Westville: Stonework practice–Painting

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I painted the stonework I made with the Creative Paperclay in my last post. I’m fairly pleased with the results. This has been a good learning experience.

Painting started with making a base wash of gray. This is a very, very light wash: 1 drop of black plus one drop of burnt umber mixed in a plastic shot glass of water.

The next step was to paint stones with a darker gray wash in a random pattern.

Next the other stones were painted with a brown wash. Then random stones were highlighted with burnt umber and burnt orange.

It turned out a little bit more brown than I wanted so I washed it over with gray again until I liked it.

That’s my paperclay experiment. I like the results, it’s much easier than I feared, and so I will do stonework on the Westville.

For now, I want to finish this little house.

I’m adding LED lights from Evans Designs (made my own fixture below). Here I’ve strung the wires from the house, which I’ll thread through the base to hook up with the battery switch there (that’s the plan, anyway).

Roof pieces painted and ready. One thing I love about quarter-inch scale is the roofing is ready-made, usually from railroad modeling supplies. So much easier than gluing on one shingle at a time.

I’m almost done with this house, then I’ll switch back to the Westville.

Older Projects: Shoe House–Finishing Touches

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Now that my obsession with the Beacon Hill has been satisfied, I’m returning to older projects and cleaning them up or adding finishing touches.

I returned to the Shoe House (Quarter-Inch Scale) to add decoration and furniture to the downstairs rooms plus overhaul the electric system. It had become disconnected and a tangled mess during my move.

I soldered! I learned this in class at the Chicago show, and now I have my own soldering iron and everything (cats beware…)

Scary stuff! But I am finding that the connections are stronger and more reliable. As in, the lights work!

I had to repair almost every connection, and add new lead wires. I got the green connection junction and battery box from Lighting Bug. It’s an LED kit. For each fixture one wire feeds to the positive, one to the negative lead wire (red for positive, black negative), and those wires are screwed into positive and negative terminals in the junction box. That is hardwired (by the manufacturer) into the black battery / switch box. I now just flip the switch on the black box, and the lights come on!

The kitchen is in the bottom of the shoe, only visible through the door and window.

I added all kinds of decorative touches (pictures, plants, dishes, books, pillows, throws, various accessories) to the living / dining room.

I tend to save accessories that come with other kits that I didn’t use with the original kit, which help scatter finishing touches throughout the house.

Upstairs I added pictures, pillows, nightstand accessories, and a folded throw at the bottom of the bed (you can barely see it–it’s pink).

Fixing the lighting systems lets me get a better photo of the bathroom, which, like the kitchen, is only visible through door and window.

 

I’m pleased with how everything has turned out.

Beacon Hill: Left Side–Chandelier

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I have chandelier!

I made this myself with findings from JAR / JAF and Cirkit candle holders and bulbs. It was a challenge!

Can’t remember if I showed the garage light, but here it is. (I purchased this one.)

I had to dial way back on minis to finish writing a book and turn it in, but I’ve returned to finishing the Beacon Hill.

Not much left! I need to make a chandelier for the middle floor room on this side, then put in floors, trim it up, and I’m done!

I’m gathering my thoughts on making this big house and I’ll do a tips / lessons learned post on it later.

Chicago Show–Workshops

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To say I had a blast at Chicago International is an understatement. I hope to return next year.

I could not stay the entire week because I had to do a reader event in Milwaukee, so on Friday afternoon, I left (after shopping until I dropped), and drove from Chicago north.

Workshops I took during the week:

Magic of the drill press with Tom Walden. Who knew? You can use a drill press for routing, carving, shaping–all kinds of things!

We made a table, which I did not put together all the way. I need to fix and finish it. I took Tom’s beginning class, but would love to go to the advanced class another time.

A radio made by Tom Walden using a drill press for everything except the knobs. (An example he passed around in class). Behind it you can see the holly and ebony table I’m working on.

Second class: Electricity!! Carl Sahlberg (Creative Reproductions 2 Scale: http://www.cr2s.com) taught this one. I of course went to his table the next day and bought all kinds of supplies to try out, including strings of LED Christmas lights.

We made a working fan with a light!

All the fun tools! We didn’t keep these–but all supplies for the class were provided. I learned to solder! Much easier than I thought, though I’m sure I’ll set the cats on fire if I do it at home.

The basic fan put together. The blades were laser cut for us. The board with electric tape was for us to practice laying and working with tape runs.

Bottom of the fan. The light socket has been threaded through (you can just see the tiny socket waiting for a light).

Lightbulb installed with globe over it.

It works!!!!

These two workshops were all day (9-5) with a short break for lunch. Intense, but I learned so much.

In my next post, I’ll give highlights of the show and things I bought. Before I went I feared I’d end up broke and having to sell the cats, but happily I found many lovely things without going over my budget.

 

Beacon Hill: Third Floor and Roof Prep

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Building a dollhouse, like writing a book, involves lots of little decisions. To move forward, I need to put the roof on, but before I do that, I want to wire sconces in the third-floor room. Before I do that, I need to wallpaper that room, but I also need to figure out where the fireplace goes because I don’t want wallpaper there.

I skipped all the way to the end of the instructions (no!) to figure out the third-floor fireplace. Because it’s built in, there is only the trim and two pieces for the mantel. The piece with the long tab goes into the slot.

This helps me figure out where I want the wallpaper to stop–the fireplace will be a painted panel all the way to the ceiling, and the rest of the walls papered.

 

I’ve painted and glued the mansard roof support base to the outside of the walls and temporarily set in the roof supports. As you can see I’ve also started to paint the outside walls of the lower floors. The color might be too dark green for me, but I’ll see how it turns out.

Beginning the sconces. These will have dangles on them–it took me an entire episode of Outlander to make six of the nine dangly bits for one sconce! The pliers weren’t cooperating.

I guess it will take me another two episodes to finish both sconces. Fortunately I’m only on season one.

I’ll wallpaper and fix up the fireplace, install the sconces, and move on to the roof.

Beacon Hill: Left side continued

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I’ve glued together the left and left front walls and put in the second floor. I went all over it with a thin coat of latex to seal the wood and then started laying in the electric tape.

As you can see, I cut a hole in the second floor for the stairs I’ll put in myself.

Added the third floor and finished putting in the tape wiring. This used a 15 ft. roll of the tape.

I decided against a staircase going to floor three so I could have more room on the floor for furniture. I’m thinking I’ll leave two sides open, so more can be seen, which means I’ll have to put in columns to brace the unsupported corners.

What I learned from building the first half: Glue together the walls before painting and decorating. Warpage is greatly reduced. You can make paper patterns of the walls for wallpaper and install after running in the tape wiring (if using tape wiring).

What I learned from other projects: Bending the tape wire in 90-degree turns is much faster and easier than splicing. I show more details on tape wiring here: https://jennsminis.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/half-scale-bungalow-lights/

Now to decorate walls and ceilings, make and put in lights. I’m going to attempt some ornate chandeliers. I’m excited to be progressing!

Beacon Hill: Roof and Tower

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Mansard Roof

Now that I have most of the lighting done, it’s time to tackle the roof. Looks complicated but is not.

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I notice that the kitchen side of this dollhouse is rarely photographed, so I’m trying to put out as many pics of it as I can, in case this helps other builders. This is the kitchen side with bay window on, bay window roof temporarily in place (I’m going to cover it with copper). Ready to put on the main roof.

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The mansard roof pieces are very thin, and bend back into place. The instructions with the kit are pretty good on this. I put glue all over the roof supports (see pic above for the supports), and on the bottom of the mansard piece and the top. Masking tape helps everything stay while the glue dries. (The window sill is there because I had to wire in the lamp before I put on the roof).

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Putting the mansard roof piece on the front. Tacks help a little, but tape is best.

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Finished mansard roof on the kitchen side (there are only two sides to the roof on the kitchen half of the house). The brown stripe on it is me testing whether the color of stain will work (it’s Early American from Minwax).

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I’m using shingle strips for this house. Best to stain first.

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Before I put the roof pieces on, I traced them onto very thin cardboard. I’ll shingle the cardboard then glue the whole thing to the roof. Marked where the shingles strips will fall.

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Shingling begun. I found out (the hard way) that it’s better to cut the shingle pieces to length first than to try to cut out the hole in the middle for the window after gluing. Live and learn.

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The finished shingle sheets glued to the mansard roof. The ugly edges will be covered with trim.

Now for the Tower!

The tower is, in the kit, enclosed on four sides, but open on its bottom, so you could hang a chandelier from the very top and have it hang down to the third floor hall. Cool. But, of course, I wanted to change it.

I am interested in astronomy, so decided I’d create a little observatory up there. That means I need a floor for the tower and also to open one of the walls so we can see in. Already found a telescope for it.

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This is the back wall, which I will cut for the opening into the tower.

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The piece cut.

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The four tower walls assembled–the walls each have a large tab on their bottom edge that slide into the large square opening in the tower base (ignore the small slots for the moment).

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Because I want this to be a room, I had to put a floor back in. I took the piece that I punched out of the middle of the tower base and trimmed it down to slide it back in. You have to take out that piece at first, because the walls fit inside the opening it leaves behind.

 

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This is the underside of the tower. I have to cover the crease of the fitted-in floor piece and also support it. I cut four strips of 1/2″ wide wood and glued it on the seam of the floor on the underside of the tower (which will be the third-floor ceiling), using the decorative squares to make it look pretty.

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Here is the underside of the tower painted and ready to go.

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I went ahead and wallpapered the inside, because I knew I’d never fit the paper after finishing the tower. The floor will be covered with flooring later.

 

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I also wanted to hang a light in the third floor hall. This is an old light I had in the Big House, in the attic. I worried that it would be too long for the lower ceilings of this house, but the tower pokes up above the ceiling height of the third floor. Perfect!

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The tower on, ready to be glued in place. The instructions have you finish the roof first, but I wanted to wire in the light, and I couldn’t put the trim piece on until the wiring was done, but you have to put the trim piece on to support the roof sides. Clear? (Took me a while to figure out the sequence–cut wall, glue tower together, insert floor, support floor, put in light, glue tower to house top, run tape wire to tower, wire light, put on trim, do the roof … whew!)

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Here, I’ve extended the tape wire to the tower room and wired in the lamp. Then I glued on the trim (a solid piece that goes around the four sides), which I painted first.

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Let there be light! It works! Yay!!!

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Here’s another departure. I didn’t want to put on the tower roof, because I want to be able to look down into the room–plus the tiny telescope users will want to tilt their refractor high and look at Orion and the Pleiades and find the Andromeda galaxy (I can never see that thing).

I wanted to use the roof trim, but not the roof top. The problem is, though, that the roof sits down on tabs, and if I didn’t use the roof top, the trim didn’t have a smooth surface to rest on. Rather than try to cut off the tabs, which would be difficult at this point, I used 1/8 square strips to even out the edges.

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Now to put the roof pieces on the tower, which is exactly like putting the mansard pieces on the house. I have lots of tape and clamps to help out.

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So, now the tower and its roof are on.

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I am now in the process of putting on the shingles, again gluing them to very thin cardboard pieces, which will then be glued to the mansard roof.

Next time–trimming!! We’re getting there!

 

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