Saturday, 23 June 2012

1:12 Toilet and other things.

I wanted each of my blog posts to host only the one project, but as time is going on I have so much in various stages of completion that I have decided just to post what I am doing as I go along rather than the finished piece, and the blog is supposed to be my diary, so I can look back and see how long its taken me so far... So a bit about the toilet. Anyone doing up their 1:12 house will notice there isn't much available in the bathroom department. This idea will be useful to people who want to make their bathroom a bit more unique. The toilet was originally a plain wood high flush toilet. The materials were not that expensive. I think I spent under £10 in materials for the toilet alone, including the bought toilet. Count in the man hours though and it will probably be hundreds of pounds, as this did take some time to make. I chose to make a Victorian/ Edwardian embossed style of toilet. Though you could use nail decals to make a patterned toilet, if embossed wasn't what you were after. Or just a plain white one. A lot of toilet photos to follow.

Original toilet. You can see one of the pencil guidelines I have put in to help me shape the toilet. The lid is also going to be refined. I used a dremel sanding tool, and good old fashioned sandpaper for the whole shaping process.  I also used das clay here and there later on.  I can't remember where I bought my toilet, but you can get the same one on eBay, at DHD kitchens shop for £5.45. Mine was about £5. P.s. The bathroom floor tiles in this photo came from Spent quite a bit on those, but they do look convincing and they are very shiny. They are colour code M1.

Though I have started embellishing the bowl, I still wasn't happy with the base, in the next photo you can see it has become shorter in length. It isn't noticeable in the photographs, but I sanded an indent to the rear of the bowl, to make the bowl more defined.

And this is the bowl in its final shape.

I bought these filigree wraps on ebay, and carefully shaped them around the bowl. Any gaps underneath I filled in with grace clay (from Japan, though a fine filler would probably work as well) and used a wet paint brush to blend into the filligree wrap. The base was refined further.

As an afterthought, I added a tiny ball chain to the top of the wrap, so there are a few gaps here and there, where it wouldn't fit because of the wrap. That's what happens when you do things on the hoof, and it will forever annoy me.

There is a balancing act going on in this photo. Nothing is secured yet. I still have to  make a  permanent water pipe, the one in place, you could call a prototype. The cistern is exactly as it was when it was bought, with the addition of filigree wraps, many coats of  paint and a flush handle, which is actually a door handle. I bought that at Miniatura, from Tony Hooper. The toilet seat has been wood stained. When ready to put in place in the bathroom, it will have two small brackets under the cistern. 

The glossing technique!! I used a few coats of white primer on the toilet first. Then there are about 4-5 coats of Humbrol white gloss paint on the toilet. I  "watered" down the paint with white spirit, until it was the consistency of single cream (watery single cream, anyway) and carefully applied it in sections so it spread out over the surface and dried smooth, without leaving "join" or brush marks. Drying time for each coat took two days! So put a glass bowl over your glossed items immediately, and cat hairs and lint won't be a part of the finished object.

Obviously, this is not a toilet. The Del Prado chair from the old dollhouse. This kit came free with one of the Del Prado dollhouse magazines (1990s).  Although it was one of the best pieces of furniture I had in the childhood dollhouse, I thought it needed revamped, and I didn't want to throw it away. So I stripped it, reshaped the sides and reupholstered.

Half finished. Because the reupholstery is done in specific stages,  I can't fix the side panels, until the front legs are in, so this will be sitting on a crate, until I can find the right legs for it. For now it is shabby chic.

My Arak Saruk rug from Micro Stitchery finally arrived. Just in time for their half price sale to start.  Can't win them all.  Three days work in this photo. I don't think this will be finished anytime soon.  It is a daunting pattern for a needlepoint beginner, but I am pleased with how I am coping with it. No major mistakes yet. I did what they said and worked from the centre out. I can see why this is so important. Miss one stitch on the border and a whole row is out of the pattern. Great miniature needlepoint tips from Bobbie Schoonmaker (who designed this rug), and also Janet Grangers website are helping me to make this rug.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Dressing table and Bathroom sink

Two pieces I have had in the works for months. And they still aren't completely finished. 

Dressing table. The mirror with drawers is a bought piece, which I've had since I was a child. It was originally mahogany.  I refined it with sandpaper, rounding the edges of the frame, etc. Using a silky mitt, intended for your legs, gives a really nice matt finish to 1:12 painted objects. It also wears away the edges in scale. The table, is also an old piece of dollshouse furniture, mass produced Made in China stuff from the 90s, I have a box full of it. It has been rejigged and had new legs (spindles) put on. A few more coats of paint and fine sanding, and it will be finished.

Mirror board from Phoenix miniatures.  Just to show the realistic reflection it gives. That jewellery squirrel tree is in my  life size bedroom.  The original mirror had too much "depth", it was quite thick, though I read somewhere if you use a black marker round the edge, this is resolved. But I lost the original mirror anyway, so...

Dressing table drawer handle, made with a brass picture nail, with a tiny bead cap superglued on top, with the head of a tiny pin superglued on top of that. A hold your breath moment setting that in place.

It is a really dull day today, it usually is. I don't like using flash in the dollshouse, but I had no choice, I wanted this photo for the records.  Picture on  Phoenix "Wilkswood" fireplace, is a Canadian stamp.

Not quite finished... Sink made from gloss painted Das clay and wood offcuts. The cast iron support is a bar table, from Phoenix Miniatures, though the  'box' surrounding the sink is a plastic sticker, painted pewter. The taps are made from ear bullet posts, wooden dowel, pins, crimp beads and model ship cowl vents and wheels. Taps are waiting for some gold leaf. Eventually, I will get round to finishing off the taps and sink surround. 

Birds eye view of the sink. Shell soap dish, is a jewellery finding pushed into the clay and painted . Plug hole is a brass wheel (model ship part) with a washer on top. No plug for it yet!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

1:12 Victorian donkey pull toy

I don't intend to have a nursery in my dollshouse, so this will be on show as a vintage ornament. I really like the donkey pull toy in one of my family photographs, so decided to make a miniature one for the house. Didn't quite manage to get the ears and the legs as fine as I would have liked. The donkey is made from fimo, over a tiny wire armature, then flocked with finely cut wool. I used crochet thread for the bridle, reins and edging on the leather saddle, which is all held in place with dots of superglue and pva glue. The wooden base was an offcut, and the wheels are one side of a snap button with the centre filed down to make a hole, a pin then inserted, with the remainder of the pin glued into a small piece of brass tubing acting as the axle.

My great aunt Rita Lynas circa 1905

Close up of the pull toy used as a photograph prop.

4cm high and 3.3 cm long. Actually donkey alone is 3.5cm high. £1 coin for scale.

I put a dot of nail varnish on the eye to give the impression of glass eyes. Very hard to see in photographs.