Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tutorial - Miniature Coloring Markers from Paper Clips!

Coloring Markers – Here is a simple but cute tutorial.  These are the markers everyone uses for those adult coloring books (a current fad).  They look pretty convincing – with caps!  The coloring books in the photo were purchased from
and Ebay Seller

Large plastic covered paper clips, in white (2 inches long)
Small plastic coated paper clips in several colors (about 1-1/8 inches long).
White acrylic paint
Acrylic paint in colors to match the small paper clips
Heavy wire cutters (that will cut the heavy paper clips)
Ruler with at least 1/16 marks on it (metal one is helpful).
Small, sharp scissors
Small (miniature size) cup to set them in while paint dries

Here are the steps all in one photo:
  1. For the caps, use the large white paper clip.  Using the wire cutters, just crimp through the plastic coating about ¼ inches from the end (don’t cut through the wire).  While crimping the plastic, rotate the paper clip so it cuts through the plastic all the way around the wire.  Now, use the wire cutters to slide the separated white tube off. 
  2. To make the next one, cut off the extended wire and repeat step 1.  Avoid the curves of the paper clip and just use the long straight sides.
  3. Make several of these “caps”.  They will look bad at first, the ends will be ragged.  After you have enough cut, clean them up by snipping off one ragged end with the scissors.  It is hard to make them all the same size but try to cut them all about 1/8th inch or 3/16th.
  4. If you are ambitious, cut tinier snips for the marker end (or just use paint, see step 8, below).
  5. For the marker (photo above), cut pieces of the small colored paper clips 9/16” long.  (Hint: Hold the end of the paper clip against a metal ruler and crimp the plastic coating just to mark it at 9/16ths of an inch.)  Now remove it from the ruler and cut it all the way through on the mark (make sure it doesn’t fly away).  Cut several in different colors.
  6. Now, slide a “cap” onto one end of the “marker”.  I didn’t use any glue.  Slide on the tiny ends on the other end (if you made them).
  7. Now touch up all the cap ends by dipping in white acrylic paint.  JUST A LITTLE! You just want to fill in the end where the wire shows, don’t coat the entire cap with white paint.  Use tweezers to place them in a small cup to dry.
  8. When dry, do the cap end again (I did it twice).  Then when that is dry dip the opposite end in a little white paint.
  9. For the “open marker” (far right in the photo above step 1) I cut the marker (small paper clip) a little longer because when the cap is on the bottom, it is longer (maybe 11/16ths inch).  I then trimmed off about 1/8th inch of the colored coating from one end.  After stripping the plastic from the end, try to cut the wire at an angle so it looks like a chisel point. Paint JUST THE EXPOSED WIRE white and let dry.  When dry, paint just the very tip the color of the paper clip  -- to look like the ‘business’ end of the marker tip.  Slide a “cap” on the opposite end and touch that end up with white paint.
Photo of the markers in the loft of the "tiny house".  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Miniature Kitchen Faucet Tutorial for the Dollhouse


This is a simple project.  Some of the supplies are not common but if you can find them this is a simple and pretty realistic kitchen faucet.  This was designed for a miniature “tiny house” project.  That may sound redundant (miniature tiny house…) – but it is a 1:12 scale Tiny House, like on all those HGTV shows.  I hope to share more tutorials from the Tiny House in upcoming blog posts.

  • Thick aluminum beading wire, about 2mm in diameter or 12 gauge– jewelry wire (found at a bead store)
  • Metal crimp bead, about 2.5 mm (should fit over the thick wire)
  • Cone shaped bead, about ½ inch tall, that has a hole big enough for the thick wire to pass through (might also be able to use cone shaped cord end caps)
  • Plastic cylinder bead, “perler” type bead.
  • Rhinestone Sequin pins  – Look for these at Hobby Lobby where you find the sequins.
  • Silver spray paint (Rustoleum “Aluminum” finish was used)

Tools & Glue:
  • Wire cutters
  • Ruler
  • X-Acto Knife
  • metal file (round “rat tail” file or square file)
  • Clear bead glue (GS Hypo Cement or E6000)

Cut a piece of the thick wire about 3-1/2 inches long.  Bend one end around something round – such as the small end of an X-Acto knife or a paint brush handle – to make the neck of the faucet an appropriate size.
The “base” of the faucet is a cone shaped bead.  You will put both the faucet (wire) AND the “handle” (plastic sequin pin) down into the hole as in the photo.  I had to use a metal file to sort of ‘carve’ a little groove in the side of the cone bead hole so the sequin pin would fit in.


Check to see if the Perler bead will show when inserted over the BOTTOM of the wire up inside the cone.  If it shows, cut it in half with an X-Acto knife.  Slide it over the thick wire and push it up into the cone then glue in.  This is just to keep the wire centered inside the cone.  It shouldn’t show on the outside.  Glue the "handle" (sequin pin) near the top of the cone, at the side of the faucet.

Add crimp bead as spout

Left - unpainted; Right - painted
On the curved ‘spout’ slide a metal crimp bead to just cover the cut off end of the wire.  If necessary, use the metal file to smooth the cut off end so it will slide on.  Glue on with bead glue.
When dry, spray paint the entire thing silver.  The extra wire at the bottom will go through a hole drilled in your counter top to hold the faucet steady.

Bonus!  Want to know what that sink is made of?  It is a candy tray from Sponge Bob gummy “Krabby Patty” candies.  Look for them at Halloween and Easter at the dollar stores, Walmart and HEB (Texas Grocery stores).  After Halloween you can get a pack of 18 for $1.  Be sure to wash the candy tray out well and dry it then spray with Aluminum paint.  I sprayed the OUTSIDE of the tray.

Above is the "kitchenette" for the tiny house with the faucet and sink.  Hope to share some more tiny house projects in future blogs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Guys from Texas Room - More Tutorials - Vases removable Christmas Filler

This is a continuation of a recent project I'm calling "Guys from Texas Room Box".  I wanted strong colors - not my normal color scheme (pinks, pastels, etc).  But because it has such a prominent fireplace it had to be used for hanging stockings.  So my compromise was to make it Christmas sometimes!  So I made removable Christmas decorations.  Last blog I described the greenery sprays.  This blog I describe some vases or urns with removable fillers.

The porcelain vases were made by Ron Benson.

Here is how I made the removable fillers:
To make the decorations removable, I lined the vases with Saran Wrap.  I filled the bottoms with glue and silver beads.  I added sprigs cut from faux pine needles to the center of the beads and a couple of sprigs of the pine needles with glitter berries (previous blog).  I left the filling in the vases until they dried so they would keep the correct shape.  When dry I trimmed off all the excess Saran Wrap.



The key to making these look nice is using varying sizes of silver beads, including tiny ones, and filling in any visible bead holes with silver glitter.  Here is what they look like when removed from the vases (glue was not entirely dry when photo was taken):

Christmas Tree – This was just a purchased brush tree.  I coated the bristles with glue and ‘flocked’ it with railroad loose greenery.  You can find how to make many of the ornaments as well as the wreath hanging above the fireplace in my earlier blogs here.  Most of the round ones are just pearl beads with colored glitter dots (to look like those old fashioned ‘indent’ ornaments).

Some of the other items in the room:
Etched mirror by Arjen Spinhoven (Etsy)
Lamps -  Brooke Tucker (White Foo Dog possible future blog)
Chest by Neil Bateson
Black & White Staffordshire Dogs (on shelves) by Le Chateau
Crystal Christmas tree figurine on shelves – Iris Arc
Santa Candlesticks – artist unknown
Blue birdcage – the Kummerows
Brass Foo Dogs – artist unknown (Ebay from China)
Turned wood lidded vases – artist unknown

Glitter nativity in faux walnut shell – Kathy Christensen
Chairs by JBM Miniatures (recovered in new fabric)
Crocheted Christmas “thread dolls” – by Carrol Baker (Ebay)
Black Lacquer Worktable with painted scene by S & W Golland
Snowman Stocking – worked by me using kit by C.J. Originals
Blue “Snowy Village” stocking worked by me using kit by Janet Granger
Red velour stocking with bear - unknown
Painting above fireplace – Lyn Trenary (framing – future blog)
Ornament Wreath Tutorial - from my earlier blog here

I still have some more planned projects for this room – some sconces for above the fireplace and I also plan to finish the “foo dog” lamps and maybe change the beige wall color.  Maybe I will get it done for next Christmas??

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Guys from Texas Room - Christmas Greenery Decorations Tutorial

As promised here is the second installment of the ‘Guys from Texas’ room.  Below are mini-tutorials of how I made some of the Christmas Greenery for the room.

Greenery Sprays (including one with stocking hooks)– There are two sprays, both made very similarly.  One above the mirror (see photo above) and another on the mantel.  For both I started with very narrow wire greenery sold on spools at Hobby Lobby (see second photo below).  I made the base form by cutting and shaping the stems.

For the mantel one, to make it removable, I glued the greenery to pieces of plastic cut from grocery store clear plastic spinach cartons.  I glued the greenery and some wire stocking hooks with Quick Grab glue.

I thought the greenery was too dark so I lightened it by brushing on a mix of lighter leaf green and metallic green.

To the base greenery shape I added snips of artificial pine needles bundled together with glue.

Added small glue dots (using very fine glue applicator) and sprinkled with red glitter for “berries”.
Holly Leaves – cut from green paper using scrapbooking holly leaves punch.  Edged with light green paint and scored a vein down the middle with the back of an X-Acto Knife.


Placed a few of these leaves among the greenery then added ornaments (glittered beads).

That's it!  The stocking greenery just sits on top of the mantel and can easily be removed.  The hanging one above the mirror is held on with blue-tac and removed after Christmas.  Next blog I will cover how I made the removable vase fillers in the ceramic vases from silver beads and sprigs.

Well, I have achieved one goal this year - to do one blog post a month (well, actually I skipped a couple and doubled up to make up for it but STILL that is 12 posts for one per month AVERAGE!)  Whew!  Hope my readers have a wonderful New Year in 2020!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Guys from Texas Room

To my readers – I am so sorry I skipped November!  I was trying to have at least one blog per month and I missed my goal last month.  So I will make two posts before the end of the year!

The roombox that is the subject of this post was designed by Jon Fish and Larry Osborn (The Guys from Texas).  You can see many examples of their work on past blogs by Goodsam Miniature Showcase  and on pinterest.  They are well known for their wonderful resin molded architecture pieces, detail and accuracy.  They are also very generous with their knowledge.  Taking a class from them was an awesome experience.  Unfortunately we lost Larry this year (2019) but I think Jon is still doing miniature work.

The lovely lady who had taken the workshop and completed the original roombox was downsizing and donated this room to S.A.M (Society of American Miniaturists).  I snapped it up at their 2017 auction. What I love about it is the hidden room (behind the bookcase) and arched front.  It is also electrified and has a very nice fireplace.  Here is a photo of it when I bought it.

I wanted to re-do the room in strong colors – not typical of what I normally do (in other words, not pink!).  So I decided on a blue and green color scheme.  Here is the current design – still unfinished.

Since it has such a nice fireplace, AND that fireplace is so close to the front, I had to use it to display my petit point stockings.  So if it had stockings then it had to also be decorated for Christmas.  I decided to make removable decorations so I could put them up at Christmas time.  Here is the room with the decorations added:

So... I know these decorations are a little "overdone".  I am still working on this. I love the glittery nativity set on the wall but it is really too large for that space.  But I thought I would share how it is looking so far.  Merry Christmas to my blog readers!  Tomorrow I will post how some of them were made.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Kitchen Project - Final Touches (and some mini tutorials)!

This is the last post on the Kitchen Project that began last March 2019.  I'm going to tell how I made the counter, hanging shelf and the little painted stool.  Then I will give resources for items that I didn't make and close up photos.  One thing I still want to do is give the frame some sort of finish but I haven't decided on that yet. 

Kitchen Counter
Below are photos of my paint colors and practice.  My goal was not realism but more 'fantasy' stone look in colors to go with the green cabinets.  I just layered the colors in the order listed and made streaks in the last two colors.

Close up of counter - right

Close up of counter - left

Wall shelf (right side of kitchen)
This was a vintage kit by The Kummerows (I think) purchased from Ebay.  The kit (called "Intricut") made two shelves, one larger (the one I finished) and a small one (you can see it still on the leftover kit sheet).  The instructions were to use a jewelers saw (2nd photo) to cut away the printed blue areas.  I must say I was a little intimidated to try to use this saw but it was a little easier than I thought it would be.  If you have a chance to find one of these kits my advice is to not be afraid to try.  It turned out really nice.  I used a teak oil finish because I wanted it to not be shiny (like polyurethane).

Finished shelf

Painted Stool
The hardest thing about this stool was how to glue the legs so they would be at an angle and sturdy enough to not fall apart.  The stool was made from a 1 inch wood disk, four porch spindles and some scrap wood.  I made two jigs from scrap wood.  One was glued to the bottom of the round disk to glue the legs against.  It was a thick square piece, about 1/8 inch thick.  I 'carved' a rounded area on all four corners using a rat tail file.  I also drilled holes into the disk so the legs would be slightly inset.  I used a second jig with holes drilled for the bottom of the legs.  The second jig was not glued to the legs - only used to hold them at the right angle while glue was drying.

After glue was dry I decoupaged a purple floral design to the top and painted the legs with acrylic paint.
Photo showing jig #1 glued to under side of stool
Photo showing jig #2 for legs (bottom)

Finished Stool

Other items in the photos:

Close Up - Mackenzie-Childs style canisters and Pitcher
Left side of kitchen
Upper cabinets - vintage purple transferware tea set by Jean Yingling (Ebay purchase)

Left Wall - fretwork tray by Gary and Carrol Elmer (GWE-CHE).

On countertop: Mackenzie-Childs style wicker canisters (made by me), Soap pump bottles by Wilhelmina Johnson (gift).

On stool  - lavender plant by Alice Guhl (show purchase).

Right Side of kitchen
Upper Cabinets - Purple Chrysnbon decanter and goblets (Ebay); grape pitcher by Valerie Casson (Ebay);  lavender rim plate by Ron Benson (Ebay); lavender platter by Janet Uyetake

On countertop: floral pitcher by Karen Haggard, meatloaf in progress with tiny readable recipe by Lyn Latimer (show purchase).

On shelf: Salt and Pepper grinders (click here for tutorial).

Close up of "meatloaf in progress"
This was another fun project and I am grateful to the S.A.M. organization and specifically the wonderful Houston area clubs that designed and made the kits for SAM.  Can't wait till the next one (February 2020 and my Austin club is in charge!!)  What theme will we pick?  (Here's a hint: there are a lot of these TINY things on TV shows!!)

Hope you liked this kitchen project.  Next time - (don't know yet!!).  Guess it will be a surprise!