1/2 inch trailer part 2.5

I discovered as I went on that the measurement of 2″ for the bed top is also not good. The cabinets will not fit (I find out after I’ve glued the bed in place), so I will have to redesign the cabinets to shave off 1/4 inch total width. I’d make the bed top 1.5 to 1.75 inches if I were to do this again. If I’d measured better before I glued… Ah well.

Half-Inch Trailer Part II

Part II: Hitch, tires, taillights. Bed and curtains.

Scroll for pictures plus my tips, and my “discovery” of an easy way to do half-inch scale pillows.

The hitch and wheels in place.

With wheels, back.

 I decided to use purchased tires–these are model airplane tires for $1.49 at Hobby Bench. Grunged up, they suit the purpose.

Interior air vent faked with black-painted gauze and silver-painted wood strips. The top air vent made according to instructions (couldn't get good pic, but it's up there).

Tires are model airplane wheels I found for $1.49 at Hobby Bench. I found a piece of silver scrapbooking paper in my paper drawer, covered the bottom of the trailer with it.

Bed in place. Went through fabric scraps and found leftover Brodnax pink silk plus some fun black polka-dot cotton I bought at a show. I also used swatches I'd gotten from a long ago mail-order fabric club (real sized) for curtains and a pillow.

Closeup of bed. Looks cozy--pain to get pillows in place!


1. The dimensions given in the magazine for the top of the bed are wrong. The width should be 2 inches not 2.5 inches. When I plopped the 2.5″ bed top inside to see how it fit, it extended all the way to the big window–not enough room to fit in the cabinets. I trimmed to 2″ and all was well (and matches the photo in the magazine). The dimensions of all other bed parts are correct.

2. There is no art in the magazine for the “wood” to go around the bottom of the bed. I made another copy of the art and used the strips meant for the benches. I could have covered the exposed part with fabric or wood veneer, but I wanted the consistency. You can barely see it anyway!

3. If I do the project again, I’ll glue on the window curtains before putting the trailer together. Getting my huge hands inside was a PITA, especially the one window in the back side! 

4. Find something to prop up the back end while working with the bed. The trailer was perfectly balanced between wheels and hitch until I put in the bed; then it tipped to the back. Could be I didn’t get the wheels exactly in the right place, or once I get benches in the other side it will balance again. But when I display it, I’ll put “bricks” there as though the trailer hasn’t been moved in a while.

5. I discovered an easy way to make half-inch scale pillows without stitching (and b*tching): For pillows that are about 5/8 square–cut a strip of fabric 1.5 inches by .75 inches. Fold in half and trim the three open ends until you have a square a little more than 5/8. Press. Cut a very thin piece of foam or batting and put it inside the folded square. Glue the edges with tacky glue (be sparing!), squeezing edges together to make sure they’re completely closed.

Clean up the glue, and trim the edges with scissors once again to make sure they’re square. You can add tiny trim or ribbon around the edges if desired. Glue keeps the edges from fraying. I’m glad I figured this out–I have a half-inch house that is crying out for pillows and cushions.

(The largest pillow on the bed is about 1″ X 3/4″)

Now I’m working on the benches and table, and cabinets, which will be in the next post.

Fun Interim Project, Part I


June 2010 Miniature Collector

 I don’t often do the projects in miniature magazines (dunno why), but the half-inch scale travel trailer project by Robin Betterley, in the June and July 2010 issues of Miniature Collector magazine, caught my eye. I love her 1/4-scale kits, plus I needed a relaxing, inexpensive and fun project, so I went for it. All of the artwork for the trailer is included in the magazine (both issues), plus easy to follow instructions.

Scroll down for lots of pics, plus some tips for making the project.

Attaching sides (windows/door with screens and trim in place) using gluing jig with magnets.

Gluing sides to floor.

Gluing sides to floor, another shot. Jig helps keep the sides perfectly square to the floor.

More challenging: Gluing on the roof. I started by securing the highest side (where the table will go)

Another shot of roof gluing in progress. Securing the tallest side. Gluing jig is my friend.

Roof in progress with assistant looking on...er...sleeping.

Roof glued in place: Front. Window with awning cut. I decided not to cut a hole for the roof vent, afraid of messing up the roof. Will fake it later.

Roof in place: Back. Silver tape has been added to bottom of both sides.

Roof finished with silver tape on the edges, the awning window trimmed, with awning braces in place.

Next I need to finish the outside (bumper, roof vent, etc.), then I start with the interior.

Helpful hints (Or, what I learned the hard way):

1. Have plenty of waxed paper around when gluing the artwork to the walls and roof. The YES paste gets everywhere!! (On me, the worktable, the project, the cat). Apply paste sparingly and work everything on waxed paper.

2. When creating the roof curve (see the instructions in the magazine), put the roof inside a folded piece of waxed paper. That way, when the cardboard is curved around and clamped (I used masking tape), it’s not mistakenly glued together. Plus I could use masking tape to clamp it to dry and not ruin the artwork.

3. I didn’t have any black gauze handy, so I painted white gauze black. That gave it a nice stiffness as well.

4. Go slowly. It’s not a long project but take time to make it pretty–it’s cardboard and paper which is easily damaged (although surprisingly sturdy once it’s constructed.)

5. I’ve been using Folk Art metallic silver acrylic paint for the whole project, in my quest to be as non-toxic as possible (partly because I am a clutz). It might not be as glossy as spray paint, but it looks fine and hey, a trailer like this would sit out in the rain.

6. My masking tape stuck to the waxed paper pretty thoroughly once it was painted (in other words, I couldn’t get the tape off again!). So I left a “tail” of tape sticking out so I could start peeling it from the paper.

7.  If pieces of the silver tape don’t stick, tacky glue helps stick it down.

8. Trimming the interior of the two roof windows was a booger once the roof was on, and my messiest work. Hard to see how to do it before, though, because the window essentially bends.

9. Have a “helper” to keep you company (see photo).

The helper. He’s excited about this project.


The June 2010 and July 2010 issues of Miniature Collector can be ordered from: http://scottpublications.com/mcmag/ My local mini shop also carries back issues (I imagine many do). (The quarter-inch project on the cover of the Oct. issue looks good too, sigh.)