Landscaping and Plants

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Mini cattails: Mini cattails can also be made by wrapping a small (1") piece of brown florist tape around the end of the short piece of florist wire - leave a teeny-tiny bit of wire sticking out the end. Hope this makes sense. The leaves can be made by gluing a piece of florist wire between two pieces of green florist tape, and when dry, cutting the leaf into the proper shape.

Lynn in Cahokia


WalMart's Quilled flowers: Rosemary also taught me to make those quilled flowers found at Wal-Mart look a lot better. Even the smallest ones are just a little too big for minis, and the stems look so amateurish. Just pull back a few rows on the bottom of the flower, cut off at the size you want it to be and glue the end. Take the stem and cut it to a new size (just the stem, not that horrible, wrapped size). Take a corsage pin and poke a new hole in the base of the flower, and glue in the altered stem. Now you're ready to add leaves and make a really good-looking bouquet of roses.

Dolores


Joann's Oriental Poppy Instructions: Having a color picture of this flower in front of you while creating it will make the Instructions clearer and the construction easier. From bright orange tissue paper punch nine 1/4" rounds for petals. With India ink or black permanent marker pen, feather black color on approx. 1/3 of each petal, from a bottom edge up. Painted part of petal will be on inside, center, of flower. Lay petals, painted side up, on palm of hand. Using a needle tool or pointed end of a round toothpick, draw tool from bottom of petal to top and then from bottom to side (on each side of center) and then a line between center and side lines, for a total of 5 lines for each petal. This process will cause the petal to crinkle and curl up. Set aside. Cut lengths of thin green floral wire. Dip a tip of each in yellow acrylic paint.. Let dry. Dip again. Let dry. Cut a 3/32" wide strip of black tissue paper. Cut into this a fine fringe, 1/16" deep. This is easier done if the strip is cut into fourths or so. Run a FINE line of Tacky glue on unfringed 1/32" of strip. Wrap around wire three times just below the yellow tip. With tweezers, pick up the petals by their tops, dip tip of bottom into glue, and push onto the 1/32" black tissue paper on wire stem. Use just the tiniest dab of glue. NOTE: For a glue palette, try using the nail of the thumb that is hold the stem, as you work.......this way your eyes will not have to leave your work as you add petals and the glue will have less tendency to set before it is on the stem. The glued tip of the petal should be placed at a right angle to the stem, letting the natural curve of the petal flow up. Add the petals in threes: the first three spaced evenly around center, the second three in-between these and just below them, and the third trio in the same space as the first but just under the second group. When glue has set, gently pull fringe back until it almost rests on petals. Punch a 1/4" round from light green tissue paper. Make 8 clips, spaced evenly around this piece, almost to center. Punch hole in center and slip up stem, holding with a tiny dab of glue to back of flower. Five of these flowers with their natural foliage in an asymmetrical arrangement works nicely...keep it simple.

Judy K


Between myself, and the students in my workshops, we have wired over 1500 dollhouses. Never had a problem that couldn't be solved. The main things that you need to pay attention to are:
- - - Put the eyelets/brads in tight enough (previously I explained why eyelets are better, and they should be inserted with my tool or by drilling a hole before you insert them)
- - - Wrinkled tape can usually be flattened out by take the edge (where two surfaces come together) of a piece of wood and rubbing it over the affected area.
- - - If you want to paint over the wire, spackle over it first, just enough to prevent the edges of the tapewire from showing.
- - - Take photographs of the wiring before you paper the house (and write dimensions on the photos if necessary) to enable easier finding of the tapewire.
- - - When inserting the test probe, hold it at an angle, not perpendicular to the wall - seems to make better contact.

Tom Berkner


Roombox lighting: <<<Wendy wrote : I started looking at how roomboxes were lit and noticed that many were lit by larger bulbs at the front of the box, hidden by the box frame, rather than by scale lighting fixtures. Is this common, and what is the reason for it?>>>

I actually prefer this approach. Miniature light fittings are beautiful, but they are expensive and you need quite a few of them to get a good level of light. Concealed lighting gives good light without having to worry about the authenticity of period fittings etc.

It is also considerably easier to run tape wire along the edge of a box than to run it all over the interior. I occasionally use flourettes, but here in SA we can also get 12V torch type batteries and fittings which are very inexpensive - I'm sure that they must be available in North America.

ley, Johannesburg, South Africa


Tree Stuff: I think the trees in the railroad shop are too small. Wood products makes some nice "flowering" trees that are about 10" tall. I have some, but they're not on my website yet and the people from Wood Products will be away for about a month. I think these are real branches of trees because they have an odor that smells like some sort of preservative. I air them before shipping but find that the odor never seems to go away as I've used them in my own houses and after a year or so they still have an odor. It's not unpleasant, it's just there. If you want to show her a picture of the tree I have one shown in the front of my dollhouse. The bottom picture on this page has a good image of the tree. http://www.spminiatures.com/house/mainfront.html

Here's a sort of tip. I have mentioned previously that I put my dollhouses on plywood over cheap tables bought at office supply places. The plywood serves many purposes the main one being if we ever moved (heaven forbid), the houses would be fairly easy to move on the plywood (she says with great confidence). It's also good for landscaping and for making the surface area larger as the plywood is larger than the tables. The *^&%* trees kept falling down so I finally bolted them to the plywood by putting a screw from the bottom of the plywood into the tree bottom. Now a hurricane won't bring those trees down.

Carol


Tree Stuff: For anyone looking for realistic trees (and not just the same old, same old) have your mini shop get Landscape Magic by Art Smith trees. I have beautiful aspen trees (both spring/summer & fall), as well as pines. IMHO, they are the most realistic on the market for dhs as you can get them in heights up to about 24 or 36 inches I believe.

Kathy in TX


Poinsettias: "All I have are a few red leaves and green ones on a stem with a yellow center that looks nothing like a poinsettia at all!""

You're half way there Judy .... but poinsettias don't just have one yellow centre - they have lots. Keep your single stem center, but now use a tiny paintbrush to add a ring of little yellow dots around the centre - on top of the petals. Looking any better yet? Now add depth to the yellow centres by adding even tinier red and green spots on top of your yellow dots. Other helpful suggestions may be to use different size red leaves.

Lesley, Johannesburg South Africa


Tiny bulbs: I've been making lots of plants and flowers and was considering making some nice spring bulbs, daffodils, crocus, etc and I had started to sculpt little tiny bulbs from fimo. They never looked quite right and so I'd given up on the idea. Then I noticed an apple pip. Eureka, perfect size, shape and color for tiny bulbs!

Jenny


Flocking: Don't know what the commercial stuff is, but I just made some that that did quite well.  I wanted a lavender plant for the garden and started   with cloth covered wire that I glued into a bunch for the stems.  It seemed  like the scale of the flowers was so tiny that flocking would be best, but I  didn't have any but black and gray.  Found a small scrap of   yarn in the right tone, "combed" it all fluffy with a needle and cut it up   super tiny.  Put glue on the wires, rolled them in the fluff.  After it  dried, I trimmed off the stick out parts.  

Chrissy


Cloth Covered Wire: I've had a small business making wedding cakes and I make the hand molded gumpaste (sugarpaste) flowers for my cakes. I use the wire that you are talking about. I order it from a wonderful place in Virginia called:

Beryl's Cake Decorating & Pastry Supplies
Tel: 703-256-6951 Fax: 703-750-3779
email: Beryls@beryls.com

Web page: http://www.beryls.com

They carry the wire in the smaller gauges 28, 30, 32. Also they carry petal powder colors we use on the sugar flowers-not sure if they will last, but I have some flowers on display that have been colored for 8 years and they still are bright and fresh. Also, in their catalog they have all kinds of texture makers, such as cobblestone, brick, basket weave, to name a few. She specializes in European roll fondant supplies for making really unique cakes a lot of which are decorated with scenes of mini items. A wealth of possibilities!

Ginny


Paper-Wrapped Wire: http://amsi-minilandscaping.comThey have white and green cloth covered wire sold by the bundle. They have wonderful landscaping materials and are extremely helpful. They extended me a 30% discount since I have a miniature business. The man's name is Tony and his wife is Mary. They provide landscaping used for small scale miniatures in Hollywood. I searched for 2-1/2 weeks to find their site on the Web.

Jean


Ivy: You could use steel wool for the vine, stretch it out so it's very fine. Spray paint it brown. I use a country (curved) heart punch for ivy leaves. (I got a 1/4" heart from Fiskars and a 1/8" heart from Hanky Panky.) Punch a bunch of leaves, use a stylus to give them a little shape by "drawing" a line down the middle of each leaf, and glue them all over the vine. If you're not so concerned about the "leafiness" of your vine, spray your brown steel wool with spray adhesive and sprinkle with landscape grass used with railroad models.

Mary in Minneapolis


Ivy plants: you can purchase mini ivy on roll at Michael’s or AC Moore's. They come in various shades of green and some mixed with a little lavender color. They sell for about $2.99 for a nice size roll. It is attached around wire, so you can shape it around almost anything.

Darlene/NJ-SP


Ivy: Many ways to make ivy. In one of Andrea Barham's books, she recommends drying a few inches at the tips of real ivy clipped while the leaves are still tiny. I have used wonder-under to fuse a light green solid fabric to a tiny ivy print (so the underside of the leaves are colored), then snipped individual leaves with sharp scissors and glued them to loops along a length of covered wire. I have also used a weed that should be shooting up about now in the US. Dried whole, the seed branches make good mini poplar trees, but if you don't dry it first, just drape and glue it while still green. It makes a nice full vine and holds its color pretty well. Don't know the name; it "ripens" to a bright rust color and grows along roadsides everywhere in Ohio. Many people drag a length of string through tacky glue and then through shredded green Oasis or railroad ground cover. Others buy garlands of tiny leaves at the craft store and use the smallest. Experiment with what works best for you!


Ivy: Many ways to make ivy. In one of Andrea Barham's books, she recommends drying a few inches at the tips of real ivy clipped while the leaves are still tiny. I have used wonder-under to fuse a light green solid fabric to a tiny ivy print (so the underside of the leaves are colored), then snipped individual leaves with sharp scissors and glued them to loops along a length of covered wire. I have also used a weed that should be shooting up about now in the US. Dried whole, the seed branches make good mini poplar trees, but if you don't dry it first, just drape and glue it while still green. It makes a nice full vine and holds its color pretty well. Don't know the name; it "ripens" to a bright rust color and grows along roadsides everywhere in Ohio. Many people drag a length of string through tacky glue and then through shredded green Oasis or railroad ground cover. Others buy garlands of tiny leaves at the craft store and use the smallest. Experiment with what works best for you!

Loretta Sniarowski


Flower Making Sites: On projects, page two of my site you will find about a dozen links to sites with instructions for making flowers http://www.miniaturereality.com/Project2.htm My personal favorite is Michelle's Minis.

Karolyn


Chain Link Fence... I was just at Michael's yesterday and saw some fabulous rolls of metal mesh that is made to be used as a modeling "fabric." It comes in several finishes (copper, silver) and sizes from a really fine weave (medieval chain mail?) to a more open weave that would be perfect for a chain link fence. I was tempted to buy some myself just to have it around when "someday" comes and I have need of that kind of fence.

Diane in Holtsville


Making a tree: I love making trees almost as much as my dolls. I take a 1" diameter dowel and attach it to a circle of mat board by drilling a hole in the center of the dowel and circle and screwing a flat-backed screw from the bottom. I take my Dremel and drill holes on an angle at various points on the dowels.

Then take a bunch of German Statice (this is a dried floral found at any craft supply store for about 2.98 a bunch) Insert the stems of the statice onto the slotted holes on an angle that pleases the eye. I use Quik Grab to glue them securely. Add as many as you like to get the effect to want. Let dry.

Next take a mixture of shredded Styrofoam, sawdust and Woodland Scenic foliage and place it into a Plastic trash bag. Mix vigorously while singing your *happy dance song*.

Now take your tree outdoors and spray it with a spray adhesive...just the foliage if you can. You may want to wrap the trunk with saran wrap before you start. Anyway, after you have sprayed the foliage, hold it upside down inside your bag of *stuff* and hold it tight and shake, rattle and roll until the stuff has adhered to the foliage. Do this several times until you get the look you want. Let this all settle and dry.

Next, take a foliage color spray paint. I use several colors of green. This too is found at your craft store with the flowers. Spray the entire thing except the trunk. Let dry.

Now take your Quik Grab glue and apply to the trunk to replicate the texture of bark. Be sure to add a bit of glue...pulling it outward to create roots. Or you could collect a few real pieces to put here. You could also add some sawdust using a while glue. You could landscape around this area with flowers too.

Once dry, paint the trunk with a variety of browns, greens and black acrylic paints to achieve the realism you want. NOTE: I have used real branches, Manzanita branches and a hollow paper towel tube covered with Celluclay to create my trunks all with really great results.

Picture of my tree - I decided to take a few shots of one I have yet to "plant" and I figured out how to show it to you without having to go through my entire website. I just love this new digital camera... so quick and easy!! Just click below and see my tree: http://minipearls.homestead.com/updates.html

Pearl Jordan


New printable project on SS site: Dorothée very generously sent me a printable Cyclamen plant project for the Small Stuff Gallery. Check it out at http://smallstuff-digest.com/gallery.htm!

Anne Gerdes


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