Making photos from contact sheets

by brae  

When I order regular size photos from Kodak Gallery online, they send a contact sheet of what is in the packet.  These sheets have mini photos that are 9/16" x 13/16".  I also have some from Sam's Club that are roughly the same size, but those have numbers printed in the corners, which limits their usability depending on the photo's composition and the size you need.

This first example was made using a Kodak contact sheet without the numbers printed in the corners.  The mini frame has an acetate "glass" that I used to center over the part of the image I wanted.  I cut out the image and glued into place with the backer.

click image to enlarge

The second example uses brass jewelry findings with 1/2" photo openings.  I first cut a template out of vellum paper, which is translucent enough to see through.  This way you can center the template over the image without guessing if you're centered over the portion you want.

I like these since the images are crisp and printed on quality photo paper and the frames already have holes to hang them on the wall.

click image to enlarge

Garage door

by brae  

I used a Timberbrook garage door kit, which came with a preassembled door, tracks and hardware.

Choosing a color for the garage door was not easy.  I loved the raw kit, but the natural wood door with the white painted trim and overall red brick didn't look right.  I had used some leftover black stain from IKEA for the front door and liked the look of it well enough to use it on the garage as well.

While I was researching garages during the build phase, I ran across some high-end garage door styles.  I especially liked the ones with window grilles.

I had to use something flat so it wouldn't interfere with the function of the garage door, but I doubted I would ever be able to find something that would fit perfectly inside the existing window openings.

The windows in the garage door were not removable, so I used cut pieces of vellum paper to mimic frosted windows.  I then glued some jewelry findings over the openings.

It's not a perfect fit, but I do think it gives the illusion of grates over the windows and dresses up the overall look of the door.  Since these are glued on and not tacked on with nails, it would be easy to change out the pieces if I do end up finding something more suitable.  In fact, I already found something that might work better...just need to order it.  :)

Doily, filebox and plant

by brae  

While waiting for some supplies to arrive, I made some more miniatures.  First was a doily for the dining table made in the same fashion as the faux crochet afghan I made.  It used up the scraps I had left over and went together in no time at all.

Second was a file box made from what are known as "printies" in the dollhouse world.  Many people have created free printies out there on the internet, and this is a file box I found on Jim's Dollhouse Pages.  I printed on regular paper and then affixed it to bristol board.  It turned out okay for my first attempt, but I messed up the lid completely; it didn't fit at all.  Interestingly enough, the file box actually looks more realistic beat up and crinkled.  :D

Last, I made an elephant ear plant following the instructions on a DVD called Master Miniaturists: Flowers & Plants.  I love this whole series.  There are a lot of great books out there, but there is nothing like watching someone demonstrating a technique.

I'm not going to post a tutorial on this plant since I made it based on someone else's work, but here is the finished product.  It is made with floral tape and covered wire.  I bought the planter and used the same "dirt" technique I did for the topiaries only this time I used cinnamon plum tea for potting soil.  :D

The plant was supposed to be made of light green tape (see the DVD cover above), but dark green was what I found at the craft store.  I am very pleased with the result regardless of the difference in color.  The one thing I will do that wasn't mentioned on the DVD is use a sealer on the tape once the glue has completely dried.  The surface of the leaves is still sticky, and I think sealing it might keep the dust from clinging to it.  It will also enhance the waxy appearance of the leaves.

Bird prints

by brae  

I found these beautiful bird images on etsy.  They are vintage prints from A History of British Birds, published in the 1850s by Rev. Francis Orpen Morris.  I resized them and added borders before printing them on bond paper.

I used Yes! paste to affix the mini prints to thin sheets of balsa wood.  Note: I no longer recommend Yes paste - I use Wallpaper Mucilage instead.  Yes paste has problems with longevity.

I cut the images out using the borders as cutting guides.  I constructed frames from picture frame moulding from Hobby Builders Supply.  The pieces were thin and tiny, so it was a bit tedious.  Here the assembled frame is taped to a cardboard scrap for painting.

I originally cut a mat for the image but liked it better with only the frame.  One down, eight more to go.... :D

click image to enlarge


by brae  

With the extended front porch, I have more room to add plants.  My first idea came from a real life photo of two tall topiaries on either side of a front door.  There is a similar item for miniature settings on the market, but I wanted them to have a "snowman" shape - a tier of three in varying sizes.

I found two miniature urns at a good price.  The image on the right shows how they looked after I painted them to the color I wanted.  I didn't go as dark as in the sample photo since my house is red brick and needs something a bit lighter.

I started with 1" styrofoam spheres and crushed them to make the two smaller sizes.  Here you can also see the holes I made in the spheres using a round dowel.

I covered the wooden dowels with floral tape and then brushed on a light coat of brown paint, wiping it off immediately to create a variegated color of green and brown for the stems (this is a photo before the paint).  Painting also eliminates a lot of the stickiness of the tape.

I glued some styrofoam into the bottoms of the urns to have something to stick the topiaries into and then painted the stryrofoam spheres and inserts brown.

I brushed a thick coat of tacky glue into the urns and poured tea (earl grey, if you're wondering-haha) into the urn, dumping out the excess after putting it aside for awhile.

I brushed glue onto each painted sphere and then dipped them in cilantro.  The bit of brown underneath showing through adds some depth and realism, in my opinion.

I have no idea if using tea and herbs is a good idea for longevity, but it was what I had at the time and I love the result.  They smell good, too.  :D

Here are my topiaries by the front door.  The welcome mat is a resized copy of one I bought since the original was too small in proportion to the front door.  I still have to mount it to some sort of reinforcing material to keep it flat.

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