DIY · Dollhouse miniatures

Weathering Dollhouse Shingles

Well, I just stepped back to take a look at my new stone foundation, and WHAT?! I love the grey color of the stone, but now the roof shingles are way too dark and heavy. Grrr…1 step forward, two steps back.

Dark shingles with a light rock foundation. It looks totally unbalanced.
Continue reading “Weathering Dollhouse Shingles”
DIY · Dollhouse miniatures

How to make stone blocks for your 1/12 scale model house

OK, yeah it’s a dollhouse, but “1/12 scale model house” just sounds better. It’s more in keeping with the amount of work that goes into making a dollhouse, don’t you think?

I’m still working on the Victoria’s Farmhouse dollhouse kit. Cladding the foundation was next and it took me a great deal of time to decide on material, but when I did, it was gung-ho!

Continue reading “How to make stone blocks for your 1/12 scale model house”
art · DIY · Home Decor

How to Make a Display cabinet on the CHEAP – $28.00 total

I promise you, this display cabinet only cost us $28.00 from start to finish. Les Gains, my husband, makes things. Lots and lots of little things. If he does not have a guitar in his hands, then you will find him in his studio creating fabulous little treasures.

resin figures sculpted by Les gains

Above is a crowd of funny little guys that Les made with resin. He first sculpts figures out of modeling clay, then he makes molds, then pours resin into the molds. When the resin has set up, Les unmolds them and then paints each figure.   THEN he assembles his elements into really cool little sculptures. As much as I am fascinated by his work, a lot of little things spread all over the house drives me nuts. I like to group small things together to form a larger display unit.

IKEA cabinet

Several years ago, I bought two of these cabinets from IKEA. The photo on the left shows the cabinet with the clear glass door open. Sporting adjustable shelves, it is perfect for small collectibles. Generally, Les works small. Most of his items range in height from 1″ to 9″.
As prolific as he is, the IKEA cabinets were full in no time at all. I needed a larger display shelf that would compliment the style of the old cabinet and our eclectic home decor.
So, off we went on yet another mission. Seeking cheap building materials, Les and I scoured junk yards and thrift stores. We finally found exactly what we needed at Khules, a salvage store in Prescott.
From the salvage yard, we bought a large galvanized utility box. Probably some type of electrical junction box? After finding the box, the rest was easy to assemble.

Knock-off IKEA cabinet


This photo shows the larger, finished box and a close up on the right so that you can see the side detail. It’s easy to make – just follow our step-by-steps listed here.

  1.  (after a thorough cleaning) Drill holes into the sides of the box. You will need two sets of holes on each side of the box for each shelf.
  2. Cut 2 rods for each shelf that extend past the sides of the box. Thread them into the holes cross ways.
  3. Cut plastic shelves to fit inside the cabinet. I also bound the edges with copper tape and used an antiquing solution to age the tape.
  4. Finally, we got little caps to finish off the raw edges of the rods that stuck out of the cabinet sides. The whole assembly only cost only $28.00

Les Gains' art figures
altered art sculptures from Les Gains
altered art by Les Gains

Here are a few of Les’ sculptures. He solders, shapes wire, polymer clay, resin and found objects to make wonderfully detailed figures.

DIY · Dollhouse miniatures · tutorials

Make a Vintage Look Miniature Mirror

I love the collections of vintage etched mirrors that have been featured in my home decor magazines lately. A pretty photo in a blog that was featured in Artful Blogging got me off the couch. You can find the owner of the photo and cool blog here. http://chateau-chic.blogspot.com/2013/03/pre-springifying-mantel.html

These mirrors fit right in with the shabby chic look that will be the focus of my little refurbished cottage dollhouse. (You haven’t seen it on this blog yet, but you will- soon. 😊) Spurred to action, I HAD to find a way to duplicate this look in miniature. And how cool would it be to make a tutorial about it as well?

Finally, after several false starts, I found my materials and method. Read on for the how-to.

Practice pieces of mirror plastic with a hot soldering iron.

You can find mirror plastic at Hobby Lobby, JoAnne’s or online. It looks like a real glass miniature when viewed through the eyes of a miniaturist. LOL, the rest of you will just have to suspend disbelief.

ACRYLIC MIRROR SHEET - CLEAR EXTRUDED MIRROR 0.12x12x12

I also have a soldering iron ( a wood burning tool will work as well. ) A printed picture of an etched mirror serves as my cut guide.

I practiced at each step to be sure that my iron was not too hot or too cool. If your iron is too hot, it will melt the plastic too much and pull out stringers. You can see those all over my practice pieces.

The basic steps are to cut a piece of mirror plastic into the shape that you like. Plug in the hot iron and wait a couple seconds for it to heat up. Then carefully and lightly touch down and “draw” the design onto the plastic. My iron would get too hot so that it pulled out plastic stringers, so I would unplug it to cool a little, test to make sure that it was not too hot and then draw onto my real mirror.

Yes, I had a lot of boo-boos. You can tell by my practice pieces. My mirrors also got a little smaller as I had to cut off mistakes. But at least I didn’t waste too much of the mirror plastic. 😅

The results – a variety of miniature faux etched mirrors

After a couple hours of experimenting I had several mirror variations that will be cute in my shabby chic cottage. That will be debuted later this year.

Try it and let me know what adorable minis you turn out with this method.

DIY · Dollhouse miniatures

Window seat in the 1/12 scale Victoria’s Farmhouse

Just a quick little progress report on the master bedroom in my modern country style dollhouse. I’ve added a window seat to the master bedroom. My plan is to have a cute little reading nook. You may have already read the post about dividing up the back part of this large bedroom. On the other side of the reading nook is a walk -in closet. (The closet is absolutely essential for all of the little shoes and purses that I plane on making.)

That little light above the nook was brass when I bought it, so I used nail polish to paint it a silver tone to better match the rest of the room. My next big decision for the master bedroom is the bed. I have three different types in mind, but my vision changes daily. I need to decide on that before I can proceed with the rest of the furniture.

Ditto for the little girl’s room. Making a decision on the bed will allow the rest of the furniture to fall into place. Here is where the second story interior of the house stands today.

Back to work on the exterior, just a little more, and I will have another update post soon.

 

DIY · Dollhouse miniatures

A Miniature Ombre Chest

Shopping for resale miniatures on E-Bay can be a great deal. However, more often than not, it is turning out to be disappointing in my experience. The photographs are not usually clear enough to see all of the imperfections on a piece and the descriptions are minimal at best.

Being the optimistic buyer, I go with the, “It’s OK. I can fix anything.” stance. This last order looked great by the photos and the descriptions listing what was in the lot were fine. It was a huge lot of unfinished 1/12 scale furniture. Imagine my surprise when I opened the order to find that all of the pieces were made of balsa wood. If you’ve ever worked with balsa, then you know how lightweight and easily marred it is. You can barely sand balsa without chipping or breaking it. Continue reading “A Miniature Ombre Chest”

DIY · Dollhouse miniatures

The Altamont dollhouse.

Uh-oh. I accidentally looked at Facebook’s Marketplace again. There it was! A large dollhouse for very little money. It was unfinished, but it was listed as having all of the parts to finish the build. What could I do? I HAD to buy it.

This is what the Altamont is supposed to look like when it is finished. The house that I bought had some windows put in and no siding yet. I have the siding, but I think that I will end up putting light limestone blocks on the exterior.
The interior is supposed to look like this once finished. Of, course, I will probably change that.

Poor Les. There goes another chunk of our living room real estate. Even so, he gracefully met me with his truck after work so that I could take this huge house home. It looks small in the pictures, but it measures 32″W x 27″D x 43″H . I even had to buy a little table to set it on. Luckily, our thrift store has fabulous prices on furniture so the table was only $5.99. Yeah, low prices are how I try to alleviate my guilt over spending. (grin) Continue reading “The Altamont dollhouse.”

DIY · Home Decor

Make a Fireplace Mantle that only LOOKS Expensive

My sister had a really horrible looking fireplace when she first moved into her house. It’s OK, she said it first. Jenny turned to me for my help since I am pretty good at working something out on the cheap. We started our project by going to see what the stores had in stock. Holy cow! Nice looking store bought mantles are EXPENSIVE.! Mantles in our local hardware store were in the $300.00 to $500.00 range.

This is what the mantle looked like when Jen bought her fixer upper. It was just raw wood with an exposed drywall cap.

We were convinced us that we could duplicate one of the expensive store bought mantles with stacked strips of lumber and molding. So we went through all of our options at the store and came up with a combination that mimicked one of our favorite mantles. Not too plain and not too fancy was perfect. Continue reading “Make a Fireplace Mantle that only LOOKS Expensive”