Friday, November 11, 2016

Chrysnbon Kits side table, chair and stereoscope

This is a Chrysnbon kit. I painted the chair and table legs a light gray. The top of table I painted with an acrylic paint. I painted the stereoscope brown where it is supposed to be wood. I darker gray for the metal parts. Instead of using the black fabric that came with the kit, I used a grayish-blue vintage hankie. I first sprayed an area of the hankie with Terra-Magic. it made it stiff enough that I could then manage to cover the seat. That was after 3 attempts to cover the seat without the Terra-Magic. I wanted to use the hankie fabric because of the scale of the weave but it was just so flimsy. Chrysnbon kits are plastic if you aren't familiar with them. i like them because I think they are more to scale than some of the cheaper wood kits. They have great detail. Yes, you do have to scrape and sand some of the plastic flanges off but wow that makes all the difference in the world as to the
final look. I used an ultra fine Painters Pen to apply the gold trim on the table and chair. Worked great and dried very quickly. I applied a water based sealer (gloss) to the table and chair.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Flooring - Wood if you haven't put your doll house together yet.

I like to draw lines, with a ruler and pencil, on the floor to simulate hardwood planking.  Then I stain it and put a finish on it.  I find this more to scale than putting hardwood flooring made for dollhouses down.

Wall papering a dollhouse or room box

     I always measure the height of the wall.  If the wallpaper is too tall, cut it off at the bottom edge.  It will be less noticeable. You are probably going to put up baseboard molding or carpet that will help to cover an uneven edge.
     If the room has odd shaped walls and you haven't put the dollhouse together yet, make a template or pattern of the wall.  This is great for attic rooms that slant, especially.  When I built REAL GOOD TOYS light house kit, I made templates of each wall and each floor.  The top of the walls are smaller in width than the bottom of the same wall.  This was a life saver, for sure.
      I make the pattern or template the exact size of the wall.  When I trace the pattern for the BACK wall onto the backside of the wall paper, I extend each side about 1/2".  I wall paper the BACK wall first, wrapping the extra wall paper onto the side walls.  Then I wallpaper the side walls.  I push the wallpaper back so it butts up against the back wall, covering the extra wall paper that was wrapped around.  This make a nice finish so there are not any gaps in those back corners. I like to use Grandmother Stover's glue.  But I take it out of the jar, and put it into a glass jar a bit bigger with a teaspoon of water.  Then I put it into the microwave and heat it until I can stir it with a craft stick. I might have to add more water.  I want it the consistency of a thick maple syrup.  I use a stencil brush to them apply the glue to the back of the wall paper.  This is a little trick I learned from taking a Brooke Tucker room box class, back in the day.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Installing a door into a dollhouse

This is especially if the door is to be opened and shut - repeatedly. As in a child playing with the dollhouse.  Before any gluing, test your door to see if it will easily open.  If not sand the edge so it will be able to swing open and shut.  Use a piece of seam binding, fabric or ribbon that is at least twice the width of the edge of the door.  Glue this to the inside edge of the door lining up the edges. Which ever way the fold is, that is the way the door will swing.   The side that would have the hinges on.  Let it dry completely.  Trim the top and bottom off of any excess seam binding.  Fold the seam binding back on itself.  Put glue on the outside length of this half.  With the door open, press the glued side of the seam binding onto the door jam.  While the door is drying, prop something under the door itself to hold it up in the position even with the door sill (bottom).  You don't want the door pulling the seam binding away from the jam as it is drying.  Once the glue has dried, shut and open the door a few times to make sure it is working.  Now you can glue on your door handles if you have not already done this step.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cameo Silhouette and Cutting out Printie's or Printable's for Dollhouse Miniatures.

     I am taking it for granted that if you are reading this, you know how to use your Silhouette, or other electronic die cut machine.  I have the Cameo so bare with me and my instructions.  If you need help with using your Cameo in general, I recommend    
     Lets try to make a printable that you have downloaded off the internet.  I made a folder on my computer and named it "mini printable's".  I save all my printable's that are dollhouse size in it.  
1. Open Silhouette Studio.  This tutorial is long but easy and you will use it over and over. 
2. On the top right of your tool bar, you will see a blue grid.  Hover your mouse over it and will say GRID SETTINGS WINDOW.  Click on that.
3. Leave the SPACING alone - the 1 that is there means 1".  Where it says DIVISIONS is where you are going to make a change.  Type in 12 where the 4 is.  That means your grid will still be an inch but it will be divided into 12 spaces.  Our dollhouse scale is 1" = 1' remember? or 1/12th.  So now each square will be 12/12's.  You should have 12 spaces in between each 1 inch on your mat. The easiest measurement of course is if in real life something measures 1 foot.  In dollhouse life the same item would be 1 inch.  Measure something you have laying around that is less than 1 foot.  I have my cell phone sitting here that is 6" tall and 3" wide.  On my Silhouette mat I can count six tiny squares that will equal those 6".  So if I want to make a shape like my cell phone i will go to the rectangle with the curvy corners (on the left side of your mat).  Now with that selected I will draw a rectangle 6 squares tall and 3 squares wide.  If you are finding it difficult to get it exact, go back to your GRID settings and select SNAP TO GRID.  Now when you draw something it will automatically go right to the next square.
4. Click on the folder to open an new image, top left.  Go to where you have your printable saved.  Click on the one that you want and it will open up on your virtual mat.  Sometimes they show up totally the wrong size.  
5. Hopefully you will be able to get approximately the correct size of your printable by dragging the corners of the image when you click on it.  I opened one that was so big I could only see one corner of it.  WOW.  Then again they are more the appropriate size.
6. Most of the printable's I have are on a white or colored background.  We need to get rid of that.  Open up the TRACE WINDOW on the top right.  It is a blue square surrounded by a yellow square.  
First thing to do is CLICK ON TRACE AREA.  Then drag a box around your printable.  It does not have to be exact, as long as it covers it.  UNCHECK HIGH PASS FILTER. One the THRESHOLD, slide the bar over to the right until just your image, that you want to cut, is yellow or at least the outline is yellow.  Go back up and click on TRACE AND DETACH.  Once it is done doing its thing, click on the background and drag it off to one side and delete it.  
7.  Now your image or images are on your mat and the background is deleted.  YEAH!  we are almost there.  Go back to CLICK ON TRACE AREA.  Drag an other box around your image that is on your mat.  UNCHECK HIGH PASS FILTER (you always do this but I don't know why????) and move your THRESHOLD slide to the right, again until your image is yellow. This time we are going to click on TRACE OUTER EDGE.  This will just trace the outline of your image.  You will now have a RED cut line surrounding your image.  Highlight both your image and the red line by dragging a box around both.  Right click and chose GROUP.  **
8. REGISTRATION MARKS (top right toolbar - rectangle with angles in each corner)
This is what we will need in order for your printer to know where to print. Most likely your mat is showing a 12 x 21 paper on it.  We need to change this to a letter size paper unless you have a printer that will print 12" paper.  Click on the DESIGN PAGE SETTING WINDOW - top right. Underneath the WIDTH & HEIGHT, click on the drop down arrow and choose LETTER.  Your virtual paper will shrink down to 8 1/2 x 11.  We now need to put the registration marks on this.  Click on REGISTRATION MARKS WINDOW - top right.  Under STYLE choose from the drop down list which Silhouette you have.  There will now be registration marks in the two top corners and one in the bottom left corner of your virtual mat.  These will be printed on your paper/card stock along with your image or images.  
9. Position your image inside these marks.  
10.  Click on SEND TO PRINTER.  Choose your printer,  Put in the printer whatever paper or card stock, etc. that you wish to print this one.  Click print.  DO NOT MOVE ANYTHING on your virtual mat after this point.
11 When you printer is done, place your paper on your mat as closely to what it looks like on the screen.  This is so you Silhouette will know where to look for the registration marks.  
12 SEND TO SILHOUETTE.  Your machine will search for the registration marks and then automatically start cutting.
13 You have successfully done a print and cut.  You should save the file SAVE AS.  I usually save in a file called Mini Print n Cut or PnC for short.  You can also save this to your library.  

** In step 7 we did a TRACE OUTER EDGE.  There is also an option to TRACE.  The easiest way to explain this is if you drew an "O, B, D, P, " and did trace outer edge, it would only trace the outside edge.  If you chose TRACE, it will cut both the outside edge and the inside sections.  Try it and see what I mean.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cutting out miniatures or printies

We spent the last couple of days visiting with Bob's brother, who drove down from Baltimore.  Nice spending time with him but now it is back to miniatures.  I did find a great site on FB - Dollhouse Miniatures made from Trash to Treasures & Found items.  Very friendly group with folks sharing how they made things from junk.  I also have been printing out some miniatures that I found online.  Some I am cutting out by hand, not my Cameo.  Mostly just straight lines and something I can do while on the phone or in front of the TV.  The first boxes I cut out, I didn't measure and they are probably American Girl doll size.  LOL  I cut them with the Cameo so I wasn't really watching sizes.  NOW I am  going to check before I cut.  I am thinking they might look nice on my real size Christmas tree, as decorations or ornaments. LOL  A use for them anyway.

Monday, October 17, 2016

    I am redoing a REAL GOOD TOYS General Store that had been in storage for years.  One wall had fallen off which made the front come apart but that actually made it easier to repaint.  It was a really pretty yellow.  I wanted to age the building so I did some online research to see images of old general stores.  Most of them where white, but dirty and worn. So I white washed it, which toned the yellow down quite a bit.  Now I am using chalk over the dry paint to age it.  When I get it to what I want it to look like, I will spray it with a dull clear coat.  I am going to use a spray sealer rather than a brush on sealer.  I don't want the wet brush to pick up the chalk.
    I turned the building upside down to get the darker chalk into the grooves under the clapboard siding.  You know, where all the dirt collects on a real building.  Especially in the corners and along the trim.  I am using a combination of a make-up sponge and a stiff artist brush to get the chalk where I want it to go.  The chalk I am using is a set I purchased a long time ago from a model railroad company. It is loose chalk.  You can of course use chalk that crafters use which comes in solid blocks.  With just a little scraping you can loosen up the chalk particles. It might come off just using the sponge or brush.     The colors that I have are an ocher(dirty yellow), a medium brown, a medium/dark blue, and a darker green chalk. I am going to also use a dark gray or black from my crafters chalks. You can also use chalk on plastic buildings, and miniatures such as Chrysnbon to take the sheen off.  You MUST seal afterwards or it will continue to brush off.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pots and Pans out of card stock

     The last few days I have been cutting pots and pans and such out of card stock.  After cutting out the scrub pail, I pull the piece of card stock across the edge of my desk.  This helps to bend the card stock into a more rounded shape without getting creases.  After I glue the edges together, I find it easier to glue the bottom edge of the now round pail to an other piece of card stock.This is to make the bottom of the pail.  Once this is dry, I cut around the glued edge of the now bottom. If I have to I take an emery board and file of the edges.  I am using "wood glue", as I find it dries hard and not flexible like a "tacky glue" dries.  Now I do love my tacky glue, but not for these.  We don't want them to have wobbly sides. Having some clips or small clothespins helps to hold the edges together while waiting for the glue to dry.  Actually it doesn't take all that long to dry.
     I then glue on a piece of buttonhole thread along the top front edge to simulate a rolled edge.  When this is dry, I paint it using acrylic paint.  The brand of paint is up to you.

     I can't believe how long it is taking me to make some pots, pans, and pails out of card stock.  Yes, I am trying to make enough to supply an old country general store but it has been days since I started them.  I think the drying time between the different coats of paint and sealer is what is taking so long.  Plus one coat of paint just didn't do it.  Then some of the items I wanted to look galvanized so that took an extra coat of paint.  Then the pans I wanted to look like blue enamel ware took a coat of speckles.  I think I learned that next time I am NOT starting with white card stock.  Navy blue (solid core) card stock for the enamel ware.  Gray card stock for the ones that are going to be galvanized. Thinking this will save me a coat or two of paint.  I love how my little garden pitchers turned out.  I painted one pewter, one copper and one a pretty shade of light green.
     My hanging scale - to weigh the fruits and veggies in the store came out really cute.  Now to find some chain the right scale size.  I guess my local craft store needs a visit so I can finish them up.
Today I am painting my General Store and then weathering it to make it look old. Chat with you later.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Supplies and Tips I use to make miniatures

1. Wood glue - for strength and sturdiness. I have been using Aleen's Wood Glue and liking it just fine. Yes, even for gluing paper. It makes the paper items stiffer than using tacky glues.
2. Tacky glue - My favorite is Scotch Tacky Glue quick dry - to adhere quickly and dries clear
  a.Glues in General - Make sure that you bring your glue all the way to the edges and corners of tabs that you are adhering.  This way they won't look as though they are pulling apart.
3. White card stock - I buy mine at Wal-Mart, in the office supply section - Georgia Pacific Premium card stock.  110 weight 150 sheets.  Very reasonable.  8.5 x 11"
4. I like Lumiere metallic paints for items that need a metallic look.  They are a little thicker than some acrylics. They have a great pewter color and a bronze I use to give an old looking copper color.
5. I also will use chalks to give an aged,  antique look.
6. Gesso.  It now comes in black besides white.  A coat of this adds a thickness or dimension to items. I cut out my knife shape out of card stock. Then I dip my knife handles into the gesso and let them dry before I paint them.  Now my handles of the knives are thicker than the blades.
7. Any brand of an acrylic varnish.  Even Modge Podge will work to give a protective coat and a little sheen.   You can get this in a tinted version or tint your own with a little brown acrylic paint mixed.   I do not like a high gloss finish as it looks a little fake to me on miniatures.  Just my opinion.
8. Rubber stamps.  When I make my baskets, I cut them out of brown card stock.  To give them a little accent, I stamp with brown permanent ink before I assemble them. While they are still flat. I have a wood grain stamp that I use. Also a crackle stamp.  Both of these are wood mounted - 5 x 6" stamps.  I am not particular to the direction of the grain.  Don't forget to stamp both sides of the card stock if it might be seen.  Like a bushel basket.  
9. Vaseline.  I use this sparingly.  After painting a dark brown base coat, I will put a thin layer of Vaseline in places on the furniture where there might be a bit of wear.  Especially on corners or edges.  After applying the top coat of paint I let that dry.  I rub off the top paint coat in the areas I had put the Vaseline on.  This leaves those places looking old and worn.
10. Acrylic paint - This is great for painting the card stock.  Also dabbing some to look like rust or soot, etc.
11. Jewelry findings - so many different uses. Walk up and down the jewelry aisle in your hobby store. Use your imagination.
12. Buttonhole or carpet thread (both are thicker in dimension than regular sewing thread) add a "rolled edge" to miniatures made out of card stock.  After making the item in 3D, I glue the buttonhole thread to the front edge of the item that would be originally made of metal.  AKA a metal pail always has a rolled edge along the top.  Doing this with the buttonhole thread simulates the rolled edge.
13. Chalks to age and weather.  I use model railroad chalks as they have nice dark colors for aging.  You can use any chalks, such as crafters chalks which come in a rainbow of colors. Make sure you seal afterwards so the chalk doesn't rub off.  You can apply chalks to plastic also.  Again use a spray sealer instead of a brush on sealer.  You don't want to take off the chalk with the wet brush.
14. Silhouette Cameo uses for miniatures. In making my miniature General Store, I wanted a big sign for above the door.  I love the Design Studio software that comes with the Silhouette Cameo so I thought I would design something in there.  Any font that is on your computer comes up as a choice to use in Design Studio.  I knew I wanted letters that didn't have any skinny parts to them, so I scrolled down my list of fonts.and found an old one called PC Wooden.  The letters looks sort of wobbly and not perfect.  Like they might have been hand cut by a customer of the shop, in exchange for some dry goods. My story and I am sticking to it.  Anyway, back to my Silhouette Cameo which is an electric die cutting machine that you use your computer with.  You can check them out at www,  Yes, you can buy .files for your machine to cut out, but their software makes it very easy to design your own items.  In this case I am not designing so much as just typing out the words that I want my machine to cut out. I want some thickness to the letters so once I decided on the size of the letters, I selected the words, right clicked and chose Duplicate.  It made an identical copy.  I moved it under the first words and duplicated 2 more times for a total of 4 General Stores.  Once my machine cuts them out of card stock, I will glue each letter on top of each other to give more thickness to them.  Then I thought "how am I going to line them up nicely?"  Brainstorm here!!  I will just lay the stencil part of where the letters got cut out of on my building and put the glued and painted letters in their proper spots.  I hope you understand that.  Maybe when I get to that point I will take a picture.
     I am thinking I might have to devote a whole page to things to make with a Cameo or other die cut machine.  Any file that you have can be resized so the possibilities are endless.
15. Printie's  When cutting out your printie's, before gluing together, get rid of that ugly white edge.  Just take a minute to run a marker along that white edge.  It will  make your final project look sooo much better.  Try to match up a marker with the color of your item.  If not, I usually use a brown or grey marker to color my white edges.
16. Books from Printie's  If you are making a book from a printie book cover and need pages to fill it, I find it easiest to do an accordion fold for the pages. I measure the height of the book and the depth of the cover. Then I cut a strip of paper just a tiny bit smaller than the height of the book. The length isn't important at this time. Now using the measurement you made of the depth of the cover, mark your strip of paper that measurement. My book happened to work out at 1/2" for the depth. I have a scoring board so I put my paper up against the end and scored every 1/2" until the end. Using a bone folder or something to give a nice crease (butter knife?) crease every fold. Trial fit the pages into your book cover. Does it fit? Maybe needs pages cutout if too full. Or maybe you need to make an other strip of pages to add to this. I wanted my book to look old so I inked, with a marker, all the page edges on 3 sides. I used a gold marker. The fourth side will be up against the binding so it doesn't need inking. Now put a dab of glue in between each page and on the two end pages. Insert into your cover. You might want to hold onto it or put a weight on it. By the way, I use SCOTCH tacky glue. It does't take long for it to set up and dry.
17.Scoring Printie's Yes, I am still working on some printie's. An other thought to share with you about them. Do your score lines BEFORE cutting the item out. I use a bone folder but a not sharp knife will do also. Put your item that needs fold marks onto something with a little give to it. Like your computer mouse pad. Run your tool where you want your fold line and now you will see a slight indentation. Makes it so much easier to fold now. I had a sheet, from ages ago, with tiny Barbie doll boxes on it. I noticed that they were pre-scored. I still had to cut them out and glue them together.
18. Faux Painting My father taught me a trick a long, long time ago. To make a print of a picture look as though it has really been painted, put a coat of Mod Podge on it making sure your brush stokes are visible. You might have to wait until the coat of Mod Podge is a bit tacky, and then dab with your brush, any which way, to make it appear like tiny brush strokes the artist would have used.

Welcome to Gramma's Attic Miniatures

Hello and welcome!  
     This is my first post but certainly not my first miniature adventure.  Back in the '80's I owned THE UPSTAIRS DOLLHOUSE shop in Waldorf, Maryland.  I started in just one room of a craft shop.  I very soon expanded to two rooms and then moved my location out to the main highway.

     What a fun time that was.  I met so many nice people, too.  Well, the economy took a turn for the worse and I closed shop.  Now that I am retired I thought I would get back into miniatures.  I really enjoyed making mini's and that is what I am thinking I will be focusing on.  That and making room boxes or stores to house my miniatures in.  

     Technology has certainly changed the way we do things, and making miniatures is no exception.  I have been designing and cutting out miniatures with my Silhouette Cameo.  Most folks think of this die cut machine to make scrapbook items, for card making, or to cut vinyl.  Some of the things I design with my Cameo, I am cutting out of card stock.  Other items, I can do a print and cut, using the printer connected to my computer and then the Cameo.  I have include a link to where you may see this wonderful machine.