Sunday, 25 September 2011

Great Room arched columns

Hello everyone,
I hope you had a great weekend! I finally finished the arches in the great room! I hope the following directions are my defence it's past my bedtime!
I'm very happy with them, but I must admit making the valances was much more trouble then
I thought it would be.

I knew the fabric I bought would cause me trouble the minute I touched it. Most miniaturists have always warned to use light, all nautral fabrics for miniatures. This one was a heavy upholstery fabric, 75% polyester and 25% cotton. The only reason I bought it was because, no word of a lie, it was almost exactly what I had imagined for this room...from the color to the pattern it was perfect. I figured I'd rather simplify the valance design and drapes then not use this fabric.
I took out my columns and pieces for the arches and tried out a few designs and found one I liked. Next I cut out all the fabric pieces I would need with a cardboard pattern I made up.
 There are 3 double sided arches so I cut 6 big valance frames in illustration board, one for each side, and 6 small half round pieces for the center of the valances.
I cut out 12 triangles in my green fabric and 12 in a burgendy accent fabric. I tried using one of those iron on adhesive tapes to glue the pieces together. When I finally finished, 2 hours later, the tape didn't work and they came apart! After using every Italian, French and English swear word I know ( my southern Italian heritage really came out) I had to take out my sewing machine and go over the 3 sides of each piece. Naturally, I was out of upholstery needles so the thread kept on breaking! I finally  finished sewing, flipped them inside out, ironed them flat, then folded them the way I wanted, ironed the folds and pinned them to a pillow to let them keep their shape.

Because the fabric I used was so thick the glue did not go through it. So I  completely covered one side of the valance frames and half rounds with The Ultimate glue, put the fabric over it and smoothed it out. I then flipped each piece, ran a line of the glue all around the edges, then folded over the fabric edge and glued it down tight.

Then came assembly:
I glued 2 fabric covered frames back to back
glued on a half round in the center on each side,
added a wood strip spacer in the center on each side,
added gold braid trim around the valence,
glued the folded triangles at each end,
and finally glued on the wood arches over that.

After I glued down the columns, I glued the arch pieces I just described to the top of the room with the Ultimate glue and gel super glue. I then covered the small gaps between the column and the arches with small wood panels with linen fold carvings I made. Then came a piece of ogee molding to top it off.
The final touch was inexpensive plastic cameos I purchased and painted to match the columns.
The linen fold carvings I made with my door frame molding. It's hard to explain..
On the right is the molding, in the center I cut out a notch...almost like a triangle with no point on the top, and in the left picture, I removed just the top part of the molding (follow arow and I penciled in the exposed area)...I hope you understand with the pictures

Well, that was it for this week...there is so much to do I'm not sure what to do next...
I hope you all have a great week,

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Door Frames, Great room panelling and Library Carpet.

Hello everybody. I hope you all had a great weekend.

I finally put together the door frames for the 1st floor! I needed to get them installed so I could start work on baseboards and panelling.
Because the first floor is 14 inches high I wanted all the doors openings to be 8" high by 4"wide, and each one has an opening for a stained glass transom on top, about 1 3/4" high.

I started by gluing the basic frame together out of 1/8" bassewood and then I added the decorative molding, corner pieces and plinth blocks. To make sure everything was at exact 90 degree angles I used the best tool I could find...Lego building blocks.

 They help get perfect angles and then you just have to wash them in hot water to remove any leftover glue .
I then added miniature quarter round molding in the transom section to hold the piece of stained glass..eventually!
When they were dry I painted them according to the room they are meant for.

The next BIG project was the panneling in the Great Room. I cannot tell you how painful this was for me. The deepest part of the Great Room is 34 inches . I had to litterally get into the room to attach the moulding strips...I felt like Alice in Wonderland when she drank the "Drink Me" bottle!

Don't laugh! I'm 6 foot 2 and I was like this for over 8 hours today! It was like a sick form of yoga!

I started by gluing the bottom and top strips to the wall, as always with The Ultimate glue and drops of gel super glue. I then glued on the vertical molding strips using lego blocks to keep them as straight as possible.

Then came the long, long task of cutting the horizontal pieces.  Again I used Legos to help keep the pattern accurate

When all was in place,  I added the baseboards, decorative molding to the top of the panelling, and a picture frame molding strip at the top of the room.

I can now work on the columns and the arches that will seperate the game room area and the drawing room area. I took a break in the afternoon and went to a fabric store to look for curtain material. I found a beautiful red velvet fabric I thought could work in the Library. I got home, glued it onto my illustration board subfloor with spray adhesive (this is about the only time I use spray adhesive. I have had much trouble with it in the past. I loathe the stuff)
I love the look of the carpet with the wallpaper and think it will look quite good with my mahogany and black leather furniture, but I'm just not convinced it's exactly what I want...I'll leave it in for a week or 2 and make my decision then.

I'm sorry for any spelling mistakes...I'm just too tired to go over the post tonight.
Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Attic staircase step by step, Great Room Floors and Loggia

Hello everybody,
I hope everyone is well. I have been juggling 3 projects at once and am finally making some progress.

Many miniaturists seem to be afraid of making staircases from scratch. I actually think they are quite easy, if not a little time consuming. I already put up a post about the grand staircase, but this time I thought I'd give more accurate directions and pictures for the attic staircase. It is simpler, but the directions and the style of the staircase are the same. Here is the picture of it after faux-finishing, but I still have to add the wood strips to create panels.

The first step was to cut each step in 5/8 " MDF. Mine are 3 1/8 inches wide by 1 1/2" deep. I also cut the platform where the staircase changes direction. Once these were cut and sanded, I started gluing them together using wood glue and a drop of gel superglue. The gel glue eliminates the need for clamps. I glue them so that each step wil be 3/4 of an inch deep. I made a jig to make the process go faster.

Since the staircase will eventually get panneled, I added a spacer on the side of the steps, which you can see in the picture above. Next, I used spare wood pieces to make a support for the staircase. I then cut out pieces of illustration board for the walls under the steps and glued all in place, again with gel super glue and wood glue.

Next, I apply nosing trim to the top and the sides of the steps.

Once the nosing strips are in place, glue on the corner posts and the handrails. Let them dry properly because this is the main structural support for the balustrade. When dry, cover the steps and both sides of illustration board with acrylic gesso (if you only cover one side of the illustration board it might curl a little).  When that was dry, I painted everything with a base color, in this case, antique gold.

The next step is to add the balustres. I started by painting them with the base color. Before gluing them in place they have to be adjusted to fit. I cut the top of the balustre at about the same angle as the handrail, then I cut the base shorter to fit. The handrail I used has a groove to help hold the balustres. I attach them by putting a bit of wood glue and gel super glue on the bottom and top of each, slide them into place and hold them about 25 seconds for the gel glue to set.

When all is dry, I mix a little oil paint and liquin and brush on the walnut faux-finish.

The second project I worked on was the Great Room floor. I did it the same way as all the other wood floors, finishing it with dissolved shellac flakes, then covering the whole floor with wax.

I will attach the wood floors shortly, but not the columns. I made them to support arches and linen fold panels, but the room is very deep and if I glue them now I won't be able to comfortably apply the wood panels to the back walls.

And last but not least, the Loggia. A loggia is a covered porch , usually with one acces. I made mine off the dining room with a master bedroom balcony above.

I started by cutting an mdf bottom and top pieces and some 1 1/2" by 1 1/2" columns and foundation pieces
When that was glued together, I cut out the low side walls for both levels and the castellation pieces for the top. Finally I cut out steps and arches to complete the design
It will eventually be finished like the rest of the house, in red brick and beige stone detail.
Sorry, this was a long post. I hope you all have a great day and I look forward to following your projects.
Have a great week,