Sep 27 2013

Frozen Assets Munny Mascot

The 2013/14 hockey season is upon us, and the Frozen Assets are ready!  This will be our 10th season in the MSWHL, (the Pig is proud), and with quite a few new opponents this year it looks to be a good one.  When the illustrious founder of the Assets had to leave for the warmth of Florida, I tried to capture the Pig in all her glory as a going away gift.  Here She is:

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She is based on the pig Munny body.  The ears, snout,and body are unchanged.  The teeth are still the original Munny head, and the lips are made of polymer clay.  The skates are polymer clay boots and laces, with a basswood holder and aluminum blade.    The jersey is sewn from an old scrap of jersey fabric, with handstitched edging and lettering.  The hockey stick is made of balsa, the blade of the stick carved with an exacto blade.  The remaining details are done using acrylic paint, and the entire figure has several coats of varnish to give it a durable finish.

To end with our (admittedly somewhat strange) chant,   Go Money!!!

 

 


Sep 13 2013

Unnecessary Detail

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Once the bed is made, the mattress doesn’t show.  So why make it detailed?  Well, because unnecessary level of detail is my specialty of course!  Seeing several beautifully done mattresses on Etsy, I was was inspired.

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For this project you will need:

  • foam piece cut to fit your bedframe
  • white muslin or other fabric as the mattress cover
  • scissors
  • fabric glue
  • needle & thread
  • five small buttons or beads for tufting.

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To begin, wrap the foam with fabric as you would gift wrap a box.  There’s not any one “right” method for this.  Use a small amount of fabric glue to help keep the fabric in place, but avoid putting glue on the edges, as it will make the edge stitching much more difficult.

Once the top and sides of the mattress are wrapped, it is time to add the tufting details.  To do this, simply thread your needle and push it through the bottom (uncovered at this point) of the mattress.  Reference the finished photo to see the placement of the tufts.  Thread a small bead or button onto the thread, and pass the needle back through to the backside of the mattress again, pulling just enough to create a small tufting effect.  Repeat for each of the tufts; 5 is a good number for a twin bed.

After the tufting looks as you want it to, cut a small rectangle of fabric to cover over the bottom of the mattress.  In the photo above you can see that I folded and glued the edges of the bottom piece so as to not have any unfinished edges.  Glue in place.

Lastly, stitch along each edge of the mattress, creating the illusion of trim.  Again, there’s not really one “right” way to do it.  I found that by pinching the edge gently and stitching perpendicular to the edge I created the look I was going for.

And that’s it!  A realistic looking mattress ready to be fitted with sheets and blankets.  This way, even on “laundry day” your dollhouse mattress will look wonderful!

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Sep 12 2013

Modern Miniature Chair

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I’ve found it is rather difficult to find modern affordable dollhouse furniture, so I decided to try my hand at making my own.  The chair is a relatively simple construction, using wood scraps, a small amount of polyfill, scrap leather, aluminum tubing for the legs, findings or other material to cap the bottom of the legs, wood glue, and fabric adhesive.  The only other tools needed are a cutting mat, exacto knife, scissors, and ruler.

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I did not use any particular pattern in creating the chair, but googled for some  basic standard chair dimensions (namely seat height and width).  The body of the chair was cut from basswood.  The arms and back were simply wrapped in leather and glued in place.  The seat cushion was first covered in a layer of polyfill, then wrapped in leather, and a small tube of leather was stuffed to serve as a back cushion.  Once the leather part of the chair was finished, the entire thing was set atop a wood base painted silver and four short aluminum tubes were added as legs.  The bottom of the tubes should be fitted with a cap of some sort to make it look more finished, and to keep the aluminum from scratching your wooden dollhouse floors.  I used earring stud “findings” for this purpose.

This was a pretty straightforward and simple furniture project.  With almost the entire chair covered in leather, there was no need for exact carpentry skills, and with legs attached last the height of the seat can be easily altered if needs be.  All in all, it fits pretty nicely in a modern dollhouse living room!

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Sep 12 2013

Kerbal Munny How To

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Begin with a DIY Munny figure.  The basic body shape works well for the Kerbal figure, and the munny head becomes the foundation for Kerbal’s helmet.  Simply use an exacto blade to cut the front half of the vinyl, as you see below.

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Polymer clay works fantastically to add details and modify your Munny.  In order to turn the Munny into a Kerbal suit, add polymer clay boots, a panel on the front of the suit to match Kerbal’s, and small bands around Kerbal’s wrists.  I use super sculpey and paint later, but most brands of polymer clay would work.  You could alternatively use colored clay if you want to avoid having to paint.  The vinyl body with polymer clay additions should be baked as the clay instructs.  There is just one trick to baking the vinyl- that is, it gets extremely soft while hot, and can warp if not supported properly during baking.  This is not a problem when simply adding polymer clay to the surface of the body, or anytime the vinyl shape remains “solid”.  It IS, however, very important during the baking of the helmet.

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Once the body details are added, you’re ready to move on to the helmet.  The former Munny “ears” are filled to become the speakers alongside the sides, and two ridges are added to the top of the helmet.  Baking during this stage is much more tricky.  The helmet needs to be laid on its back and supported with polyfill during baking.  If you bake the helmet standing up as you see in the photo above, it will collapse when the vinyl softens.  Speaking from experience, if and or when the vinyl shape becomes distorted, you will need to hold it in your hands (wearing oven mitts!) while hot, and gently reshape.  As the vinyl cools it will reharden.  As long as it’s in the shape you want as it cools, any distortion can be undone.  The vinyl becomes much softer and more easily distorted than the polymer clay does, so minimizing this is important to keep the clay and vinyl from separating and causing cracks or distortions.

With the body and helmet details created, the next step is to create the head of Kerbal himself.  Kerbals are essentially a cylinder with bulging eyes.  This is made of polymer clay as well, but it is much too thick to cure properly if solid.  First you will need to create the foundation of the shape from either wire mesh, or aluminum foil.  The wire mesh method is my preference.  You can shape the cylinder from mesh, adding a layer of polymer clay to the inside for strength.  Fit the head foundation inside the helmet, shaping it to the existing vinyl “neck”.  Remove the head from the helmet for baking.  Bake the foundation and two white half spheres to be used as eyes.  Once the foundation and eyes are baked and cooled, you can finish creating the head from polymer clay without the concern of being too thick to properly cure.  Insert the pre-baked eyes into the clay head, and bake.  I chose a somewhat more complex expression, with his mouth open and teeth showing.  If you are new to this, a closed mouth may be a better first choice.

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The next steps are painting and assembly.  First cover the entire figure (vinyl and clay alike) with one or two coats of gesso.  I prefer white gesso for any parts that will remain white or light colored, and gray gesso for any dark parts.  After gesso, sand lightly, paint any and all details with acrylic paint, and finish with a few thin coats of varnish.  For a little added detail, the “lights” in each of the top helmet protrusions were created from earring findings with rhinestones, a watch gear was added to the front suit panel, and small wire “buckles” were created for the boots.

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The final step was to create the Kerbal’s jet pack.  The pack itself is made of polymer clay, the “jets” are earring findings, and the straps are fabric trim.  Unfortunately the arm pieces Kerbal uses to control the pack in the game eluded me, as the angle at which Munny hands and arms bend didn’t line up as needed for this detail.

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And there you have it!- your very own Kerbal.  Any questions or tips, feel free to leave a comment.  I’d love to hear what others have done!


Sep 12 2013

Kitchen Reno Part 2

The decorating of my dollhouse kitchen is in homage to “grandma’s” kitchens, literally.  The wallpaper was chosen to match the kitchen of my grandmother, mother, and aunts.  The ceiling of the kitchen is designed in homage to the kitchen my mother-in-law had for over 30 years.  The beams are doing double duty, as there was a large crack in the floor above, and not only did they mimic the ceiling I was replicating, they worked perfectly to reinforce it without having to figure out a way to cut out and replace the old subfloor.

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I decided to try my hand at making tiny curtains for the window, and it’s really not difficult if you have a little bit of sewing experience, some wire, and eyelets used in scrapbooking.

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To create the fabric panels, simply cut two equal sized rectangles, adding extra size for the hem.  ”Fat quarters” used in quilting are an easy way to buy a small amount of fabric for this.  The size of the finished panels should be determined by the size of your window, and how long you wish them to be.  First I hemmed all four edges, turning it twice before stitching so as to have a clean finished edge on both sides.  Along the top edge of the panels I installed eyelets you can find in scrapbooking supplies.  I used 5 eyelets per panel, but again, adjust according to the size and look you want.  If you do not have eyelets, you can always simply turn over the top edge again, leaving room for the curtain rod to slide through.

The curtain rod is a wooden dowel, painted, and capped with tiny polymer clay finials.  Beads would work just as well.  Glue one finial in place, slide your curtains onto the rod, and then add the second finial.  The finials can be anything, but it’s helpful if they are large enough that the curtains can’t slide off.

Next, I used black “fun wire” to create the curtain rod hangers and tie backs.  Below is a photo of the wire “hardware”.  To attach the hardware I simply used glue, but you could alternatively use tiny brads or nails.  Once the glue is dry, simply hang the rod with curtains already installed on the hooks and gently position the panels in the tie-backs.

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Next up, the flooring.  I used small glass tiles in black and white, found at a craft store in their mosaic supplies.  One tip, measure the floor ahead of time to determine how many full tiles will fit and whether the space left will require cutting tiles.  The remaining space was small enough that I was able to avoid any tile cutting by leaving a small space on each border that can be covered once the baseboard and quarter round trim is installed.  This saved a lot of time and headache.

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Next up for the kitchen, finishing the tile floor, installing the baseboard and quarter-round trim, and installing the new and improved staircase.


Sep 9 2013

Kitchen Renovations

Thankfully dollhouse renovations are a bit simpler than functional kitchens… no water to shut off, no concerns about gas lines or where to cook in the meantime.  And good thing too, as this reno is taking much longer than expected.  It began with the repurposing of furniture my grandmother had built and finished from kits in the 80s.  First the pieces were sanded, primed, and painted white.  In order to update the pieces I added simple legs, and replaced the top with a “butcher block” counter created by laying strips of wood in varying colors side by side, gluing them in place, cutting them to fit, adding a simple miter cut edge, and then varnish to seal.  You can see the almost finished kichen cupboards below.

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In addition to the cupboards, the sink unit was also updated to match.  The sink was created from polymer clay, and both the faucet and towel rod on the side were made of aluminum tubing (you can find at most hardware stores).  In order to allow the faucet to swivel between the two sink halves first insert and glue a small piece of tubing into the cabinet, and then use the next smallest size of tubing for the fixture.  Aluminum tubing is extremely easy to bend with hand tools.  I recommend using rounded pliers in order to keep the aluminum from creasing.  Simply slip the faucet into the fixed tubing and it will move freely.  The towel bar on the side of the cabinet is also made from aluminum tubing, capped at each end with an earring finding, and hung from simple brackets made of wire.

Next up, the room itself (the beginning of which can be seen in the photo above).