Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trash Can

I know its been a while but I'm on vacation and my use of a computer is very limited.  But I did prepare a little HIMI (how I made it) a few days before I left and hope you find this helpful. I'm going to use this as part of my fishing cabin.

Yes, that is a cap from Scope mouthwash that I turned into a small trash can.  It's 2" tall and 1 3/4" across the top.  To make the can part, you will need:

2  heavy duty staples- for the handles
silver spray paint
a sturdy piercing tool ( I used an eyeglass screwdriver from a eyeglass kit, Needles don't work
                                 Or you can use a drill if you have a very tiny drill bit)
a  1 1/2 by 7" strip of plastic from any trash can liner
tiny dab of paint, any color
super glue or small amount of epoxy (white craft glue can be used but I really wanted those staples to
                                  stay in place.  Don't want the handles to fall out and then step on the staple.)


First, find the 2 spots on the lid that are not corrugated.  The spots where you put your fingers to open the bottle.  Take your tweezers and pick up one staple.  Dip the prongs into a small pool of paint and immediately press the prongs to the cap, leaving 2 little dots.  This will help you with the placement of the trash can handles.  Take your little screwdriver and place it on the dot and just start rotating it back and forth while applying pressure.  Kind of like gouging out a hole.  Do the same for the second hole and then press the staple into the holes.  On the inside of the can, place a drop of glue where the prongs poked through.  Repeat for the second handle on the other side.  Once the glue has dried, spray paint can silver.
Next, take your strip of plastic and glue it into the inside, "gathering" it in a few places to give it a little slack.  That will make it easier to turn the liner down to the outside.

I'll show you the completed project after the lid is done.  We'l be working on that next.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Texturing and Wallpapering

Thanks to Tabitha for leaving her comment on texturing.  It may well be Ron Mummert who first came up with this type of texturing.  He used tissue paper instead of kleenex and since I have a good supply of that, I just might try it. 

Alennka suggested to use wallpaper paste to hang fabric.  I think I will do just that because this fabric is a little on the heavy side.  I was going to use a clear drying gel type glue but it's very thick doesn't spread easily.  Now all I have to do is find paint to compliment this color.  I'll probably end up mixing my own.  I'll take pictures as soon as I can.

Sorry this post is so short but have to get ready for a birthday luncheon.  I just wanted to say thanks for the advice and comments.

Til later!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Update and other things

A big welcome to my newest followers, Mary, Paul, Tabitha and Cris Colas.  I hope you enjoy by blog and find some useful hints and tips. It's a pleasure to meet you!

The picture below shows only a few of the things I received from 2 large group swaps a while back and now reside in the Wizards Tower.  My contribution was an embroidered banner (not shown) but I will do a very short tutorial on that later.  I also made most of the furniture but it was the swaps that really made the tower so special.
By the way, if you plan to do anything along the medieval line, please join Dream Dwelling on Yahoo groups.  The files are loaded with historical information on customs, architecture, foods, etc which I found very useful.

Now, on to other things.  This last week I did very little in the way of miniatures.  We spent 3 day packing up my inlaws things because they moved from a condo to an apartment.  But, since my mother in law no longer sews, I was given some beautiful lace, sewing supplies and some gorgeous fabric.  I have already made plans to use the lace and fabric in a roombox, either a nursery or toddler's bedroom.  Now, this leads to another point.  As long as I have been a miniaturist, there are several things I've never done before.  One is using fabric as wallpaper.  I know there are probably tutorial out there, but this fabric may be on the heavy side.  It's actually a linen napkin and the color is a beautiful pale pink.  What type of glue should I use and should I scotch-guard it first?
Any help or advice you can give is truly appreciated.

Til next time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I like this type of texturing, especially if you want the look of rough hewn rock, like I did for my tower.  It is fast and kind of fun.  (My husband calls it tedious and mindless.)  You'll probably have most of the supplies on hand but you may want to try is out on a scrap piece of wood or cardboard, just to make sure you like the effect.  The biggest drawback is that it does use up a fair amount of paint so have extra on hand.

You will need:
 a stack of kleenex- how many depends on how big of a surface you are covering
paintbrush- I used a 1" brush but a little larger or smaller is ok.
A stiff stencil brush- do not use the sponge type.  If you don't have a stencil brush, use another paint brush.

First, take a piece of kleenex and separate it.  Take one ply and squeeze it, squish it and wad it into a ball.
Then very carefully, unwad it and shake gently.  What you want is a piece of kleenex with lot of wrinkles, small, medium and large.

You may want to have several pieces ready as this goes fast.  Next, paint a section of  your surface with a medium to heavy coat of paint.  I found that a 5x5 inch section worked best but it depends on your project.
Now, very quickly lay the kleenex on top of the painted surface.  Load your stencil bursh up with paint and start tapping on the kleenex.
Now, move on to the next section.  It's ok to overlap.  Once it dries, it may need a little touch up just in case the kleenex didn't stick to your base coat.  If you missed a spot or would like a heavier texture, just repeat the process but with a lighter base coat.   Once your are satisfied, take a scissors and trim the edges.  
It is also easy to texture any seams you have when you join two pieces together.  Take two thin strips of kleenex, place along seam and start tapping.  I was able to texture my tower this way in less than 4 hours.
And there you have it.  Some people may not like this kind of texturing, I just offer it as an alternative.

Well, I'm off to finish up some painting and may do some surfing so ,
Til Next time!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Wizard's Tower

"Home of the Wizard, Nicholas" is named after one of my grandsons and is something I have wanted to build for several years.  What stopped me from making this sooner was the fact that plywood was not an option.  I had no power tools, very little space, and plywood is very heavy.  While I was mulling this over, I came across and joined a Yahoo group called Dream Dwellings.  This is where I found out about Builders Foam.  It was the perfect solution.  Light weight, inexpensive, easy to paint, fairly easy to cut, and it doesn't warp.  Living in hot, humid Florida, warping is a concern.
As far as dimensions go, I knew I wanted at least 2 stories so it is 3 ft tall.  It is hexagon in shape and at its widest point it is 14 ".  The space between floors is 16". Not a lot of room but everything fit.


The above pictures aren't the best but they do show a problem I had with cutting Builders Foam.  If I cut on the horizontal, the edge was fairly smooth.  But cutting on the vertical, the edges tore.  At first I thought it may be me or a dull blade.  I changed out the blade and had my husband try and he got the same results.  However, this was a very minor problem.  I intended to texture the walls and trim out the edges with wood anyhow.  If the tears were to big, I just applied glue and squished them back in place.
(Before I continue, I'm sure you will notice a lot of architectural flaws.  But I used a lot of artistic license and in my mind, this is a fantasy dwelling.)

The above pictures are the ground floor and the two pictures below are the second floor.
All in all, I would say the tower is about 70% done.  I still have to make shutters, a trap door and change out the base it's sitting on.  I plan to work on all of that today and tomorrow, along with my fishing cabin.  When I return, I'll have a neat tut on how I textured the tower along with pictures of the furnishings.
Til later!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank you!

First of all, I sincerely apologize for not welcoming and thanking all of you who have become followers of my blog.  It is very encouraging to think I have something on my blog that may in some small way contribute to the world of miniatures.  I have visited all of your sites and will be adding the links soon...(that is if Blogger doesn't decide to delete more of my stuff.) Thanks again.

I did get asked a question about using sandpaper as shingles and if it was a dust collector.  The answer is a definite.. yes!  But there are several things I do to minimise that problem.  First, use the finest grit sandpaper you can.  In this case, I had 320 grit but honestly don't know if it comes any finer.  Second, I dust off the roofs, porches, dormers and other exterior parts at least twice a month (honestly) using a very soft bristled paint brush.  This to me is funwork, not housework.  It also allows me to check for any paint touch-ups or repairs I need to do.  The insides of my dollhouses I do less often.  The last thing I do, is cover the houses with saran wrap if we are to be gone for any length of time...like this fall when we will be gone for 2 months.  Every little bit helps.

The poll on my sidebar is now closed and the results are about what I expected.  I go with the majority about half the time, depending on my project.  I had no special reason for asking this question, just curious.  I will be listing a new poll in the next few weeks.

I did very little minis today because I spent most of the morning trying to figure out why Blogger is messing up my blog.  Somehow I lost "Blogs I Follow" list so will have to re-enter it all.  This afternoon, I will be taking some pictures, and re-taking others.  I am not a photographer.  Some of the pictures I have seen on other blogs are a lot better than mine and show all the details.  Hopefully, I'll get better.  If I have time tonight, I will try to introduce you to my second dollhouse that I call "Home of the Wizard, Nicholas"
Til next time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

links and other stuff

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July. We spent the day at the beach doing nothing but relaxing.
Got home, fell asleep and missed the fireworks.. Funny how tiring "relaxing" can be.
I started adding some of my favorite links but still have more to go.  Please check them out when you have time.
This last Saturday and Sunday I did add the dormers to the roof of the Ashley.  Once I began working on them, I remembered how difficult it had been when I made my first Ashley.  Lots of sanding and trimming because nothing fit.  And on the inside, there were gaps where the seams should have gone together better.
So, out came the spackle.  More sanding and touching up the paint but it looks much better now.

While the paint was drying, I decided to start shingling.  Now, my method of shingling will make many miniaturists cringe, but I learned this long ago and have used it several times.  It is fast, inexpensive and I had all the supplies on  hand.   I used fine grit sandpaper.  It's paintable and easy to cut.

First, you will need several sheets of sandpaper, enough paint to cover all of them, pencil, ruler, utility scissors, amd glue.  I had brown sandpaper on hand but it also comes in black so you may not need the paint if that's the color you want.

The first step is to turn the sandpaper with grit side down and using your ruler, draw your cutting lines.  I made mine about 1" wide.  You will also need to make several strips about 2" wide which will be used at the very top of the roof and dormers.  NOTE:  You may need to do a little math or calculations on how many sheets you will need but for the Ashley I used 5.  The roof is very small.
Once the cutting lines are drawn, turn the sandpaper over and paint.  After it dries you can now start cutting it into strips.  On one edge of each strip, make a cut vertically about 3/4".  This will make the shingles more realistic.

Before you start measuring, cutting and glueing, there are a few things to remember.  Start from the bottom up.  This will make over-lapping the shingles much easier.  And remember all those little vertical cuts?  Well, the cuts should line up with each other on every other row.  The cuts on rows 1, 3, 5, 7, etc should line up and the cuts on rows 2, 4, 6, 8, should line up.  At this time also, you may want to mark some straight guidelines on your roof to keep every thing straight.  As seen below, the Ashley already came with pre-scored lines to simulate shingles.  You were supposed to outline the scored lines and then add a coat of clear varnish or you could just paint the roof, in which case the scoring would still show through.  I did not like the shingle pattern, just didn't go with my idea of a fishing cabin but I did use them as my guide lines.

As for the wider, 2" strip, do not make any vertical cuts just yet.  These pieces will the last thing you add once the shell is complete and the roof is attached.  It will serve as the top row for both sides of the roof and dormers.

The picture on the right shows how the dormers look now but they will be cleaned up once shell is complete.

I hope this  has given you an alternative to buying shingles or shingle tape and if anyone decides to try this, please leave a comment and let us know how it turned out.
Til later!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I spent this last week getting my computer fixed and figuring out how to made an Ashley (my second one) into a fishing cabin.  I know this isn't the best dollhouse to make into a fishing cabin (because with all the trim, decorated windows, etc) but I do enjoy kit-bashing.  It's not all that hard nor time consuming and turning out pretty much like I planned.

The picture on the left shows how the front of the Ashley should look if no alterations are made.  The second picture shows my first major change.  I didn't want the large dormer window so I never bothered to punch it out.  I applied a thin line of glue along the punch-out lines for re-enforcement and then added spackle ( for no particular reason).  Since this will be shingled, I didn't need to sand very much.  On the other side, there were very faint punch-out lines but with a little spackle and sanding, they all disappeared.  So far, so good.

Next came the front.  I shortened up the two larger windows and did not punch out the narrow windows next to the door.  I will be making my own "glass" because the imprint on the windows is a little too fancy for a fishing cabin.  I have saved some heavy clear plastic that I will be adding quilling paper to for the individual panes.. This clear plastic is usually found on boxed greeting cards and is perfect for any miniature needing a glass element,  like a table top or maybe a backyard pond.  I'll post pictures soon to show you how it turned out.

Meanwhile, I am planning my next step, which will be adding the two dormers and shingling the roof.  This shingling is an interesting process so as soon as I take pictures, I'll be back.
Take care!
Diane ( in hot, humid Florida!)