Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not Exactly a Dollhouse Miniature...

Let me say I have a love of everything miniature! Including little miniature terrarium scenes...

The real world hasn't allowed me alot of time for miniatures and with Christmas upon us....well I've been a busy girl. But I simply HAD to make time for these ornaments I saw featured on DesignSponge...

The original post on designsponge is here.

Basically you just need reindeer moss, clear glass ornaments, a bit of ribbon and whatever pretty little accents you would like to add. For mine I used tiny ladybugs, bird eggs, cardinals, and butterflies all found in the floral dept. at Michael's. I added a couple springs of sticks that I nuked in the microwave for a few seconds and some dried potpourri for color....I was also able to use up some extra bits and pieces from my miniature stashes. I just arranged everything with a pencil. These are super easy but they really do look quite elegant!

I was making these as a gift but I'm not sure I want to give them away...they truly are sooo pretty and make a great gift for the green thumbed person on your christmas list!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dollhouse Aquarium...

So I’ve been wanting to make a “real” looking aquarium for awhile…a few experiments with different epoxy resins didn’t turn out quite so successful but I’ve finally done it I think.

Materials Needed:

-Course Sand/Tiny Gravel for substrate

-Clear Plastic Paperclip Holder
( $1.37 at Wal-Mart)

-2 Part Epoxy Resin

(I used an Acrylic Water Kit from the Floral dept. from
Wal-Mart, it's cheaper ($5.50) usually in stock as opposed to
many times I've gone in search of Castin' Craft Mix..
Essentially they are the same thing though--so either
one is fine for our purposes....)

-Tiny Shells/Rocks
(Can be found in Craft Dept or you could also use shell beads!)

-Plastic Plant Snips
(I just stole a few snips off of actual fake aquarium plants--plastic doesn't bleed the color like
cloth might, so I stuck strictly with plastic.

-Pewter Fish Charm
($1.47 at Hobby Lobby)
(Jewelry charms are great for can usually take a pair of nailclippers and snip the
hook right off....)

-Screw Base Bulbs
($3.99 at Hobby Lobby)
(two to a package, I used a single one)

First of all--this will take you a few days to make. If you've ever used epoxy before, you know that it takes 24-48 usually to set. If you didn't know know it know I guess =P

There are a couple of things I should also probably mention--working with this stuff can be a pain in the There are a couple of things I should also probably mention--working with this stuff can be a pain in the There are a couple of things I should also probably mention--working with this stuff can be a pain in the There are a couple of things I should also probably mention--working with this stuff can be a pain in the $&$ because of the possible mess you can make...You do need to be careful and should wear gloves when handling and glasses wouldn't be a bad idea either. I always tend to be a bit of a klutz and despite my being as careful as possible, I still manage to spill the stuff. It is caustic and can cause skin irritations and should be rinsed off immediately if it comes into contact with your skin. It's great to let the kiddos help decorate their tank, but when you begin working with the epoxy, that part should really be left up to mom and dad..

That being said...don't let my dire warnings scare you. It's just like working with cleaner or paint thinner....You're fine as long as you practice common sense precautions.


After removing the black lid and emptying the paperclips, I wiped out the inside of my clear plastic "tank"....I lined it with a thin layer (about 1/4' in thick) of crushed gravel I found by the accent stones/pebbles section of Wal-Mart. I wouldn't suggest fine sand as it may become mixed in with the resin and cause the final result to be cloudy. The finest gravel you can find works well (rinse it off first though) as it still has enough weight that it doesn't rise once you've added the epoxy.

The next step was adding small shells and pebbles. I used these shells and pebbles to anchor down tiny snippets of plastic plants which I simply shoved into the substrate. You may wish to superglue the snippets of plants to a tiny piece of gravel to ensure that it doesn't rise up when your epoxy is curing. I didn't do so as I was checking this pretty consistently to make sure everything stayed in place, but if you're unable to "babysit" your tank's progress, it will help prevent a "floating" plant in the end.

After I fixed my decorations exactly as I wanted them, I mixed up enough resin to partially fill my tank to midlevel. I spooned the epoxy mixture in and made sure that all my accent pieces were still in tact. I then unbent a paperclip and with a tiny dab of glue, attached the top of my fish charm's fin to the paperclip. After the glue dries, suspend the fish partially submerged in the epoxy resin and hang the paperclips edges of the side to support it. It's important to NOT get any epoxy on the part where the charm and paperclip are glued as you will need to removed the paperclip later. Word of warning--painting the charm may cause the paint colors to bleed into the epoxy mixture so I would use a substance that won't bleed or leave it as is...

Keep checking the tank to make sure nothing has shifted, you will need to poke things back into place if a plant has coming up from the bottom. After 24-48 the mix has usually hardened enough so that nothing will move any longer and you can add the final layer of epoxy.

Another thing worth noting---This method may or may not leave you with a noticable line. If you'd rather not risk the line, you can simply fill your tank up entirely the first time and simply suspend the fish from the top or try clear nylon thread to hang him halfway down. You will need to suspend the fish somehow or he will sink though.

So the paperclip top (the black part has a circular opening at the top...there are a couple of ways you can decide to finish it. You can run the light bulb cord under the edges and place in a corner of the top of the tank and leave it "open" on the top OR you can take a tiny round piece of wood and simply place the light inside the tank and cover with the wood. Paint the wood black and it will look seamless!

Grand total for materials I used is around $6.00....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fireplace Mantle with Cabinets

More fun with bashed Michael's Hutches. This time it's a arts and crafts style fireplace mantle with built in shelving. It took a total of five Michael's Hutches..but I only used half of each hutch so I still have five half pieces leftover... I used around 40-50 mosaic tiles to accent the fireplace and create the base, and 6 tiny accent brads using in scrapbook for hardware.

It would probably look completely awesome in stained wood...alas I went with white so that it "flowed" better with the rest of the white cabinetry I'm installing in my Contemporary themed Bellingham.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Entertainment Center

I used four of the cheap $1.00 unfinished wooden hutches from Michael's to piece together this entertainment center. I removed the wooden knobs from the door facings and replaced with brush satin brads (you can usually find packages of decorative brads fairly cheap at any store with a scrapbooking department)

I painted the unit black as it's going in a contemporary themed house. (eventually at can obviously tell the house is a long way from being finished by the photo....)

The television is actually a magnet. I found it at the Dollar Tree. I painted the screen black with a black enamel craft paint to give it a bit of shine to it...

Most of the decorations on the shelf are beads. The tiny standing eiffel tower on the top shelf is a charm bracelet charm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Al's New Apron

Part of being a miniaturist is keeping your eyes open for something that suits the scale you're working in

Al's New Apron
Originally uploaded by Dystopian_Optimist
A great source of miniature accessories can be found in the scrapbooking aisle. There are TONS of fancy scrapbook stickers that can have use in miniature scenes.

In the picture, Albert is modeling this lovely apron I found made by Jolee's By You. It was cheap --$1.00 on sale at Michael's....and as an added bonus it came with two removable wooden kitchen utensils that can also be used in your mini scenes.

I've used tons of scrapbooking materials in my houses. In fact, all of my wallpaper is scrapbooking paper. You can always find the perfect shade or pattern to match your's hard to say the same about the dollhouse wallpaper you see for sale.

The lovely white cake in the foreground is a polymer clay creation. I love polymer clay. Plop it in a microwavable container with water and zap it for a few seconds and it's set...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Porcelain" Tile Floor

The kitchen floor shown in this picture was made from 1 sheet of tan colored craft foam. This is the spongy stuff in the craft department with kids crafts most of the time. You can get the pre-stickied sheets and all you will have to do is peel and stick--or you can use a spray on adhesive to adhere your tiles.

I personally like to place my floor on cardboard, that way I can remove it if I need to hide wiring, etc.

To create the tiles, the first step was texturing. Using four or five differing shades of brown/tan/cream, I mixed each color individually with matte modge podge and stippled the sheet of foam with a layer of each. The modge podge will give it a bit of a glossy, shiny effect but without being overwhelming as if it was covered in pure gloss. You have to make sure you don't use alot of paint when you're stippling--you want a rough, uneven look and texture to your tiles. I also suggest waiting to let one color dry before beginning the next, otherwise your paint will smear together and create one color, instead of differing shades.

After the painting is done, I measured out one inch squares on the backside and cut into pieces. Then--layed the tile as seen here. Craftfoam is really easy to cut so fitting "tiles" into corners and sides is super easy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This cute little birdfeeder is easy to make. You just need the following:

Cap Bead
Beading Wire
Clear Eyeliner Cap
Mustard Seed

Simply fill the clear plastic eyeliner cap up with small "birdseed" looking material. I used mustard seed for the picture shown. Place a thin layer of hot glue on a button and center the button glue down on top of the cap. Turn it upside down and place another thin layer of hot glue or superglue on the button around the tube. Sprinkle more mustard seed on top of the glue.

For the cap, take a strand of beading wire, double it over and tie a double knot in the cut end. Run the other end up through a cap bead to make your "hanger". Fill the underside of the cap bead with hot glue and place it on top of your "birdfeeder" tube.

You can most likely find little resin or porcelain birds to embellish your feeder. The bird pictured here was found at Hobby Lobby for around $3.00 for pack of 12.

If you don't have a plastic eyeliner cap handy, you can also use clear perfume vials, see-thru straws or any type of clear plastic tubing to make your feeder tube.