28 Feb 2014

Upper Cabinets

At last a requested and long promised post.  And I'll admit it's a little longer then usual.  I did my best to explain everything and tried to find as many of the process images as I could.  These cabinets were a first run of trial and error and are not perfect by any means, but I do believe can be made very nicely now with the method outlined below.  The best part is the magnetic fronts are totally removable.

Part 1: Assemble the Frame fronts.
Decide on your measurements, according to your kitchen scale and layout.  Then sketch out a possible design.

I attached several different pieces of trim and wood strips to a piece of Clear Sheet Styrene 0.015" (0.4mm) thick, using craft glue. Simply apply glue and create your design.
(As I explain later in detail, next time I would try wax paper instead of the styrene as a gluing surface for the beginning assembly and remove after painting).
This double door was 3x3 inches, each single cabinet "door" was 1.5".
I decided to add mullions. I drew out my shape and placed it underneath the plastic, using it as a guide much like the ruler above.

Part 2: Finishing Frame Fronts
I sealed with extra glue (both craft and crazy) on top to strengthen the connecting ends and finished with a coat of white paint using a small brush.
...there is one problem with this method... no matter how hard I tried, it got really really messy
It left behind extra glue and paint on the 'panes' see below image.  
So, rather then spend hours cleaning them off, I pulled off the plastic backing so that I could replace it with new clean sheets.
(It only broke in a few spots, whew!)
 I also used this opportunity to spray paint the open frames and get an even finish (kind of wish I hadn't though, the paint got really thick).
And finally, I cut away any extra glue or paint before adding on the new sheet of plastic on the back with some craft glue at each corner.
***Note: next time I might try wax paper or tissue paper to glue together the frame pieces in Part 1.  Then peel it off and add the plastic only once at the end when the glue has dried and the frames are assembled in their design.***

Part 3: Upper Cabinet Base with Shelves
Below shows the cabinet made from 3/32 basswood with removable shelves. I placed the shelves on tiny pieces of wood, making them removable. (Ignore the hinges, they didn't work)
For my shelves I chose transparent plastic so that the light would shine from top to bottom.  I got the plastic as a sample from Home Depot, read more about that here.
Make sure your shelves line up with the front panels.


Part 4: Using Magnets to Attach the Front.  
I found magnets performed better then the hinges I found.  I used Tiny Craft Hobby Neodymium Rare Earth Super Magnets 1/8 x 1/16 in (3mm x 1.5mm).  First: notch out a space on the top and bottom big enough for two magnets.

Attach one magnet to the cabinet base.
And one to the door.  Matching the placement, so that they line up.

Part 5: Lighting
  I choose to add small LED lights now.  One at the top inside, and one underneath to light the countertops below.  I also added trim to the bottom to hide the led.

Part 6: Finishing.
Now the fronts should be easy to take off and put back on. Allowing for easy changes.  The doors however will appear to have a gap around the edges, this is the thin piece of plastic attached the the wood trim on the fronts.
To fix this I added a second layer of 1/16 basswood around the top and two sides.  This was to hide any imperfections and to create a flush front.
The extra outer layer is higher then the original cabinet to accommodate the door front.
 The front is now flush.
It also gives space to add additional moulding to the top, if I choose.
Personally, I am debating whether to re-do a few of the front panels.  I really wish I had never spray painted them, it got too thick and I think it shows.  That said I am super proud of my first attempt!

A very long post indeed!  I hope this helps some of you design your own upper cabinets.  I had lots of trouble trying to research how to build and design opening ones. Next time I'll outline the bottom ones (much much easier :) )  Good night!



15 Feb 2014

Valentine's Table Scene



Happy Valentine's Day!  I decided to put together a themed scene this week.  On display are my new Bespaq dining chairs which I finished upholstering, and lots of other diy projects I finished over the last two weeks.

 I made my first miniature cake - which has left me with a really bad craving for Black Forest cake in real life... and I made lots of little chocolates.  I found a great tutorial for the Ferrero Rocher chocolates by Drora awhile ago and saved the packaging from a few. The bottle and glasses are Re-Ment.



I also attempted pasta and was quite pleased with them.  My white sauce went too translucent, but next time I'll add a bit more colour.  A great tutorial for pasta can be found on youtube by SugarCharmShop. I've just been marathoning her videos, they're really easy to follow and detail a lot of different foods.




I made the flowers awhile ago but didn't have time to finish the stems.  The candy jar was bought from a dollhouse store.


My chairs!  I love them!  They came with a cream floral fabric, which was very dated.  I like the way these are modernized with the black stripe.  The acrylic table is by AmazingMiniatures and completes the white and black design.  



The books were made using regular printer paper, foam board and photoshop.  I think I'll make a few more.  The tulips were purchased, and the lamp and crystal clock are both Barbie.  


And lastly, the miniature balloons!  I wanted so much to have miniature balloons for this scene.  I found these great ones on Etsy but knew they wouldn't arrive on time.  Then I saw a great project by Joann using acrylic gems, but I couldn't find any locally.  Thankfully I found some lollipops that looked like translucent hearts!  I snipped off the sticks and inserted some thin wire which I painted white to look like string.  


To get the balloons to stand without falling over I placed the bunch in an old nail polish bottle painted to look like a vase (it would be hidden behind the table anyways).  



I hope you are all well and enjoying your weekend.  I highly suggest you check out the HBS/Miniatures 20th Creatin Contest winners.  Just, Wow!  
As for me, now that my miniatures are all done for the week, I'm hopefully going to go find a real life black forest cake to devour.  Until next time,

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