Westville: Stonework Painting

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After making sure the paperclay was thoroughly dry and gaps filled in, I started painting the stonework foundation by giving it several dirty gray water washes.

The wash is mostly water with two drops of hippo gray and one drop of black. I went over the stone work three or four times with this, letting it dry between washes. Gradually building up a base of very light gray.

Next I started painting in colors, keeping the paint very watery.

I used Burnt Umber, Hippo Gray, with a touch of Black Green. I later added a color called Latte (which looks like very milky coffee).

I added the colors one at a time: First wetting the brush, dabbing in paint, wetting brush again, dabbing off excess on waxed paper, and then applying that color to individual stones, choosing them at random. I didn’t so much carefully paint each stone as simply dab dab dab with the brush (sometimes more like smoosh smoosh smoosh).

If any one stone color seemed too dark, I’d rinse the brush and use the dirty water to tone it down.

I did a lot of trial and error, wiping off with a paper towel before it dried if I really didn’t like the result.

I went over the stones I’d say four or five times until I liked the look. I still might go back over them and smooth out the colors, making sure none of the white shows through.

It was fun to experiment. The house is taking on a rustic, old-world feel, but that’s fine as I’m doing an antique shop.

Now that the foundation is done and the porch is finished, the rest is going pretty quickly and easily. Next, the bay trim and balconies, then it’s time for the roof.

Westville: Porch

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I worked on the porch while I waited for the paperclay stonework to thoroughly dry. I’ll show the porch build here and then how I painted the stonework next time.

The many pieces of the front porch: Railings, trim pieces, and columns.

I roughed out how everything will go. There are lot of similar pieces, so it’s a good idea to figure out what goes where before the glueing starts.

Pieces stained and sorted into their respective places. On the left, pieces of the main front railings and columns; on the right, the right side railing; bottom, the left railings / trim which will go on the top and bottom of the left side of the porch.

Long piece gets glued horizontally to the top of the front railing piece.

Adding the front posts. The layout sheets specify “left front post, middle front post, right front post” but I couldn’t find any difference in shape–they looked interchangeable to me. If there are differences, they are too subtle to matter.

However, the front and back posts are different. Front have shorter top parts, and backs have big slots for the left and right railings, as in the pic below.

Back posts affixed to the back.

Right railing slides into slot made by back post.

Left railing will fit here.

Right side porch pieces.

As on the front, the horizontal trim goes on top, flush with top and right side.

Right side posts added.

Left side posts are simple, front and back.

Top and bottom railings on the right porch side. The front and left sides are similar.

Front goes on first. I had to do some sanding to get the posts into the holes, and to even out the top so it fit under the porch roof.

Right side fits against front porch piece, into the slot created by the back post.

 

Left side pieces, top and bottom.

Better shot of the top left piece.

Finished porch.

Next time, the stonework gets painted.

Projects: Veneered box and Dora’s Little Loft

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I want to share two little projects I did when the Westville grew too frustrating, and then I’ll turn back to the Westville build.

First, I finished up the box I started in the class with Geoff Wonnacott in Chicago.

I added the hinges myself, plus all the filigree and lock. Papered the inside of the box and then finished the outside with shellac.

The hinge pins were long pieces of wire snipped as close to the hinge as possible and then ground down with a Dremel. I was amazed at how well that worked! New techniques to know.

The second fun project is a kit called Dora’s Little Loft–almost 360 degrees different from the box above.

This is a kit by a Chinese company called Robo Time, which specializes in 3D puzzles and miniature scenes. I’ve seen these kits in various catalogs that come through my house (like Acorn and others), and I purchased this one because it was just cute.

It has a retro feel and is very colorful. The kit contains *everything* in the room–you make all kinds of accessories and little decorative objects, all out of paper, wood, wire, clay, and findings and beads.

Everything here I made from the bits of wire, paper, and fabric in the kit. It’s cleverly put together, even if some of the accessories are a little fiddly.

A tip: Superglue (krazy glue with brush applicator) saves a lot of grief when working with the projects made of wire.

I can put together another post with tips and tricks on this build.

Meanwhile, here’s details of the finished piece.

I used my own pink fabric for the chair, but everything else came from the kit (they include the chair’s fabric, but I liked my color better.)

I chose this kit instead of the plant shop, because I didn’t want to make so many plants. Ha! This one has 19 different potted plants, plus the rose vine and a tree! I cut out many leaves …

I love the details of the cat’s food bowl, milk, and enclosed litter box.

The light fixture with led light and battery box is included–battery box is hidden in a niche beneath the scene. It was one of the easiest lighting hookups I’ve done.

Scale? It’s sort of 1/2 inch, sort of 1 inch. It’s not really exact. But it looks fine. The finished scene is about 8 inches x 10 inches, maybe 10 inches high.

I enjoyed this kit so much (when not cursing at it), that I looked to see what else they had.

HBS (miniatures.com) has four–this one (Dora’s Loft), the plant shop, a kitchen, and a mini camper (I like that one and might get it too).

I searched Robo Time’s website for more, and there are many more. A bookstore, a coffee house, a porch, other shops, all kinds of them. I purchased another one–a music studio–because I play guitar and piano, and it looks cool.

You can purchase directly from Robo Time–they have a U.S. warehouse, so the shipping is from the U.S. (and shipping is free if you spend about $50). They’re also sold through other retailers, and Amazon. Prices are cheapest at the Robo Time site or HBS (miniatures.com)

Anyway, a fun little interlude before I got back to the Westville.

Next post–Westville porch, bay windows, and starting the roof.

Miniature World: Victoria, BC, Canada

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On my recent vacation to the Pacific Northwest, we stumbled on this gem of a museum around the corner from the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

Of course I had to go inside!

It’s less a museum for individual dollhouses or miniature artisans but dioramas and scenes in miniature. Very well done and so cool.

Click photos for larger versions.

They had quite a few scenes of battles in WWII and WWI. Somewhat depressing but also so very well done!

The scene below is called “Chelsea 1815” when the victory over Napoleon was announced.

There was much more than military miniatures, however! So much.

They have a continuous diorama showing cities all across Canada at the turn of the twentieth century. Toronto, Quebec, the Maritimes, Calgary, and more.

I looked very hard for Murdoch’s house and Police Station number 5. 🙂

Another Napoleonic display.

This was a display of many famous European castles if they were all close to each other. 🙂

Nice display of WWII planes.

A car show on the green in a small town.

Below are dioramas of First Nations houses and totem poles.

Gulliver captured in Lilliput.

A coach heading for Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Below: Charing Cross in London in the 17th century (Samuel Pepys diary).

I don’t remember which town this was, but, if you look into the window of the theater, you see a “movie.” What you see is your own face. It’s cute.

London again, and the Thames River.

There were many whimsical displays as well, like the dwarves diamond mine from Snow White.

They do have a few dollhouses, including this lovely house. It is fully enclosed with the layout of a real house, with large windows for viewing the inside.

  

Swiss Family Robinson’s treehouse.

These are some highlights, but there was much more, including a space station:

So glad we found this place!

Westville–Stonework continued

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I did flee home for a few weeks in June, but I discovered a new mini museum in the process. I will post an update on the Westville here–the following posts will cover the mini museum and a couple other shorter projects I did in June.

Before I left on vacation, I put a Creative Paperclay base around the foundation pieces. This gives the stonework some depth.

The paperclay shrinks and cracks as it dries, but as I’ll be covering all this, I’m not bothered.

Yesterday, I bought more paperclay (ran out) and started in making the stonework with the mold (see previous posts). (Darker spot is where the paperclay is still wet).

Once I covered the entire foundation and let it dry overnight, I went back and filled in gaps with paperclay balls rolled to the approximation of a stone and glued onto the dried paperclay.

One drawback of paperclay is the way it shrinks–keep in mind that has to be compensated for.

The darker stones are the ones I glued on to fill the gaps. They’ll lighten as they dry.

Once everything is dry, I’ll fill in any more gaps and then start painting.

Note: It took two and a half 16 oz bricks of Creative Paperclay to do the foundation base and the molded stonework. (Or two 16 oz and one 8 oz).

A tip: Keep any opened paperclay in a sealed plastic bag. Even so, use it up in a few weeks to a month. Longer and it will be too dried out. You can add a little bit of water to drier paperclay to make  it useable.

Next post: My mini adventure!

Westville–Stonework

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Now that I have the stucco more or less where I want it, I’m working on the stone foundation.

First, I made a mold so I could paste on a paperclay stone facade fairly easily:

I have some nice clean rocks that I arranged to look like a stone wall. These are pressed into non-hardening clay (sulfur-free clay is key).

I cut the clay into a neat square then cut illustration board to go around the clay. Hot-glued the boards to the cardboard base. Hot glue makes a good seal so the mold material won’t leak out.

This is the silicon mold mix I purchased at an art supply store. You mix parts A and B one-to-one. I’ve poured B into A in the cup on the left and am mixing it.

Carefully pouring silicon material over the rocks.

Takes about 30 minutes for the mold to harden. I left it here while I had lunch.

Came back, took off the cardboard, and very carefully unmolded the silicon part from the rocks and clay. Voila!

Ready to start the foundation:

First, I’m applying a Creative Paperclay base–using yellow wood glue to glue a lump of paperclay to the foundation area. Making it thicker at the bottom so it looks like stones are shoring up the house. I let this dry overnight.

A thin sheet of Paperclay goes into the mold and gets rolled with the plastic roller. (Anything to smooth the paperclay will do).

Pulling the mold gently from the clay gives me this.

The “stones” glued in place on top of the foundation base. Letting it dry.

I liked how the stones look (I will paint them later), so I’m going ahead. Laying the base first.

This paperclay hasn’t been molded–it’s just glued on and smeared around.

The foundation will extend to the shorter area on the back of the house and also around the porch.

I will continue and finish the foundation, then I will paint everything at once. I didn’t want to paint my sample, because I’d get it just right and then forget what I did.

Next time, I’ll have photos of the completed foundation and how I paint it.

BTW: I learned how to do the mold making at a workshop at the Chicago show. I didn’t have this in mind when I took the class, but then I thought–hey, why not try it? It’s going far better than I feared!

Westville: Stucco

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I’m skipping the next steps on the instructions: Foundation Trim and Siding.

A note about the foundation trim. I notice on the instructions that the bay window foundation trim is listed as being on sheet 5. It’s not. It’s all on sheet 9.

The trim goes around the top of the foundation to cover the tab / slot construction. I might use these pieces to divide stucco from stone base.

On with stuccoing!

I first had to decide what parts not to stucco.

I painted and masked off the porch roof and the tops of the bays.

Likewise I measured three inches up from the bottom (where the stone foundation will go), and marked it off with masking tape.

Sandy makes sure the house is properly taped. Later, I came back to discover he’d pulled off most of the masking tape and ate it. (He spit it out again, and is fine.)

I decided to experiment with vinyl spackling as stucco, and it worked very well. I used almost all of a small container of spackle. I like it because it doesn’t dry too quickly, allowing me to work it. It also sands well once it dries. Plus, it’s easy to clean off my favorite putty knife.

I used this putty knife plus an artist’s palette knife for the tight places.

For inspiration, I found this house on the Internet, which looks a bit like the Westville, esp with its attic windows and bays. Not going with the same color but I found it helpful. (In fact, I’d love to make a miniature of this one!)

 

I smeared on the stucco fairly thinly, then textured it with a stencil brush (also experimented with a paper towel. Both worked equally well.)

Textured with one-inch stencil brush.

Close-up of the texture.

The base layer of stucco on all walls. It took me maybe an hour to do the whole house.

I stuccoed the corners and probably won’t use the corner trim from the kit.

After the stucco dried (overnight), I sanded down the rough spots and gave the whole thing a coat of plain white paint. Once that dried, I started putting on dirty water washes–paintbrush cleaning water with a drop of black and a couple each of burnt umber and gray. I did three washes, letting it dry each time.

The finished stucco work. The house is now attached to the base, and I painted the base brown. I will cover the base with flagstone or landscaping–the brown is to ensure that if anything is seen through the landscaping, it will look like dirt.

Okay then! Time for the stone foundation! I already made a mold for the paperclay–I’ll show how I did it in the next post.

More examples of stucco and stonework.

Any of these houses would make a great miniature!

Next post–the stone foundation.

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