Architectural Details

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Fireplaces: Braxton Payne makes nice fireplaces. Try his site at      

Jennie in San Antonio, TX.

Fireplaces: To me the crème de la crème is the ones made by Sue Cook. She is an artisan.   She does not have a website and her catalogue does not do them justice, but once seen its a must have! They can be finished in your own choice, so making them quite unique. I have one with over mantle mirror. side tiles, hand painted and decorated with cherubs.   She does ship internationally. Her address is:
252 Eastern Road,
Brighton, Sussex, BN2 5TA ,UK
Tel: (01273) 603054     Fax: (01273) 603054
Fine plaster architectural details and flooring Callers by appointment
10am to 5pm weekdays
List 5 x 1st class stamps (trade free). MO, trade

This site also looks interesting

Pauline UK

Fireplaces: Sue Cook makes fantastic fireplaces. You can find her entire range on her website:


Worry Free Wiring: A question about hidden wiring problems. . My solution: Run solid, break free sections of wire beneath siding and where it's not available in the finished wall or floor. Solder all joints. Coat them with Silicon Sealer (aquarium sealer). This will take a long time because you have to let this sealer cure or dry overnight. The wait will be worth it. You can now go on and dress the rest of the house without worry about wiring. I often run wires out the side beneath a hollow chimney or wood box or some exterior feature. Then hinge the feature to allow access to this junction. Very like a fuse box for a real house. How else to access the wiring. Maybe you can make a real looking fuse box to contain your wire junctions if the period allows.

Judie - Daytona Beach, FL

Installing Floor over wire: I recommend that you glue your floor down with quick grab or gloop. Before you do that though, I would cover the tape wiring with masking tape & MOST IMPORTANT do not put glue on the tape. Spread the glue on the floor in the house, not on your flooring or on the masking tape, & lay your floor. I like to glue because it gives it a nicer look.

Sari, The Doll House, Scottsdale, AZ

Real to scale measurement converter:  Actually, no need to convert. Measure the "real" furniture with a "real" tape measure, yardstick, etc.  Make a drawing and label the dimensions in true feet and inches. (There is NEVER a measurement of 18 inches. It is one foot - six inches)

Now use a proper one inch "scale" which is simply a ruler with full inches (representing  scale feet) twelfths on an inch (representing inches) and (usually) quarters of a twelfth (1/48) representing quarters, halves, and three quarters of a scale inch)

If you use the most common "Architects' scale", there are full scale feet varying from 2 to 24 scale feet along most of the length. The "inch increments" are only at one end to the left or right of "zero".   There are also metal scales available with scale inch divisions within every scale foot. Usually, these are full inch (1/12th) divisions with finer detail only in the first real inch (scale foot)

For quick reference.

    1/16" thick hobby woods are equivalent to 3/4 inch (modern one-by lumber)

    1/8" thick hobby woods are equivalent to 1 1/2" (modern two-by lumber)

    3/8" thick plywood would represent a wall 4 1/2" thick (IF actually 3/8 thick) 

(if you add 1/16" basswood siding to one side of  3/8 ply - your wall is scale 4 1/2" + 3/4" = 5 1/4 scale inches)

    1/2" thick plywood represents scale 6 inch thick walls, floors, etc

    "single strength" (picture frame" glass is just over 1/16" (3/4 scale") thick

       AWG 14 (14 gauge) bare copper wire is just under 1/16" diameter

The only question now is: How useful is all this in metric Netherlands?  I tried doing a metric project once and simply ended up using   pocket calculator with "divide by 12" and "multiply by 12" as programmable constants. I think I would be a maverick in Europe or Asia and simply model in one- tenth or one-twentieth. For what it is worth, there are vernier calipers available in the USA that measure 0 to 6 inches on the lower scale (in inches and decimals of an inch) and 0 to almost 15.5cm on the top scale.  Simply set one and read the other for quick conversion to 3 decimal places. Example: 1/16" (measured) = .062" = 1.62mm     Micro Mark has an economy version for U$ 10.00 on page 38 of current catalog    For U$ 50, there is a digital model with push button conversion on page 66. I can't say for the Micro Mark offerings but my own Brown & Sharpe has a handy fraction-to-decimal conversion table (to 64ths) engraved on the back.    The nice thing with vernier calipers is that you measure and convert with the same tool.  NOW-  - - -If someone would just offer a scale vernier caliper for 1/12th. It would have a middle scale: Decimals of an inch on the bottom, cm/mm on top and scale feet- inches in the middle We can dream can't we? B^))?>

Mel K.

Decorative Molding from Caulk..??? Has anyone ever made decorative molding from spackle or caulk?

I've seen this done in real size, but haven't tried it in mini. Real size, the caulk is laid in a fat line on a long table.   Then a carved or shaped scraper is pulled gently along the line. This scraper is cut/shaped   like the reverse of the end product desired. Three times, the scraper was pulled along the line. Then the plaster is allowed to dry. The result is a lovely decorative accent for fireplace mantles, over door embellishments etc.

Judie - Daytona Beach, FL

The Dutch house: My initial feeling on the Dutch house was that with the interior bulging with wonderful things, the outside didn't matter, but I realised that was wrong, and the front had to be as good as the inside. Groan.   The work could be divided into 3 parts.   I had removed the American Colonial style door and windows that it had been fitted with, and I had decorated the top with with two big fish with a window between them, papered with very realistic (and amazingly expensive) Dutch brick paper the rest, and the lower part was rendered (filler and glued on tissues) and painted cream.  It then sat around for months while I did everything but..  coward me.

I had really wanted to put in a stable door (I believe you call them Dutch doors in the States) but chickened out, so that left me with only two things to do. :O)

First I made the glazing for the windows - only the upper half of the windows were glazed, with leaded glass. I've seen this is many Dutch paintings - the lower half is glassless but with shutters.   I cut the acetate, wrongly, so had to do it again.  I tried using lead paint, lines went wobbly, blobby, too thick or all 3 at once. Quivering slightly, I changed over to using mega fine strips of golf lead, cutting so SO carefully so I didn't hurt myself with my safety razor.  Finished applying the lead - it was out of scale.  I clenched my hand in my frustration, forgetting I was holding the razor, so cut across my palm and some fingers. Ouch.  Cleared everything away.  Now leaded glass looks so lively because, being small separate pieces of glass, they all catch the light differently, so I bought acetate with a printed lead design on it, and painted each diamond in a different direction with clear gallery glass paint, which made the windows look gorgeous - the glass blurry and soft yet very lively.  Hurrah!  There, that was worth all that blood and stuff - wasn't it?

Next I made the shutters from Starbucks stirrers - I scrounged a whole box of these from our local Starbucks and they are so useful. These are half shutters to go across the parts of the windows with no glass in them.   I cut to size then butt glued the stirrers, painted, aged with weathering powders used by railway modellers, then glued the shutters either open or shut so they made a dynamic pattern of open/close across the front of the house.  The closed ones have twiddly black hinges from Phoenix miniatures on them.

The next day the doors were made of wood, and I veneered them with oak veneer to look like planks, gave them a wash with acrylic, and fitted them, having made small metal door handles from twisted wire. I glued them so they are partially open, as the house which sells drinks downstairs, is full of people, and trade is brisk.

Helen from York, England

Gutters and downspouts : you can cut ordinary drinking straws in half the long way for the gutters. For downspouts, use uncut drinking straws. For the part of the downspout that lies on the lawn, use the accordion-pleated part of drinking straws that can be bent. All pieces could be painted with silver craft paint to resemble metal. They could be attached to the house with small pieces of "tacky".

Mary in MS

Downspouts from straws: In a recent Bluette class we added downspouts by using a straw with a flexible neck, cut to fit the space, and then use the copper ageing kits, or just paint with copper paint, and when thoroughly dry, dry brush some burnt umber on it and wipe to the finish wanted, grungy or not. You can do the same for gutters, use a piece of wooden molding that is u shaped and glue on the roof but age first.


Stairs and Ceilings: I have baseboards and ceiling cornices in all the rooms of my dollhouse. What I have done, and it looks very nice, is to continue the ceiling cornices and baseboard along the "wall side" of the stairway hole. There will be a gap between them and I fill this with a plain piece of basswood. I glue the three pieces together, sand to remove lines between them and paint. Around the rest of the hole, I glue on additional pieces of basswood the same depth as the floor. When done, the opening has a finished look. The measuring can make you crazy but it really looks nice.

Cathy, Philadelphia

Stair holes: " The holes are 7" x3" and the stair bannisters are only 3" x2 5/16". Now I need to fill up the rest of the hole somehow."

I have done some filling of windows, doorways, etc. when I have wanted to change things. What I do is cut a piece of wood to fill the area I want to close. I put a couple of brads on each end and mark the points on the wall or floor.

Then I cut small slots for the brads to fit into and put wood glue all around the piece of wood. I insert it, making sure the piece is balanced in evenly and let the wood dry. I use wood filler for any spaces that might not be even, sand everything down and then use whatever I am choosing for wall or floor covering. I have had to do this many times since I was not happy with the layout of doorways or stair openings on the Houseworks plan Victorian I have been working on. For me, the most difficult part has been to cut the new hole - thank goodness for dremel saws!

Jacqui in Hilo

Making a trellis: I made a similar structure and it was a ball and simple. To make the trellis from scratch, you will need:

twine; cord, etc., depending on your scale.
Elmers white glue
A sharp blade or scissors
wax paper
a sheet of paper and draw your trellis to scale.


The trellis can be made as a woven structure, if you designed it that way. Lay the wax paper over the drawing. You should see you drawing thru the wax paper.

Cut the string, one at a time, to size from the drawing.

Wet the string thoroughly with the glue and place it in position according to your plan by laying it right on the wax paper using the lines of the drawing as a guide.

Using this cut/wet with glue and lay it on the wax paper method until you have completed the trellis.

Let it dry and then remove it from the wax paper.

Paint it to your liking.

Have fun and save money.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.

MicroMark-Smoke Generator: I have tried several times to come up w/ a smoking chimney and just when I was about to give up, MicroMark listed one in their catalog that is wonderful. It's very small (I think 1x2x1) and fits just perfectly at the top of the chimney.

I built a wooden box to set it in that makes it easily removable, then covered it on the outside w/ clay bricks to match the chimney. It plugs into an adapter. The smoke fluid is added (up to 75 drops). I didn't use the smoke stake that came with it, but I'll keep that for another project. It's supposed to shut off auto when the fluid runs out.

Theresa Thomas

Aged Hinges: I had been reading an article titled, "Instant Age for New Hardware," in the new issue of American Woodworker. Although it related to full size hinges, it could be applied to mini hinges. It mentions a product called "Brass Ager ($2.75 for 8 oz.) that is supposed to work with solid brass, solid steel, or zinc plate. It will not work on brass plated stuff. I have not used it; but, here is the URL for them.

Dave, Bradenton, FL

Smoking chimney: This is just an idea, but since the incense burners are usually ceramic, how about lining the bottom and sides of your chimney with ceramic tile cut to fit?

Karyn Zabrouski

concrete flooring: In skimming the digest, I do not know if this has been mentioned. We learned to make a garage concrete floor in New Orleans last year (and this year) by using the wet gray paint and 1 ply tissue method. You paint your floor with gray acrylic paint and before it dries you lay down, flatly, one ply tissue over the wet paint. You pat it down with a brush, another tissue, or sponge so that the paint soaks up all the tissue. Once dried, the texture is fantastic and looks just like concrete....very very fine as in scale. You may also add your tire marks, oil stains, etc as you wish. Works very well.

Rhonda King

Magic Brik: For those who've had the problem of trying to remove the little bits from between the grid on the Magic Brik--you really don't have to worry about it!   Just leave it there if it doesn't come off when you pull the grid off the backing sheet.   It is sticky and just provides some added adhesion when you put the mixture over it.   Do, however, seal the whole thing with a coat of fixative of some sort (polyurethane spray works well) after it dries as that increases the strength so the bricks aren't so likely to peel off when bumped in the future.   That has generally caused more problems than anything else with this material.

Dottie in Tucson

Thatch roof: There are illustrated instructions on my web site, under Tom's Tips.

Tom Berkner, Earth & Tree Miniatures

Thatch roof: please look at my webshots albums to see examples of the real thing......

also if you look in "Mini house build" album you will see the start of my mini thatch roof. Hope this helps.


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