Category: "The Artist's Studio"

Tiny paint tubes and other art supplies

by brae  

Okay back to some otterine-made minis!  :D

While searching for some suitable minis for the Studio, I ran across an amazing tutorial by Carol at true2scale using the metal wrapped from wine bottles.  She provides paint labels, a box template and a painting for her tutorial.  I printed my paint labels on Avery label paper to make it a little easier to work with, but I still used some tacky glue to keep the labels secure.  I think I made mine a little smaller than the ones she did, so instead of adding beads for caps I dipped the tapered tips into black paint.

I think I might have been a little rough with the tiny tubes, because they look like they've been squeezed before, not fresh out of the packaging.  :D  I rather like that, though...looks more realistic when they all vary a little.  I bought the tray at The 3 Blind Mice show specifically for the paint tubes.

I also made a portfolio from a pattern in Dolls' House Details by Kath Dalmeny.  I used a piece of Kraft Cardstock by Recollections, found in the scrapbook paper aisle at Michael's.  It's the perfect thickness of cardboard for miniatures.   I used imitation leather paper by The Paper Company for the accents and thin rope for the handle instead of paper.  And, yes, it opens.  :D

Lyssa sent me some bead jars (with the aforementioned clown).  I added some extra labels from Carol's tutorial to finish them for the Studio.  These will help fill some shelf space.  Thanks, Lyssa!  :D

Hummingbird shower mural - making the tiles, part 2

by brae  

Using the two tile images shown previously, I did a test sample to see how the sealer would look.  Since I had success with the Old World Tile in Baxter Pointe Villa, I decided to use the same Triple Thick Gloss Glaze in this instance.  I used spray adhesive to attach my printed image to a mat board scrap, using the same part of the image for both to get an apples-to-apples comparison.

This is the spray adhesive I use.  :]

I added the Triple Thick Gloss Glaze and let it dry overnight.  I recommend two nights of drying time when using this, but I just needed to get a rough feel for the grout lines and wanted to move forward with the process.  Here is the glaze before scoring the lines.  The thick glaze really transformed the image, though I wasn't really careful with the application on these samples.  I'll take better care to spread it evenly for the final.

10-pixel grout lines

5-pixel grout lines

I used a ball stylus to trace over the lines.  As expected, the glaze lifted in some areas since it really needed another full day of drying time.  This won't happen in the final process since I'll be sure to leave it alone the required time.

10-pixel grout lines

5-pixel grout lines

I think the 10-pixel is the clear winner here.  Not only were the lines easier to see to trace but it just seems a better break between the individual tiles.  :D

Next up, the real deal...

Shingles and chimney

by brae  

I was able to find two packages of Desert Tan rectangular shingles at All Small Miniatures, a brick and mortar dollhouse shop about an hour from my home.  I had called local stores to see if anyone had them in stock, and the woman at All Small Miniatures had exactly what I needed.  She was gracious enough to hold them until the weekend when I could drive out to get them.  Meant to be!  :D

Of course, while I was there, I had to look around...and other minis jumped into my shopping bag before I left.  Anyway, on to shingling!

I used Quick Grip to attach these to the roof board.  Easy peasy.

The chimney is made from a spare piece from an aquarium filter and a button.  I had used a similar setup for Baslow Ranch.

I tried to attach the chimney in the same spot as the wood stove, lining up the two visually.

I super glued the chimney parts together and then spray painted it flat black.  Since the chimney is hollow, I added a crumpled bit of newspaper inside to increase the gluing surface.

I cut the shingles around the pipe.

It's a nice, seamless finish.  :]

The desert tan is a great color with the red and walnut base.

The skylights are perfectly set into the surrounding shingles.

I had a little left over in the end.

I want to offer a special thank you to Lori at Happily Ever After for taking the time to check if she could get the shingles for me.  Thank you to Lolly's for also being so helpful.  And, thank you to Fran for letting me know about a new product at - laser cut paper shingle strips that you paint with stone spray paint to get the color you want.  It would have been a great second choice!

Hummingbird shower mural - making the tiles, part 1

by brae  

I did a little prep work and sampling before forging ahead with the tile mural.  First, I photographed my original hummingbird and flower drawing and then manipulated it in PhotoShop to lighten and sharpen since some color loss and blurring occurs in printing.

There are a few ways I figured I could make the tiles.  I could cut out individual tiles and paste them to a board with "grout lines" in between.  The problem I foresaw with this method was matching the precise lines of the drawing and getting the grout lines even.  Also, I would have to cut my tiles slightly smaller since the overall dimensions of the drawing were exact to the shower stall size I wanted.

I opted for an easier and just as effective method: making gridlines in PhotoShop.  I made my gridlines the lightest of greys, just to make them fall into the background slightly.   Plus, even white tile grout isn't bright white in real life.  I also made sure there was a gridline in the very center where the mural would break at the corner of the shower.

I made three test prints, the first of which had 14 half-inch tiles across with grout lines 10 pixels wide.

The second has the same half-inch tiles but with 5 pixel-width grout lines.

The third is done with quarter-inch tiles and 5 pixel-width grout lines.

The half-inch tiles are the clear winner to me since they achieve the tile look in a realistic manner without detracting from the image the way the busier quarter-inch tiles do.

The 5-pixel lines for the half-inch tiles seem better in print (in person anyway), but I will do a trial run of the next step using both samples to see which works better in the end.  I don't want to go through the whole process just to have the lines disappear for being too thin.  :]

Wood stove, completed

by brae  

I finished up the wood stove, and I am ecstatic about how it turned out!  :D  When I last wrote about it, I had cut the stove pipe and primed the pieces.

I sanded the pieces once the primer was dry and sprayed them Krylon Satin Almond.  I sanded once between the final color coats as well.  I didn't go with high gloss since that often looks unrealistic in mini.

I cut a piece of acrylic sheet to fit the front opening.

This fits using only tension, but I didn't want to risk it coming loose.  I cut a larger piece of acrylic to fit behind this piece.

It is held in place with two pieces of black mat board glued inside.

I then glued the door in place, added a round head pin for the bottom tray latch and fashioned a knob from a jewelry finding and flat head pin.  While I was painting, the delicate parts of the door grille broke.  I cut part of the design away to salvage the piece.  It still looks like a planned design.  Crisis averted!  The stove pipe has a pin in the bottom that holds it in place on the stove.  It's a little crooked here since there's nothing to hold it straight.

As a reminder, here is my inspiration piece from Charnwood.

Inside the Studio, I glued in the brick hearth and trimmed it with 1/16" x 1/16" bass wood.  I was able to add in the surrounding baseboards as well.

Here is my inspiration from showing a partial brick wall.

I fed the flickering LEDs into the stove and then into the resin fire.  I put on the lid and set the stove in place.  The stove pipe fits against the ceiling and holds the stove in place with tension alone.  This is good in case I ever need to take it back out.  :]

And, here it is!  Love!  As much as I love red stoves, I'm so glad I went with the almond.

The firewood under the stove is one of my favorite details.

Looks cozy inside.  :D

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