Monday, September 17, 2007

Modern miniature meanderings

As I mentioned yesterday, last week Twitchy Fingers gave me a couple of pieces of that cheap unfinished furniture that you can get in most discount stores for a couple of dollars. I thought it might be interesting for me to share how I create a miniature scene, from beginning to end, using one of the pieces.

I decide to play with the side table first as it seemed to be in truer scale than the cupboard (which I no doubt will find inspiration for at 3am one morning!) At first I think I can just stain it with the wenge coloured gel stain I have. But after mulling it over for a while I come up with this rough sketch:Paint the base white (not sure if it's going to be "chippy" yet or not) and the top to look like zinc. I think I'm going with that whole "light Swedish" look.

Except my table top's got beveled edges. So I might have to cut a new one if it's to look like the sketch (and the photo)...

As for what to display on it I head to my trusty miniature supplies cupboard and pull out a pile of stuff I think might work in various combinations. Lay it out and stare at it while drinking a cup of tea.
I do a few test runs, with the table still in it's packaging, leaning against some brick plastic I think would go well with the slightly industrial feel of the table as I envisage it....
And decide version 4 has the feel I'm after (and uses the framed doily I made last week!). But I tuck versions 1-3 into the back of the brain for future reference. Just in case...

The fun bit finished, the messy bit starts:1. I decide the table top definitely has to be replaced. So the table goes into the microwave with a cup of water and is nuked in 30 second increments until the glue is soft enough that I can prise the top off (from the back edge so any marks will be hidden when the piece is finished. I think it took about 5 minutes in total)

2. I draw around the original top onto a piece of basswood the same thickness...

3. ...and cut it out with my scroll saw (if you don't have one of these a metal ruler and stanley knife would work just as well.)

4. I discover I do have a silver spray can lid after all (drats!), which happens to be attached to a can of silver leaf spray paint. I spray the table top with several coats, sanding well in between to get rid of the woodgrain.

5. After popping out to buy more off-white acrylic paint (mine is so old it has solidified in the tin) I paint the base.

6. After everything is dry I glue the table top back onto the base using PVA glue.

7. I consider giving the the top a well-worn look by carefully placing it onto a patch of concrete and pressing gently until it has the right amount of battering. But I decide I like the pristine look better.

And so it is that we arrive here: (Bricks: Precision Products 1101, $15.95 from a show. Flooring: "Marble" contact paper. Side table: See above. Framed doily: See above. Jug: I have no idea. There's a mark on the bottom which is no help in remembering where or when I got it! Covered bowl: From eBay - I believe it was part of a dime store miniature tea set. Woven lidded basket: Ahhh... This is where I start to understand the thinking behind keeping track of your purchases as, again, I have no idea who made it or how it came to be with me... Wool: Yay! I know this one! Shell: From a box bought at a mini show years ago for $4.50. Shopping bag: AMEA freebie.)


petal said...

I really like reading about your modern miniatures. I'll have to dig out my stuff and start finishing a few projects.

Modern MC said...

A reader of my blog alerted me to yours. I like looking at your modern miniatures. You can tell the modern miniature market pickings are slim as you and I have about the same everything in our collection. Please come and see my modern minis when you get an opportunity: