Westville: Stonework Painting


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: Stucco


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.

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.

Beacon Hill: Front porch


The porch! This step is where I could have used lots of pictures and diagrams! It’s a bit confusing.


First–this was my Sheet 23, which has all the porch post trims (about 40 of them). When it came out of the box, it disintegrated, so I had to piece it together like a jigsaw. I managed to find all the pieces, thankfully.


The broken Sheet 23 goes back into bags and a shoebox for later use (the front door and some window trim is on it as well).


These are the pieces of porch post from Sheet 26 (which thankfully was intact). Note–there are two of Sheet 26.

Tip: By the way–I found it very useful to go through all the big sheets in the box and mark their number with a sharpie (in a corner so it doesn’t get on a piece you need!) The numbers on mine are very faint, and I got tired of searching for what number was what.


Three of each post pieces are glued together, stacked on top of each other, to create four posts. Masking take was a good clamp.


The edges of the posts are a little raw for me, even after much sanding, so…


I smoothed them out with spackling. (The post in the picture is pre-spackling–I gave it a base coat of gesso). (Explain to me my spell checker doesn’t like the word spackling? That’s what it says on the jar!)


The porch post trim pieces (from my ill-fated Sheet 23). Middle post trim (the long ones, four per post), and the bottom trim (four per post).


The spackled post waiting to dry, and the trim pieces getting a coat of paint.


The post on the left is what they all will look like. I decided to experiment with one first to see if I liked the colors. I like the dark base with the lighter pieces glued on top.


The bottom row is the “mid post caps” (one large, one small for each post) which slide down the posts from the top. I had to sand down the spackling to make them fit!


A finished post in place, with the caps–large one first then small one on top of it–in place.


The porch-roof trim. These pieces gave me problems, and there were no good photos to guide me! Laid out here from bottom to top are pieces A, B, C, and D (D is the small one).


A, C, and D glued together and painted. This part was fairly straightforward. When this is flipped over and glued to the underside of the porch roof, the long piece will go against the right side of the house, the shorter piece on the side with the front door. (I show this in place a couple of photos down.)


It was piece B that drove me crazy. I put the roof down under the trim and tried to figure out where B went. Like this? No, apparently not. I even had it glued, took it apart, flipped everything around wrong, glued it again, took it apart … Until I finally figured out ….


That piece B goes like this. It rests flush with the top of A (actually the bottom, but we’re flipped over right now), with A’s big rectangular tabs sticking up. Like this, B forms holes for the posts to go in. So B, in this picture, sits about 3/4 of an inch off the table. Who knew?


Another shot of B correctly glued to A. This will show on the underside of the porch roof (got all that?).


Here’s how the porch trim / post (A-B-C-D) support will fit on the house. Porch roof will go on top of this.


Now that everything’s painted (2-3 coats) and given a coat of DuraClear Ultra Matte varnish, it’s time to put it all together. Port posts go in the holes first. I only had to enlarge one hole, which made me feel good.


The trim in place with the porch posts pushed through the holes, held in place temporarily by tape. The house, BTW, is on its back, which is why the photo looks a bit odd.


A shot of the porch posts in the trim, from the side.


The porch roof itself in place, with the top trim painted and glued on. I went with red for the top trim.


Now for the porch foundation. This is the smallest foundation piece on the right after it had been knocked loose by the furry assistant.


Here is the furry assistant complaining that he should be able to unglue things whenever he wants to.


The right porch foundation glued back into place. It took me a while to figure out it went to the left, toward the porch.


The longer right side foundation piece goes under the porch floor, against the post sticking through, and back into the piece I glued in the photo above.


Small foundation piece on the left side of the porch. It too goes against a post sticking through and back to the main house’s foundation.


The long foundation piece goes against the bottom of the porch posts that stick through the porch floor, and against the edges of the left and right foundation pieces.



Here we are–porch posts, roof, trim, and foundation in place. This took days!

The colors might be too stark for me. I might soften with a yellow or blue, or “age” the house, or do greenery … I’ll see what it looks like when more is done!

Next I’ll do the kitchen bay setup, then return to the roof, which I’ve been avoiding. 🙂

Denise’s City Cottage–Garage–Purt Near Done!


The mechanics garage I built from HBS’s Denise’s City Cottage is pretty much done! Scroll down for pics of finished exterior and interior. Click pics for larger views.


Outside, vehicles can fill up with gas or get air in their tires.


Side view with security light.


An overall view.


Overhead shot of the interior. I chose not to put on the roof for easier viewing. I also added the bathroom. The walls are not part of the kit.


Details. Many of the accessories I found at Wright Guide Miniatures, Mainly Minis, and Hobby Builders Supply.





I’m glad I took this photo, because my cats chewed apart the jumper cables not an hour later. I can save them, but still … I purchased this battery charger and battery at a show.



I’ve had to use bathrooms like this on the road. When you gotta go …


Wright Guide Miniatures even had the girly calendar! With twelve vintage beauties. I hung another in the main garage by the large tool chest.



Overhead shot of the bathroom. The grungy single lightbulb is from The Lighting Bug. It was perfect for this room.






There you have it. The only thing I have left to do is hook up the lights and finish the foundation. The wiring goes down the hollow bathroom wall and under the house and will come out the foundation and be attached to tape wiring.

In another post, I’ll show how I built the bathroom and grunged everything up.

I will likely throw in more accessories and posters etc as I come across them, but for now, it’s done!!!

Half-Inch scale Bungalow–Painting and Starting to Build

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The parts of the RGT half-inch scale Bungalow laid out for painting. I always forget when starting a dollhouse a) how much pre-painting I have to do; and b) how messy it is! But mess is half the fun.


The main colors I chose for the exterior. The red is called Autumn Apples, a paint by Valspar that I got at Ace Hardware. The finish is eggshell. For the railings and all the trim, I’m using leftover paint from repainting the hall in my real-size house. The can does not have the color on it, but it’s a dark white, almost sand colored. (On the walls of the real house, it looks browner than the light white for we used for trim).



The parts after the first-coat painting. I put on three coats, sanding between, before I liked how it looked.


The post bases. The ones that wrap almost all the way around go on the corners; the U-shaped ones are the center posts.

Originally, I was going to leave the post bases the same sand/white as the rest of the railings and posts. But they didn’t look that great (they’re MDF), so I decided to go with gray stucco.


I mix my own stucco with white terrarium sand and gray paint (medium gray from Folk Art). I should have painted the posts gray first before I put on the stucco, because the white I’d already painted showed through, but live and learn.


I mixed the gray and terrarium sand, painted that on, then after it dried, went over it with the gray by itself several times.


Let the build begin! Foundation glued together.

IMG_3168 (1)

I planned to leave the foundation painted gray, but I could not get the join exactly straight, and no amount of sanding would smooth it (again, these are made of MDF). So I …


… had some leftover stone textured paper from another project, and cut and glued this around the foundation. I like how it turned out.



Next, I glued the ground floor on top of the foundation, weighting it with, what else? Books on minis and houses.


First floor walls set in place to mark where the porch floor will be.


I debated about the porch floor–wood flooring? Brick? The craftsman era bungalows around my town have cement porches (I live in a hot climate), and I decided a cement-look would be easiest. I wouldn’t have to worry about cutting around the posts or the posts not fitting.

I painted with medium gray from Folk Art, and swirled the paint with my brush as it dried. The paint went on much better to the plywood, and only took one coat.


The posts, railings, and post base caps in place. Getting these all to fit exactly right and straight was a little fiddly, but the instructions that come with the kit are good. I laid the porch beam across the front to make sure the posts lined up. The wood bits sticking out from under the railings are shingles to lift the railings a little off the porch while they dry.


Post bases, post caps, and posts, with steps painted to match the porch. Trim to hide the raw edges will be added later.


The porch details more or less complete: post bases, post base caps, posts, post caps, arches, and porch beam! The kit gives you a choice of using all the posts and arches or not–but I said “Go for it! Use it all! Go crazy!”

I need to do some sanding and touch-up paint, but the porch and first floor exterior walls are done.

Garage–Basic build done



I’ve pretty much finished the basic build of this kit. The windows are in and all the trims.


Because I put my kit together a little bit backwards, I had to sand down the trim around the garage (which is supposed to go on the interior, where it fits perfectly). I sanded a little too much, so the beam has bowed a bit, which made the windows not fit. So I had to sand down the windows until I could get them into the slots. Also, the track for the garage door sits too close to the walls, so the windows now don’t fit flush to the front. This is what I get for changing things.

But–I sanded and trimmed, painted, and installed, and it all came together.


I took the windows apart to paint them, otherwise, the panes would be one gray mess.

To get them apart, I painted rubbing alcohol on the corners of the end piece, let it soften about a minute or two, then pulled off the end. The alcohol dilutes the glue.

I took the glass out of the panes the same way–alcohol brushed on corners of one end, end comes off, panes slide out.

I didn’t paint the tracks, to make sure the windows slid open and closed again when I finished. It was tricky to get the windows glued back in place exactly so they would slide into the slots and also open and close.


The back trim: The back trim is a u-shaped piece designed to wrap completely around the raw edges of the walls.


The fit is very snug, so snug I didn’t even glue the trim to the wall. If you are using wallpaper, I suggest you either 1) put the trim on, draw a line, then cut your wallpaper at that point, or 2) put the trim on and leave it there, and wallpaper up to it.


Clamps help keep on the top trim piece which goes over the screw holes.

Note that top trim fits against back trim, not flush with the back. Yes, I had to pull mine off and glue it again.

Another tip–it helped me to drill a starter hole with my Dremel before screwing the screws in. They went straighter. Drill bit was 3/32″.




The only thing I haven’t done is paint or stain the foundation, which I should have done first, but I didn’t.

I’ve also decided not to put the roof on. I will display this against a wall, so the front can always be seen, and then viewers can look down inside.

I will put in a bathroom and lighting, and then decorate, but overall, the kit, as it came in the box, is done.

I’m glad I chose to make it a garage. Grunging it up has been fun.

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