Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Needling Ya

Chris from Canada wrote:
As there are only days before Christmas this is a super- quickie, and surprise(!) even seasonal, for anyone who has even the smallest branch cut from a live evergreen inside, especially if you want fillers, smaller plants or work in the smaller scales.
Before you vacuum up the last of the needles from your Christmas tree, or toss the evergreen branch along with the rest of the stuff in the arrangement your Aunt Beatrice sent you, save a handful or two of the needles. When completely dry, they can be used in mini flower
arrangements as fillers or as stalks for spring flowers (a tiny touch of craft paint on the tip creates a flower bud). For the truly brave, bunches of 7 or more Scotch pine needles, trimmed to the desired lengths at the blunt end and arranged carefully, make a 1:12 non-
flowering yucca plant, or any other plant with straight, spiked leaves.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Granny Rat

Chris from Canada posted this picture on the Camada Minis group. She completed the project following the directions Leslie Shepherd wrote on her site. Love the feather boa Chris!
See other mice and rats along with Leslie's instructions on the Minitreasures wiki:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pharmacy Bottles Pegged!

hris from Canada writes:
I've been trying to gradually sort out some of my unsorted stash and recently I found a small baggie containing my failed attempts to shape the tops of these pegs with a craft knife, sandpaper and even my Dremel tool, as well as a handful of untouched pegs in colours like electric blue, hot pink, glowing orange and a sickly lime green.

I didn't want to trash them, and wondered if they could be softened with a candle flame, then pulled and shaped like some clear plastics. It must be the coloring agent used, but before they softened, the heated part burst into flame then immediately burned out, leaving the heated part soft, but also permanently blackened. This definitely had possibilities, so I reheated the end (it didn't ignite this time) and when it was soft, mashed it down onto the edge of my kitchen sink (stainless steel), forming what looked like a stopper on a bottle. I was short of time so played around with this idea only a few times, including heating the pliers holding the peg (not the peg itself) to shape the middle. The picture above shows two of these experiments with an untouched peg. These could be used in a pharmacy, bathroom, witch's kitchen, doctor's office, lab etc......

Monday, November 21, 2011


Chris from Canada writes:
This is an idea that I came up with a few years back to use those strong, but very often defective, sewing pins with no point, that comprise a large percentage of the pins sold in plastic boxes at Dollar Store-type outlets.
These pointless pins make good hinge-pin replacements for doors, trunks, storage boxes etc... when the original pins grow wings and fly away. Just trim the length with wire cutters to fit, allowing for a bend at the end if it is needed to secure the pin.
And if you need some tiny nails, try cutting the tip off at an angle and they can replace any dollhouse nails which may have joined the Great Pin Escape. (If you want the heads to be a brass or gold colour, apply a dot of gold paint or nail polish.)
These pins are also excellent to use without trimming if you are connecting sections of foamboard for a structure: If a pin goes in crooked by accident it is unlikely to stab a finger hard enough to draw blood!

*** just a safety reminder - always wear glasses when cutting pins or wires! Those little pieces fly everywhere!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bedded Down

The Dollhouse Miniprojects Group recently completed a canopy bed project. The directions were clear and easy to follow, and each member completed the project a little differently.

Dee planned and set the task, and this is her prototype bed. She is planning a Christmas bed, and the lace will be changed to green. She is also planning a dressing table for the group to accompany those completed beds.

Kaye Smith from Tasmania was first to finish her pretty Purple bed.

Then she went on to make pillows to round out the project

Doreen Playter adapted the prototype and used lace trim to simulate carved wood trim.
Doreen's bed even has linens underneath!
See her blog at Doreen's Miniatures and Memories

Marjorie from California wrote about her Tudor bed:
I used paper doilies to replicate carvings on the headboard and footboard. I used Minwax gel stain to do the wood as well as the paper doilies. I am happy with the way it turned out. The cross stitched coverlet I purchased along with the pillow at the Good Sam Show in 2010. I am going to remake the pillow - it is too large and stiff.

Here is Marjorie's finished bed.

Then Joyce Holland wrote a hilarious post about her bits of rubble! She had followed Dee's directions to the letter, and when she was trying to apply the rubber band as a clamp the whole thing fell apart! (The glue needs to set a bit and the band needs to be rather loose. Make a loop, insert a stick and tighten tourniquet style.)

Joyce is still working on her bed - pics to come!

This is Linda's bed. She cut a long strip of cardboard and wrapped it with a strip of fabric to create the striped trim.

Joyce Holland's bed is delicate and very feminine.

All so different, but started from the same basic plan.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shower Power!

Tracey Flemming wrote in Canada Minis Group:

I made this shower stall with junk. It's an empty man's disposable razor package. I painted the outside of the package with white paint. It looks like my real shower stall because it's shiny on the inside.

I used
  • Paper clip and Fimo for the shower head.
  • Fimo and stitching floss for soap on rope.
  • Part of a snap for drain and earring backs for taps.
  • Scrap matte board and wood sticks to build the box to keep it standing upright.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hair Today and Gone Tomorrow

Chris from Canada wrote
I have a hint for those of you who make 1:12 people and need hair. I've found that what is generally available has a very limited colour range and absolutely zilch shading, so the hair looks like either a cheap wig, or the result of a hair colouring preparation left on too long. And if you want hair that is in the process of greying, forget it.

WARNING: Persons suffering from Bacillophobia or Bacteriophobia should stop reading now!

A free and easy solution for dog owners is to take the scissors to the long hair on your pup's tail or body right before his or her visit to the Doggie Spa. (If you really want to you can explain the
clipped spots, but be prepared for some strange looks.) No dog or no long hair? No problem! Visit a groomer and ask if he/she would mind saving some longer clippings for you in exchange for something like a 1:12 scale poster of popular dog breeds and their traditional haircuts. I did this 2 1/2 years ago after my source of soft mixed grey and white hair had crossed the rainbow bridge, and ended up with enough hair to last me the rest of my life, as well as selling 30 posters to my groomer who wanted to include one with each Christmas card she sent that year!

To prepare the hair, sort and bind clumps of similar colour tightly with sewing thread into small bundles, then give the bundles a 'bath" using warm water and either dish soap or dog shampoo. Rinse well, then gently massage in some 'people' hair conditioner or creme rinse, and rinse again. Let the bundles air-dry and store in a clear baggie until needed. NOTE: If you are over the age of 70, put a label on the baggie so your heirs do not think they are souvenirs from your secret
life as an axe murderer. :-D

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All That Glitters...

Marilyn in CT posted this in All Things Mini Yahoo Group:

My first intro to glitter houses was in the 40’s when I was a kid living in Hamilton Ontario.

I have made a 1/4” glitter house using some of the directions on the Glitter house web site. I also made some tinier ones. The cardboard can warp but to help prevent it be sure to paint or paper both sides of the card. Here are a couple pictures of ones I have made. Since you have limited space you might like to make some like I show in the third picture or the tiny house in the bigger one.

1/4” glitter house made from a Christmas card.

I furnished it instead of just a hole in the back for a light. Notice the tiny glitter house in the bedroom

like the big one. Had a bit of warping on one side but it can add to the charm of a hand made piece.

A row of tiny glitter houses that could go on a 1” scale mantle. These are made from solid wood pieces.

The fences are card.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pushy Art Glass

Here is Chris in Canada again with a brilliant idea that makes use of two throwaways at once!
She says:
While playing with my new heat gun a few years ago, I inadvertently managed to fuse the cap onto a nearby hard plastic rice vinegar bottle, as well as cause the side closest to the heat gun to bulge out in the middle, when I left the gun running while I applied some embossing powder to a project. This goof did result in an interesting rice vinegar bottle, but the scale was all wrong. :-D As a result of this incident I started playing around with bits of plastic stuff to see what would soften and melt rather than catch fire. (Not to worry, I did this on a ceramic tile placed on a firebrick placed directly under the stove's exhaust fan, and no toxic fumes were harmed during testing.)

Anyway, one item in particular took nearly 2 minutes to completely liquefy, giving me a range of useful consistencies from just soft enough to dent with a toothpick, to bendable, to stretchable then finally a thick goop that can be pulled out to form delicate peaks and swirls. This 'miracle material' was some clear Dollar Store push pins that had kept cracking when I pushed them into something hard, leaving just a naked metal stub behind to stab the unwary. I then tested 2-3 brand name clear pins, and they produced the same results, only a bit faster. Sadly, the coloured plastic pins I had just suddenly melted into a shapeless lump that would not re-soften. :-(

The melted and shaped clear plastic is crystal clear except for teensy bubbles that may occur when pulling out thin rods, but shortly realised that one can only use so much modern crystal! So I dug out a little tray of water-based glass stain paints from (where else?) a Dollar Store. I couldn't recall when I had bought it, but it must have been some time ago, as the paints had petrified in the still-sealed containers. Adding a few drops of water and leaving that overnight made no difference. Then I gave the closed containers an 8 second nuke in the microwave (resulting in a very thick goop), added more water drop by drop, stirred and nuked again until it was the consistency of craft paint. This restored glass stain paint was applied lightly to the push-pin glass and then each piece was given a blast from the heat gun to force the stain into the softened surface of the plastic.
NOTE: I now have the tray of restored stains in my freezer, triple-wrapped tightly with Stretch-n-Seal, in a zippered baggie with all the air I could find forced out. I've done the same for safe-keeping some unopened 'Plaid' brand glazes in small bottles that I bought on clearance a few years back but are still liquid (a better seal??).

Some of the early results of the Great HS Artglass Experiment of 2011. These "Abstract Art Glass" pieces are half-scale (1:24) so the two largest pieces were made with about 1.5 pins worth of plastic mixed together as it softened, but the rest involve only 1 pin, or less if the cracked-off bits escaped to the wilds of the carpet below the table. I'm not done experimenting yet, but if you heat a mixed pile of small scraps until very soft and sticky, quickly mash them together (I use the end of a dowel) and heat a bit more, they will blend together and then can be formed as one into what you want.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ironing Board

How I did it:
If you want precise step by step measurements and directions here FUGETTABOUTIT! But here is a fly-by the seat of your pants tut.
Materials :

  • 1/8' strip wood
  • cardboard
  • paper towel (Viva if available)
Step 1:
  • Cut ironing board shape from cardboard (below)

  • Apply 3 layers of felt to one side of the ironing board surface. Apply the paper toweling and trim as shown. Clip the toweling so that it can be glued evenly to the underside of the cardboard. It is easiest if you glue small spots on opposite ends, side to side and back to back and then work your way around, so that paper towel or fabric does not bunch up and create folds.

  • Apply a piece of white card to the underside of the ironing board.
  • Cut 4 pieces of 1/8" strip x 3 3/4" long, at 45 ° angles on opposite ends. (below)

  • Cut braces for the for the legs. Glue together. The total width of the legs cannot be more than the width of the ironing board!

  • Paint the frame, then glue to the top. VoilĂ ! C'est Fini!

Additional ideas:
  • paint the ironing board with silver to mimic a Teflon cover.
  • if you are doing a vintage scene, forget about the legs and suspend the board between 2 chairs (resting on the top rail between the stiles of each chair back)
  • what about just one support, and the ironing board folds down from the wall from the back of a door or a built-in cupboard?
  • remember the Coke bottle with the sprinkler top filled with water (before spray bottles, kiddies!) When ironing multiple items, you would dampen by sprinkling with water, rolling them up like towels, place in a plastic bag to keep them moist, and take out one article at a time to iron. (If you couldn't finish the pile, the bag went into the fridge until the next day!)