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The 'E' House completed - and outsize house plan

I am going to count this house as one of my notable failures.

The most glaring fault is the room divider between the kitchen and the hall. It isn’t wide enough to hold the full length of the ground floor securely. It is all right if you don’t wiggle the ground floor, but someone is almost certainly going to be tempted to do this at some point.

Added to which, I don’t like dolls’ houses with walls that are covered in pictures of furniture. (This is very narrow-minded of me.)

All in all it is an idea that needs more work than I have time to give it (at the moment).

That said, I still think that it was a fun idea. So if you would like to try making The ‘E’ House for yourself, the plans are at the end of this blog entry. There are also a list of the materials that I used and basic written instructions (sorry, no slideshow this time).

If you would like to know how I struggled with an idea that did not turn out as I hoped, read on (and avoid the pitfalls that I fell in to):

The Idea was:

  • A bright, modern dolls’ house
  • Slender so that could hang on a wall
  • With something ‘different’ about it

I ended up with this design:

The 'E' House - basic structure

– which is not what I call exciting, innovative or even encouraging – even though I daringly off-set the wall dividers.

With a nod to the distinctive, exciting and innovative house designed by Laurie Simmons and Peter Wheelwright for Bozart

The Kaleidescope House - conceived and designed by Laurie Simmons and architect Peter Wheelwright.

I had wondered about incorporating some plastic panels (the plastic came from the covers of a couple of ring binders)

The 'E' House - plastic panels

The second floor has an indent to accommodate the panel

– but looking at the panels, once they were in place, I wanted them to move – either to slide or to swing open and this would have meant framing the panels so that they could be hinged effectively.

So I abandoned the plastic panels – which I still think were a good idea – and decided to have an open plan house.

But what was I going to do with the inside?

I did try some tiny print wallpapers but, because you can see the whole house in a glance, they had to be very nearly identical or they clashed – horribly.

I must have been fairly desperate at this point because I considered a tried and trusted decorative style, which I truly dislike.

The 'E' House - interior papers (on card)

This is what I ended up with. Don’t ask how long it took. Just don’t.

I dislike ‘furniture wallpaper’ (as I call it) so much that I despaired and decided to try paint, and spray-painted the house with fast drying, spirit-based paint. It was supposed to be white paint, but it turned out to be cream, and it brought out the ‘grain’ of the cut edges. (This is avoidable; I had been lazy and hadn’t sealed the edges before painting).

The 'E' House - spray painted

I spray paint out of doors, in a box lined with removable paper. As a change from my usual problem with rain, it was so hot that the paint was almost dry as soon as it left the can.

Maybe more COLOUR was the answer ?!

The 'E' House - side view - painted roof

It was at this point, and feeling rather grim, that I decided to call this The ‘E’ House (‘E’ for Everlasting, not Elizabeth) and throw it away before I wasted any more time on it. Needless to say: I failed to throw it away.

The following day, the tricky manoeuvre of fitting the decorative papers into the house – which was already firmly glued together – was accomplished.

After which I really would have been happy to throw house away and never try to make anything like it ever again. Ever.

Luckily, shortly after this, a surprise visitor turned up and the house found a new home elsewhere – thank goodness !

The 'E' House - and new owner

Finished size:

Height: 1 and 3/4 inches (4.4 cm)

Width: just under 2 inches (5 cm)

Depth: just over 3/4 of an inch (2 cm)

Materials:

pdf of the house plans – OHM_201809_’E’_House-plans

pdf of the interior decoration – OHM_201809_’E’_House-interior

  • Basic home printer
  • Mountboard (I used A4 Daler Rowney from Amazon)
    I think it is called ‘Matboard’ or ‘Mounting Board’ in the United States
  • Laminated printer paper (like this)
  • Basic printer paper
  • A very sharp knife (I use a craft knife with a blade that snaps off – like this)
  • A metal ruler
  • A solid surface on which to cut the mountboard
  • White wood-working glue (I used Evostick)
  • A small paintbrush
  • Paint (of your choice – I would avoid watercolour paint because it fades relatively quickly)
  • Varnish (of your choice)
  • I do not recommend using a hairdryer or heat gun to speed up the drying process. In my experience, the intense heat from both of these tends to warp the mountboard

Please remember that the materials that you use will affect the look of the house. For example: laminated printer paper gives a much crisper look than even good quality card (see below) and the thickness of card / board used will affect the overall appearance considerably.

The 'E' House - difference in printing results

What I suggest doing:

Print the decorative papers on the laminated printer paper and set them aside to dry

The 'E' House - wall panels

Print the house plan on basic printer paper

Stick the basic paper to the mountboard
Let this dry completely (under a book or other heavy weight to keep it flat, if necessary)

Cut out the house pieces carefully – it is up to you whether you would like an indented second floor or not

Check that the floors and back wall match in length exactly

Measure the width of the dividing walls and cut strips of mountboard of the required width

Seal all the cut edges of the mountboard with a thin layer of glue (this should give you a better finish that my spray painted effort)
Let the glue dry completely

Paint the mountboard with paint of your choice – top tip: don’t use very watery paint. If you do it will un-stick the glue and make the mount-board swell up
Let the paint dry completely

Glue the Ground Floor to the bottom edge of the Back Wall.

The 'E' House - back view

The roof sits on top of the back wall and the ground floor is in front of the back wall.
Always let the glue dry completely

Glue the decorative paper for the back of the rooms to the back of the house – you will probably need to trim the kitchen and hall floor, so that it looks ‘right’

Alternatively, you can glue each room down individually.
Let this dry completely

While it is drying, glue the decorative panels to the strips of mountboard that you have cut. The panels do not have to be cut to an exact height at this point, but they do have to have the ‘correct’ panels in place e.g. nursery/ bedroom, bedroom / bathroom, kitchen / hall.
Let these dry completely

Then cut the kitchen / hall room divider so that it fits the space between the Ground Floor and the Second Floor and glue it in place
Let it dry completely

Glue the second floor into place
Let it dry completely

Cut the remaining room dividers so that they reach ceiling height – cut the top at the angle of the roof if you wish – and glue them in place
Let them dry completely

Glue the roof in place. I didn’t cut angles for the apex of the roof. Angled joints seem to be out of fashion of at the moment, so I simply left a small gully.
NB Working with the back of the house on a flat surface will make it easier to get a neat join at the back
Let the glue dry completely

Repaint the roof and the back of the house. Re-touch any other paint work that needs it.

(optional) When the paint is dry, seal the surfaces with a varnish of your choice – the varnish used for finishing does depend on what paint you have used. I used a mixture of acrylic paints for the red. The off-white colour was fast-drying spray paint. The spray paint was a bad choice because it raised the grain on the cut edges of the board, but it does have a nice shiny finish on the surface of the mountboard

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Finally:

As with all the projects that are freely available on this blog: Please don’t sell the plans for this house, or the interior decoration.

If you would like to sell the house that you make, please think about the ground floor and find a way to make it more stable : )

If you decide to make a replica / tribute to the Bozart Kaleidoscope House in miniature, a credit to the designers would be appreciated:

http://www.lauriesimmons.net/projects/kaleidoscope-house

*  *   *

About the adverts:

WordPress sometimes places advertisments on the blogs that they host: they need the money to keep WordPress on-line.

By paying a small amount of money I could have these advertisements removed. I choose not to do this – I need every penny for paint, and glue, and card, and paper, and wood, and all sorts of other things too.

 

 

 

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12th scale dollhouse miniature christmas angels on a stand

These angels weren’t designed as a set.

I was trying to find a way to show that they were all slightly different.

It is a pity that the photograph (above) could be misleading because I like it much more than my usual effort (below).

12th scale swedish style dolls' house angel candlesticks

The angels were inspired by traditional Swedish Christmas ornaments. The design is mine and they are not a copy of an existing decoration. Each one is cut out, assembled and painted individually.

The angels holding a star are (from the bottom of the base to the top of the star) about 1 inch in height (2.5 cm)

The angels holding a candle are (from the bottom of the base to the top of the candle) about 1 and 1/4 inches in height  (3.2 cm)

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open_house_miniatures_ christmas_2015_dolls'_house_nativity_set_umpainted

This week I borrowed a Daylight Company D45000 4 Watt Foldi LED Portable Lamp and I have to say that it has exceeded my expectations.

It is compact, solidly weighted and stable. It give a very clear light – don’t look into it, you will hurt your eyes. It makes painting by artificial light possible (not good, but possible) and in the photographs that I have just taken the colours that I see on screen are very close to the colours that I see in real life.

The lamp is available from Amazon (UK) and when I looked it was on special offer, which makes it very, very tempting as far as I am concerned, although I need to see if it can help out with photos taken in daylight before making a final decision.

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The nativity scene in the photos is probably going to be my 2015 set. I am saying probably because the figures illustrated are fixed to the stand and I would prefer them to be free standing. They are glued down because they are very small and light, especially the baby Jesus who goes missing despite all my efforts to keep him safe.

MATERIALS:

Varnished wooden base (gloss varnish)

Hand-painted resin / plastic figures and star. These are finished with a very tiny amount of gold, sealed and given several thin coats of matt / satin varnish so that they have a slight sheen, but are not too shiny.

SIZE:

The stand is -1″ wide (approx 2.5cm) x  just over 1″ tall (approx 2.75cm)

The tallest figure (Joseph) is 2cm – roughly 3/4 of an inch

As the stands are handmade and the figures are hand-painted, they are all slightly different.

UPDATE: 24th November 2015

open_house_miniatures_ christmas_2015_dolls'_house_nativity_set_daylight

As far as I am concerned, daylight is still best.

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Open House Miniatures - Cinderella Cartel Clock

This type of clock is sometimes called a Cartel Clock. Cartel Clocks are usually made from gilded metal and designed to fit flat against a wall.

There is quite a story attached to the making of the clock, and the book that inspired it deserves a blog post of its own (which it will get shortly) but here (very briefly) is what happens in my version of Cinderella –

There is no big, booming clock to signal midnight because, in my experience, most drama happens quietly, and there is never a beautifully timed clap of thunder when you need one. Anyway –

The Prince and Cinderella were sitting on a gilded sofa and one of these clocks was on the wall, above their heads.

The Prince had just begun to say,

“Mysterious and Beautiful Maiden, will you marr …”

when the little clock started to whirr and then to chime – chinging, ting, ting…

“Oh !” exclaimed Cinderella, jumping up…

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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I don’t know if you have noticed, but I have just done two things that I usually avoid doing on this blog

I have used a richly coloured back ground and I have indulged in story telling.

Why have I done this?

Well, you know my boring, boring photographs and my long-winded explanations? Even I get fed up with them sometimes, however let us consider the alternatives…

Open House Miniatures - Cinderella Cartel Clock

Does this photograph tell you
how large this clock is?

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks_crushed_pink_velvet

Does this photograph tell you
what the clock is made from?

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks

Does this photograph tell you
anything at all?

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks_striped_fabric

All this says to me is – STRIPES !

open_house_miniatures_three_cinderella_cartel_clocks_with_ruler

Oh well…

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As a matter of interest it has taken me about 6 weeks to get from here –

Open House Miniatures - Cinderella Cartel Clock

to here –

open_house_miniatures_cinderella_cartel_clock

– and now I am not at all certain that I like the metallic finish and I am going to have to look into alternatives.

So what about this clock?

I made the original clock from DAS modelling clay. I then made three moulds from this original, and I then cast three clocks from the three moulds.

I did think about making a slideshow about the whole process and then decided that Life Is Too Short.

The essential, minimum details are as follows –

I cast the clock in resin, rather than metal, for two reasons.

The main one was weight – in my experience, miniature metal clocks fall off walls with depressing regularity. Araldite seems to be the only thing that will keep them in place.

Secondly, if I had wanted a metal clock, I would have had to make my master in something like Milliput. I would also have had to send it away to be cast, because I do not have the equipment to do this myself. This would not necessarily have been the more expensive option, but I would have had no control of the process and making changes would have been difficult.

The finished clock is 2 and 1/8th of an inch long, just over 1 inch wide at the widest point and just under 1/4 of an inch deep at its deepest point (54 mm x 25 mm x 7 mm)

The clock dials are reproduced from antique scraps.

(By the way, did you know that most modern clocks are photographed with their hands at 10 minutes to two? This is supposed to give them a “smiley” face.)

***   ***   ***   ***

I bought the mould making and casting supplies from MB Fibreglass   If you are interested in casting (on any scale), I can thoroughly recommend checking out their product range. Their service is excellent too.

I used –

Polycraft GP-3481-F General Purpose RTV Silicone Mould Making Rubber for the mould – http://www.mbfg.co.uk/rtv-silicone/gp-3481-f.html

and

Polycraft SG2000 Paintable Fast Cast Polyurethane Liquid Plastic Casting Resin for the clock – http://www.mbfg.co.uk/liquid-plastics/sg2000.html

This was the first time that I had used either of these and I was very impressed by the performance of both.

Open House Miniatures - Cinderella clock miniature mould and unfinished cast

Last, but by no means least – I would like to thank Susan Mortimer (I am so very, very deeply jealous of her photographs) for bringing David Neat’s WordPress blog to my attention.

If you are interested in casting or working with paper / card to create models, I would urge you to take the time to visit it too – http://davidneat.wordpress.com/

His tutorials are clear, well-presented and full of essential detail and his (mainly London based) list of suppliers is truly impressive.

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Open House Minaitures - How to make an accordian fold book - Mcloughlin Circus Procession

It’s a very long time since I made any of these books and I was rather surprised when someone asked if I would demonstrate how they are made.

First many thanks are due to Q, who lent me the original book and gave me permission to use it here.

Secondly, many, many, many thanks are due to Sharon who, several blog posts ago, mentioned that she thought that HP plotter paper gave her a better print.

To cut a long story short, thanks to Sharon, I bought a large roll of 80gsm (21lbs) HP plotter paper from Amazon.

When I tried it out on my printer at home I was astonished by the results.

It is very difficult to show the quality of the print in a photograph, but I am going to try.

The top strip is 80 gsm plotter paper and the bottom strip is 100 gsm best quality inkjet (un-coated) paper.

Open House Miniatures - HP plotter paper, home print and professional print

The top strip (which is 12th scale and smaller in size) was printed last week on my home computer. My printer has an unreliable paper feed and does not reproduce colours particularly well.

The folded strip below (which is slightly larger than 12th scale) is a professionally produced giclée print from about 10 years ago. (Giclée = fancy word for ink-jet print done by a very, very good, exceedingly expensive printer – in this case an Epson.)

Sharon, I can’t thank you enough.

I have tried and, so far, failed to photograph the difference this is going to make. I can only say that a 600 ppi, professional print on this paper looks as though it is on coated ink-jet paper. It is that good.

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The book in the slideshow below was made using HP plotter paper but it should be possible to get a reasonable print on ordinary photocopy paper.

NOTE – the glue makes a difference as well as the printer, ink and paper on this project.

I used Evo-stick white wood working glue – this has a thick consistency and dries quickly.

The text in my 12th scale version (even on plotter paper !) are only readable to dolls’ house residents so,  please visit Project Gutenberg, where the book is reproduced in full, if you would like to read it.

I feel I ought to also mention that Paper Minis have a kit for this book (it is a long way down the page, so keep scrolling). This has a cover and readable text. There is also a tutorial on how to make it here .

I haven’t seen Paper Mini’s kits in real life and so I haven’t tried any out. They do have an enviable collection !

Finally, my version…

The McLoughlin Book that I copied was a simple accordion fold, or concertina fold, book.

In the slideshow I do not follow the usual instructions for making this type of book. (I was reproducing a book, not making one from scratch). There are some good videos on YouTube, if you want to see how one is usually made.

As the full strip of pages is 12 inches (30 cm) long, I have made two pdfs, so that there is a choice –

Print and join two strips – McLoughlin_Circus_Procession_A4_paper_20130322

Print one (very long) strip – McLoughlin_Circus_Procession_12_inch_strip_20130322

The pdf for the covers is here – McLoughlin_Circus_Procession_covers_20130322

NOTE – 23rd march 2013 –  from the comments there seems to be some confusion as to what “tissue paper” is.

In UK English, “tissue paper” is not a paper handkerchief (or “a tissue”), it is the sort of very fine paper that is sometimes used for wrapping small items before putting them in a gift box.

Have a look here on Amazon to see what I am talking about.

To escape from the slideshow at any time, press the Esc key on your keyboard.

 

Finally

The plotter paper is available from Amazon in A4 sheets too.

These would be much easier to store than the roll that I bought.

open_house_miniatures_hp_plotter_paper.

There is a page for those who like to Make and Do here and I am going to repeat here what I have said there –

  • If you want to save the pdf(s) to your computer / a CD / data stick etc. you may do that too.
  • You may use the contents of the pdf for yourself – and if you would like to make 10 of something and try selling them please go ahead, but do think first of all the other people who will be doing exactly the same thing.
  • You may share these projects with your friends and family, and miniature club.
  • You may link to them from your website / blog / satellite station, if you have one
  • You may customise them.
  • You may use them / the design ideas, in whole, or in part, as for inspiration for making your own things.

You may not copy the pdfs, or the contents of the pdfs, in whole, or in part, and re-sell them.

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Open House Miniatures - 3 Houses from McLoughlin's Pretty Village

revitalised photo courtesy of http://www.picmonkey.com

I am not going to have a computer next week so I have been trying to cram everything computer-related into this week.

Naturally, I haven’t managed to do half of what I wanted to do, but before I disappear off-line I thought it would be nice to post a Make and Do, so here (in a bit of a rush) it is – with a little bit of explanation first.

I seldom make a limited edition of anything.

The Pretty Village was an exception to this rule because, although I like it very much, I could not bear the thought of making thousands and thousands of tiny houses – endlessly.

The last of the limited edition sets will be in the post this coming Monday, and so I wanted to have a little bit of fun, both to celebrate and say farewell.

The result was a different sort of “limited edition” – there are only three houses in this set and what you do with them is limited to your imagination.

I have  re-sized the houses to fractionally over 1/2″ (1.25 cm) tall and, although they are not “easy”, they should not be impossible to put together.

Open House Miniatures - McLoughlin's Pretty Village - House Assembly

I did photograph the “how to make” process but, unfortunately, it has been snowing on and off for a couple of days, and there was either too much reflected light (or not enough light ! ) to get good photographs – and not all the wonders of computer science could improve the photos much – so the following slide show is very uneven in quality.

The pdf  3_Pretty_Village_Houses_OHM_20130119   is, I hope, vastly better !

To escape from the slide show press the Esc key – it is usually in the top left hand corner of your keyboard

I hope you enjoy making these.

***   ***   ***   ***

May 2013 Update –

I have had several requests for the full village.

I am sorry, the full village is one of the very few things that I made as a limited edition and it is not available for download.

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I asked in the Post Office this afternoon how much the basic airmail service will be when the prices go up on the 1st May, and they are effectively set to double – from £2.07 to about £3.90 (depending on the destination).

This bring me, rather neatly, to what I have been trying, and failing, to write about for the most of this morning – DIY  KITS

Open House Miniatures - dolls house paper theatre kit

While I have been listing work on Etsy, I have been surprised at the number of requests that I have had for kits – particularly a kit for a theatre.

In the past, due to time and storage issues, these are not something that I could consider making – at least not at a price that would be significantly cheaper than a completed miniature.

However, here is a possible solution that may – or may not ! – appeal to all those who would really like to make something for themselves.

When assembled, the miniature theatre in the photograph above, is it is just under 1 and ½ inches in width (3.7cm).

It is based on a Scandinavian one from the early 1920s and has a curtain and 4 removable scenes, one each from –

Red Riding Hood
Snow White
Hansel and Gretel
and Puss in Boots

The theatre comes in the form of a crisp, high quality, high-resolution ( 300 ppi) png file, which can be sent anywhere in the world via email (no postage to worry about ! ) and the recipient can then make up their own theatre and resize it, or customise it, as they wish.

This is undoubtedly not a new idea, but I have never considered making a kit before and it has given me a week (off and on) of anxiety.

I know it is something that I would like to have – Will it appeal to people who want to make something for themselves?

I know it is something that I can put together – How will other people find it?

How do I decide on a price for it ? – It took time to set up and test, but the cost of materials and construction time will be borne by others (always supposing that someone buys one ! )

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Anyone out there like to be a guinea pig?

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