More Microscale (1/144 scale)

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My love affair with this tiny scale continues. Here are some projects I have done / have been doing.

I’ll start with the “Secret” books by Robin Betterley. (I’ve been doing a lot of her kits lately because she has some very nice microscale kits).

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These “books” which can be used in a 1-inch scale setting, fit nicely into the microscale house by Charlotte Scott. I plan to use this as a bookshelf in a 1-inch scale house.

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Outside, they look like well-worn books.

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Inside is a secret space with a microscale scene.

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These secret books (called Teeny-Weeny Secret books) are fun to make, take an afternoon (most of the time is letting glue and paint dry), and are inexpensive ($5-$14). A great way to learn microscale. Find them at:

http://www.robinbetterley.com/collections/teeny-weeny-secret-books

Next, I finished off the little cafe, also 1/144th scale:

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The bedroom furniture (very, very small…)

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The cafe counter and hutch plus the many teeny cakes.

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Putting it altogether.

The Blue Sky Cafe (http://www.robinbetterley.com/collections/watercolors) is another great introductory kit to microscale. It’s a little more expensive, but you get *everything*–for the cafe: parts for the structure, flooring, wallpaper, fence, landscaping, chimney–you only need paint and glue (and a little time).

The furnishings were probably the hardest–the building itself was fairly easy and painless to make. While the kit for both the cafe and interior says they’re for experienced miniaturists (and I guess I am one), I thought the cafe itself was not too hard. It’s only two rooms without a lot of strange angles or tough-to-fit pieces.

The furnishings I thought were more difficult, only because they are so small. Painting the pieces for the folding chairs and gluing them together was a trick! But not too bad. The interior kit also has everything you see–the furniture plus artwork for it, the bedding, throw for the chair, and all the little cakes cupcakes and accessories for both bedroom and dining area.

However, if you’re going to foray into microscale with the Betterleys’ kits, I recommend doing the cafe or the secret books before you try the “secret” house I just finished (below).

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I enjoyed the heck out of building this kit (Ravenwood: microscale on top, the base is 1″ scale), but I was glad I built the cafe first. This one has many more rooms and more details, more things to mess up! I’ll show more of this house in my next post. (The kit: http://www.robinbetterley.com/collections/secret-houses)

I swear I do not work for them. :-) I’m just a happy customer. I will post about other microscale offerings out there and show other houses I’ve collected or made.

For my next project, I’m going to finish and furnish a Bespaq baby house that I picked up on a discount, doing everything my own self. I’ll let you know how it goes …

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Microscale–When quarter inch scale just isn’t small enough

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Microscale (1/144 scale) is becoming more popular these days, I’ve been noticing. It’s 1/12 of 1/12, or dollhouse sized for your dollhouse.

I’ve been intimidated by this scale (cause it’s so small!!!!) but I have collected a few microscale houses and am feeling my way.

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This is a kit by Robin Betterley. It’s tiny! It fits in a 3″ x 3″ x 3″ cube (the base in the kit is a little bigger than that–probably 3.5 inches. I trimmed it to fit the cube).

I’ll do a post on construction tips for this kit sometime. I found it relatively easy, though handling these little bits gets tricky!

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The kit is called Blue Sky Cafe. There’s a second kit for the interior furnishings. I haven’t attempted it yet.

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This is a 1/144 house I found at an auction, made by Charlotte Scott. It’s 5.5″ wide, 6.5″ tall (including the legs), and 1.5 inches deep. The inside has been finished (painted) but not furnished. I might use it as a cabinet in a 1/12 scale house, maybe with books or wine bottles inside. Or maybe I will furnish it.

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I do plan to furnish this Bespaq baby house that I bought slightly damaged and unfinished. The cabinet itself is 1/12 scale. The interior is a 1/144 scale house.

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I’ve stained the outside and finished it with paste wax. I will attempt to wallpaper and furnish it! Six rooms, and three halls, all teeny tiny. :-) (The house behind it is a 1/4 scale French Quarter house.)

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Another shot of the Blue Sky Cafe house. Everything is included in the kit: structure; art for outside, inside, and roof; doors and windows; base, fence, and landscaping materials. Even the doorknobs.

 

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A shot of the interior. Not the best photo, but you get the idea.

Now to furnish it with tiny stuff.

The advantages of microscale–An entire six to ten room dollhouse takes up less than six cubic inches of space. It can be displayed on an end table or table inside the front door, used as a decorative accent on a bookshelf, set on a small shelf in the bathroom.

I’m enjoying it so far. Tweezers, though, are a must.

 

 

The Big House Updates

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I have updated all the photos in The Big House section of this blog (see top or right-hand menu). It’s just about done! Here is a taste of each room:

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Front porch

First Floor:

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Entrance Hall

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Music Room

Second Floor:

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Second floor hall

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Kitchen (right side)

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Kitchen: Left side

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Utilities room

Third Floor:

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Third floor hall

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Bedroom

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Bathroom

Fourth Floor (not as finished):

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Library

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Artist studio

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Game room

Almost done! Each room (esp top floor), needs a few finishing touches, and that’s it! It’s been a fun overhaul. I wonder if the next house I make will be “normal.” (Nah.)

Musing on new projects

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Now that I’ve achieved some mini goals this year (half-scale Bungalow, the HBS kit that I turned into a garage, and revamping the electric system on the Big House), I’m pondering new projects.

Right now, I’m not in the mood to open another kit and go through the steps. I am debating whether to design a house myself or learn more furniture building from scratch.

Possibilities: A new half-scale house based on real houses I saw in South Carolina.

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A trip to Charleston introduced me to Charleston Singles, houses that are one room wide on the street. You go through the front door to find yourself on a long veranda that runs alongside the house, far back into the property. They’re built like that to catch the winds for ventilation.

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I have to wonder why more dollhouses aren’t designed like this–dollhouses are typically one room deep (for easy play or viewing), and these houses are one room deep too.

The street front and veranda would be the dollhouse exterior; the interior could be viewed through the open back opposite the veranda side (or fully enclosed with maybe both ends swinging open).

Just a thought!

I looked up floor plans on the Net, found some from the olden days:

Basically the downstairs was a drawing room, hall with stairs, and dining room; bedrooms upstairs. The kitchens were in the back of the property, usually not attached to the house.

I’d want to do a “modern” house, with kitchen inside (and a bathroom or two).

Then there’s this one, which I think I saw on Pinterest

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Lovely! This one could be small enough in 1-inch scale to not take up much space.

Pondering!

Finished Halloween Room

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I finished the Halloween room! Before Halloween! Scroll down to see the room from all angles; click pics for closer views. Enjoy!

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An overview.

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This cool, kind of steampunk-y table is by Bobbie Johnson. She does such beautiful work. There’s a gator underneath!

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Most of the things in this room came from my stash of stuff that didn’t fit elsewhere. I bought a few things, like the potion bottles and the skull candle, but much was acquired hither and yon. The orange lights in the back hall can pulse on and off. Looks cool!

Halloween Room

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This kit inspired me to build a whole room around it, continuing the dark and creepy theme.

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I had a roombox kit I’d found on sale a long time ago (I think from Hobby Builder Supply). It’s very simple–three walls, top, bottom, and glass front. Decided to use brick paper for floor and back wall, which will be a hallway or staircase, seen through an arch.

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The false walls roughed in. I had the fireplace in my stash from an old project that never got going, and the Bespaq unfinished table looked right.

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I painted the table in Folk Art’s vintage white and then antiqued it with burnt umber and antiquing medium.

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The inner walls are foamcore (which I don’t really like, but it’s what I had on hand). I made the walls “stone” by first painting with a coat of slate gray, followed by a coat of warm white mixed with terrarium sand. Once that was dry, did washes of vintage white and several grays. Stones are marked with a very thin lead pencil.

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The “hallway” will be lit with spooky orange light, courtesy of this string of battery operated lights I bought at Hobby Builders Supply.

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Grunging up the fireplace with washes and dabs of watered down dark forest green, burnt umber, and vintage white. I dabbed or brushed on the runny paint (mixing up the colors as I went), then wiping with a paper towel.

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You can see the difference after painting–the stone the fireplace is sitting on is untouched; the fireplace has been grunged.

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One of my ever-eager-to-help assistants.

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I wanted to do weird light effects so purchased a flickering fire unit from Cir-Kit Concepts. Bulbs go into a fake coal pile.

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This will hide the bulbs (I hope).

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Bulbs are wired into a flicker unit, which is in turn wired into the regular dollhouse wiring system. Needs a 12V AC transformer (which is a typical dollhouse transformer).

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You can see the sequence–bulbs in fireplace, through back of fireplace to false wall, to the flicker unit, and its wires (the black ones), will go through the outer wall of the roombox.

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Everything installed, and the false wall glued into place.

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Another light will be this lion head sconce …

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Now grungy with burnt sienna paint.

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The walls set in place.

Next, I will finish gluing in the false walls, trimming everything, then decorating with the fun stuff! More later!

Small Projects

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After a big project like the half-scale Bungalow, I like to calm down by doing short-term, easy projects. Plus I’ve been working like crazy on a new book, which is now winding down (whew).

I did two projects–finished the cute spice tin, then did a fun, spooky one for Halloween that inspired a whole room.

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Completed 1/4″ scale spice tin I’d started a while back. This is a kit from Robin Betterley called “Mayblossom Morning.” (At her site, find under “Our Products” then “Holiday Vignettes–1/4 scale.”)

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I went for the whole shebang–spice tin kit plus three kits to furnish it. I did not use all the furniture from the kits–had a table and chair leftover, which I’m sure will find their way into another project.

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The tin kit comes with the lighting (LED with battery) that rests between ceiling and lid.

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I was attracted to this kit because of all the birdhouses. Love them.

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I set the mini “tin” with a real antique ginger tin in my kitchen.

Ok, spring is out of the way; now it’s onto dark, fun stuff.

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This is a kit, in 1-inch scale, by Ginger Landon Siegal. I did her diner kit a while back, saw this one on her website, and couldn’t resist. Working on it served as a nice break when I was writing and wanted to throw my computer across the room (I didn’t).

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The kit inspired me to build an entire Halloween room and scene for it. I had a roombox kit I’d bought at a deep discount a long time ago that’s just been sitting in my closet. Waiting for the perfect moment, I guess!

The bare bones:

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Next post, I’ll go through how I’m building and lighting the box–hopefully I will get it done before Halloween! It will be filled with potions, skulls, caldrons, and other creepy stuff.

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