20 Apr 2015

Loft Series: Custom Windows

The very first thing I start with when making a room or scene is the window placement.  How many and what kind of view?  While shooting several different sets with miniatures I've learned that the window is always what brings the most lifelike illusion to the photograph. I've also learned that custom handmade wood windows are extremely tedious and difficult to make! (I applaud all you who have mastered that art!)  You might remember in my loft series I made these really large windows.  I needed something simple without the hassle of cutting and gluing tiny sticks of wood in straight lines.  If I didn't have access to a laser cutter now I most likely would have continued using this method for all my future builds.   So if you haven't discovered this method and need something simple I encourage you to give it a try!

First you need transparent printing paper.  I got mine from a local printing/photocopy store.  These sheets of transparent plastic are most used with overhead projectors.  They sometimes come with a protective backing on each sheet.

You can go about making the grid lines either manually or digitally:  
1. You can take a ruler and permeant maker and draw each line right onto the transparency.  
2. Draw the lines on plain printer paper and scan onto your computer.  Then use an inkjet printer to print onto the transparency.
3. Use photoshop or another drawing application (as I did) to make a grid and then use an inkjet printer to print onto the transparency.

If you don't have a printer, or as in my case your printer doesn't print dark enough, take your file to your local business/photocopy centre.  They should be able to print it for you and most places have the transparent printing paper there.

Here is my grid:

I chose thinner lines for the mullions so that they wouldn't be too visible.  The window I was making had 3 large sections but remained as one piece.  I added thick black lines to show where the pieces of the frame would go.  These thicker lines were made based on the approx thickness of the framing I was using.  By adding these into your design your grid will be evenly spaced on either side of the framing.

The thickness of your framing depends on the thickness of your walls. I was using 1/4" foam board so my wood was 1/4" thick.

Next I glued the pieces together to make a frame using the dark lines as a guide.
The frame.
Paint the frame.
Glue the grid sheet to the bottom of the frame.

The Back.  Personally my roombox was only meant to be seen from the front so I never finished the back... to finish:

Make a second frame to give yourself a complete window.  That would give you a front frame, window grid sheet, and back frame. (Not shown).  
Place the window inside your wall and add strips of trim around the outer edges on the back.

You could finish with trim on the front too if you wish.

And there you are! Windows without the fuss. Or glue.  Or straight edge lining up. Or pulling your hair out because something just nudges a piece the wrong way and it all just falls apart... you know.

A big thanks to Mini Mod Pod for requesting this and then waiting so so long for me to post ;)  And for another cool idea for transparencies check out what the The Shopping Sherpa did with her cafe logo.  Makes me think a few more experiments are in order...coloured stained glass maybe?

Hope you are all off to a great week!  I'm looking at rain rain rain more rain and the possibility of snow... Good stay inside mini making weather. :)

11 Apr 2015

Rise and Shine: The Contemporary Bathroom

With only hours to spare I completed my entry for the 3Dminihouse contest for Shapeways last night.  It had me thinking of my last late-night contest build.  It was a bit of a mad dash as my delivery from Shapeways arrived on Wednesday, 2 days before deadline!  :D  I'm so glad I knew I wasn't the only one working away so close to the finish which kind of made it a little more fun and a lot less panic.

The faucet I designed and had printed actually turned out!  I can officially check 3D printing off my list of things to learn.  I printed it both in white strong flexible plastic and stainless steel.  I chose the stainless for the scene as it surprisingly rendered it extremely well and gives it a a bit of weight.  It has a pink undertone which was unexpected so the next time I might try sterling silver...but for now I'm really liking it's unique colour.  I also made vessel sink and another smaller faucet (not shown) and can see myself designing more elaborate pieces in the future.

Next to the faucet my favourite thing in this scene is the orchid plant! I've wanted one in miniature for a long time and knew this was the perfect scene to go for it. I got a real orchid, took measurements and then drew out 3 different petal shapes in photoshop (there is a great tutorial for cutting life size orchids here that helped). I brought them to the laser cutter and cut them out of regular sketching paper.  A little bit of coloured pencil in the centre, some wire, rolled up tissue, paint, and wood and volia!

Now let's talk that rain shower.  I was soooo close!  See the way the water looks to be going into the drain?  I had that at the top too and it broke too late into the build...    The invisible thread actually threads through a drain I made and out through out the bottom of the floor.  I will be revisiting this and taking another photo. I know it's possible to get the tension right so that it doesn't curve!

The towels were made with the help Studio E's fantastic tutorial using baby washcloths (I'm so glad you mentioned the baby onesies too Elizabeth!  I ended up using them since there were no white washcloths available.)  They look super warm and fluffy.

The shower panel is by Modern Dollhouse (I have so much on my wishlist from Marion's store!) and I tried to get the plastic to match the faucet, spraying it metallic gold and then dabbing silver. The moth orchid plant is sitting in the largest of the containers from ModernMiniFan's 6-piece Bath Collection, along with the matching tray, the box I used as a toothbrush holder and the makeup brush/lotion combo set. The tray is very pretty with the bit of edging on the sides.  I did have to cut my Re-ment 1:6 makeup brushes to fit the 1:12 scale but I think it was worth it!  The little stool is designed by Mini World Designs, I absolutely adore the shape and would love to have it made a little bigger so that it would be more of a chair for another scene.

If any of you are interested in a faucet like the one I made (or a smaller version) I'll put the files as available to print in a Shapeways shop.  I first have to clean up the disaster I made over the last two days across the house...miniature making explosion. Haha!  I'm looking forward to looking at all the entries, catching up on blogs and maybe getting some sleep?...have a great weekend everyone!

2 Apr 2015

Something Done, Something New

I've finished the wall of windows for the kitchen.  I was really surprised with just how well it works, lots of light and great views to the outside. It makes the kitchen look even bigger then it already is!  These double doors will eventually lead out onto a deck.  I am also going to add a third window beside the fridge on the left wall to match the spacing of this new finished wall.

And I've started a new room... I've had 3D printing on my list of things to learn so I decided mid-March to try the Shapeways Mini House contest.
The only problem was ... I don't actually own anything from Shapeways!   I had been talking to designers about getting some dining room chairs made in December but the design didn't work out.  (Thankfully I found a designer of some great modern chairs and will be ordering them next!!)

It was time to buckle down and figure out 3D design to come up with some pieces of my own (hello, Tinkercad!)  I am so excited to see how the pieces I designed turn out, two of which will be for this scene.  I couldn't make everything I wanted because the deadline for making and shipping was just a day short of being too late but I found some great pieces from other talented designers to round out the scene.  I managed to get express 3 day shipping but as of today two of the stainless steal pieces aren't even made yet!  I'm a bit nervous haha. I've been refreshing the order status page again and again for the last 2 weeks.  Hurry up!
Here's is a sneak peek: it's modern bath for the house!  Such a good "before" shot, right? SO MUCH WORK TO BE DONE :D  I have this crazy idea for the shower that I hope works! If only the pieces would arrive already.
To be honest my main goal was to make a 3D miniature faucet (originally for the kitchen) so this whole room was made just so I could use the faucet piece in another scene.

In the meantime I'm putting the finishing touches on my custom window tutorial using transparent printing paper like I had in the loft, and checking off some other post ideas I've been meaning to upload.  I'm starting to feel caught up and dare I say accomplished?

Hope you all are having a great week :)  I'll just be over here tapping the refresh button on my order status!


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