Structures

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50s Moderne Open House: I finished my quarter scale 50s Moderne House and would like to invite you all too see it.
http://www.wishbooktoys.com/dollhouse/50s

John Medeiros


Roomboxes: There are several different size wooden roomboxes, but if you are going to make them yourself, I wouldn't be held to a standard size. I would make them the size that I needed for the project. The rooms in your house are not all the same size, so roomboxes shouldn't be either. If you make a project that requires little space, it would look out of place in a standard sized roombox. On the other hand, if you have a large, or very busy project, I have found that a little larger space so it is not quite as crowded looks nicer. I think that itis strictly up to the individual.

Rusty


Foamcore Roomboxes: The May 2000 issue of DM has an excellent how-to by Frank Lerner. He makes it very easy. Or you could do like I do and just wing it. Make it any size you want it to be. How big is the largest item going in, going to be? Go on from there. Whatever looks right is what I use. Also check out Joann Swanson's Wizard room in the October 2000 issue of DM. She uses foamcore for the walls, floors-everything.

Pam in St. Louie


Worthing, England - New shop: I am from England. Worthing in West Sussex to be precise. I have 4 houses the latest being a 6 roomed Georgian mansion. The reason why I am writing is because I have just found this wonderful new shop here in Worthing. Its called Ginny's Attic. Its situated in South Farm Rd.Tel no:01903 522599. I found it quite by accident of course I had to go in to have a look! They are the most friendly helpful people I have ever met although new to miniatures have a vast stock of accessories, houses, room boxes craft materials including wood & haberdashery.

Liz Taylor from England


I now have a Harry Potter home in our living room, it is an old t.v case, wooden with a large plexi glass front, and one room is Professor Snape with his potions, the middle is the castle, and the end is Hermione and Ron and Harry doing mischief in a cauldron! I got a large mirror like a secret door into another world for my birthday from Julia, on this list, and it has steps up into the mirror and Harry and Hermione and Ron may be led off into there after working up their potion by the looks of it! Things keep moving around in there and there is plexi glass as I said so it isn't the cats and dogs moving them. just magic!!!!!

Robbie Roo Pink Cyberfaery


Mini scenes as gifts: I had the brainwave that I could use the left-over gift bag room from my elder's party in January and make a classroom scene from printables. My daughters identified the important elements of the classroom and then we set out to find them on the web. I think we found everything from just 4 sites, Jim's printables at http://www.printmini.com, Eileen's printables at http://members.home.net/eileenmorgan/printables.html, http://miniatures.About.com and a site I only just found with a huge range of stuff, Boop Mini Printables at http://www.geocities.com/boopmini40/

I used a table from the dollar store and painted it the right colours, backed a clock face of Jim's with a button of the right shape and colour, made a flag from a fabric cutout and a fancy toothpick, mitred a window frame from balsa, made coloured pencils from 1/2" nails with the heads cut off and painted, and everything else was paper. ...found a printable stone floor that looked pretty realistic behind the window frame! Boop Mini's had the critical snack food containers and bookcases, somewhere else had the ubiquitous tissue box, to which we added a real bit of tissue, Jim's TV, computer and dictionary (exactly the right one!) were perfect. We also found manila files and envelopes, graph paper, tiny word puzzles, books (including a Dr Seuss with inside pages), 12" and 36" rulers, a file box, maps and posters. Paper sample books rescued a while back from the garbage provided construction paper and even a blue rug. Finally, my daughters painted and drew miniature artwork for the classroom walls.


Kitchen in a kettle: Helen from San Diego asked how to close the kettle she is going to make a kitchen in . . .

Well, I've never done something like that before, but I would make a door and add a kind of trellis to the outside. You can have a plant climbing in this trellis and even make some landscape around the kettle. But then you have the trouble of dusting your landscape :o)

Marjon de Haas (The Netherlands)


Kitchen in a kettle: Two ideas come to mind to close the kettle spout:

1)You could get the clear heat shrink wrap from Michaels, cut a piece moderately larger than the opening, glue generously to the inside of the kettle (so the edges don't show) and then use a hair dryer to lightly shrink the wrap so it is taut. It is nice and clear when shrunk, just make sure not to overshrink.

2)Get a very, very thin piece of acrylic and blast it with a heat gun so it is a little pliable. Work it inside your opening and then glue.

I missed your original post on how you plan to open up your tea kettle, so these ideas may not work...but it's a guess..

WhuiChang


Vegetable Room: Why not use a dried gourd as a room for your fruits and veggies? Or a paper mache pumpkin or tea pot? Or you could make a watermelon shaped room out of paper mache over a balloon to get the shape. Or just go with a plain old foam core room box covered with fabric in a fruit or veggie print.

I have 3 gourds I'm going to use my 'virgin' Dremel on! I received lots of encouragement from everyone. So Thank You Very Much! I figure if I mess up too bad I can always make birdhouses out of them!

Pam in St. Louis


Basketball: I'm not sure I can answer your question completely, but I have a basketball that has been cut and finished inside with some kind of plaster so it holds it's shape. It was given to me, but I am unable to get in touch with the person that did it. Maybe, if you started at the bottom and made a smooth floor, then as that dries, fill in all the sides and top, and insert a heavy balloon and blow up to hold it until it is dry. Pop the balloon.

Betty in Ky


Play with room box: I made a room box for one of my granddaughters using a Critter Home It is a clear plastic container with a lid and a carrying handle. I got mine at a pet shop where they had a better selection of color for the tops, but I have also seen them at Wal-Mart and I believe K Mart. They come in several different sizes.

Mary Lou in Portage, IN


Siding: There is no 'standard' size.
- In Colonial times, they were typically split from logs about four feet long, and the size of the boards was determined by the size of the log. The amount of exposure as they were applied to the wall, would vary from the bottom to the top.
- During Victorian times, the exposure was often 2 1/2" to 3" Today, most are vinyl or aluminum (not aluminium since they are made in the US). The exposure is often 4", 5 1/2", 12".
- Over the years, the edges have also been cut decoratively. The houses in Williamsburg mostly (if not all) have a beaded lower edge on each board.
- A good reference would be "Architectural Graphics Standards" by Ramsey & Sleeper

Tom


Foam core: During the summer on the Craftscapes t.v. show, a miniaturist from Toronto, Can. was telling the enthralled host (Sue Warden) how she builds her roomboxes using TWO pieces of 1/4foamcore glued together (kind of glue-does it matter?) She said she had no trouble with warping when painting or papering the walls because the inside and outside were different pieces of foamcore. I think it is reasonably enough priced that you could afford to buy twice the amount. She also had a wonderful idea for keeping the room dust-free. Make the three-walled, no ceiling box with the 'inside box' smaller by the thickness of a piece of thin glass on the top and front, have picture frame glass cut to fit and hold it in with the mirror clips that wrap around the edge! Very clever.

Sunni Alberta Canada


First roombox: an old aquarium makes a good starter roombox; you can add foamcore walls on three sides, and either omit lighting by having a clear or frosted glass pane cut as a lid, or make a foamcore lid to accommodate ceiling wiring. Find them cheap at yard sales. I love them to do mini-gardens because adding a lid keeps them dust-free.

Loretta_Sniarowski


The Alison, Jr: I built the Alison, Jr. with the addition. Eventually, I put a total of four additions on the house. The addition rooms were too small to do much with. But what I did at first was that I changed the windows, door, gingerbread, porch poles and railings. I also added a widow's walk rail on the roof and window boxes finished the look. I know this can be really expensive, but I bought a few windows, door, etc., whenever I could. I love the way my Alison, Jr. looks. It now sits on a 4x 8 sheet of plywood covered with grass carpeting. I have landscaped the yard and although it took me a long time (almost a year), it was definitely worth it.

Ginger in Springfield, IL


Dura-Craft Tips: I have made two Dura-Craft kits. I used Elmer's wood glue and LOTS of masking tape to put them together. Here are some other things I figured out to do from one kit to the next: I sealed both sides of each plywood sheet with sanding sealer, it made sanding easier.

I made masking tape labels for the larger pieces. I grouped smaller pieces (stairway components, for example) into Ziplock bags and labeled what they were and where they went (especially for windows and doors!). I thought long and hard about which rooms I wanted for each function and then took the instruction booklet, and on the photo of the interior I wrote which room was what, identified the pieces and painted/wallpapered before assembly. I assembled the base and then "dry-fit" the exterior walls to determine placement for the second and third floors. I used a carpenter's square to keep everything square. Even then I did lots of sanding and trimming to get a fit. I didn't electrify, either. Maybe next time...

Havana (FL) Holly


Gator Board: I made a building with Gator board and had no problems. I did put stainless steel pins with the plastic bead at the end to hold the pieces as the glue set up. When it was dry, I just snipped off the bead and it was a bit stronger with the pins.

Deanna from downtown Thiensville


Gator foam/Gator Board: I have made room boxes 16 x 16 x 16 using 1/4" gator foam with no problems and no warping. If I were to make a box much larger, I would use the 1/2" gator foam.

Rik


Gatorboard: I can heartily recommend Gatorboard for your roombox project - it comes in a variety of thicknesses, as you probably know, and is easy to cut and even bend to a radius, if it's sawn with parallel lines on one side.

I use any white glue, even Tacky, to assemble the parts. For corners, use a 'rabbit' joint: mark a line, parallel to one wall edge, as far from the edge as the thickness of the gatorboard. Cut the line thru the surface plastic, all the way thru the foam, and stop at the opposite side where the hard plastic begins. Scrape away the foam and scrap, and you'll have a notch to receive the adjacent wall. When glued together, it makes a clean, very sturdy corner with no rough edges.

And my favorite 'secret': straighten a coathanger, heat it over a flame and push it through the foam wherever you need wiring. This allows you to 'hard wire' all your lights and accessories without using tape and with no visible traces. Scrape out foam along the tops of the wall to run the wires to your power source.

Braxton Payne


TV scene: This is in regards to an old posting about gutting out an old TV and putting a scene in it. I was looking through some old mini mags and came across some room boxes of I Love Lucy, All in the Family (by our own Pearl, I believe), Gilligan's Island, The Waltons and MASH. They were featured in Dollhouse Miniatures Oct 98, pg. 46-54. You might get some ideas from them. I thought it would be great to have a four sided roombox that spins (this idea may have been posted) and a different TV show is in each. Maybe a popular show from four different decades, or else four shows from the era of the TV shell itself. A little slit could be made under the glass opening, and the base of the round display could stick out a bit (like those table top displays that you can manually spin) so the scene could be turned to view each room like "changing the channel".
As I was looking at the I Love Lucy roombox, the actual show wasn't in color, ut all the re-creations are. I got to thinking, would it be possible to re-create a B/W TV show, complete with figures, all in black, white and greys? Just as it's seen on TV. The figures might look a little ghoulish with grey skin, but it would be interesting to see the results. Has anyone tried something like this?

Connie Sauve


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