    • Mix together a little white and champagne clay until soft
    • Roll half of the clay into a long log and put to one side (stalks)
    • With the rest make toadstool shapes, pointed at the top.
    • Texture the top with some Indian craft paper or similiar.
    • Scrape some ocre and brown pastel onto your work tile
    • Use a small brush to apply the colour to the toadstools, ochre first, then brown.
    • Cut the stalks to fit into the holes in the 'soil' and plant.
    • Put the caps on top of the stalks.
    • Bake the boot according to the instructions on the packet.

    Step 4
    • Once baked and cool, glue some reindeer moss into place around the toadstools..
    • The colours are up to you.

    Witches Hat Hanging Basket
    • Use the same clay as for the boot. These items are supposed to look like terracotta garden items.
    • Work the clay until soft.
    • Roll out a log shape, then roll one end thinner and to a point.
    • Flatten out the other end to form the crown.
    • Roll out more clay and flatten into a rough circle shape.
    • Attach the base of the crown to the had brim and press into place.
    • Press all over with textured paper.

    • Cut out a buckle as for the boot.
    • Make an indentation twice around the hat for a hat band.
    • Add the buckle.
    • Make 3 holes in the brim for hanging the basket.
    • Bake following the instructions on the packet.....to save energy make both boot and hat and bake together.

    • When cool attach chain or string to hang.
    • Fill the inside with flowers and foliage.
    • Have fun!
    This DIY project was first published in Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures for your dolls house why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Better still why not take out a subscription so you never miss another exciting issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, please use the buttons at the top of this page to share the fun with your miniature loving friends.
    Lần sửa cuối bởi obaasan, ngày 17-06-2012 lúc 08:42 PM.
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  8. #118
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    How to Make a Miniature Stove

    At this point, my husband, who is also my partner in New England Miniatures, would say to me, "Why are you teaching people how to make a dollhouse stove? Aren't we in the business of selling miniatures?"

    That's true, but if you've noticed, as of today, I'm still selling old fashioned looking stoves and Agas from Reutter porcelain. When I needed a contemporary style stove for the Bungalow kitchen, I wasn't satisfied with the stove I had originally bought. It looked a bit too toylike to suit me, so I decided to see if I could make myself one out of basswood.

    1/8" thick basswood
    1-2 square dowels, @ 1/4" thick, though any size will do
    3/16" thick basswood, 3" x 3/8" high
    4 lock washers
    small guage aluminum wire
    thin aluminum tubing
    1/8" thick dowel
    1/4" thick round wooden dowel
    white paint
    white enamel spray paint
    black paint

    I used 4 pieces of 1/8" thick basswood to make the sides of a box.
    The back and front were cut 2 & 3/4" wide x 2 & 15/16" high.
    The sides were 1 & 7/8" wide x 2 & 15/16" high.
    I based my measurements on the sink and counter pieces I was using. I could have cut my sides 3" high instead of 2 & 15/16", but it wouldn't have worked for me. You can make your stove as high or wide as you want.
    The stove top, which forms the top of the box is 2" x 3".
    Here you see the underside of the stove, and how the sides, back and front fit together. I used some square dowels to reinforce the box and help keep things squared up.

    I glued the 4 sides together with wood glue, then I glued in the dowels. You want the tops of the dowels to be level with the 4 sides of the box, so you can glue the stove top to the 4 sides and the tops of the dowels. This way you get a pretty sturdy box that isn't likely to break if you drop it.
    But don't glue the top on yet!

    Next you need to cut out the 3 pieces that go on the front of the stove. They make up the control panel where the knobs will go, the oven door and the broiler door (or drawer).
    The narrow top panel for the knobs is 3" x 1/4" high. The oven door is 3" x 1 & 11/16" high, and the broiler door on the bottom is 3" x 3/4" high. These 3 panels will be glued to the front of the stove.
    Now, I could have just scribed in some lines to mark the separations, but I really wanted a toe kick under the stove. It just makes it look more real I suppose. By gluing the panels on I get the open space underneath that I painted black.

    Once you glue the front panels on, you can glue on the top. Be sure that the top isn't too short. It's better if it's a hair too long than a hair too short. if there's too much you can always sand off the excess. Apply wood glue to the tops of the 4 sides of the box and to the tops of the dowels, then press down the stove top and let dry.

    If you find any slight gaps where 2 pieces of wood meet, just fill in the space with wood putty or drywall compound or spackle. Once everything is dry and to your satisfaction, sand your box smooth, and apply a coat of flat white paint. It can be a primer, or acrylic or latex paint. When that's dry, you'll want to sand the box smooth again.
    I have to confess, I was in a hurry, and could have sanded my stove a bit better.

    The next piece you need is the splash back. I used a somewhat thicker, 3/16" piece of basswood for that. The splashback is 3" long x 3/8" high. I painted and sanded it smooth before gluing it into place.

    Next I used white enamel spray paint to paint the stove. I wanted a glossy finish, and spray paint seemed the best idea. It took several coats, you might need to sand again after the firsat coat of paint is dry.

    Next I made the oven door handle. For this I used some aluminum wire and tubing from the hardware store. Just pick a piece of tubing that will slide over your wire. The wire I used was similar in guage to a cheap coathanger. I cut the tubing with a pair of tin snips. The snips flattened the end of the tubing where I cut it a little, so I used a narrow dowel or wire to shape it back out.
    I cut the tubing 2" long, and the wire @ 2 1/2" or so. I drilled 2 small holes into the top area of the oven door where I wanted to place the handle. I drilled the holes 2 & 1/8" apart. I bent one end of the wire with a pair of needlenose pliers so it would fit into the hole, and stick out enough for the tubing to slide over it.
    Next I had to bend the other end of the wire and fit it into the hole. This was a bit trickier, I just had to experiment a bit til I got it right.

    I could have made a similar handle for the broiler, but I admit, I was feeling lazy and I wanted to get done, so I decided to see how a different handle would look. I cut a 1/8" thick dowel 2" long, then I sanded one side of it to flatten it out. This way it would glue to the "door" more securely. After gluing it on I gave the front of the stove another shot of enamel spray paint.

    The next step was to glue in the aluminum door handle. I applied a little glue to the ends of the wire and pushed them into place.

    A piece of dollhouse cove molding or L shaped molding might also make good handles, but I didn't have any at the time.

    The knobs are cut from a 1/4" dowel. I painted a section of dowel black first, then I cut the knobs. I glued them into place, after which I painted the cut ends black to match.

    The gas burners are made from lock washers, also from the hardware store. I painted black circles where they were to go, then glued them on.

    While I was making the stove, I noticed that at one point it looked a lot like a washing machine, or a dryer, and with a few minor details, you could turn the basic box into one too.
    Woman of short-lived passions

  9. #119
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    A Simple Bench

    When I realized I needed to make some of my own miniature furniture for my dollhouses, because I couldn’t find what I was looking for in mini shops, one of the first things I made was a bench.
    This is the bench, something rustic and old world for the cottage I had just built.

    Let’s start however, with a basic style.
    This is as simple as it gets, a seat, 2 supports and underneath a structural piece.
    This particular bench was made of balsa. I use a band saw to cut my wood. I had a scroll saw, back before I got into miniatures, but it broke, and I’ve never gotten around to buying another one.
    Generally, you can sand balsa pretty well, except for the grain, which shows up no matter how much you sand. If you have a Dremel, or similar tool, it makes sanding curved cuts so much easier. These benches are pre Dremel, but it’s ok, they’re rustic and a somewhat rough look is quite appropriate. On the other hand, don’t leave your rustic furnishings too rough. You need to decide just how much you want to sand to give things the look you want.

    When designing a bench like this, just decide on how wide, long and high you want it to be. This particular bench is 1 & ¾” high. The seats of chairs and benches should be around 1 & ½” to 1 & ¾” high, with 1 & ½” being the most common used height.

    Once you’ve decided how long and wide you want it to be, cut out a simple rectangle for the seat. With the supports, you can stay simple or get a little creative. I tend to lean towards curves, some people like straight sides. Look around at benches for sale in stores, or pictures in magazines and catalogs for looks you like and adapt them.

    My favorite tool to draw curves for furniture is a anything I have in my kitchen. I have a compass up in my studio, but I find I do most of my planning while I’m in my kitchen. When I kept the compass in my kitchen drawer, I always found I wound up needing it up in my studio. I suppose the smart thing would be to buy another compass for the kitchen drawer, but I keep forgetting to. Anyway, as long as my kitchen is full of glasses, lids and coins, I can make a curve whatever size I want.

    I’ll start designing the supports by drawing a rectangle that’s as high and about as wide as I want the support to be. As an example, here I drew a rectangle 1” wide and 1 & 3/8” high. Assuming that I’m using 1/8” thick wood for the seat, that would make the finished bench 1 & ½” high.
    In the upper illustration I drew a curve with a red pencil using an item I had on my desk. In black pencil, I drew another pair of curves using a larger cup. The smaller stamp holder is 1 & ¾” in diameter, the cup is 2 & ¾”. You can see how the curves differ.
    Note also, in the lower illustration, that I marked off the bottom and top of the curves. I’d cut those little tips off when I cut the bench support. Those tips tend to break off eventually.

    The final piece you need to cut is a brace that helps hold the bench pieces together, and here it is.
    Below is another bench, made just like the blue one, only it’s longer. Notice that there are 2 braces, one at the top, one lower down. You need extra bracing to make a longer bench a sturdy piece of mini furniture that won’t break into pieces the first time you drop it.
    By the way, use wood glue to put it all together. Wood glue is formulated to hold wood, and is a basic woodworking tool.
    Also, sand your pieces before you glue them together, it makes things easier.
    Finally, lets talk about the paint.
    I painted the bench, then sanded it smooth. Paint will raise the fibers of the wood and make the piece seem very rough. The sanding takes off quite a bit of paint. Use an emery board to sand your curves and edges. If you have a small rotary sander like a Dremel, that’s great, however, use the Dremel to sand before you paint, not after, it will take every bit of paint off.
    After sanding, I painted the bench again. This time I sanded gently, to give it a worn look. I used very fine sandpaper and the finer side of the emery board. Another great sanding tool is a foam sander. They come in various grits, in blocks or in sheets. I’ll cut smaller squares off sheets of foam backed sandpaper to sand my miniature pieces.
    I’ve seen lots of pieces of miniature and real sized furniture that were sanded to give a worn effect. The problem is that many over sand and/or do it in the wrong places. Places that get handled or kicked will show wear and tear. Places that are constantly rubbed will eventually loose some paint color. Edges get worn before anything else.
    Don’t wear your paint down willy-nilly, give it a bit of thought and you’ll be glad you did.
    Woman of short-lived passions

  10. #120
    Vượt ngàn trùng sóng obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan has a reputation beyond repute obaasan's Avatar
    Ngay tham gia
    Aug 2008
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    Re: Hướng dẫn làm đồ chơi thu nhỏ (Miniature Tutorials)

    Fabriquer un toit en tuile

    Les galeries > Une crêche pour Noël >

    Fabriquer un toit en tuile en pâte à sel pour vos maisons de la crêche de Noël

    Lorsque toutes les faces de votre maison sont terminées, il est temps de poser les tuiles.

    Prendre un gros morceau de pâte et le malaxer avec de la peinture acrylique jusqu’à obtenir la couleur de votre choix. Ne pas hésiter à y mettre les deux mains, il faut que la pâte colorée soit uniforme.

    Etaler la pâte sur 2 ou 3 mm d’épaisseur environ.

    Poser le tasseau sans trop appuyer sur la pâte, et découper des carrés.

    Soulever délicatement chaque carré et le poser sur la baguette chinoise, du côté arrondi.

    Poser un deuxième carré sur le premier en le décalant, ceci afin de donner l’écartement voulu entre les tuiles. Une fois arrivé à la hauteur voulue, cintrer légèrement toute la bande pour donner la forme des tuiles.

    Déposer de la colle blanche sur le bord du toit, puis déposer votre bande de tuiles.

    Recommencer la même opération pour les autres rangées, en prenant soin de vérifier que les tuiles se raccordent d’une ligne à l’autre. Par exemple, sur cette photo, c’est complètement raté ! Alors, pour rattraper un peu votre ligne de tuiles ,plaquer une règle ou le dos d’un couteau pour remettre tout ceci à l’alignement…(Mille excuses auprès de nos amis : architectes, charpentiers, maçons, couvreurs et je suis sûre que j’en oublie…)

    Une fois tout votre toit recouvert, réaliser une dernière rangée, pour les tuiles faîtières.

    Votre maison est terminée. Laisser sécher 2 ou 3 jours à l’abri de l’humidité, avant de procéder aux finitions.

    een korte workshop om leuke eenvoudige dakpannen te maken. Ik gebruik artista, omdat het licht van gewicht is, maar je kunt natuurlijk elke kleisoort gebruiken die in de lucht droogt. Je hebt niet zo heel veel nodig, wel moet je met krimp rekening houden bij artista.
    Je hebt nodig:
    een schaartje
    mesje of ander lang plat gereedschap om de gleuven mee te maken
    een opbolpen of iets dergelijks om de bolling in de pannen te maken.
    verf en penseel, vernis
    eventueel een pasta machine
    eventueel patina bruin en groen.
    Je kunt de repen met je handen maken of met de pastamachine. Ik prefereer tussen mijn vingers, omdat ik niet van dat gelijkmatige houd, maar als je daar wel van houdt kun je beter de pastamachine gebruiken. Ik neem een kluitje klei en maak er een platte reep van door steeds met mijn duim en wijsvinger te drukken, Ik doe dat zo gelijkmatig mogelijk, met de pastamachine gaat dat dus veel gelijkmatiger.
    Maak de reep zo lang mogelijk en ongeveer 2 cm breed voor 1:12. je kunt deze methode ook voor 1:24 en zelfs voor 1:144 gebruiken!
    Met een schaartje knip je de onregelmatige randen weg, zodat de reep zo gelijk mogelijk is.
    Dan leg ik de reep op de ondergrond van het dak, dat ik eerst geverfd heb aan beide zijden. Je begint aan de onderste rand van het dak en bouwt het gelijkmatig naar boven op.Druk het bovenste deel van de reep tegen de ondergrond, een beetje dikke lijm er onder geeft extra stevigheid! het onderste deel laat je los.
    Nadat de hele reep bevestigd is maak je met een mesje of iets anders gelijkmatige gleuven in de klei. daarna duw je het losliggende gedeelte in het midden een beetje omhoog,zodat er een lichte bolling ontstaat.
    je gaat door totdat het hele dak bekleed is.
    let op, Artista kan krimpen en ook na drogen (24 uur) loslaten. je kunt de ruimte die ontstaat na het krimpen opvullen met artista en wat losgelaten is kun je vastlijmen met houtlijm.
    Na het drogen kun je de Artista met acryl verf verven. Ik gebruik Engels rood of antiek rood, oranje rood is mooi en uiteraard kun je groen of grijs gebruiken.
    Nadat de verf droog is even met een vernis er overheen. Ik maak daarna graag de dakpannen (en de rest) oud met groene en bruine patina. Een beetje patina hier en daar en dan met een schone kwast wat terpentijn er op laten lopen zodat het gaat druipen, daarna voorzichtig deppen met een doek die geen vezels achter laat.
    Ik hoop dat jullie iets aan deze workshop hebben, heb je vragen mail me dan

    In the Vernacular - Tiled Miniature Roofs with Malcolm Smith Part 5

    Malcolm Smith of Malcolm's Miniatures

    Posted on 19 Aug 2011

    Sagging Tiled Roof by Malcolm Smith

    As with bricks, clay roofing tiles were first introduced to Britain by the Romans, but the making techniques were lost when the Romans departed and tiles did not reappear until brick and tile making techniques were rediscovered in the Tudor period. The Roman tiled roof usually had alternate flat and half round tiles giving an appearance similar to some of the pantiles you may see today.
    From the Tudor period onwards, clay tiles in various shapes and sizes have been a common form of roofing material. The most common shape of tile is flat and rectangular (first photo below), but they are sometimes rounded and used as wall covering (2nd photo below).

    In the Victorian period, it was fashionable to create patterns with both types of tiles (see first photo below) and occasionally thatch and tiles are used together on the same roof (2nd photo below).
    Pantiles are another common form of clay tile. They are produced in different shapes. On the east coast of England, the pantiles are a flattened S-shape. Another type has three corrugated ridges (1st photo below). Finally there is the double Roman pantile (2nd photo below), thus called because of its resemblance to the Roman alternate flat and round tiiles described above.
    Before the availability of cleap transport for building materials, slate was a rare roofing material confined to the areas where it was locally available. The building of the railway network meant that slate became very common. Welsh slates are the best known type and are usually very thin. Colours vary from dark grey to a purpolish grey colour.
    Another material that is only used in the local area is stone. The best know example is found in the Cotswolds (see 1st photo below), but stone roofs also occur in other areas such as Cumberland and Yorkshire. In the Cotswolds, the stone slabs are bigger at the bottom of the roof and gradually reduce in size and thickness towards the ridge to reduce the weight. Cotswold stone roofs are often covered in moss and lichen. (2nd photo below).
    On old buildings the roof timbers often sag under the weight of the roofing material which gives an undulating roofline. This can be recreated in miniature using thin plywood, hardboard or MDF for the roof. Cut the top edge of the roof with a wavy line. Make sure that both sides of the roof are cut to the same profile. Note that roofs sag below the fixed points at the gable ends, internal walls or chimneys. A common mistake is to add material to a flat roof surface to make the curves, as this only makes parts of the roof higher than the gable ends which is wrong.
    One of the simplest methods is to use air drying clay such as DAS - white for slates and terracotta for tiles - and impress moulds.
    • Roll out a thin sheet of DAS about 1.5mm - 2 mm thick.
    • Apply a thin coat of PVA to the roof
    • Press the sheet of DAS clay in place.
    • If the roof is too big to cover in one go, DAS can be applied in several pieces blending them together with a wet finger or spatula. (1st Photo below)
    • Use the mould to press into the clay to create the appropriate pattern. (see 2nd photo below)

    • Start at the bottom and work across and up the roof.
    • If the clay is drying too quickly, lay a damp cloth over the roof whilst you work.
    • Add a strip across the ridge and mark in the joints. (3rd Photo above)
    • Distress the clay to resemble age by pressing a suitable tool into the clay. (photo 1 below)
    • Give a rougher texture by gently stippling with an old toothbrush or similar. (photo 2 below)

    • Allow to dry.
    • Paint with acrylic pints in thin colour washes. (1st photo below)
    • The second photo below shows a sample of double Roman pantiles made using impress moulds and DAS.

    • Cover the roof in clay as before.
    • Keep damp cloth covered whilst you work to prevent it drying out.
    • Use a ruler to make light guidelines in the clay for the courses.
    • Use a chisel tool to press into the DAS to create the overlapping courses. (1st photo below)
    • Make the gaps between th slabs using a chisel tool or palette knife.
    • Reduce the height of the courses progressively between eaves and ridge.
    • Reduce the width of the slabs too as you work up the roof (2nd photo below)

    • The stone roof is finished and painted in the same way as the slate and tile roofs.

    Two types of lichen are commonly found of roofs, the golden-yellow type and greenish grey type. Both usually consist of round spots of varying size. These can be painted on the roof using acrylic paints.
    Moss can be created using the sponge scatter material sold for landscaping on model railways, available in various shades of green. Secure to the roof with glue.
    This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine, and Malcolm's tiled house was on the front cover of issue 207. If you enjoy reading about dolls houses and making your own miniatures why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Better still, take out a subscription so that you never miss an issue. For fans of Twitter and Facebook, please use the buttons at the top of the page to share this with your miniature loving friends.
    Other features available in this series by Malcolm Smith are:
    Lần sửa cuối bởi obaasan, ngày 17-06-2012 lúc 08:54 PM.
    Woman of short-lived passions

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