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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dollhouse Miniature Basketball Hoop

So this week we are making the kids in the dollhouse a basketball hoop. I was sitting down watching the news the other night when a commercial came on. I have no idea what it was even for but the focus of the video footage was a group of kids shooting hoops in a driveway. Immediately I thought a basketball hoop would be a great project for this channel. So many houses have these in real life, why not in the mini world too?

I vaguely remember reading an article in one of my old Nutshell News magazines where there was a project that was similar. Rather than spend hours digging through my collection of magazines I just went with my instincts on how to do this.

First stop was our friend Google to get the dimensions of the real thing. Apparently in real life a basketball hoop is about 18” in diameter. That would translate to 1 ½” in mini. I didn't have anything exactly that size but I do have a bunch of these key rings that are 1 ¼” in diameter. I decided to go with one of those. You can fudge a bit down like this on this project because in real life the hoop is so far up on a wall that it appears to be smaller. Have you ever noticed that when you see a basketball hoop in a sporting goods store how they seem huge compared to what you think they should look like. That's because you are used to seeing them from several feet away. I wouldn't go any smaller in size but at the same time I wouldn't go any bigger than 1 ½” either or the hoop runs the risk of looking way too big.

If you want your hoop to be the traditional reddish-orange color paint it before you start the rest of the project. I would suggest either a spray paint, an enamel paint or nail polish for this. Be sure that whatever you use is completely dry before you proceed.

The other component is some string, I like to use crochet thread for these type of projects because it is fairly cheap and seems to be a good size for a lot of projects. We are basically going to be creating a net by doing some simple macrame knotting.

Cut 12 pieces of the string each 12” long and follow what I did in the video. Be sure to apply the glue to the rim to both hold the strings in place around the rim but also to hold the knots tight at the top. Allow this to dry completely.

Now mark ½” away from the rim on each string and tie knots using strings from the pairs of the stings that are next to each other. I hope it made sense in the video. I can't think of a good way to explain it. But you are creating a net just like we used to do to make plant hangers from macrame back in the day.

Keep knotting until the net portion is about 1 ½” long. At this point I sprayed my net with 99% isopropyl alcohol to allow the ink from the Sharpie marker to bleed and make the net look old and really dirty. If you want a new net on yours use an ink that is water based and wash it out.

After your net is dry add a dot of glue to each of the knots in the last row. This will prevent them from coming undone. When the glue is dry give the net a “hair cut” and you are basically done.

For a backboard you need to decide how old you want your hoop to be. I wanted to create the look that maybe dad or grandpa had hung this up so I kept it really basic with a backboard made of a jumbo craft stick. I used the little piece of 1/8” square wood to give me a small “shelf” to glue to.

If you want something more elaborate find a picture of what you want online and create that.

I hope you enjoyed our fun little project today.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dollhouse Miniature Trash to Treasure Books

This week for Trash to Treasure I thought it would be fun to make some books to fill the bookshelves. These books are intended to be filler either to fill the space until you get enough books to fill your shelves or to fill in bookshelves in projects that require a lot of books. I know I love to have real books in my projects but in reality it just isn't practical to try fill all the shelves that way.

I think these would be really good in either a book store scene or a library, especially if you some shelves that are more in the back of the room.

I wanted to show the books in my bookshelf but I have no idea what scene I have it placed in or if it is in a box between scenes. I didn't have time look for it today either. I am sure you get the idea of how these will look.

To find the pictures of books just go to Google Images and search for bookshelves you should get a bunch of pictures to choose from. Remember if you do this that you can't sell the books or any project with them in it because the photo belongs to someone else. This is only for your own use.

Once you find the picture you want to use save it to your computer and re size it to just a tiny bit shorter than the space between the shelves of your bookshelves. I then opened up a document in my word processor and added multiple copies of my photos and printed on good quality paper.

For the backing of your books you need some paperboard- you know a box from crackers or cereal of something like that.

Cut strips of the paperboard to the size of you finished books, cut out your printed pictures of the books, glue them onto the paperboard (leave room at the end for an area to fold back) then when the glue dries do the scoring and you have books!

I told you it was easy. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tools for Making Dollhouse Miniatures- Scoring Board

Okay, would I go out and buy this tool just for making miniatures? Truthfully, no but since I do a lot of different crafts it I do feel I it was a good purchase. For minis it is a tool I use occasionally though and since so many of you asked what it was when I used it for a couple of tutorials a while back I thought a quick look was in order.

If you want to score a lot of straight lines very precisely this is your tool. For minis those lines might be a bit wide for really small projects. But if you put together a lot of printable crafts you might want to think about it. It is a lot quicker, easier and more accurate than using a straight edge to score. Also if you make boxes in miniature this is a a great tool. I think for making miniature books it would be handy too because you need to get those scored lines perfectly straight with each other to make them go together really nicely.

I'm really not trying to talk you out of buying this tool I just want to be sure you know that the uses for miniatures is limited. At least that is my opinion.

This is a tool I would say you want to wait for a sale or coupon to pick it up. I got mine for under/around $20 before coupon so not bad at all.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dollhouse Miniature Easy Corner Roombox pt 9

First I want to apologize for being out of frame. I am trying filming in a slightly different location in the house and I need to find the perfect angle for the camera. Clearly the one I used this week was not perfect. Be patient and I am sure I will work it out.

This week we are finishing the Corner Roombox! Wow, I am kind of sad to see both to the big projects finished. Well, except for a doorknob, I need to come up with one of those but that will come later. I have tried a couple of things but wasn't happy with the results.

To finish the roombox we are finishing off the raw edges with a combination of wood strips and some paperboard (cereal box) strips. I am not sure what sizes of wood strips I got because the display at my local store was almost empty and what was there was all mixed up. The wide strip is about ½ ” wide the narrow strips are around ¼” both of these are 1/16” thick. The square piece is about 1/8” square. I wish I could be more exact but like I said I really don't know what the sizes were.

To prepare for the video I did paint the wood pieces to match the front door color.

Then the process is simply a matter of going around the structure and cutting pieces to fit and gluing them in place. Since it is not really practical to clamp or weight down the pieces we are gluing today I did find I had to check the strips about every 10 minutes and make sure they were staying where I wanted them to be. After a few checks where they were staying in place I let them dry before moving on. This takes a while but by only gluing one spot at a time it is easier to make sure everything stays in place.

Since my floor/base warped really badly I decided to glue my roombox to a wooden board. I had a piece of particle board left over from a repair in my bathroom and it was the right size so I used it. I simply spray painted it with a brown color to finish it off a bit.

Since the board was fairly rough I added some felt furniture pads to the bottom corners. I don't want to scratch any tables that I might set the box on for display in the future.

I do want to say I have made rooms like this before and never had the bottom warp like it did this time. I have a feeling it was caused by the extremely damp weather we were having when I did that step.

If I wasn't going to use my roombox for photos I would add a dowel or square strip wood as a support column to the outer corner. Since that would block camera angles I won't be doing that but if your box is just for display I do suggest it.

I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dollhouse Miniature Green Onions

I decided to take a break this week from our lighting series and our corner roombox to do a bit of clay work. Actually I thought I had done this tutorial a long time ago. I discovered I had never shown you how to make green onions in kind of a roundabout way. I have been doing a “Clay 101” series over on my 18” doll channel for the last few months and I decided I wanted to do a tutorial over there on green onions so I could show some of the techniques I had been teaching. The first thing I did was check this channel to see my notes from a tutorial over here so I could save myself a few steps. I do that often when I am doing tutorials on that channel, I look here first to see my notes then translate them to the larger scale. I was more than a bit surprised when I found I had never done a tutorial over here on green onions! How did I miss this one??? Anyway I decided to film both tutorials at the same time so both channels can learn how to do this.

Next week I think we will probably finish up the corner roombox (if I remember to pick up the supplies I need or come up with a different idea for finishing)

I know I did a tutorial a long time ago on this channel on how to do the skinner blend and if you need a refresher on how that works you can find it here. I do love using the skinner blend, I find it very relaxing to watch the blend come together.

The clays I used were:

Fimo white
Sculpey III translucent

mix these in equal parts for the white blend

Sculpey III String Bean
Fimo Translucent green (or the same translucent you used in the white blend)

mix these in equal parts for the green blend

I find it really useful to bake a sample of my clay blends when I am adding translucent clay to the mixture since the color of those blends changes a lot when baked.

Feel free to use the same plain translucent clay in both blends, I used the green translucent because I had a lot more of it than of the plain.

We want our finished green onions in this scale to be no bigger in diameter that 1/16th “ and about 1” long. Instead of measuring the diameter just make them as skinny as you can. They are going to be bigger than true “to scale” but get as close as you can.

Any time I am using a translucent clay I lower my baking temperature to 235° F because translucent clay has a bad habit of discoloring at higher temperatures. Bake these for about 10 minutes and allow to cool.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tips for Dollhouse Miniature Crafting- Cleaning the Pasta Machine

Again this week if you are also following my Clay 101 series on my 18” doll channel you have already seen the majority of this content. Since I had filmed it and I thought that the information was perfect for a tips video I decided to use it for both channels. I hope you all don't mind too much.

The secret to successfully using a pasta machine for clay is really to keep it clean. The quick little tips I showed (especially wiping it with the wet wipe and running white scrap clay through) really will help to keep it clean. If you do those two things every time you use your pasta machine you won't have to deep clean it very often.

Just keep in mind to never use any tool to clean the pasta machine that could scratch the rollers. That is why I stick to wooden toothpicks and bamboo skewers. It might take a moment or two longer to clean with those than say a sharp metal instrument but the risk of ruining the rollers is too great. Once you have scratches on the rollers you will always have problems. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dollhouse Miniature Trash to Treasure Outdoor Planter

I think Mrs. Doll is very happy with her new planter.

This week's Trash to Treasure project is super easy and if you happen to have one of those coffee makers that uses the K-cups you have plenty of supplies on hand. I mostly use a reusable filter in my machine and I still manage to get a bunch of these cups really quickly. If you don't have one of the machines ask your friends I bet you will quickly find some one that can supply you with more K-cups than you can ever use. I even noticed my mechanic has one of these coffee makers in his waiting room now.

To turn the K-cup into a planter is really easy. After a thorough cleaning all you need to do is paint it. I like to use a spray primer that lists plastic as a material it will stick to then I can use any paint I want. In this case my regular acrylic craft paint.

I went ahead and “planted” my planter so you could see how easy that was to do and I think it turned out great. Even my 18 year old son agreed it looked like a real planter just the right size for the dollhouse.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dollhouse Miniature Easy Corner Roombox pt 8

This week we are finishing up the porch floor on our corner roombox. I decided to use plain old craft sticks for this project. They are fairly inexpensive and also pretty easy for most of us to get. I was out of my stash of them so I needed to make a trip to Michael's to pick up some more. I am going to tell you how that trip went so you can see how very important it is to both check the price when you pick up an item and then to watch the cash register at checkout time. Since I just had the one item it was a little easier to watch.

I had noticed a display of “summer kid's craft” items as I came in the door of the store. They were right there next to the door and on the middle shelf there were about 10 or 15 of the economy size boxes of craft sticks. The price on the shelf said $4.99. I grabbed a box as I went by and proceeded to look at several things in the store. I happened to go down the aisle where the craft sticks were normally placed and noticed that a lot of the small packages of wood items were around $4. I wanted to double check the price on the big box I had but there was no price on the shelf back there where the large boxes were. I then went back to the front of the store to double check that the price I saw was indeed for the item I had picked up and not the price for something else. I read the tag and it said it was for the economy box of craft sticks so I went ahead and got in line.

When my turn at the cash register came my box of craft sticks rang up at $7.99. I pointed out the cashier that the price was different on the shelf. She called for a price check but ended up going herself to check it. She also verified that the price on the shelf was $4.99 for this item. She of course made the adjustments for my purchase and since I had my Michael's rewards card pulled up on my phone she automatically gave me the 40% off coupon that was valid that day.

So in the end I paid $2.99 for an item that rang up at a much higher $7.99 in the first place. So the lesson here is if you know the price on the shelf was lower than what the cash register says point it out. Truthfully, I would have been happy with the $4.99 that the shelf said it was just extra nice to the coupon come off too.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tools for Making Dollhouse Miniatures- The Pasta Machine

This week on our Clay 101 series we are talking about a tool I use every time I work with polymer clay, my pasta machine. I am so glad I decided to bite the bullet so to speak and use this pasta machine for clay.

A bit of a back story about how I came to get this pasta machine. Anyone that knows me in real life knows I love to cook, it is one of my passions and years ago back when I was a new bride my mother-in-law gifted me with a top of the line pasta machine. I had seen this machine in a kitchen store that used to be local to us and my thought was “who would pay that much for a pasta machine” Then I found myself opening it up for my birthday. I thanked her profusely and I did attempt to make pasta with it. One time. That was more than enough times to make it really clear to me that I was never going to be making fresh pasta. At least not with that pasta machine. I have better things to do with my time. I would rather make the sauce and buy the pasta.

Anyway, the pasta machine sat at the back of my kitchen cabinet for years, over a decade close to two decades. I would pull the box out occasionally, wonder what I should do with it. I felt guilty that it just sat there but I really could never convince myself to make pasta again. I even moved it to a new house and it took up residence in the back of a new cabinet. I really felt bad but....

Then I started working with polymer clay. I read some articles where people were using pasta machines to roll out their clay. That made me think... should I? I wanted to but I again felt guilty. I knew that once I put a piece of clay through the machine I couldn't use it for pasta again. I debated for a couple of years and then one day I just boldly took that pasta machine out of the cabinet, un-boxed it and clamped it to my table. I then found a lump of clay that really needed some rolling out and I never looked back. The only regret I had was that I hadn't done this years before.

My pasta machine and I have spent hours together, it is always clamped to my work table and I use it every time I work with clay.

Then there is that second pasta machine, the one that was marketed for clay. I was at a store closing sale one time and they had this one machine left and it was marked down to less than $5! I felt like I couldn't pass that deal up.

My thought process was that I would be able to use the cheap machine for dark color clay and the good one for the lighter colors. The problem is that having 2 pasta machines on my table just took up way too much table space.

Maybe some day I will figure out how to use both machines and still have work space. In the meantime it doesn't take up too much space in the storage room and I can always dig it out if I need it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tips for Dollhouse Miniature Crafting- Portioning Polymer Clay

This week for the tips video I thought I would talk a bit about portioning clay. When we are working in 1/12th scale not only are the items we make scaled but so are the mistakes and not in a good way. If for instance you are making cookies, if you making cookies in real life and your balls of cookie dough are off in size by say ¼' its not a big deal. Probably no one will even notice. However, if you are making those same cookies for the dollhouse you are probably starting out with a ball of clay that is about ¼” (at most) and even being a tiny bit off is going to show up big time. So we need an easy way to get consistent sized amounts of clay every time. Also we are all busy and we don't want to have to sit there and measure each and every ball of clay to see if it is the same size as the one next to it. And by the way just looking at them on your work surface is no grantee that you will notice differences. Those usually show up once the project is finished and you go to set it up. Then you see that one of the cookies looks like it was meant for the Jolly Green Giant.

Also with this method if you make a note of how you measured the amount of clay you can come back later (a month from now, a year from now, or whenever) and you can get the same results again without having to do all the measuring again.

So I hope you found this useful. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Visit to Heirlooms Dollhouse Miniatures & More

This week's video is a bit different from what I usually bring you. I got the opportunity to visit a local miniature shop and I decided to take all of you with me! So here is what is in store you today.

I hope you enjoy our visit to Heirlooms Dollhouse Miniatures & More.

The first thing we are going to do is sit down and have a short chat with Wendy who owns this lovely store. We talk about miniatures, her store and the area where the shop is located.

Next we are going to step into the classroom and listen in for a few moments to a doll making class that was taking place while we were there. The class was being taught by Dana from Miniature Art. Be sure to take a side trip to her website to see the beautiful dolls she creates.

As a bonus Dana, did a quick tutorial for all of you on how to curl doll hair! That was so nice of her and I had no idea she would offer until we got there.

I do want to introduce you to this little guy, this is Tip the official shop dog. He is a darling little guy and makes sure everything is running as it should.

Heirloom Dollhouse Miniatures & More is located in the community of Aurora Oregon. Just a short drive south of Portland. Aurora is rich with history and simply filled with antique stores. There are even some delightful cafes where you can grab a bite eat. There are lots of very old houses to look and the history of the area is unique. You can learn more about the area here.

As for the miniature store, Wendy has a Facebook page where you can learn more details including hours and directions to the shop.

I want to take a moment here to thank a few people that made this post possible. First Wendy for allowing us to come into her shop and set up cameras. Next Dana for letting us take a peek at her class as it was going on. And finally my son Erik, he was the guy behind the camera today. He even got up an hour earlier than he normally does so that we could get this done today.

Please enjoy the pictures that Erik took.

And now some photos around the town of Aurora.