Posted in Accessories, Decor, Dollhouses, Miniature tutorials

Custom Modern Lighting

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Custom made “Modern Wire Ball”  light fixture (please excuse the dog hairs in the picture. Can’t be avoided at my house!)

So I got inspired by my friends over at the Greenleaf forum, to try my hand at making a modern light fixture. This was the result.

To be honest I’m so happy with this fixture that I might have to rethink the entire lighting plan for the San Franciscan.

In fact I’m stretching the truth to say I custom made it, because it’s essentially constructed out of premade components, super glue & spray paint.

It’s incredibly simple but incredibly effective.

So forum member SewMini asked about modern fixtures and pointed to this one as an example of what she was looking for.

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Later that day I was in my local Choice store (Australian version of a dollar store, though hardly anything costs only a dollar. 😉 ) and found these balls in the craft section

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I thought the smaller balls would be great for pendants and the larger ones for a statement light in the middle of a room.

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Smaller pendant size

I wanted to use the smaller size to start but I didn’t have any G.O.R bulbs so I had to raid my lights stash for a fixture and that meant, I had to use the larger wire ball if I had any hope of fitting it within the structure.

I tried to replicate the fitting in the inspiration piece by attempting to shove a simple 3 arm chandelier into the wire ball… umm.. no.. that didn’t fit… so I rummaged some more and came up with one of these ball pendants. I actually think if I make another light, I would try to find a half scale 3 arm chandelier and change out the chain for a 1:12 scale one to get the look above.

I ditched the bottom spindle taped off the ceramic bulb and spray painted it silver using Rustoleum “Satin Nickel”.

I also sprayed the wire ball, so that there would be continuity of colour. I actually prefer the silver of the original ball but getting that finish in paint would be near on impossible and they just don’t seem to make many dollhouse fixtures in silver. If I used G.O.R bulbs or GOW bulbs I would have been able to keep the colour as long as I could find a tiny chain to match. Much easier!

I think this light could also look great in a antique copper colour or black for a more industral feel.

Once everything was dry I tested the light to make sure it worked. then worked the wire apart in one section and pushed the ball pendant through. I then repositioned the wires over the hole and strategically centred one wire at the top to attach the chain ring to. A dab of superglue does the job of holding the pendant chain to the ball. but you could use a bit of jewellry wire also or you could fashion the wire of the ball so that the top of the fixture holds it on.

You will need to fiddle with the chain ring a bit to make sure the pendant sits straight and centre in the ball. It helps to hang the fixture from something for this step as the weight of it hanging helps and you will get a true indication of how it will hang in your dollhouse.

For light bulb changing, just snap off the glue (this is the reason for just a dab and pull the bulb out.

 

 

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Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

The Dining Room is coming together.

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So this is the latest dry-fit of the dining room. I think it’s coming along nicely.

The coffee stirrer floors have been cut and attached to their template. They are bare wood right now but will likely be whitewashed or painted white and the substantially distressed.

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The stairs fit… just! the hole and chiselled channel are for the wiring for the porch light. I need to run some crack filler around the staircase hole and sand and paint it I also need to trim out my stairs with bracket detail and a stringer board against the wall.

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Testing out the fireplace in situ. The chimney breast still needs to be wallpapered.

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The firebox needs grouting and some more paint washes. I might coat the mantel in a wash of white chalk paint also.. it’s looking a little grubby.

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I also need to make the marble hearth (just a paper place marker here 😀 ) I saw a tutorial on making marble effect out of polymer clay, so I think I’ll give that a try. My back up plan is to print out a marble effect from the web. Cover a piece of mat board with it and then spray it with high gloss non yellowing varnish or coat it with modge podge.

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I still have a lot of work to do. I need to decide if I am continuing the painted wood wall all the way around the room (with the exception of the chimney breast). I also need to decide if I’m doing pressed tin look on the ceiling (I won’t be doing that if all the walls are wood, I don’t think. Then with those decisions made, I need to cut all the baseboard and cornice, install the lights trim out the chimney breast, doors & windows… etc, etc, etc… long way to go, but it’s nice to see a room look a little bit like a room.

Posted in Accessories, Decor, Dollhouses, Furniture

Making a 1:12 Fire Chimney Breast & Hearth

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I bought this Mantel in an Ebay auction, can’t remember what I paid for it but it wasn’t very much.. the shipping was more because it came from the UK. :/

It’s made of plaster I think and it’s a bit banged up with chips out of it and edges broken off.

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But I don’t really care, I liked the fairly simple traditional style and given my house is going to be a bit shabby, I just think it adds rustic charm. 🙂

In my imagination my house has been around for a long time and had many owners and the fireplaces have had a few bangs as the little people moved their furniture in and out.

I could just prop this fireplace up against the wall and be done with it, but that doesn’t make my realism loving heart sing. So now I needed to build it a chimney breast and hearth.

I started by making a chimney breast out of foam core. I used the dimensions of the mantel plus half an inch on each side for the the face of the breast. Then I decided how deep I wanted the firebox to be and cut sides to match (about an inch because I have a particular phoenix miniatures insert in mind).

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I measured the inner dimensions of the mantel and cut out the hearth space by marking the middle point of the chimney breast an marking half the width of the inner dimensions of the mantel outwards off this mark. This way the hole is centred on the chimney breast.

It’s pretty rough, but it doesn’t have to be pretty because it will be covered with card-stock and the mantel will cover the rest.

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I did cut mitred corners because I wasn’t sure what kind of finish I was going to give it at the time and I filled in any imperfections with spackle and gave it a sand. The mitred corners were relatively easy to make because I have a Foam Werks bevel cutter which does the job with ease. Any mistakes were operator error.. lol

Next I made the fire box to fit inside the hearth using the cut out piece from the mantel face as the back and then measuring the side walls of the chimney breast for the sides.

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I then started bricking it with egg carton bricks. You’ll note my fire box has a “lid”.. this is not because I want the chimney to be bricked up, but because I don’t want anyone to be able to see up the fireplace chimney breast as this will be where I hide most of my wiring for the house. It’s really just to give the illusion of the bricking continuing up the chimney.

It’s good to have a little selection of bricks to choose from as you go. And there is my pile of deconstructed egg cartons. 😉

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With chimney breast and Mantel in place… for a look at progress and to make sure everything is straight.

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Firebox back done. 🙂

The shims between the roof & the sides are just to give the roof a bit of height and an angle so that it’s not massively obvious when put together. Remember it’s supposed to be an illusion 😉

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And with sides complete and breast and mantel in place. I think it’s turning out well. 🙂

Next up is painting the bricks. I gave them a base coat of burnt sienna stippled on and then used a black wash to soot them up. This fire place has been used… alot!

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I’m not worried about the little spots that don’t have paint, it kind of looks like left over mortar on the bricks. I like that, it adds an old brick feel.

I still need to seal this and then grout. Not sure what I’m going to use for that. Either paperclay or spackle are most likely. Once I have that done, I’ll used some dark washes to dirty it up too.

Here’s what it looks like all together. I love it! 😀img_2638

And in the house.

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Ignore the “marble” hearth.. it’s just a place marker. I still need to make a proper one. That should be interesting! 🙂

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

Basement Progress

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So I’ve had a little bit of progress on the basement (Please excuse the state of my craft room!)

I took the original foundation off the house (tip: vinegar works well to loosen glue. Drizzle a little on both sides of the joint and wait a while for it to work it’s magic. Eventually you will be able to pull the pieces apart with a bit of muscle.)

As you can see I’ve cut the out the garage door and given it a coat of primer. I haven’t cut out the basement apartment’s door yet because I’m not exactly sure where it will go on what remains of the wall. Ideally I would have wanted it directly under the other doors but the Garage door took up a bit more space than expected so it can’t actually line up. I might be able to get it close by having the garage and the door share the trim between it but there are some internal struts/runners that allow the garage door to work and they may impede the operation of the door… The other option is to centre it on what remains of the wall… not particularly happy with that option either. I think I will have to wait a little while.. figure out the stair configuration and landscaping design and then revisit it.

I chose a french door style for the Basement even though it’s not very security conscious 🙂 because the basement will have limited windows and it will be kind of doing double duty as a door & a light source. 🙂

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Currently these are the only other windows in the basement. So you can see my need for the door! The Garage side will get a larger window as it is on the low side of the imaginary hill. (This house will be on a  landscaping board that will simulate a hill, like most San Franciscan row homes!) The ground level on the Apartment side will be just below those basement windows & the chimney I am yet to make will fit snugly between them.

Slow progress I know but… baby steps! 🙂

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

Second Dry Fit

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As you can see from this latest dry fit, I’m making slooooow progress.. lol. I had a bit of a setback when I moved the house downstairs and the main structure fell apart :0

Not to worry, I wasn’t happy with the glue fit anyway so this gave me an opportunity to redo it and get a tighter, straighter bond.

I can’t dry fit the main roof just yet as it requires some constuction to make it sit on the side walls.

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Here is a close up of one set of the working windows… One of my favourite elements of this house for sure… but pretty fiddly! Scared of having to glue these in one day… Yikes!

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And as you can see… I’ve managed to build that basement I’ve been banging on about. 😀

Garage will be on the right side as you face the house… basement apartment or room on the left… Haven’t decided what to do with it yet.

The old foundation pieces will be removed later in the process… Just wanted to dry fit it up to see if I liked it. 🙂

Posted in Accessories, Decor, Dollhouses

Coastal Decor

The other day when I wasn’t feeling well, I decided to take a break from building and make a few decor items…. I was looking at my coffee table shell bowl and realised there were a few teeny tiny little shells and even pieces of coral in there…. Well, inspiration struck and I decided to make some modern coastal decor for my far off in the distance Hampton’s dollhouse… one day….

Not satisfied with just the shells I rummaged around in my charms and findings for nautical/coastal type items and found the fish skeleton and a seahorse… in they went to the mix.

I used jewelry pins to secure the shells, coral & fish to bases made of cut up coffee stirrers topped with cut up skinny sticks which were then stained with furniture touch up pens. I drilled tiny holes in the bases to attach the pins to the base and glued them to the back of the shells. With the coral I drilled a hole in the bottom of it as well to secure it to the base with a pin.

The base of the star shell is made from two clear plastic beads.

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Not content to stop there.. I rummaged around in my fabric stash and made some blue motif cushions.

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Then I got distracted by my bead box and made quite a few perfume/cosmetic bottles & jars…. I got a bit carried away…  😉img_2474

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

A few small jobs

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Did some random jobs today… first I spackled the corner of the bay where there was an incorrectly cut piece provided in the kit. I just need to wait for it to dry, sand it and repeat. I don’t need to be too precise as there will be a corbel over this area. But I do want to make it at least good enough that it’s not noticeable when the whole house is together.

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I made another wooden wall. This one with the door at the other end (front of dollhouse not rear)… I’m still undecided as to where to place the door on the first level so this gives me options. If I opt for the front, then I’ll use the other wall for the second floor. If I opt for the rear, I’ll use it either on the 3rd floor for the bathroom door or in the basement if I create one.

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I also punched out the rest of the windows and painted them all. Now ALL the kit windows are painted completely. I am considering adding some more windows. One in the side wall of the kitchen above the sink, possibly a dormer in the attic bathroom to gain some floor space and if I build a basement garage as I would like to, I would add up to 3 windows on that level…. we shall see what eventuates! 😀

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Posted in Accessories, Decor, Dollhouses, Furniture

Love Seat Rehab

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So I have this lounge suite set in my stash that I don’t mind the shape of but ugh.. the fabric makes my eyes hurt… lol

I decided something had to be done!.. I chose the 2 seater/love seat as my guinea pig (I’ve shown the 3 seater above because I forgot to take a picture of the 2 seater before I pulled it apart.)

The fabric was glued down within an inch of it’s life so I put the piece in the microwave for 10 seconds to loosen it up. It worked but there was soooo much glue!

Here is a picture of the pieces after the sofa had been deconstructed and after I had painted the main wood pieces with primer. I did this because I would be using a lighter fabric and didn’t want the wood to show through and/or leech into the fabric over time.

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During deconstruction some of the cushion foam got destroyed so I had to piece in some new foam so as not to have a lumpy sofa! This foam was part of the packaging in another piece of furniture’s box. NEVER through these kinds of packaging materials away!… You never know when you might need them. 🙂img_2431

New foam pieced in.img_2432

I cut out all my fabric for each piece before starting the process. Making sure to cut a little larger than each piece to allow for folding over to cover seams. Planning is key in this stage as you need to know how you are going to reconstruct the sofa and plan you fabric placement and size required appropriately. You also need to know which cushions you will be using in which location and facing in which direction so you can make sure that the fabric all faces the same way and that you have enough overhang to do the job you want it too.

Now to cover the cushions making sure to have the “grain”of the fabric facing the same way and making sure that it is sitting straight on the pieces where it will show. Regular Tacky Glue will do the job.img_2433

Cut the corners and fold like a present. img_2448

The base cushions were completely covered and glued on all four sides the back cushions were left open on two sides because they would wrap over the top and side of the couch during reassembly. You can see a completed seat cushion below bottom left and the two back cushions top right. The fabric you see beside the back cushions is the armrest fabric.img_2437

Then on to the arms.

I had to sand a lot of glue of of the front of the arms before starting as it would have made them lumpy if I left it on. I also noticed when I held them together that who ever manufactured these chairs used two different sized dowels for the armrests! lolimg_2440

For the arms I first covered the front… I was careful not to pull the fabric too tight so that the “grain”stayed as straight as possible. I cut the fabric a bit larger than the arms and wrapped it around the sides. I cut little pizza wedges out of the excess to get a good fit around the round portion.img_2439

I made a hem on the front face of the arm rest fabric for a clean finish. Then I folded the armrest fabric around the arm with enough of an overhang to cover the side of the base and be folded and glued underneath and out of sight.

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On to the base.

I cut enough fabric to go all the way around the base piece from top front to bottom to back. I know a lot of this area will be covered by cushions or other fabric pieces but just in case there are any gaps, this will make them less obvious.

I started by gluing the front of the back with enough over hang to fold over for a neat finish.img_2444

Then I continued down the seat, taking extra care with the base front as this will be very visible on the finished product.img_2436

And then across the bottom. It’s important to cover the bottom because you don’t want a beautiful upshot photo or view to be ruined by the sight of an unfinished sofa bottom.

I folded the base sides like a present. Cutting away excess fabric at the corners.img_2446

I left the back unglued as this will be the last piece to be attached during reassembly.img_2447

The next step was to attach the back cushions. img_2451

Remember I left the top and side open? This is why. They are attached over the back and side of the sofa. This will give a clean finish from the top and side view once the back cover is on.img_2449

Side view.img_2450

Front view so far. 🙂img_2451

Second back cushion attachment. Top done first. Side still to be glued.img_2454

Both back cushions on.img_2455

Now to attach the arms. As I said earlier. The side panel is attached all the way down the side to the bottom.img_2456img_2457

Now the seat cushions get glued in.img_2458

And finally with the last arm glued in and the back piece glued on (with hems on all three sides for a clean finish.)

I added a bit of twine as piping at the point where the seat cushions & the base meet just to tidy it up a bit. A major improvement, no?img_2459

With the legs put back on we have a final product!img_2466

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

Vintage Wardrobe Ebay find

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So I found this vintage wardrobe on Ebay and thought it would be perfect for the San Franciscan! I couldn’t stop myself from bidding and…. I won!

The photos on Ebay made her look pretty beat up so I was a bit concerned with what was going to actually show up. I paid about 20usd plus shipping so it could have been a bit of a disaster.

It FINALLY arrived last week after a global shipping program snafu that saw it returned to sender for an incomplete address. (apparently they couldn’t read the street number??) I bought this item back in October so you can see why I was starting to think it would never get here.

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I’m happy to say it was worth the wait! I love it! It actually looks better than the sale pictures… that never happens right? Sure she’s a bit chipped and the back legs have fallen off and the back plate clips have fallen off. There is also some trim that needs attention, but over all she is beautiful in a crumbling glory kind of way 😉

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The mirror is in great condition! Look she has shelving on one side.

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And hanging space on the other side. 😀

I was going to paint her, but I’m now undecided…. I kind of like the way her “patina” is (her colour is whiter than the pictures show in real life). I think it suits the shabby style quite well.

Thoughts?

 

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

Banishing the Dreaded Mahogany

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So I found this dresser in my stash that I was never in love with due to the Mahogany colour. (Why are so many miniature furniture pieces in this old fashioned stain!)

Not withstanding it’s colour though, I though it might go well in the San Franciscan if it got a somewhat shabby make over. It has relatively good lines and is feminine enough for the look I am going for so I decided give it a paint job. 🙂

First I took the drawer knobs off with needle nose pliers.

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Then I gave it a light sand and treated it with Easy Surface prep. It’s supposed to allow you to paint over stained wood. You apply it liberally and the wipe off the excess with a rag and let is cure for about 2 hours. To be honest I wasn’t that impressed with it’s effectiveness, but that could have been because my technique was terrible.. lol

Then I got a first coat of paint on it…. Yikes not so great.

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Second coat below. Better but the drawers need more work.

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Third coat… getting there but still need to do something with the drawers…. Not sure why the paint isn’t covering on them as well as elsewhere. My painting technique maybe? 🙂

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While I was waiting for paint to dry between coats I made some perfume bottles for the dresser out of jewelry beads from spotlight. I won’t be using all of these but they are cute, no? 🙂

I will clean up the paint on the mirror after I have given the dresser a final coat. I actually quite like it now that it’s not mahogany. It still needs handles that I have on order. I’m not putting those gold pin heads back on!

I wanted to see it in the room for size which then made me decide to try out some wallpaper for the Master bedroom. This paper is scrapbook paper from spotlight. I like the pastel hue and modern look. It would only be on one wall as a feature wall. Not sure if I will use it but I do think it’s pretty.

The bed is one I made from cardstock loosely following a tutorial from Kris’1 inch minis. I didn’t have foamcore or mat board on hand so it’s very flimsy and just a place holder. 🙂 The mattress isn’t finished either, it still needs some piping around the top, which I have made but haven’t stuck on yet… Hmmm there is a pattern here of unfinished jobs. Must get to it!

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Now I just need to find a little stool for the dresser. 🙂