Dollhouse Blogs

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Chinese Tea Room part 1: Illustration Board wall panels

Hello everyone,
I hope you're all doing well. I normally create a post when a room is finished, but since it's been a while since my last post I thought I'd just give you guys an update on the Room I'm currently working on.
I'm working on one of the rooms in the attic at the front of the house. Originally this was going to be a walnut panelled office, then library, finally I decided it will be a Chinese tea Room the Dewell's use to entertain prominent guests.

In this post I'll just talk about the construction of the panels which I made using illustration board. I've been asked by friends accross the sea exactly what illustration board is. It's basically thin layers of cardboard stuck together. I took one piece and seperated the corner to better explain.

I get my illustration board from my local art supply store
After I made the plans for the room I cut out each wall section in the illustration board. It warps when you paint it so you have to back it with something sturdy. Many miniaturists use lumber, but since I live in Montreal and order all my miniature lumber from "Manchester Dollhouse and Woodworks" in the States, I use it cautiously so as not to run out of building materials...I found Balsa here in Montreal, but there are no words to say how much I hate working with wood that soft. Since I have many small pieces of mdf leftover from building the Manor structure, I just glued them onto the back of the illustration boards walls.
You can see int he picture above that I made the mdf shorter then the illustration board to accommodate the sloped of the roof. I glued everything using carpenters glue. Next I glued on small rectangular panels which will eventually be finished with chinoiserie like in my first picture. When they were dry, I covered everything in gesso.

The center section will be a mirrored cabinet with doors to showcase teapots and tea caddies

This is the Fireplace wall, the medallion is a jewellery bit I glued on before painting. Illustration board makes it easier to cut odd shapes like the fireplace opening...I know it's crooked, I fixed it later on

And this is the back of the room
Gesso just helps to cover any joints and protects the edges of the board. Once it set I sanded it and painted the background red and the panels black
3 coats of red all over, then 2 coats of black over the panels
I painted the chinoiserie, but you'll have to wait till my next post for the finished pieces. Oh well...maybe just one bad picture...

The narrow vertical rectangles that were left black will have 3 shelves on them which will hold white vases and chinese teacups with blue and orange designs on them...Yes, I will be learning to work with Fimo! Around the mantel, the black panels and the chinoserie panels I will attach a gold molding strip which is in the mail. The shelves will be gold painted brackets from Sue Cook which are also on the way. If the brackets and molding arrive soon I should have this room finished in 2 weeks...and I have a wonderful gold and white plaster ceiling for the top of the room. I'm working on a parquet floor design...

And that's my progress. There would be more, but I was sick at the beginning of the month, then had my mom and my father-in-law's birthdays, then Ozzy's..
Happy Birthday Ozzy!
...and last weekend our friends had a Blessing for their daughter. I had told them I would make the cake since I made the one for their son, but then they asked Jo and I to be her godfathers so naturally I had to make the cake special...
And that, my patient friends, was July 2012 in the wonderful world of Giac!

Before I go, Some of you chose me for a "You Inspire me" blog award. I thank you all very much for the great honor. I tried very hard to choose who to pass it on to, but there are so many of you I just can't pick. So if you don't mind, I thought I'd do it this way. While every single one of you inspires me...yes..EVERY single one of you ...I decided to mention certain blogs that have helped me, or that I wish I had come upon earlier to help prepare me for Dewell it finishing techniques, history or collecting! I hope you explore them and enjoy them as much as I do.
   Faux wood finish, illustration board walls, curtains, "The Ultimate Glue"...Without Ray's techniques I would never have made the Manor what it is
   I wish I had read Andy's posts before I started. His miniatures are wonderful, and his historical period guides are one of the best tools you'll find on the web. I could of saved a lot of time and energy had I read his posts first.
   Martha has dedicated her blog to showcasing the artists that have made our hobby great. Each post introduces me to a new artist and she encourages everyone to comment and add information about the work.
   Many of Debora's posts are wonderful construction how to's and I've learned a lot of great ideas from her
   I just love furniture and look forward to the challenge of making my own someday. In the meantime, Elga's posts show you so many techniques and I will definetely re-read them all before I start.
   John and Simon were amongst my very  first followers. Like me, they started blogging about their scratch built projects and I think our projects are very much the same in so many ways...My sign is Taurus and my ascendant sign is Scorpio, so I still get confused by the Gemini-Effect these two have, but the end results always speak for themeselves. ;)

Well, that's what I had for the moment. thank you all, old friends and new, for your support and encouragement. You all know how big miniature projects really are, and it's great to have the priviledge to get to know all of you and all your wonderful artwork...yes, we are all artists!

I send you all the best and look forward to seeing more of your wonderful posts.

Big hug,


  1. Happy birthday you adorable dog Ozzy! I will dog sit you anytime you like.

    What a birthday cake that is, fan-tazz-tech

    Thanks for the handy list of links. You might almost persuade me to quit building things with real wood ;-)

  2. Hi Giac! Congrats on so many things--being asked to be a godfather, making that fantastic cake, winning that lovely award, and doing some beautiful miniature work. I always enjoy and appreciate your visits to my blog--you really are an inspiration, in so many ways. xo Jennifer

  3. Thanks for showing us how you create your rooms - great ideas; your cute, cheeky-faced dog; and your wonderful cake creation. You are a man of many talents!

  4. Mooi om te zien hoe je de muren opbouwt. Wat een prachtige cake heb je gemaakt. Te mooi om op te eten. Daar zal ze wel blij mee zijn geweest.

    Groeten Xandra

  5. Muchas felicidades a Ozzy por su cumpleaños y enhorabuena por este trabajo nuevo, estoy seguro que cuando lo termines, será una de las habitaciones más espectaculares de tu casa de muñecas.

    ¡Un abrazo enorme!

  6. Hi Giac, oh, I just love teapots, etc, have a full scale collection, so I am looking forward to see your room finished, you always come up with so many good ideas. That cake is just stunning, I think shaping Fimo might not be too different from the cake icing, a lot of people I know
    say Sculpey ( is easier to use than Fimo, maybe you want to give that a try.

    And thanks for the mention of my blog, coming from you that means a lot to me, I am happy I can inspire you, making good furniture is a continuing learning process that I enjoy to share.


  7. Bellissimo progetto!!! Mi piace tanto il camino ...!! Aspetto i progressi che farai con il tuo lavoro ..!!! Sei bravissimo!!!
    Buon compleanno Ozzy ..bel cagnolino :) !!!

  8. HEy Giac
    What a great Post. I love how the Tea Room is coming along - there's something quite enchanting about black and red. Fimo!? A man after my own heart ;-) I am desperate to start experimenting with it, I think the possibilities are endless. Even taking casts of moulding and replicating it... (is that even legal?).
    It's so very kind of you to give me a mention. I love how we All inspire and encourage each other's plans and skills.
    What a great lovely bunch we are
    Have a great week my dear friend
    ps I LOVE the cake! Congratulations on your new God Daughter.

  9. Dear Giac,

    I love to read your blog !! Thanks for sharing the way you build your walls.

    Hugs Dorien.

  10. Hi Giac,

    I hear you on the timber - every tiny piece is precious as I have to order everything online too! I find popsicle sticks are great for supporting illustration board (the British term is mount board, just to add another word to your vocabulary, it gets so confusing! and then I have to translate everything into FRENCH too!).

    I was pondering panelling and then I saw this post, and I think you have (yet again) inspired me ...the execution is great! And I can't wait to see how it all comes together.


    PS geminis rock ;)

  11. Hello Giac!
    Yea!!!!!!Giac is back!
    This is a great post my friend........the Tea Room will be wonderful when all the elements come together. I too love Red/Black in combination and your Chinoiserie is beautiful.

    Thank you for the kind words about deserve all the credit for your work because you dream and attempt and achieve so many great things.
    Happy Birthday Ozzy!
    Thank you Giac for continuing to wow us all!
    Good wishes to you my friend......

  12. Hello Giac,

    Your tea room is going to be wonderful. I especially love the chinoiserie panels…I have a "thing" for oriental art in RL.

    Speaking of RL, that cake looks delicious, beautiful, and made with love.

    Happy Belated Birthday, Ozzy!

    Thanks for sharing your techniques and progress with us, Giac. I am looking forward to your next instalment.


  13. Giac,
    Your "You Inspire Me" blog award is well deserved as you continue to share your MANY talents with all of us!
    I always enjoy your Dewell Manor progress reports, your celebration cakes, your passion for all things miniature, and particularly your "joie de vivre!"
    Thank you for your sharing your comments about my relatively new blog. I am slowly getting the hang of "posting." I hope that you will continue to enjoy future posts - there are so many more to come!
    Big hugs,

  14. Happy brithday to Ozzy!
    Thank you for sharing your way to make panels.:)
    And this cake is awesome!:)

  15. Hello Giac, beautiful design, perfect, like everything I've seen in your blog. A hug and a kiss on your heart.

  16. What a great month you've had... ;O) A happy late birthday to lovely Ozzy - and congrats on being a godfather. My, what a cake - you will have no problems to achieve great results with Fimo! And what you're doing with the chinoiserie is breathtaking. I was lucky to visit Vienna and Castle Schönbrunn (maybe you know the Chinese room there) and I really admired the paintings there, so with this background believe me: Your drawings are stunning! And I love the red panels, this room will become a burner... ;O) And not to forget: Thanks for the links.


  17. A great post, Giac and the paintings in the panels are so good - you've got a talen there!

  18. Quel chance de manier aussi bien le pinceau!! vos chinoiseries sont superbes!!

  19. Congratulations on your well deserved awards. Wow your panels look fantastic thanks for sharing. This room will be amazing. Congratulations on being a godfather your cake looks very special. Late Happy Birthday to Ozzy :) As always its a pleasure to read your posts.
    Hugs Maria

  20. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Pick on the Geminis! LOL, thanks for the shout-out, honey badger! Wow, your tea room is going to be MAH-velous! What a great job you're doing with the chinoiserie painting! And that cake! Such a talent you are, Giac. Congrats on the well-deserved award and on being a god-parent (good practice for later, right)?
    Big hugs for you & pets to Ozzy!

  21. Congratulations on being a godfather and a happy belated birthday to Ozzy!
    What a lovely cake you made, the dream of every girl.
    At first glance I thought the red and black colors were shocking, compared to the soft colors you used in the other rooms.
    But I like it, besides, every house of that period should contain a China related room.
    Already curious of your next post!
    You will so much like working with fimo!
    In my humble opinion it's an awesome material.
    Keep us posted on what you think of it,

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Esa sala China está quedando muy bien.
    Gracias por mostrarnos cómo la has realizado.
    Felices cumpleaños para su madre, suegro y Ozzy
    Felicitaciones por el premio otorgado, su blog es realmente inspirador
    Un abrazo
    GRACIAS por no tener palabra de verificación

  24. Hi Giac,
    This room is looking great and your chinoiserie painting is spectacular! What a beautiful cake too! :)

  25. Hi Giac,
    As usual your work is astounding and I wish I could achieve that much in a month. Congrats on being a God father and your cake decorating is amazing.I have done a little in my life and I know it's not easy.

    Happy birthday to Ozzy and it's good to see you at it again!

    Ml Fi xx

  26. Hi Giac
    Im so glad you posted that mini tutorial I've heard of using that stuff before but I never really knew what it looked like (well now I do) I can't wait to see how this comes together (Im taking notes too) congrats on being a Godfather (just dont put a horse head in anyones bed..that would be bad) and your dog is cute

    Marisa :)

  27. Beautiful work Giac, I love Chinese and anything with red.

    Ozzy is a cutie and I will bet a big helper too :)

    You are so talented, the cake is Awesome!


  28. Hi Giac,

    Happy Birthday, Ozzie--what a great dog!

    What a gorgeous cake! There are no ends to your talent.

    The Chinese room is "to die for"!! The work you have done is incredible.

    Thanks for the tip on painting illustration board. I did notice that mine warped when I painted it! Now I know how to do it. I love the rest of your discussion on how you are creating the room.

    Cheers and many hugs,

  29. Thank you very much for your lovely comments Giac, is a great honor! I love your work, I saw it in "Miniaturas" magazine, is absolutely great! I love chinese miniatures, I'm sure you will make another great work! Hugs

  30. Giac,

    I wish I had known about the You Inspire me award. I too would have voted.
    Whenever I visit your blog, I am actually speechless because I get a lump in my throat.
    Your work is exquisite. Even though I saw the pictures I still cant imagine how you do it. LOL
    The Tea room, the cake...just raw talent.

    oh, by the way, is Ozzie grinning? :-)

  31. hello Giac, all right I hope so.
    thanks for such warm comments I saw your tea room will be something spectacular would not be waiting, I have given more of a novelty at first hand I came to London today to live here I will be closer to having more variety of everything related to home dolls for me already become an vice, a hug up soon.

  32. Insanely creative individual, love the cake.

  33. What a beautiful project, Giac! The panels made ​​with illustration board are perfect, wood was not missed. It's very good!
    The red color is beautiful and your Chinese painting is wonderful.
    The birthday cake of your godchild was amazing, you're very talented.

  34. I look forward to the sequel! Certainly will be a beautiful view of the previous works!
    The topic is a great choice! I admire your works so far!

  35. Hi Giac,

    This is the first chance that I have had to sit back and read catch up on blogland since I got back from my week away vositing my family.

    thanks for the info in illustration board, I think I have seen that about, so will get some when I'm next at the art shop.

    I love all the shapes and panels you've used for this room, lovely colours too, and teh paitins in the panels look very prfessional! It will all look superb with your collection of miniature china in place around it!

    The room reminds me of teh Royal Pavillion in Brighton, which has Oriental inspired rooms, perhaps you could get some ideas from that about what furniture to buy for this room, I have seen some lovely Chinese style furniture around in the past.

    The cake looks cute, too good to eat!

    And thanks too for all you support and kind words on my blog, your house is an ispiration to us all!

    Andy xxxx

  36. I wish I had even the least bit of looks like you took it all Giac! You are immensely talented. The cake is out of this world. Bravissimo!

  37. Such beautiful work! I look forward to reading your blog.
    Best wishes,

  38. ¡Que maravillosa creatividad, Giac!

    He dedicado un rato a pasear por tu blog y he quedado marvillada, tanto con las técnicas de trabajo, como con los resultados obtenidos.

    Los motivos chinescos me han gustado mucho y el conjunto que crean con el rojo de la pared, queda genialmente auténtico.

    Quedo a la espera de ver los progresos de este maravilloso trabajo y expectante por ver tus comienzos con el fimo. Aunque viendo el resultado obtenido en la imagen de la tarta, me puedo hacer una idea de como se dará el modelado con la arcilla polimérica.

    Te felicito por tu buen hacer y tu arte. Y aunque un poco tarde, a Ozzy también por su cumpleaños.

    Un abrazo.

  39. Oh my, you are talented in many ways..grin, I love your cake! What a lovely thing to do for a friend 's child, I bet they were so very pleased!
    It was so nice for you to show your progress. I am puzzled by your micro Chinese painting... It is so perfect!grin
    Giac, may I ask you what type of gesso do you use? Spray or the one that need a rush to spread? I am sure you did several sanding over the gesso, no?
    Thank you again for your-ever-so-nice comment, you made me smile once again!*wink*

  40. Hello Patricia,
    Thank you for your great comment, I really appreciate it. I use the brush on Acrylic Gesso and apply it with a soft brush. It's quite thick so it fills little gaps easily. I sanded only once with 600 grit sandpaper. Spray products are my enemy! They don't like me and the feeling is mutual!

  41. Wow what a post! So much information, where to begin...;-) Thanks for the info on the illustration board. It is interesting to see what others work with, especially since you seem to get different materials on your side of the pond than we do here. That is a good photo though! I'll see what I can find at my local art supply store. I usually use acid free matting board. Wall sized sections will also slightly warp when painted, but when it is painted on both sides (or even run a wet brush over the back) it straightens out again.

    As a tea drinker (seriously addicted!) I love the room you are working on now. What can be better than a whole room dedicated to the stuff! ;-)
    The chinoiserie painting looks perfect. I am doing my dining room in the chinoiserie style, totally different from what you're doing though! I have been trying out wallpapers, but nothing is just right -yet! It will probably be a combination of printed paper with some handpainting on top.

    Congratulations to you both on your new role as godparents! The cake you have made is so gorgeous! You have many talents Giac.

    Have a great weekend!

  42. What a lucky child to have such a magnificent cake and new Godfathers to love her. The Tea room is lovely too.

  43. Giac, I cannot wait too see more !

  44. Hi Giac! Your Chinoiserie is looking Very Fine! (More Chinese than the style I painted in my Lovely Old Dollhouse!) I can't wait to see this room all finished! (And no wonder it isn't done yet... you have been SO Busy with RL Events!) Happy birthday to Ozzie... oh, and that Cake is another Treasure! HOW do you Eat them????? Sorry I am so Late to comment here!

  45. Giac,Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a encouraging blog, means much. Your work/talent is just amazing! Look forward to seeing more, hope you are feeling better!
    Happy Birthday Ozzy, what a cutie!Congrat's as new godfathers!
    mini hugs,

  46. The Chinoise Tea Room looks like a very ambitious project.. like most of yours, I guess! :) I never get tired looking at your works, you really have a great talent! :)

  47. The chinoise room looks very interesting.
    miniature greetings

  48. Stunning is the only word I can think of to describe your work thus far. I spent a sick amount of time going through all the pictures on your blog and was blown away by your sense of style and exquisite skill. I look forward to seeing more as you progress. I especially cant wait to see what you do with the exterior!

  49. wow, you really have a talent there don't you!! This is stunning... I'm just having a good look around your blog, I've added a link to my page because I love your work and the detail you put into everything.
    Keep up the good work!
    Gill x

  50. Four hours later and I am still going through your posts !!!! and can see how much your techniques have Evolved and this gives me hope !! and I can understand redoing Something ,, I have made stuff and finished them and then forgotten them but took away the experience to improve the next time. I made almost 200 little books before finding a better way of doing it !! I embroidered twenty pillows before getting it right ,,, congratulations , I will close now as its past 1am !!! my little Jack Russell by my side, she wants to go to bed !!god bless Stephanie

  51. It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. shadowing technique