Friday, February 8, 2019

February Tutorial is now up at 1 inch minis.

Lynn has written a tutorial for making miniatures with the Cricut Maker.  Please come over to read about how to cut up 3/32" basswood with saws for your miniatures!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


 At the end of last year Lynn sent me pictures of her Potato Bin and told me that she made it with her Cricut Maker.  I was very interested to hear more about this Cricut Maker.  I asked if she would like to write a tutorial for us.  Her tutorial gives us an idea of what it takes to get something designed and cut out.
If you don't like saws this little machine might just be for you.  Lynn goes through the steps to design on your own or to use a prepared pattern.  You are working on your computer for the designing and the steps seem pretty straight forward.  At the end you end up with all your pieces cut to size and ready to glue!

I hope your enjoy learning something new that you can apply to your miniature making.


Here's Lynn . . .

Kris has asked me to give a tutorial on using the Cricut for making minis and I’m happy to share what I know. I have used the Cricut for scrapbooking and paper crafting since the very first little machine came out and have upgraded every time there was a new version. In the past, there were many things I didn’t like, and many times I said I would never buy another Cricut. You had to purchase image and font cartridges that could cost around $30 on up, you could not design your project on your computer, it only cut paper, and the cuts didn’t always turn out right. But all that changed with the development of Cricut Design Studio, which is free and accessible on your computer, phone, or tablet. (You don’t even need to have a Cricut to use it if you are curious to try it out). You can now use not only any cartridges that you already have, but you can upload your own images and fonts, or purchase only the design you want at a cost of about 99 cents. You can also design from scratch using the shapes provided, and this is how I use some of Kris’s patterns to make my minis. The newest Cricut, The Maker, is a total game changer since it can cut wood. (You will need to purchase the knife blade separately.) The Maker is also Bluetooth enabled so you don’t have to have that USB cable running across your work area. I had been considering a laser cutter but the cost is prohibitive for my budget. The Maker does everything I need as far as making minis. And I still use it for my paper crafts, as well as small sewing projects as it cuts fabric now too. The Maker costs about $400 and the knife blade is about $40. You can usually find a bundle with extras on the HSN or QVC websites. These also allow you to make monthly payments so you can start right away!

 If you are thinking about buying one, I recommend joining one of the Facebook groups for the Maker and beginning Cricut-ers. You will get a wealth of information and people willing to answer your questions.

Let’s get down to making!
This tutorial will use the potato cabinet from Kris’s October 2018 blog post. Since this project is made of basic shapes, it can be designed from scratch using her measurements. Later, I will show you how to import shapes that need to be used from her original pattern.
Open Cricut Design Space. Click the Shapes button on the left side of the canvas and click on the square. You will see 4 icons in the corners of the square. The red X is to delete it. The blue arrow is to tilt it, the green compass is to resize it, and the blue lock it to lock or unlock the aspect ratio. In this case, we need to click the lock to unlock the aspect ratio so we can change it from a square to a rectangle. On the top of your canvas, you will see where you can resize your shape. Using the measurements that Kris provided, change the square to a rectangle. (Hint: keep a conversion chart close by for converting inches to decimals.)

The canvas now looks like this.

The legs are ovals cut out of the bottom of the side. Go back to shapes and click on the circle. Click the unlock button and also the green resizing button to make the right size. In this case, I just eyeball the measurements until it looks like the right proportion. To select both shapes, click one shape, hit shift, then click the other. Use the Align feature on the top of the canvas to center the oval and the rectangle.

 Now you should have two shapes like this.

This step uses the Slice function, which is a very valuable tool in designing. Click one shape, hit shift, then click the other, or use CTL A to select all. Click the Slice button on the bottom right side of the canvas. Click on the sliced pieces to move them away away from the rectangle then use the red X to delete these pieces.

                                                                                                                                           Slice Button

Click on the piece and use the edit button on the menu to copy, then paste so you have two of the same shape.

Using the shape tool again, choose a square and unlock it to make a rectangle approx. .75 X 2.25”. Copy and paste this rectangle and position them on one of the panels according to Kris’s instructions. (Hint: click on the icons in the right panel to change shape colors  for better visibility.)

Ignore the solid panel for now and shift-click on the large rectangle and one small rectangle. Click slice, then delete the excess shapes by clicking the red x. Repeat with the second small rectangle. You should now have one panel with the inserts cut out and one solid panel.

 Shift and click both shapes, click edit, copy, then paste.  You should have two of each shape.

Using Shapes again, add the remaining pieces using Kris’s measurements
Back 1.375 X 5.625
Shelves 1.375 X 1.188 (copy and paste to make 4)
Top 1.375 X 1.875
The drawer sides and backs are best cut after assembly to ensure an exact fit.
Use Shapes and Slice to make the drawer fronts using Kris’s measurements
You should now have all components ready to cut. The Cricut will cut each color grouping as a separate cut, so I have made all the pieces that I want cut from 3/32 basswood in one color and all the pieces I want from 1/16 basswood in another color. Since the sides are double layered, I used the thinner wood on those.

Before you cut, I highly recommend watching the Cricut video tutorial on cutting wood before you try it yourself. You will need the knife blade which may have to be purchased separately.
Helpful link:

Click Make It on the top right corner and you will be prompted to select your material. I have added some to my favorites so I don’t have to browse all materials each time. Choose basswood 1/16”. I have found that this setting works for both the 1/16 and the 3/32.

Important: Move the “star wheels” all the way to the right or they will indent the wood.

The wood needs to be taped down on all 4 sides once it is placed on the Cricut cutting mat. Load the mat then hit the flashing go button.

The blade will make multiple cuts but I find that on the 1/16 wood, you can usually stop it before it finishes as it has already cut through the wood. Once the pieces are cut, follow Kris’s instructions for assembly. Cut the drawer sides and backs after assembly to get an exact measurement.

The flashing "go" button.

My completed potato bin.

Link to my completed project in Cricut Design Space:

(I was having trouble with saving, preview and publish, I put in a "page break" thinking that would help, it didn't.  So, click READ MORE to see the rest of Lynn's tutorial.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

1 INCH SCALE WICKER PET CARRIER - How to weave a 1 inch scale dollhouse wicker pet carrier.

I had a suggestion to write a tutorial for a wicker pet carrier.

I had figure out how I wanted to go about weaving it.  I had a few ideas and a few false starts.

This is what I came up with and I hope you have a little dog or cat that can use it.

Here are the patterns for the opening and the door.  Use the instructions for re-sizing the patterns from the "Things to do, Things to see" list at the left of the blog.

I used a little larger marker for tracing  these two patterns.  After you have them sized CUT THEM OUT BY CUTTING OFF THE LINE.  Then when you trace the pattern onto the mat board the size will be right.

Cut out two pieces of mat board, 1 5/8" long and 1 1/8" wide.

Glue these two pieces together using tacky glue.

We are going to use tacky glue for the rest of the tutorial.

I am using 3 ply waxed LINEN, not waxed cotton.  I haven't ever tried waxed cotton, if you would like to try that and let us know how it works, please do.
I have a tutorial for wicker chairs and in that I explain the waxed linen and where to get it.  I also explain an alternative.
I am using 20 gauge covered wire, that's the larger one.  The smaller wire is covered 26 gauge wire.

After the mat board has dried measure 1/16" from each side and mark.

Before drilling I use a "T" pin to make a starting hole for my drill bit.

Draw a line 1/16" from edge.

Mark the center on the sides and the back.

Leave the other end, it's the door.

One the sides measure and mark lines 3/16" apart.

On the back I made two marks on either side of the center evenly spaced.

Use a "T" pin to pierce a hole at each of your marks.

I drilled holes at all the marks.  I used a bit that the 26 gauge wire will slip through.

At the corners I re-drilled using a larger bit for the 20 gauge wire.

Cut the opening pattern out, remember cut the line off.  Trace around it onto four pieces of mat board.  Cut out the shape.  Glue the four pieces together to make a bending form.

I clamped mine together to dry.

From the smaller 26 gauge wire cut 7 pieces 2 3/4" long for the sides.  For the back cut five pieces 1 1/8" long.

From the 20 gauge wire cut 2 pieces 2 3/4" long.

It is important that you apply glue to the ends of the wires to seal the threads.  The wires will not slip into the holes if the threads are not sealed down.  Paint your wires to match the color of your thread.

Bend the 20 gauge wire over the form.  The 20 gauge wires will be at the front and back of the pet carrier.

Apply glue into the holes and insert the 20 gauge hoop.

Make sure the ends of the wire go through but not beyond the mat board.

Make hoops from the rest of the wires.

The smaller 26 gauge wire hoops are in the center with the larger 20 gauge wire hoops at the front and back.

Insert the short 26 gauge wires at the back of the carrier.

Trim off the extra wire.

Glue the tips of the wires to the back hoop.

I let this dry over night.

I painted the bottom of the carrier to match the wires.

This is a little device I cut to keep me from pulling the linen too tightly and bending the hoops.
In my first try the front and back hoops were sloped inward and no amount of pulling got those hoops standing straight again.

Cut a scrap of mat board and set it on top of your carrier and mark where the wires are.  Use your craft knife to cut out the slots, larger slots for the front and back hoops.
In later pictures you will see the device on my carrier.

I used a small curved needle to weave  with.  You don't have to go out and buy one, you can weave using your tweezers to pull the linen through.  I will have to change to tweezers when the space gets too narrow for the needle.  I am just showing you what I used.

You will have to cut a length of linen to weave with.  I used a two yard length.

I left a tail of linen inside along the wires on the left side.

I wrapped the linen twice around the front hoop.

I'm left handed so I might be starting on the wrong side for some of you.

Over and under, that's all it is for the most part.

I am at the back corner.

The linen is going under the corner.

When the linen goes under the corner you will wrap the linen around the wire and continue to weave, over and under.

There is my little device keeping my wires nice and straight.

In the next corner the linen is going under the wire, wrap the linen around the wire as you did before.

Continue to weave, over and under.

Weave to the front.

Now, what I do for the front wires is to double wrap, sometimes.  I used to double wrap always on my chairs, but it looked too crammed, so I double wrap maybe every other time.  You will know when to double wrap, you will see that you need to fill in to keep the weaving level.  Don't sweat it.

I am back at the corner, this time I am weaving over the wire so I don't need to wrap the linen around the wire.

Continue to weave, under and over.

I am at the other corner and weaving over the corner wire, continue to weave to the front, under and over.

I am back where I started, I've wrapped once and have begun to weave around again, over and under.

I've been weaving for a while.

I am keeping the weaving level and I'm not pushing the weaving down.

Still weaving.

I've run out the linen.

Weave your thread under a wire.

Start a new piece coming from under the wire where you left off.

I am continuing to weave.

This is the inside.  You may glue the ends down and trim them shorter if you want.

Showing my progress.

When I get up to where the curve starts I am going to just weave the back.

I will change to tweezers for that.

I am going to weave and fill in the back hoop as I go.

We will still be weaving over the back hoop so you don't have to fill it in completely.

I have filled in the back.  When you have finished with the back, cut your linen and glue the end down.  You will begin to weave at the front of the carrier.

I've left space on the back hoop for me to wrap when I am filling the rest of the top.

I've cut my linen and glued down the end.

I'll cut another two yards. and begin at the front.

I've started at the front by double wrapping and gluing down the end.  I woven to the back corner.

Since I've got the back filled in I am now weaving back and forth over the top.

I am moving my device over as I fill in the top.

I am back to using the curved needle and continuing to fill in the top.

My notes say that I used three pieces of linen two yards long and finished up with a one yard piece.

I am filling in the last little bit.

About to weave the last row.  Look at the weaving.  Do you see that my weaving is the same above and below the space?  To finish I have to weave one more row to make the weaving correct.

 If I thought that the weaving was too loose, I would have to weave two rows or four rows or six rows.  I would have to add rows by two to make the weaving correct.  So think about that when you think you want to add rows, do you have room?  You can't just add one row, the weaving wouldn't be correct.

All filled in.

When you end, wrap your linen twice around the front or the back wire.  Leave a short tail of linen on the inside and glue it down to the weaving.

To cover the edge of the mat board cut six twelve inch lengths of linen.

Tie the pieces off at the top.

Carefully braid the pieces using three sets of two.

When you are finished apply glue to the edge of the mat board and glue on the braid.

You should have enough braid left for a handle, at least an inch.

The braid glued on.

The back of the carrier.

Trace the door pattern onto four pieces of mat board.  Cut out the shapes and glue them together.

Cut one piece of 20 gauge wire 2 3/16" long.

I've bent the wire around the form.

The two ends are on the bottom, flat side of the door.

I have a piece of paper under the wire where to two ends meet.

You may have to trim the ends so that they meet.

This is the bottom of the door wire.

My ends are meeting and I have glue under the wire so that the wire is glued to the paper.

I have applied glue to the wire and wrapped the paper over the wire ends.  I've only wrapped one side of the paper, trim off the other side.  We don't want a lot of bulk here.

Let this dry for a couple of minutes.

Pull the door frame off the form, pull from the top rounded edge.

I have a lot of room around the door frame for the waxed linen that will be wrapped around it.

Cut three 26 gauge wires to fit INSIDE the frame.

Glue the wires into the frame.

I let this dry over night.

I painted the wires.

 After the paint was dry I began to weave.

I wove over the starting tail to cover the end.

I trimmed the tail and kept wrapping.

I wrap until I am at the curve and then I begin to weave.

I ran out of linen.  Because I am able to tuck the ends into a previous row I do.  I couldn't do that with the carrier so I just glued the ends down.

I've trimmed off the extra  and continued to weave to the top.

I will wrap the top.

This is the right side and I am wrapping the top of the door.

I'm done and I am ending the weaving. 

I run a needle under and thread and bury the linen under it.  Trim off the extra.

The wrong side.

The right side.

Fitting the door.

(It fits!)

I am using a toothpick for a closure.  I made this for the sewing basket from needle point canvas tutorial.

I used a file to make a groove all the way around.  I did this before cutting the piece to length.

My little knob is about 3/8" long.

I have the groove made and I've rounded off the end.

Tie a piece of waxed linen around the knob with the linen being in the groove.

This is how to tie a square knot.

We are using these to tie everything together.

Spread the weaving a little to thread the linen through.

On the outside of the door you will see two wraps of linen.  On the inside you will see one and tie square knots with the ends.

Tying my square knots.

The knots are tied and I have a little glue on them.

The outside.

I've taken a piece of linen and tied an overhand knot leaving a loop a little over a 1/4" long, (not counting the knot).  This loop has to be long enough to go over the knob that will be tied onto the side of the carrier.

The ends of the loops are inserted through the weaving at different places, one above the other.  Tie a square knot to secure.

Tie the knob on just as you did with the loop.

All closed up.

Cut a length of braid.

Spread the weaving and insert one end of the braid and glue to the inside.

Glue the end of the braid and press it to the weaving.

Insert the other end and glue it to the weaving.

Press the braid to the inside top of the carrier and hold for a few moments to make sure the handle is securely glued.

Push the weaving back into place.

Inside the carrier.

The wicker pet carrier finished.

I always enjoy making wicker miniatures.

Send me your pictures for the Follower's Gallery at:

Next month we will have Lynn teaching us about the Cricut Maker and how it will cut basswood according to your original design or loading in a design from the blog.  She says this new Cricut Maker is a game changer, I've read her tutorial and she's right.  This machine is just the ticket for miniature makers!!

Hobby Builders Supply, will be selling 6 new designs of my upholstered furniture kits soon.  These kits  have DIGITAL INSTRUCTIONS.  The kits WILL NOT have written instructions included with the kits.  The instructions will be e-mailed to you.  The digital instructions have large color pictures so that you can see things more clearly.  As always I am available for questions if you get stuck.

Have fun, Expand on it, Make it better . . .

Just Keep Making Minis!

Talk to you later,