Thursday 4 February 2016

New website & new name!

Hi there mini friends,  check out my new website and new name!

Also check me out in Instagram: @architectureoftinydistinction

Having my blog has been fun, but I have upgraded now and created my own website. A bit of an upgrade! From now on I will be posting my tutorials directly to my website under the "Small Tutorials" tab. Please feel free to visit my website and leave your comments and likes!

Its been fun! Please feel free to browse all of my past posts, as they will remain available. 

I will also continue to use blogspot to view and comment on all of your great posts!

Saturday 19 December 2015

How to Decorate a Tiny Victorian Christmas Tree

To decorate your tree you will need a little bit of time and patience. 

To decorate the tree you will need:
  • beads of several kinds in the shapes and colours you like;
  • jewellery wire;
  • pliers (preferable a small pair of long nose with rounded tips); 
  • super glue (or glue which will glue metal to metal, plastic to metal).
To make the little Christmas tree table you will need:
  • miniature table you like;
  • silk fabric in two shades (silk responds the best to starch and also has a shine with looks realistic at scale);
  • spray starch;
  • 1mm card;
  • a few more pieces of lycopodium moss;
  • smallest ribbon you can find;
  • plastic based all purpose glue (such as "Tarzan's Grip", which is best for glueing fabric).

Using the jewellery wire and pliers  bend and cut the hangers for each bauble. These will be glued into the beads. Cut the lengths slightly longer than you need because it is esier to trim excess than to fiddle with a tiny piece. 

I modified some of the beads by painting them purple and red with glass paint. Glass paint is perfect because it has that glossiness that Christmas ornaments usually have. 

Here you can see a selection of baubles I made for my tree.

To make the star I used two of the same type of beading thingy. This type of thingy is common and easy to find. Many mini makers use them the base for 1:12 candle sticks.

I cut one up to expose the centre star and glued it onto the top of the other. I then glued strands of the jewellery wire behind it for star shine. 

I then used the glass paint to add some red highlights to the star. 

Once the decorations are finished place them one by one in the tree. When you like their position, dap a drop of super glue on to glue them in place. 


Start by cutting a circle of card the same size as the top of your table. Using the method you like best, pleat a straight strip of the silk (the height of your table) and glue it around the outside of the card. like below. 

To work with ease, use a toilet roll or equivalent holder as a stand. This will make it much easier to handle without making dirty. 

Once the pleats are finished, take a square piece of silk in another tone and spray with starch. Then drape it over the top of the card and hold down the sides to make it look realistically draped. Once it has dried, dap small amounts of the glue to hold it in place on to the card.  

Make some small bows with your ribbon. I did this by folding and glueing several pieces rather than actually tying a real bow.

Make the garlands for the table in the same way you make the branches of the tree: with lycopodium glued to wire. glue the bows on top when you're done. 

And you're done!

Saturday 5 December 2015

Making a Victorian Style Christmas Tree

I have always loved the famous image of the young Queen Victoria and family around their German Christmas tree. The image was printed in the London Illustrated News the christmas of 1848 and is widely credited as starting the fashion for Christmas trees in England and America.

Because the half scale house is Victorian, I think it needs a Victorian christmas tree like this one. Determining the style of the tree was fun. Fake trees were popular at the time, and the Germans had feather trees. Since this is the easiest style to replicate, and looks the most authentic, I decided to go with that. 

Sharpen a toothpick or section of skewer or small dowel to the length you want. Then use jewellery wire to create the branch levels. To do this, wrap the wire around the stem following the below pattern. 

Once you are done with each level, drab a drop of super glue on the centre of each level to secure the wire to the tooth pick. I use super glue because it most effectively binds wire and wood. 

Then paint the stem brown. 

The next step is to use some lycopodium to make the branches. Lycopodium is a type of moss which is dried and painted green. You can buy it in bulk packs at florists or miniatures shops. It isn't too hard to find, and I even found some here in Aus at a miniatures fair. Cut the lycopodium in "Y" shape segments. 

Using super glue, slowly work your way around the stem, gluing the Y branches on. This is a little bit time consuming and annoying in the extreme. But stick with it. The good thing about using the wire branches is that you can change their angle to get the look you like. 

Next you make the stand by cutting two pieces of bass wood and creating grooves in them so they fit neatly together in an "X". 

Glue to the base, and then you're finished!

Next up, decorations!!

Monday 19 October 2015

Fine chair making

I'de decided to take my furniture making up a notch and have a go at some luxury furniture. So this week I make a Louis XIV style settee and chair set.

I chose an image of a sofa that I liked and copied it. I made the chair base and back from basswood and the legs from match sticks which I carved with a blade. 

For the ornament on the top I used a small bit of laser cut card I can left over.

Rather than upholster with foam I used a clever trick I recently learned which is simply the cut and shape cushions from soft balsa wood. This makes coating them with fabric MUCH easier. I then glued on the yellow silk carefully to avoid staining the fabric. 

Here you can see the upholstered sofa next to the balsa wood cushions of the chairs.

I then gave the wood a light paint with gold paint and rimmed the edge of the cushions with a fine gold thread which finished them very well. 

The final product, ready for a salon which does not yet exist!

Furniture making - first attempts

Hi all, its been a little while since my last post. This is because I have been studying full time and working three jobs.

Ive recently had a bit more time though, and here are my latest creations. I am working on filing my 1:24 half scale house with half scale furniture. After browsing widely on the net for about two years I finally came to the conclusion that if I wanted good furniture in 1:24 I just had to make it myself!

These are my first wobbly attempts. All made in basswood.

I started with an octagonal card table:

I added inlay by using some left over thin flooring wood, cut very tiny. I realised the basswood was thicker than the veneer so I packed out the base with masking tape (you can see the white tape there). 

It got slightly fiddly. 

In order to make the legs stand evenly under the table I pressurised it when the glue was drying. 

 Next up: the gothic style victorian book case. Also made in balsa.

The finished products!

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Half Scale House Progress

This month I have been working hard on the half scale house, trying to finish the bulk of the work before my Architecture studies resume in March. I am trying to finish the complex interiors, so that during the busy semester, all I need do is paint the exterior and furnish the house at my leisure. 

Frankie Mayonnaise, the Scottish Fold puss has taken a particular shine to the house, and tries to scale it whenever she is presented with the chance. 

These are the two finished bedroom fireplaces. I used Phoenix cast inserts, and made the surrounds. I tried to give them both a Gothic flavour with assorted tiny laser cut bits.

The finished flowery bedroom. 

For the blue bedroom I had a blue paper ceiling, with a plain ceiling rose which I made from left over bits from the fireplaces. The tiny wire is fine, and easily passes under the ceiling paper unseen to be connected to a battery in the attic. 

As another little exercise I made some picture frames from strips of moulding. I painted them gold. It can be tricky with half scale being able to find appropriately scaled frames.

For an embellishment I edged the frame with some gold fabric edging I found lying around. Turns out later I had used the last scrap of garment edging my mum had saved from the fashion boutique my grandmother operated in the 1930s. I think it is kind of nice that it is now immortalised in my dollhouse forever. 

Choosing a picture for the frame was pretty easy! Here I did an image search on the ipad and picked the one that looked best. 

These are the assorted bits now waiting to go into the parlour. I have also been making some silk curtains, but more on that in another post. What I will say though is that silk is a fantastic fabric to work with in miniature. It sets like a board when sprayed with starch, and gives such a realistic shimmer that your eye is distracted from the fact that the material has a bigger grain than it should. 

Meanwhile I have also been volunteering at the National Trust headquarters at the beautiful Tasma Terrace in Melbourne. If you are in Melbourne, do visit! Such wonderful inspiration for future miniatures.