Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Attention: msfierce7

Hi Leilani,  Please contact me at my e-mail address about the kitchen set.  I believe it's far too complicated to put on the blog.  Maybe we could work on it in small amounts.  It is more involved than what I have shown on the blog and you do have to purchase specific materials for it.  Kris


Well, first of all . . . . . .Thank you for the compliments!  I am so glad you like this month's tutorials.  There isn't anything like finishing a project, you did it yourself, it was fun to do AND you have something you can put into your dollhouse scene.  This is what makes miniatures just so much fun, making the minis yourself!!

I was messing around in the "Stats" in the dashboard area and looked at some of the links to my blog.  I noticed that some of the other blogs have ads from actual dollhouse sites.  That's so cool, I don't like the ads Google gives and they aren't of any use to you.  So, how do I get these ads, do you wait to be approached or do you ask the sites to put an ad on your site.  I can think of a couple right now, the Create for Less site for your craft needs and the Royalwood Ltd. site if you wanted to buy waxed linen.  If I approach them do I ask for payment and how is that done?  Maybe someone out in blogger-ville can help me with some suggestions.

Thanks again,  TTYL      Kris

Monday, July 18, 2011

Part 2 of the July Tutorial, Fly Swatter Tutorial - How to make a 1 inch scale fly swatter.

A miniaturist from the UK asked for a fly swatter tutorial and this is my try.

I have modeled the miniature fly swatters after my own.  I measured and converted it to 1 inch scale.

The "swatter" part is made from fine tulle.  I happen to have black on hand, I made a screen door and used the tulle for that.

For the handle I used green paddle wire, 26 gauge.

Cut the wire 3 1/4" (82mm) long.

Fold the wire in half over a piece of mat board that is 3/8" (1 cm) wide.

Hold onto the mat board and place the pliers about 1/4" (6mm) from the edge of the mat board and twist 3 to 4 times.

Don't make a tight twist.

Now, place the pliers about 1 1/4" (32mm) from the folded end of the wire.

Do you see in the picture the right edge of my pliers?  That's what is 1 1/4" (32mm) from the folded end of the wire.

With another set of pliers make another twist, not tight.

Leave a bit untwisted.

I've found if you twist in the opposite direction of the first twist, it looks better.

Bend the ends out to a "Y".

The handle is done.

The "swatter" part is made from paper and the fine tulle.  A picture of that is above.

The "swatter frame" is made from paper.  The easiest way I've found to do this is to fold a strip of paper in half, that's the middle picture.  Fold the paper again, that's the picture on the right.

The dimensions of the "swatter frame" are 3/8" (1 cm) x 1/2" (1.5 cm).

Sharpen your pencil and mark the dimensions on your folded piece of paper.

First mark the 1/2" (1.5 cm) length along the folded edge.

Second, mark the width.  The width is divided in half because we have folded the paper in half, so half of 3/8" (1 cm) is 3/16" (5mm).

Measure 1/8" (3mm) from an end, make a mark.

Draw a diagonal line to the fold.

Draw a line on the inside of the "swatter frame", about a 1/16" (1 to 2 mm) from the original line.

This doesn't have to be exact, we just want a narrow border.

Make a straight line at the triangle part at the end.  That's where we glue the handle in.

Cut out this middle.

Cut the "swatter frames" out from the rest of the paper.

Apply tacky glue to one of the "swatter frames" and press the tulle onto it.

I know I don't show it in the following pictures, but now is the time to trim the fine tulle away from the frame.

After you have trimmed the tulle away from the frame,

apply tacky glue to the tulle and press your handle into the triangle area of the frame.

Apply a little more tacky glue to the  handle and place the remaining frame on top and press it all together with your fingers.  Let dry.

When the glue is dry you can paint the fly swatter any color you want.  I've trimmed the corners, I think this looks better.

If you use the black tulle you can make the swatter look old fashioned by leaving the black tulle and green wire handle and just paint the frame.  That's the way I remember my grandmother's fly swatter.

Remember, this is Part 2 of the July Tutorial, so if you haven't seen the basket tutorial, yet, scroll down.

Have fun, expand on it, make it better . . . . . . . . . Just keep making minis!!!

Why paint the crochet thread first?

I was asked why I paint the crochet thread first.  This is why:

First of all it makes the thread stiffer and easier to work with.  The thread stays where you put it, it won't loosen after you have pulled it tight.

Second, if you paint the basket after you have woven you will lose all of the wonderful definition of the weaving you have just worked so hard at.

We want to thank Teresa for the inspiration for this tutorial!

Information:  the cloth coated wire I spoke about is from wwwcreateforless.com    
       Fibre-Craft Stem Wire, 26 gauge, white 18" long, 24 pieces in a package, (you will have to buy 6 packages, they have a "multiples" thing)  Item number for this is"  #49034723

I buy my waxed linen from www.royalwoodltd.com     They have a color card and you get a wholesale price if you purchase $50.00 or more, that's about 5 or 6 spools of linen.

I am working on the fly swatter today and hope to have it up by tonight.  Got to go brush the donkeys!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weaving a Basket with Crochet Thread Tutorial - How to weave a basket using painted crochet thread and covered wire.

This tutorial came about when I was asked about the thread I used when I made the watering can.  It's crochet thread, Coats & Clark, Classic.  The miniaturist wanted to weave baskets with it. 

I suggested using waxed linen, 2 ply.  The wicker furniture makers use waxed linen, 3 ply.
I purchased some 2 ply months ago wanting to weave baskets but never got around to it.
The miniaturist said she couldn't get the 2 ply so I thought I could do the same thing with painted crochet thread.
This is the result of a question from a miniaturist and my experimentation.
I hope you enjoy it.

There's my ball of crochet thread with Delta's Ceramcoat Autumn Brown and Apple Barrel's Golden Brown.  I used what I had on hand.  The brown glass stain is used to coat the baskets after they are finished, that's just an option.
You will need 26 gauge covered wire.  I have the kind that is wound with thread.  Sometimes it's a little tedious to work with because the thread will unwind.  There is a different kind, Fibre-Craft makes it and it has more of a coating.  I am told it's easier to work with.  She buys it from www.createforless.com.
We are going to use mat board for the bottom of the basket.
Choose a "basket" looking color and paint the crochet thread and one piece of the covered wire.
I just dip my finger and thumb in the paint and run the thread through and hang it up to dry.
I cut the thread 24 inches (70 cm) long.  It seems an easy length to handle.
Four pieces should do for a little basket.
Don't forget to paint one piece of the covered wire, too.

The next thing to do is find a mould.  The ones I used for this project are a cap from my hair spray bottle, I cut the bottom off a Reese's Pieces candy container and I made a mould from odds and ends of Fimo.
The moulds should be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall.  I like to use plastic because the tacky glue will not stick and I can wipe the glue off.
Remember 1 inch equals 1 foot for sizing the basket.  You don't want to make the basket too big. You have to fill it after you've made it.  A big basket takes more to fill!

I made the bottoms from mat board.  I traced around the Reese's Pieces container, then drew another line about an 1/8" (4mm) inside the original line.  I cut on the new line.  For the other moulds I used my circle and oval templates to measure for the bottoms. 

You want the mat board bottoms to be smaller than the bottom of the mould.

Cut the mat board bottom out.  See how it's smaller than the bottom of the hair spray cap.

We are going to drill holes into the edge of the mat board.  (I suppose you could drill into the flat face of the mat board and bend the wire out from the mat board, but I think that would create bulk.)
You see my little pin vise drill on the table.  This is a good little tool.
You will need an UNEVEN amount of holes.  We want as many spokes, that's the 26 gauge wire, as we can get into the mat board edge.

The circle you see is 7/16" (6mm) in diameter.  I have 17 pieces of wire to stick into it.

Cut the wire into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces, cut one piece 2 1/2" to 3" (63mm to 77mm), that's your handle.

After trying to devise a method for measuring where the holes should be I gave up and just started marking free hand.  Remember you must have an uneven number. Also, it's better to error on having too many spokes than too few.

Use a "T" pin to pierce a hole in the edge.

Now, drill a hole, removing paper so that the wire will have a place to be.

If you skip this the mat board will be hard to keep together.  It will split apart.

When you drill, hold the mat board between yours fingers and thumb, squeezing it, almost.  You will feel the drill.

So, this is what you need to do: Pierce a hole with the "T" pin, drill out the hole, dip the end of the wire into YELLOW WOOD GLUE, get a good amount on the wire and put the wire into the hole.  If you are using the wound thread type of covered wire I found if I twisted the wire in the direction that the thread was wound it helped.  This twisting kept the thread from unwinding.

I've got my first wire in, it's the handle.

You see all of my marks?

Go around the circle, piercing, drilling, dipping and inserting at every other mark.

Be sure you are holding tightly to the circle.

When you have half the wire in, place the assembly onto your table and press hard to seal the mat board together.

Now, begin again, piercing, drilling, dipping and inserting until you have all the wire in.

Press on the mat board again to seal.

I like to leave this to dry, if not over night at least several hours.
If you don't let this dry adequately the wire spokes will twist while you are weaving causing you headaches.

I wanted to show you how the mat board sealed around the wire spokes.

After your bottom/spokes assembly is dry you can paint it a "basket" color.

Leave this to dry.

I don't understand why this picture chose to load in sideways but it did.  I can't seem to get it turned so we will just have to be satisfied with it!
Center the bottom of the basket onto your mould.

Fold the wire spokes down around the mould.  You will have to do this at the edge of your table because of the long handle wire.

Lift your basket off the mould and tacky glue the end of the painted crochet thread to the bottom.

Press the basket back onto the mould.

Begin to weave, over, under, over and under.  Pull tightly and the basket will begin to grip the mould before you know it.

Second row begun.

Over, under, over and under . . . .

You see, I haven't even gotten up the side and the basket is staying on the mould by itself.  I am holding the hair spray cap.

Try to keep your weaving even.  Every so often set the basket up at eye level and check.

If you find you are high on one side use your tweezers to push the thread down.
This will only move 2 rows at the most, so check often so you can keep everything looking nice.  Doesn't hurt to unweave if you need to neaten things up a bit.

You are going to run out of thread.

Weave under with the thread that's running out. That's the original thread end you see on the right.

Place a new end behind the spoke your ending thread is coming out of and just continue to weave.
You will trim the ends off when you finish the basket.

I usually weave until I have a 1/2 inch (13 or 14mm) high sides.  This is a 6 inch (15.5 cm) basket in life-size.
I don't like them too deep, then I have to fill it!

See my ends where I started new thread?

Carefully PUSH the basket off the mould.  If you pull, the basket comes off and then you squeeze the basket misshaping it.  If you do this, put the basket back on the mould to reshape.

Trim the ends of the thread close to the weaving.

Trim off the spokes close to the weaving.  Don't leave any wire sticking up.  Don't cut your handle off.

Use the painted wire for the rim.  Bend the wire around the mould.

Cut the wire, leaving a little extra, maybe a 1/4" (6 or 7mm).

Slip the wire off the mould and straighten it.

Apply tacky glue to about 1/2" (13 or 14mm) to start.

Start winding the thread around the wire.

Continue to wrap the thread until about 1/2" (13 to 14mm) is left of the wire.

Apply tacky glue to this end and wrap the thread to the end of the wire.

Bend the wire rim around the mould to shape.

Place the basket back on the mould and apply tacky glue to the edge.

Press the rim down on top of the basket.
Trim the ends so they butt, apply glue to the ends.
The rim is glued on the outside of the handle.
Hold this until the glue tacks and is holding the rim to the basket.

Carefully push the basket off the mould.
Use small clips to hold the rim together until the rim is dry.

To get the length and shape of your handle right, find a cylinder to shape it around.  I am using a 7/8" (22mm) dowel here but you could use anything around the house.

Trim the handle to the top of the rim.

I threaded the crochet thread onto a large eyed needle, a tapestry needle.

I want to sew a "X" at the base of the handle.

I inserted the needle from the inside of the basket and came out right under the rim.

I crossed the thread over and behind the handle.

There's the "X".

Apply tacky glue to the end of the thread inside the basket.

Don't cut the thread that the needle is on.

Start wrapping the handle with the crochet thread.

Wrap the thread until you have about 1/2" (13 to 14mm) left.

Apply tacky glue to the wire and finish wrapping the handle.

The handle has been wrapped, don't cut the thread.

I didn't even take the needle off while I wrapped the handle.  I am going to need it to sew another "X".

Apply tacky glue to the rim and press the handle down onto the rim.

When the handle has dried sew another "X" on this side of the basket.

Trim off the extra thread and apply tacky glue to the end.

Touch up any paint you might have missed.

I have some little plastic clamps I bought when I first go into miniatures.  I know Hobby Builders still carry them.  They come in handy for this type of thing.

This is the basket made with the Reese's Pieces candy container.

These are the baskets made from my Fimo mould.

This is the basket made from the cap of my hair spray bottle.

I am showing the difference between the baskets that I painted with the glass stain.   I painted BOTH baskets with the golden brown, I painted the one on the right with the glass stain, too.  I really like this one.

This is also showing the glass stain effect.

Both baskets were painted with the autumn brown and the one on the right was painted with the glass stain, too.

I hope you have fun trying this out.  I think you be very happy with your finished baskets.  I will have the item number for the Fibre-Craft wire for you with the next post.   I have something else to share, how to make a fly swatter.  I will try to have it posted tomorrow. 

Have fun, expand on it, make it better, just keep making minis!!!