Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Extra, Extra

Mary sent me a note regarding heat shrink tubes for wiring.  I've used them in the past.  She sent a website address that has a video showing their use.   www.jsminiatures.co.uk     I've found a source for them in the U.S.  www.cir-kitconcepts.com     Use search box and type in heat shrink tubes.  You slip these tubes over the bare wires, apply heat such as your hair dryer, they shrink providing insulation for your wires while also keeping them together.

I've also had am e-mail from Stacy T. telling me about the Silhouette Cameo.  I've often wondered about these scrap booking cutting machines and if I "need" one those, too????  After much experimenting she was able to cut mat board with it.
Her instructions are:
set the machine to Chipboard/2 speed/blade7/uncheck double cut/uncheck cutting mat/move rollers on bar all the way in/feed mat board into machine without cutting mat and hitting "load media".

She says after running it through all she has to do is to go over it lightly with her craft knife.  She says you can design minis with their software.  Too Cool!

She is showing in this picture the mat board cut out, can you see the piece at the right of the picture?  She also has a piece cut out in card stock at t he left of the picture.  I am also assuming that all the pieces you see on the cutting mat are all ready cut by the machine and ready for Stacy to just lightly cut them with her craft knife.  Easy, Peasy!!

I am reprinting this from the comments because I think it useful to know about.

ooooo, Kris! Stacy T. is right on the money! I had emailed you maybe a year ago or so about using my Cricut to cut out the parts to make baskets and little boxes. Lol! I think I scared you off with my ramblings at the time. It really does work and saves your hands. Cuts are really precise. The only way I was able to use my Cricut was to use the Make the Cut software to design my own cutting patterns. It is no longer legal to use that software with the Cricut machine so I am stuck with a machine that is useless to me. Don't buy a Cricut for this purpose (nor for cutting fabric as it doesn't work well!). Silhouette has it's own software so you can design whatever you desire. I have been considering buying a newer cutter for this purpose. Will have to ask the Birthday Fairy. ;)

Sus wanted a picture of the machine.  I Googled and copied and pasted a couple.  I know nothing about these machines.  Sus, maybe you can Google information on them for your part of the world.

Thanks for the information,

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Room Box Tutorial - Building a foam core room box in a box to hide the wiring.

Is this not a cool frame?  I had to do some Wal-Mart shopping and I thought I would stop by the frames department and see what they had.  I didn't expect to purchase anything but when I saw this frame with its mat made this way I thought it was perfect for what I needed this month.

I had some questions about hiding the wiring and false walls to add dimension to the room.  I have to keep in mind that most of my readers don't have access to machinery and wood so I use 3/16" foam core.  It's easy to get and easy to cut.  My idea is to make a room box in a box.

This is the frame, it cost about $14.00 at Wal-Mart.  It's a wooden frame with a mat.  The mat has another frame, this is plastic but looks very nice.

You could change the color of the mat by gluing your chosen color over the existing mat.

This was just a happy coincidence. There were other frames the same size with regular mats that I could have brought home and used.

This is what the frame looks like with the back off.

I slipped the box I made last month into the channel of the inner plastic frame and was very pleased with the look.

Again, I mention that you could use a frame with a regular mat. You would measure the mat's opening and make a room box that the mat would hide the edge of the foam core.

I am measuring the outside of the frame, it measures 12" on the side.

I have the frame on table with the little room box on it.  I am measuring for the depth of the outer box, how much room do I want beyond the back wall of the room box for maybe a false hallway and wiring. 

I am making the outside of the box 9" deep.

The sides are going to be 9" x 12".

I am measuring what will be the top (and bottom) of the frame. it's measuring 15".

I want the sides to cover the open edges of the top's foam core so I am going to do a little subtraction of the 15".  The foam core measures 3/16" thick, we have 2 sides so that's 3/8". 15 minus 3/8 equals 14 5/8".  I am going to take a 1/16" from that measurement just to make sure my outer box is neatly within the frame. Final measurement is 14 9/16" long x 9" deep.

This is Tigger, Digger's sister.  I am taking pictures in the morning so she's on my table.  Digger is asleep on the bed, he'll be up in the afternoon.

I am using one piece of 20" x 30" foam core.  I have all four pieces marked out and ready to cut.  The shaded areas are waste.

I am using Crafter's Pick The Ultimate! glue.  It seems to work very well for gluing foam core together.

I've glued the outer box together.  Do you see that the sides cover the edges of the top and bottom foam core?

Please, please let this dry before you go on.

I am taking a picture from the open back of the box showing the little room box inside the outer box and frame.

As I do not like to butt glue I have drilled holes into the frame.  I drilled 3 holes on each side.  I started the holes with a "T" pin, small drill bit first and then a drill bit that is the size of my tooth picks that I am going to use as dowels. We are "doweling" the outer box to the frame for a more secure join.

I cut the points off and then cut the toothpicks in half.  Put a little wood glue into the holes and insert the toothpicks.

I snipped all the toothpicks to 1/2" tall.

After that, I made a little diagonal snip to give the dowel a bit of a point.

Carefully slide the outer box onto the frame pushing the foam core onto the dowels.

Raise the outer box a bit and apply The Ultimate! glue onto the dowels and frame and press the outer box back down onto the frame and let dry.

Looking good.

I got a little ahead of myself and I am glad I caught it when I did. Have you ever used the "glue dots" available in the scrapbook or glue isle?  I didn't have any, I wish I had but as I mentioned earlier I don't run out to get things.
I want you to clean your glass and use the glue dots to glue the glass into the frame.  I would just use one in each corner.  I didn't glue the mat in.

Now, we can go on.

I have the little room box in the outer box and I am measuring the distance between the two walls. Measure the space at the top and bottom of the room box.  We are going to cut supports to hold the room box up. This distance should be equal.

The little room box isn't glued in, yet.  It's just there for measurements.

I have cut strips of foam core and slid them between the outer box and the room box.

You see, I was gluing in the supports when I figured I had better get the glass and mat in!!

Glue the strips of foam core in and to make the join more secure cut a couple of more pieces to glue to the strips and the bottom (or top) of the outer box.

This is what it should look like.  Glue 2 more strips on the top just like the bottom.

Slide your little room box into the outer box.

At this point I thought you could make these room boxes interchangeable.

The room box from the front.

I cut a piece of muslin for a hinge.

I glued the muslin on the side of the outer box.

I cut a piece of foam core 14 7/8" x 12" for a back and glued the other side of the muslin to it.

I know this is a real cheap way to do this but it's easy and works.  You can cover the outer box with wall paper or paint and cover the muslin.

There's the box with the room box inside and the back on.

There's the space around the room box for wiring and false walls.

On to the wiring.

I am going to use 3 lights this time.

Remember from last month, if you use 3 lights, use 3 batteries.

For demonstration purposes only I have used a different light at the back of the room box, I didn't buy an extra light when shopping at Radio Shack last month.

I brought all my wires together, one for the lamp inside the room box, one for the light outside the window and one for the light that's coming from the hallway.  Please review last month's tutorial for more information.  I don't know much about electricity, this little stuff is about it.
What I do know is this is the first thing to do, bring all of your light's wires together.  I'm going to call this my junction box.

I have slid the room box into the outer box.

I also didn't have a battery holder that held 3 "AA" batteries, so for demonstration purposes only I have my 2 battery holder in place.

Don't have your batteries in the holder, yet.

I've cut a hole in the side of the outer box for the switch to fit into.  The part with the eyelets to attach the wires are inside the box and the switch part is outside the box.

Next thing you do is to cut some of the doll house wire, remember it has two channels that contain wire, cut between the channels at both ends.  Just a little snip will do, it pulls apart easily.  The length needs to be long enough to reach between your junction box and where your switch and battery holder is.  Last month I asked you to mark one channel with a black marker, mark this piece also.  Strip the plastic off the wire, long enough for you to wrap the wire together at your junction box (where all your light's wires twisted together). Twist the black channel wire with the other black channel wires.  Twist the white channel wire with the other white channel wires.  I can't solder so I cover the wires with black electricians tape.  Divide the other end of the doll house wire and twist the black channel wire to the black wire from the battery holder.  Hook the white side of this wire to the switch.  Hook the red wire from the battery holder to the switch.  Cover the joins with electricians tape.  Wires can't be touching or the bulbs won't light.

I have not taken a lot of time to explain fully all the electricity,  please review last month's tutorial.

Put your batteries in the holder and keep an eye on your lights.  The switch may all ready be on or you may have to turn it on.

I mentioned earlier about making interchangeable room boxes.  All you would need to do is to take the doll house wire off the black wire from the battery box and switch.

This picture is showing the switch on the side.

A Note:  I should have shown a picture of the switch in January's tutorial, look at the picture above and compare with this picture.  You see half the switch is inside and half the switch is outside of the box.  The difference with last month's tutorial is there would be wires coming out along side the switch to the outside.

I dug around in my hardware drawer and found this hook closure.  These can be purchased at a big box store like Home Depot.  Maybe Michaels has them in their wood shapes department, too.

There was a screw for the hook and I just screwed that into the foam core. For the nails on the other part I pierced the holes with a "T" pin first.

I would finish the outside of the box before I put on the hook and eye and switch.

I was surprised my lights worked even though I had three wired up.  They weren't bright, though.

I put a little piece of wood flooring at the door and pasted a piece of wallpaper on the back wall for a false hallway.

A little greenery at the right side at the window would finish the look.

I think it looks pretty good for a couple of hours work.

If you have the resources this could be made from wood and hinges used on the back and front to make it open from the front also.

The valance is from "No-sew Austrian Valance", the chair is "Make and upholster a 1 inch scale chair", the table is "How to make an occasional table from mat board" and the lamp is from "How to make a battery operated table lamp".  These are found in the "Things to do, Things to See" list.

I have two books for you to try to get.  I've mentioned this one before but I think it's good enough to repeat, "How to Build Miniature Furniture and Room Settings" by Judy Beals, this is a real good book.  Another one that is good is "Making Dollhouses and Dioramas, An Easy Approach Using Kits and Ready-Made Parts" by Robert Schleicher, I think this is available from Dover Publishers.  Dover is very good for sources.  I find myself going through this book a lot, too.

I want to thank the readers that contacted me to ask about hiding the wiring and how to make false walls or I wouldn't have thought about doing this.  I know this may not suit everyone's needs but as always anything I present is a suggestion and I want you to . . . .

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

Just Keep Making Minis!!

Remember, if you have any questions please e-mail me at camceiling@frontiernet.net.  When you finish a tutorial and want to have me put it in the Follower's Gallery please send it to the same address.

TTUL  Kris

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I have a whole new look and isn't it pretty!!!   Daphne of Court of Gypsies helped me, really she did it all and she did a beautiful job, didn't she?  I love it and I hope you do, too.

I have a "Home" page and on the left side it has the "Things to do, Things to see" list that I am always referring to.  Check the list out and find something new to do.  A note about the older posts:  I used to put them up in parts and sometimes the last part comes up first.  When this happens scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "older posts" and the rest of the tutorial will appear.

On the right side I have the "Blog Archive".  This where you can just search the whole blog.  I have things in there that I haven't listed in the "Things to do, Things to see" list.

I have the "Follow by E-Mail" for you to sign up for and then there's the Follower's list.  Be sure to sign up and be a 1 inch minis follower.  I have the best followers in bloggerville!!

Last but not least is Daphne's link to her Court of Gypsies site.  Be sure to visit, she has beautiful things there for you to see and she's on Etsy.

I have pages!  The next page is for my furniture, 1 inch minis by Kris - Shop.  I make miniature upholstered furniture and sell it on CDHM.org.  This button will take you to my page on CDHM and you can look at my furniture I have for sale right now.

The next button is very important, it's the FOLLOWER'S GALLERY.  This is where I share the pictures I receive from you.  Thank you for sending me pictures of the tutorials you've made.  This sharing will encourage others to try out the tutorials.  Keep sending pictures:  camceiling@frontiernet.net

The last button is Resources and Links.  I will try to keep this up to date with where I get some of the supplies I use in the tutorials.

Send thanks out to Daphne for doing all of this for us.  She's keeping me up and running!!!!!

Will be posting the February blog soon.  Kris

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Hi Miniaturists,

I had some e-mails asking how was the wiring going to be hidden on the little room box I demonstrated in December's post.  It isn't.  And that's the short of it.

I demonstrated making a room box by cutting and folding one piece of foam core and using an inexpensive frame to finish it.  It was meant to be simple for people that don't have the resources, whether it be money for purchasing custom made room boxes or skills to make wooden room boxes themselves.  It was a quick and easy room box to make.

I am looking for a larger frame that already has a mat in it.  I will discard the picture and cut and glue foam core behind the frame and mat to make a room box that the wiring can be hidden.  I will show how I construct double walls to hide the wiring.

The new box will still be from foam core because that's something most people can get and use without expensive tools.  There will be no hinges on the frame, foam core won't support that.  I try to keep things simple so most of you can make the things I demonstrate.

Just got back from Chicago, really cold up there!!  Will be posting in a few weeks, have to find the frame.  I will be looking at Family Dollar stores, I know I saw some at Garden Ridge, too, something inexpensive, you know.  I want the mat to be cut to fit an 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 picture.  The outside measurement of the frame can be anything.

TTUL   Kris