Monday, 24 February 2014

Mini Scene in a Box Frame: Getting Started

Continuing with the shadow box project
I took my shadow box project to minis club this month. In between the talking and seeing what others were making, I got the frame and the box undercoated in white paint, and I made the little pot plant.
Making a start on the small project
I've decided to run with the idea of decorating this as a Greek scene. So I sorted through my 'stash' of bits and pieces and found all of these that will be perfect on the table and shelves.

1:12 Scale Greek Miniatures
Next step will be to plaster the box interior and start making the furniture. So watch this space!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Free On-line Miniatures Magazines to Enjoy

I've discovered two wonderful on-line resources this month, and how I wish I had found them years ago! In fact, I am so excited about the magazines that I just had to share them with you.

Both are magazines that promote excellence in miniatures and connect professional, international artisan mini-makers with others interested in hand-making dolls houses and minis.

AIM stands for Artisans in Miniature and has a monthly, free magazine that you can download or read on-line. Projects, articles, features on artisans, and handy hints along with beautiful photographs make you want to sit, read, enjoy and then make miniatures. There are back issues from 2009 onward on-line too, so there's lots of reading to be done!

CDHM stands for Custom Dolls, Houses and Miniatures and also features wonderful work by artisans in our hobby. Their magazine is called CDHM Miniature Way. As well as the magazine there are tutorials on making lots of miniatures, many of the lessons taken by IGMA miniaturists.

I hope you enjoy these publications as much as I do, and are inspired to try some new things in our mini world.

Friday, 7 February 2014

How to Make a Wooden Picture Frame

Oh, dear, I chipped the frame taking it off the dolls house wall!

As promised, here are the instructions for making a wooden picture frame. (For the demonstration photos, I've used wider wood, in longer lengths than 1:12 scale so the pictures are clearer to see.)

Mitre box, razor saw and gluing jig

You will need a mitre box for the 45 degree angles in the corners, a razor saw and a gluing jig. Also the picture or embroidery to be framed, glued onto thin card.
As you can see, my tools have had so much use that I've had to tape them up!
  If you are using a very thin wood, or balsa wood, or even cardboard to make your frame, you could cut the angles with a craft knife. And for a gluing jig you could use Lego blocks to hold the pieces together when ready.

More supplies for picture frames
You will also need a mechanical pencil, a steel ruler and suitable wood. Because the scale is so small, every millimeter makes a difference so a mechanical pencil gives the finest mark for where you need to cut the wood.
  Now you must follow that old builders' adage of 'measure twice, cut once'. Measure how long the sides of the frame need to be to fit your picture. Measure again. Mark where the cuts will be with a mechanical pencil. Cut on the 45 degree angle using the mitre box and saw.

Checking the sides match
Now take the pieces and place them together like this to see if they are exactly the same. I don't know how many I've thrown in the rubbish in disgust, or kept taking off a little more, then a little more to try and get the sides the same, as the size of the frame gets smaller and smaller!

Check again!

Now is the time to stain the wood, before gluing, so the wood will take the stain. If you want to paint your frame, you don't have to do it now, you could wait till the frame is assembled and the glue dried.
  Assembling the frame takes time because you need to let the glue dry on each piece before taking the next step. This is really hard for me because I'm always tempted to fiddle with it! Use the gluing jig and walk away!

Glue two sides together. Let dry.

Glue the third side into place. Let dry.
The completed frame, ready for painting.
The angle of the photo makes the frame look slightly lop-sided, but it isn't!
  I hope this tutorial will be useful. Have fun looking for little pictures to frame to hang on your dolls house walls.