Lumber and Building Materials

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Finishing Stair Openings: I thought you'd like to see some pictures of how stair openings can be finished. I remembered some from Carol of S P Miniatures' site: shows from above, and and show from below.

Anne Gerdes

Textured walls: I am no expert on any of this but I have an idea for your outside walls maybe this would work if you take tissue paper crumble it up and then dip in watered down glue and paste to your walls, or decoupage it to the wall and then paint over it. Also if you get the tissue with the color you want all ready on it would be even better. I did a box like this and it came out pretty good


excess as it dries (as in before it dries - harder if you let it dry completely) with a damp cloth. You can add acrylic (or other) paint (or dye) to the compound before you use it to color the 'grout'. You can paint over it (unlike some kinds of real grout or sealers) - you could also try the caulking (be sure it is the paintable kind - the other kind is somewhat shiny and paint beads on it) that is used around window frames, between ceiling molding and the ceiling. Plaster (or the fake plaster wall patching stuff) might work too. These all don't scratch the way real grout can. The other thing you need to remember about Formica is that if you cut it the edges you cut may not be the same color as the surface (often it is black or white). One way to hide that is make the 'grout' deep enough and have enough non-translucent (can't seem to spell opaque) color in it that it hides the edges.

By the way - Having done this in real life with both the tiles that come on the grid and loose ones I've learned a few things about making it straight (as in learned the hard way). I would suggest that you draw the lines for your tiles and glue them down first so that you can see your lines. If you have a very narrow ruler (or strip wood, styrene, thin metal, etc. - although these can bend) slide that between each row first one direction and then the other to straighten the tiles before the glue dries. You can also set the ruler (or whatever) down, push the tiles against the ruler as you set them, then move them to the next row and so the same. When done (presuming the glue isn't dry) then Formica Sample Tile Grout: Try wall joint compound. You can wash off the excess - just put it between the rows going the other direction to straighten. I saw in real life a tool that looked like:


Sink: To make a stab at sunk making try taking an old flash light battery and remove all the innards and just keep the outer zinc metal shell. This material is easy to cut and to shape. It can be polished or painted. Just a thought.


Sink: the classic 'metal' sink component is a couple of restaurant individual jelly tubs sprayed silver. Faucets are available from Houseworks through your mini store, from the pewter mini vendors like Martha's Metal Miniatures and Parkers' Miniatures, or you can make your own out of found objects. Use pliers to wiggle the fold-down type spout out of a bottle cap for the faucet, with two small ball thumbtacks or beads for hot and cold; glue all three to a piece of flat wood coffee stirrer, spray silver.

Loretta Sniarowski

Sink: Mary Carson of Hammer 'n Smith in California makes the loveliest metal miniatures including sinks of all kinds to fit in cabinetry and counters. I could not find a web site for her, but I think Carol of SP Minis carries some of her items and could help put you in touch with her. I had the table across from her at the Andover in April and spent most of my time drooling over her pieces. They are also very reasonably priced-- especially considering the quality of her work.

Michelle Fox

Sink: My first dollhouse I made all the kitchen appliances and for the sink I used a stainless steel salt shaker top. It was just the perfect size and the hole looked like a real drain. I had picked it up at a yard sale.


Sink: one thing you may want to try are those tiny mint tins. For example, I'm always fascinated by the Altoids tins after reading about making refrigerators out of. While standing in line at CVS the other day, I spotted a much smaller tin of mints right next to the Altoids - can't remember the names. But two of them together might make a cute sink; or one of the larger tins w/a divider. Or, take one of the plastic jelly tubs from the restaurants and give them some treatments to look like chrome, etc. They pop into cabinet holes pretty easy.


3/8 " Plywood: You might try Lone Star Models in Lancaster, Tx. Their web site is: I have ordered wood from them and I was very satisfied with both the wood and the service.

Joyce in Houston

1/144th Bricks: Have you considered wood bricks? Use the narrowest "scribed" siding that you can find (I use 1/32 or 3/64"). Sharpen an old jewelers' screw driver into an appropriately wide ",chisel to poke in the staggered vertical grout lines. If you paint your micro-scales, spray overall with a light gray for grout then dry daub brick color onto surfaces. Easy and quick (for 1/144) and very convincing.

Mel K

Simulated brick: I had purchased a sheet of Rossco brick for my wine cellar in a deep red color. Then I bought more for the kitchen. I wanted to match (more or less) the terra cotta color of the tile floor to a brick wall. This brick product was just great for painting. I used the tip of a small brush to change the grout color and the flat or side of the brush to apply several shades of terra cotta, just grazing the top surface and allowing some of the base color to show through. The resulting texture and variation of color is just perfect! I think this product would be especially nice for used brick. Many dealers sell this, but if you want to see a picture, go to It is flexible and has a vinyl like texture, but accepts both stains and paint

Kathy from Tustin

Flooring as Wainscoting: seems like leftover flooring would work well for wainscoting. Use some small picture frame molding or Houseworks or other brand decorative wall molding as a chair rail topper -- that will provide decorative detailing. Minimize the resemblance to the floor by using a different wood finish or painting the wainscot, and trim the wall woodwork so the seams between boards do not align exactly with the flooring seams.


Flooring as Wainscoting: Wainscoting usually has beveled edges, while flooring does not. I would take an icepick/awl, and run it over the joints between floorboards to make the edges slightly less sharp. Do this by sticking the point in the joint, and pulling the handle to drag the point while exerting some pressure in the joint. Don't push in the direction of the point, or you can gouge the wood. I hope this is clear... Since the wood floor is probably oak or cherry, and the baseboard and chair rail moldings are probably basswood, you should stain them separately. The basswood will take the stain differently than the flooring, so you should experiment with the staining. Maybe the moldings will need an extra coat or one less coat of stain, or you might have to try a mixing the stain with a different color to match the flooring/wainscoting. Of course, if you will be painting, color matching isn't a problem.

Jonathan in Israel

To make things cheaply Jeanette's diminuettes site has a southwestern verandah . I am making one out of a Styrofoam (white packing foam box). a few broken tiles for a path, cactii and pots.


Storing Wood: The grocery stores will give boxes. I saw a Wesson Oil box which has 24 slots, and the back slots can be folded to accommodate larger wood pieces. I made a printed chart (in duplicate) of each size and wood type available so I also have a copy on my desk.

Marian in New Bern, NC

Formica samples: I used one in a tiny check pattern for a 1/4 scale kitchen counter for a cigar box (padded pencil box) our club members each made a few years back. The piece was difficult to cut. I used a fine tooth hack saw, and it really chipped a lot of the design off. I also tried scoring and breaking pieces off over the sharp edge of a table. That worked too, but I cant remember if I scored the Formica or the back, and if I put it face down or up when I broke it off. BIG help I am. LOL I remember thinking what a lot of work it was just to get such a tiny piece.

MAP in Puyallup

Miniature woodworking tools: I have been interested in miniature woodworking for some time, and have been using a scroll saw, delta 1" belt sander, full-size table saw and chop saw, along with the Dremel drill press and shaper table. My Christmas present from my DH was a Preac table saw and thickness sander. What a wonderful addition to my workshop.

The thickness sander enables me to create all my mini-lumber at the exact thickness I need. No more waiting for an order of "close to but not exact" thickness lumber to build scale furniture and cabinets. I can create any thickness I need from what I have in the shop. Now I can use any of the hardwoods, such as cherry or walnut, and get away from using basswood (with its greater range of available thicknesses). If I need 1/32 inch cherry, I just put a 1/8 inch piece in the sander and make my own. The sander is easy to work and not intimidating ( I still grit my teeth in fear and intimidation when I use my full size table saw).

The new Preac table saw is wonderful for straight cuts for moulding or furniture pieces. I can make dados for shelves and sand the shelf lumber down to the exact

thickness to fit in the dado.   I have been busy making store counters, shelving units, and plant tables for my street of shops. Even my husband is impressed with the results.

I bought my tools from Pam and Pete Boorum at .

Preac also has a website, where you can get more information.

It just proves the old adage " get the right tool for the job". If anyone would like to see pictures, or have questions, please email me.

Sharon Blake, Wasilla, Alaska

Greenleaf splinters:   After I paint the wrong side of all the sheets with flat white paint, I cut out the pieces as needed with a jig saw. It goes wonderfully fast, as the cutting is half done, and it does eliminate a lot of splinters as well as damage to delicate parts. I do a quick swipe with a medium grade sandpaper, and if that doesn't solve the problem, I VERY carefully trim the pieces with a craft knife. My DH taught me to start at the "wrong" end of a splinter. Starting at the end that is sticking out will cause you to end up with an edge that is scalloped, rather than straight. Shave off a bit at a time, cutting toward the splinter, until you have smoothed the edge. Since I usually cover my houses with siding or stucco, I don't bother with a lot of sanding and such on the surface.


Storage: I store wood pieces such as clapboard etc in keyboard boxes. I get them from the IS Dept. at work. I store dowels, trims, mouldings etc in Pringle and coffee cans. I have a large square tin box I throw in all those little pieces of wood.

Marsha, Newark, CA

Storage: I store wood pieces such as clapboard etc in keyboard boxes. I get them from the IS Dept. at work. I store dowels, trims, mouldings etc in Pringle and coffee cans. I have a large square tin box I throw in all those little pieces of wood.

Marsha, Newark, CA

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