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


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)!