Sunday, February 28, 2021

Tiny House Kitchenette - Part 1

Here is a tutorial for a mini kitchen – a kitchenette from the Tiny House project (subject of most of my blogs for 2020).  The Tiny House was a group project that my club sponsored as a day-long workshop for members.  The kitchenette was designed to be simple (so it could be taught to 85 people in about 2 hours), inexpensive and compact (it was for a tiny house, after all!).  It is basically a short wall of open shelves, lower “cabinets” from foam core and has all the necessary appliances. In that tiny space it has a 2-burner stove, microwave, refrig and dish drawer (dishwasher).  I think some of the techniques shared here could work for travel trailer (think Airstream!) and Gypsy wagon type miniature projects too.

The sink and faucet were the subject of my first post on this project back in March 2020 (click here for link to Sink Faucet Tutorial).  For Part 1 of the Kitchenette covering the cabinet base and appliance doors, most of the instructions and photos are available in this downloadable file and pattern sheet:

[click here for Kitchenette Part 1 Downloadable file and pattern sheet].

Since I had made up these instructions for the event it was just easier to modify them for this blog post rather than uploading all the photos to the blog.  Here’s a summary of the important points if you decide to try to make this kitchenette:

Lower “cabinets” – these are just open shelves of foam core.  Construction is basically just one long piece of foam core scored and folded.  Then the center dividers and bottom are glued in.  If you want, you can add your own cupboard doors but due to the simplicity and small size of our project, we didn’t include doors or drawers.  The front edges and area under the sink were trimmed (disguised) with thin wooden coffee stir sticks.

Appliance doors – For the frig and dish drawer – the doors are made from foam core and covered with a vinyl film that looks like stainless steel.  There are several different companies that make a product like this.  One is by ConTact brand.  The one I used for this project is made by Cricut.  See photos below.  It is not the "removable" kind that I see carried by Michael's.  I don't know if the "removable" product will work - I just haven't tried it.  Here is what I used: 



 Here are my very important tips for covering the doors with “stainless” film:

  1. The narrow edges of the doors are covered in four separate strips of silver film.  You might think it will be a great short cut to just fold the film over the edges but this is a mistake.  Eventually it will bubble up.  Trust me I have done it many times.  The stuff doesn’t like to be folded (I even tried scoring the fold with the back of an X-Acto and it still won’t stay flat and square where it was folded).  
  2. Glue film to the narrow edges of the doors but DON’T put any glue on the front of the doors.  Even though it has an adhesive back, it needs the extra glue for the edges to stay stuck down.  But glue will make lumps on the smooth front so use the film’s own adhesive there.
  3. Any little spec of dust or dirt will be very visible as a lump when the film is laid on it.  Use scotch tape to remove any particles before applying the film to the door front.

 

Finished Refrig Door

For the handles of the appliances, I used some long curved silver tube beads.  Because I had about 300 of these to make, I ground down the ends to an angle using my husband’s grinding wheel so they would fit more flush against the front of the door.  But if you don’t have a grinder you can use low grit sandpaper (like 150) or just pinch the tube ends with pliers to make them flatter.  I ran a piece of wire through them and poked the wire into the foam door for a little more ‘grab’ than just glue alone.

Well that covers the hardest part of the kitchenette.  Next blog I will tell how the microwave and stove top were made.  Here is a photo of my finished kitchenette in the tiny house:


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Tiny Plant Tutorial

It seems tiny plants are IN right now!  I’ve even seen a kitchen magnet to hold a tiny (real) succulent on your refrigerator!  Even the non-miniaturists are into tiny plants!!

Here is a tutorial for some simple tiny plants to place around your dollhouse room setting.  The supplies are fairly easy to find and just require some glue – bead glue (for the crystal parts) and regular craft glue.  The photos show the parts arranged as they are glued because I had made up many kits of these for a Society of American Miniaturists event.

General Supplies: use Bead glue for any glass/crystal beads and metal to glass parts.  Use craft glue for everything else (Crafter’s Pick Ultimate is my favorite which you know if you have read any of my blog posts).

Plant pots:  see descriptions by the photos below.

Plant parts:
For the plants, I just walked the aisles of the Hobby Lobby floral section looking for anything that had tiny parts that could be cut into smaller plants.  The ones that looked best were sold as “spheres”.  I just cut the smallest snippet of plants that had very tiny lobes or even just a few plastic grass blades.    Here are some photos of how they look before you cut them apart:

This one is "Soft Green Grass Sphere" on Hobby Lobby's Website


Photo #1 Plants:

Plant A (succulent dish).  Cut a small ‘rosette’ off the succulent pick (not the sphere for this one).  For the dish I used a brass #12 “finish washer” (Home Depot - photo below).  For 'dirt' I cut a circle of brown craft foam and punched a circle in the middle.  Glue the 'dirt' to the washer – stuff it down in the brass dish.  Then glue the plant in the hole.  For the “feet” I used a pronged stud – the kind usually used to decorate denim items.

Plant B – (long thin leaves) –Just cut a few blades from a grassy looking plant.  I found some really nice painted wooden beads in a big package of mixed beads.  See photo below.  For the top of the wooden bead that looks like brass I used an eyelet.  For the brass base I used a small brass cap (I think I may have purchased these from a miniature show – brass findings).

Plant C – goblet – cut the tiniest snippet from the plant with the smallest lobes (see photo above – this was called “soft green grass sphere") and squish and glue them down into the goblet (Chrysnbon type).

Plant D – cube – the cube is a glass bead that came from a big plastic jar, different shapes from Hobby Lobby.  There was a mix of silver, gold, all mostly metallic (photo below).  The plant had small round-ish ends.  Just cut a small clip and stuff it in with glue.

Washer for Plant A above

Wooden bead mix Plant B

Glass bead mix - Plant D above


Photo #2 Plants

Plant E – copper cup – the copper cup is actually a tube.  They are from Home Depot (photo below).  Just like for the goblet above, cut a tiny piece of the soft, squishy grass sphere and stuff it in.

Plant F – branch - this took a little more work.  It is railroad greenery clumps glued to cloth covered wire twists.  The top of the round wooden bead is finished with an eyelet and the base is a small flat washer (Home Depot).

Plant G – this was a snippet from the “Succulent Sphere”.  The bead was a faux crystal type with eyelets on both ends of the hole (these are the kind of beads sold for Pandora-type bracelets). I removed the eyelet from one end with pliers so it would glue to the base more easily.   I purchased these from Etsy.  The base is a 4-pronged stud (denim embellishment).

Plant H – dish garden - a bigger snippet from the soft grass sphere made as described for the “Succulent dish” Plant A from Photo 1 but using a smaller brass washer and smaller stud.
 

Plant E Copper 'cup' - Home Depot


Terrarium

There is one more thing I want to include here – my attempt at those popular “terrariums” with gold edged glass frames.  I found a fairly close representation in these hollow ‘cage’ beads that have a faux jewel inside the cage.  I just kept the jewel in there and glued railroad greenery clumps to it.  See below – another photo from some kits (with my handwritten instructions).  The right half of the photo shows another part of the kit which made a set of candlesticks from the glass mix beads described above, eyelets, plastic styrene tubing and cloth covered wire.


 

Well there are a few tiny plants for you.  Hope your 2021 is starting off safe and better than 2020! (something I think most of us are hoping)! 


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Owl Bookends Tutorial

Here is a tiny tutorial to round out the year and allow me to get my 12 blogs in for 2020.  I got the idea for these owl bookends after seeing these cute owl push pins at Hobby Lobby.  I found them in the stationary area but later noticed that they were selling them near the cash register too!


Anyway, here is the last tutorial for 2020!

You will need:
Owl push pins (Hobby Lobby)
Tongue depressors or scrap basswood about 1/16th inch thick
X-acto knife
Sand paper (400 grit)
Acrylic paint
Small pattern paper (such as scrapbook paper)
Glue
Needle nose pliers

  • To make two bookends, cut the tongue depressor to about ½ inch wide by about 7/8 inch high (or as needed to be a little taller than your owl)
  • Cut off corners as in my photo (or you can keep the rounded end of the tongue depressor if you like that shape).
  • Cut two more smaller scraps of basswood and glue together in an “L” shape (about 3/8 by 3/8 inch).  This was used as the “base” to glue the owl to (see photos).  Sand all pieces.

  • Paint the wood pieces with a base coat that will be good under the patterned paper (I chose white).  Paint the edges and all sides.
  • Cover the flat wood sides with the paper (I didn’t cover the edges, just left those white).
  • To remove the pin from the push pin I just wiggled it a few times with needle nose pliers.  Some came off easier than others.  Glue the “L” wood piece to the shaped back wood piece.  Glue the owl to the “L”.


 Here is a tip for books:  

If you have some nice books you want to use in the bookends but you don’t want to ruin them by gluing them together, here is how I made an invisible “holder”.  You can use this with or without bookends.  I took a small clear plastic box, like the kind Chrysnbon items come in.  The narrower end of the box was about the width I needed – it nicely contained about 7 books.  The height of the box, without its lid, should be shorter than the books you are putting in it or else it will show.
Cut the box down so it is a little shallower than the books.  I used my table saw but you could also use a razor saw (fine blade with many teeth) and miter box.  The shiny glare on the bottom of the box is a piece of double-stick tape I used to keep the books stuck down. 

To use this holder, just put as many books in it that will fit.  Then stick another loose book to the outside of the box to cover up the end of the box (I stuck it there with blue-tack).


The plastic box, if cut small enough, will hold onto the books at the back and not be visible from the front. 
Books seen from the back (plastic box)

Seen from front (box is almost invisible)

Well that's it for 2020!  Whew!  Now to think...what shall I blog about in 2021?  I think I may start the year out following up with some of my readers' suggestions.  We'll have to see.  Stay tuned for what 2021 will bring!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Loft Bed Part 2 – Bedding

Here is Part 2 of the Loft Bed Tutorial.  In this part I will explain how I made the soft furnishings – the bolsters, pillow and soft pom-pom throw.  This bedding (and actually the entire Tiny House project) was a departure from my normal style (vintage, shabby, pink, ruffles, bows, glitter, etc) but I found after making this Tiny House I do like the more simple, less decorated modern style (but I'm not entirely transformed).  I got the opinion of a couple of "Gen-X-ers" on some of the furnishings since I was trying to appeal to a more "youthful" audience with this project.  They felt I did not depart enough from my normal style ("Too much color, Mom!!  Your curtains should be GRAY!).  Oh well, baby steps for this Baby Boomer... 

Supplies - Bedding and Bolsters
Faux “chamois” (soft, fuzzy wash cloths meant for cleaning the car found at Dollar Stores - see photo below)
Tiny craft pom-poms, about 1/8 inch diameter
needle, thread
Craft sand or small no-hole beads for pillow stuffing
Tiny funnel (sand art or perfume) OR small cone made from paper for transferring sand
clear vinyl tubing, about ½ or 3/8 inch in diameter (plumbing -home improvement stores)
Tiny pom-pom trim (miniature show)
Dense Fabric for pillow (that will not let sand through)
Small fabric clips (like some use for sewing instead of pins)
Fabric for bolsters
Thin upholstery foam, about 3/8 or ½ inch thick
Crafter’s Pick Ultimate (best for fabric and almost anything except wood)

Rectangular Bolsters (gray ones in photos)
These were simply pieces of thin upholstery foam, about 3/8” or ½” thick, cut into rectangles and wrapped with fabric like wrapping a package.  I used Crafter’s Pick “Ultimate” glue to seal edges of fabric where it overlapped to reduce thickness (instead of folding over edges).

Round Turquoise Bolsters
For the round bolsters, I cut the clear plastic tubing to about 1-1/2 inches long.  The tubing works well as a bolster because you can stuff the fabric into the center hole making very neat ends.  Cut the fabric about ¼ or ½ inch longer on each end and about ¼ inch longer around the diameter.  Wrap the fabric around the tubing and glue where it overlaps down the center.  This seam side can be glued down to the bed so it won’t show.  On the ends, just stuff the end fabric into the hole.  Use a toothpick to help if needed.  The Pom-Pom tassels will cover any hole if there was one (for instance if using thinner fabric than velvet). 

 

Close up of velvet bolster from tubing
Pom-Pom Tassels

Basic steps are shown in the photo below.  To make the tassel, wrap sewing thread around a piece of index card about ¾ inch wide.  I wrapped the thread about 30 times.  Use a needle and same color thread.  Run the needle under all the threads and tie a knot gathering all the loops at the top of the card.  Leave long threads here since you will re-thread and use these ties to go through the pom poms later.
With the top of the loops gathered and tied you can cut through the loops at the bottom.  Now tie another thread around the whole bundle about 1/8 inch down from the top tie and knot.  Re-thread the needle with the top ties and poke the needle through the pom poms.  Put some glue on the center end of the round bolster and run the needle through pulling the tassel up against the bolster end.  Trim the tassel to the desired length.

White Pom-Pom Pillow and Throw
The pillow was about 1-1/4 inches square.  First I sewed a pillow from dense white fabric leaving one side open (dense enough so sand won’t sift through it).  The sand or no-hole beads make the pillow much more realistic since you can sort of squash it into a nice shape (or give it that decorator's "Karate-Chop!"). I used a tiny funnel that came from one of my kid’s “sand art” craft toy to help get the sand into the opening.  The opening was sealed with Crafter’s Pick glue and clamped with little clips.  Then I glued on a cover for one side from the dollar store chamois.  Pom-Poms were glued around on three sides only so it would sit level on the bed.  The throw was made from the same chamois and some tiny trim I found at a miniature show.  The trim sort of looks like little pom-poms.  It was glued all around then I added larger pom poms at the four corners.  I draped it so one corner sort of touched the floor and glued it in place.

Dollar Store Chamois

Pillow Front (Chamois side)


Pillow Back (fabric side)

Glued and draped Pom-Pom throw

Hope this tutorial was helpful to some readers who want to make modern bedding. I will try to squeeze one more tutorial in before the end of the year (Yikes!  It’s almost the end of the year!!).  Hopefully some of the accessories you see in these photos.  If I don’t get around to it…

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my readers!!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Loft Bed Part 1 - Platform Bed Structure

Here is a tutorial for a bed that fits into the (very tiny) loft space in the tiny house.  The loft floor was only 8 inches by 4 inches.  I needed to fit a bed and some display shelving into that small space.  I made this in three pieces – two end shelf units and the platform (mattress support).  The shelf units and bed platform were built from scrap basswood and foam core.  The “mattress” was carved from a piece of ceiling tile – a technique I learned from Judee Williamson – from her “Judee’s Beds” book.

Supplies for the bed and shelves:
Scrap wood (basswood strips) - mine were 3/4" wide x 1/16th inch thick
Foam core scraps
Acoustic Ceiling tile scrap (the kind used in basement ceilings)
White felt (enough to cover mattress)
Fabric to cover mattress
Paper Punch, if desired, to add some dimension and interest to the shelves.  I used Martha Stewart “Caning” all around punch (see photo below)
Gesso (paint primer)
Acrylic paint
Sandpaper (320 and 400 grit)
Wood Glue and Crafter's Pick Ultimate (for everything non-wood)

Bed Platform – 
Here are the finished measurements:
End shelf units - 3 inches high x 3-5/8" deep (projecting from back wall) by 3/4" wide
Bed platform section - 3-5/8" deep (projecting from back wall) x ~3/4" high x 6-1/2" long

I won’t give exact dimensions for cutting wood pieces since I kind of just figured it out as I went, starting with the size I wanted the mattress.   The wood used was 1/16th inch thick.  The entire loft floor was 4 inches by 8 inches.  But basically, here is how I made it: I cut a couple thicknesses of foam core as the platform base.  The mattress would lay on the foam core.  I framed the foam core in bass wood strips a little wider than the foam core so it extended above the base a little to contain the mattress.  I intended to paint the wood so I didn’t worry much about nice finished joints.  I just painted with Gesso sandable primer and sanded (400 grit) so all the front facing corners would be smooth. Then I painted with white acrylic paint.

I glued the bed frame and shelves (below) with wood glue because I had intended to sand them and you can’t sand if using the “Ultimate” glue – it just balls up and pulls out of the glued seams.


 

Side Shelf Units – I built these from scrap basswood – see the photo and finished sizes above.  There are two open squares, one for the headboard and one for the foot board, each with a shelf across the middle that matched the height of the bed platform.  I used just a piece of foam core to fill in the side next to the mattress and another smaller piece to square it up in the middle back– this would be hidden by the bed and walls in my loft. The idea was that when the bed was in place, items could be displayed on the lower shelf and they would not be obstructed by the mattress and bolsters.

I finished the same way as for the platform (Gesso...sand...paint).  To add some interest to the front of the shelves I applied some pieces of punched out paper using the Martha Stewart “caning” punch.  This is sort of a fretwork pattern.

Martha Stewart Punch for fretwork design

 
Close up of applied paper punch details

Mattress and cover
I cut the mattress from the acoustic ceiling tile to fit inside the frame of the platform (see photo a few paragraphs above).  I sanded all the edges to a rounded shape with 320 grit sandpaper so it would look like a mattress (lots of dust – use a mask if you are sensitive to it).  I covered it in white felt since the ceiling tile was sort of dark and I didn’t want it to show through the light fabric I used for a covering. I used the Crafter's Pick Ultimate glue - works great for fabric!

To cover the mattress with fabric, I just cut the fabric large enough to wrap around all sides and glue to the bottom of the mattress.  I just made sure to make very neatly glued corners.

Another view of the finished loft:

That's it for today.  Next time I will tell how to make the bedding and bolsters!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Modern Floor Lamp Tutorial

Here I am squeezing in a tutorial for November on the very last day of the month!.  Boy has this month gone fast!  For the tiny house project I wanted to make some modern lamps.  The white one above is lit with an LED bulb and uses only a 3 volt battery.   The whole Tiny House is powered by two AA batteries (total 3 volts).  See my other recent blogs about the tiny house by clicking keywords "Tiny House" in the sidebar.  For this lamp, I was inspired by this modern Trousdale lamp from jonathanadler.com:

There is also a wonderful miniature version by PhillipNuveen (Etsy shop) that is very reasonably priced.

But I wanted to make my own.   I have been experimenting with the LED bulbs trying to adapt them to dollhouse lamps.  You can see some of my earlier blogs with tutorials using LED bulbs here:

https://kendrasminis.blogspot.com/2020/09/tiny-house-light-fixtures-pendants-from.html

https://kendrasminis.blogspot.com/2019/08/artichoke-sconces-tutorial-adapting.html

This was an easier project because the 3 Volt bulbs have very thin wires with no lumps. Bulbs tht have been modified for use with 12 volt dollhouse systems or 9 volt batteries are protected by way of a lumpy resistor embedded in the wires.  That resistor makes it hard to hide the wires or thread them through brass tubing or beads.

Following is how I made the lamp from mostly wooden turned craft parts.  Except for the furniture leg, these were probably purchased at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.  The furniture leg was in a bunch of wood parts I bought at an estate sale so I don’t know the brand.  I made this lamp so that the bulb would be removable (even though they have a really long life).

Supplies – Lamp Base (wood parts):
Wooden thimble
Wooden turned spindle piece
Furniture leg
Drawer pull
Flat wooden circle, a little bigger than the thimble
piece of scrap wood 1/16th thick or so small enough to fit inside the thimble

Other parts and supplies:
1/16th inch brass tubing, the length of the finished lamp
3/32 inch clear acrylic tubing, few inches long (should fit over the brass tube)
LED bulb – I used “Mega” warm white 3 volt from Evan Designs
Scrap of aluminum tubing that fits over the brass tube and inside the clear tube
Spray paint, blue painter’s tape
Drill press to drill hole vertically through the wood pieces before assembly
drill bit the size of the brass tube
Razor saw and miter box to cut clear tube
Wire cutters
glue

Wooden Parts assembled

To make the lamp base – Look at the photo for the order of the parts (thimble on bottom, finial, furniture leg, drawer pull).  I had to drill through each piece to allow for a piece of brass tubing.  I used a drill press since it had to be very straight and centered (you can see on the finished lamp some pieces were not perfectly centered).  This was hardest on the thin furniture leg.  Cut the brass tube a little longer than your base.  I used an X-acto knife and cut mine about 4 inches long. Thread the brass tube through the pieces and let it stick out a little the top.  The thin brass tubing served two purposes: 1) sturdiness in holding the parts straight and together and 2) conduit for the bulb wire. 

I also used a wood circle shape and piece of scrap wood for the bottom.  I cut the scrap to just fit inside the thimble.  I filed a small channel into the thimble and the scrap wood where it fits into the thimble for the wire to come out and so the bulb could be entirely removed and replaced.


Glue the wood pieces together EXCEPT the very bottom circle, and spray paint.  Let dry.

For the lampshade: white plastic candle socket cover (for of a full size chandelier), 1-1/4 inch diameter, Amazon).  Jewelry finding – cross shaped finding that is about 1.5 inches in diameter (JAR-JAF Item #1391 or #65 depending on the size of your lampshade). 


Cut the white candle socket with scissors to the size you want for the lampshade.  You can sand the cut edges to smooth them and square them.  Cut off the outer loops of the cross shaped finding with wire cutters so that it just fits inside the lampshade.  Use a stack of coins as a spacer between the cross piece and the work board.  This will also keep the cross piece level.  Glue the four “spokes” with white glue.



Hold your lampshade to your lamp to determine the length of clear tubing you will need.  Cut the clear tubing to reach between the top of the lamp base and the lampshade cross shaped piece.  Size depends on the size of your lampshade.  This will just be to support the shade and keep it straight. Make sure the top and bottom where tubing was cut off is perfectly square so that the shade will sit level (use miter box).  If necessary, use some sandpaper to smooth. Drill a hole in one side near the center.  The bulb will just sit next to the tube as in the photo below.  Thread the wire through the clear tube then down through the brass tube. I had to also use a scrap of aluminum tube as a spacer since the clear tube was too big for the brass tube and would have wobbled.


For the lamp shade finial – a white glass head pin, silver 2.5mm crimp tube and a piece of tubing or clear acetate rod (or Q-tip tube?), about 1/16th inch thick or plastic that will fit through the center hole of the jewelry finding and down inside the clear acetate tubing.  The finial makes the shade removable so you can get to the bulb in case it needs to be replaced.


Here is the lamp when lit.  You can see that the "mega" type LED bulb from Evan Designs is very bright.

 
Hope you enjoyed this modern lamp tutorial.  What shall we do for December???