Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tips to Making Lasercut Furniture Kits Extra Special

Lasercut kits are an easy way to add some extra realism in tiny scales like 1:48 quarter scale, but there are some easy steps you can take to make them even better.

Creating a Woodgrain Look with Sanding
Kits that are put together from side-by-side pieces like those by Lindsay Pastor of Small Scale Living already have a bit of a woodgrain look, which you can enhance with a little bit of sanding. Use a very fine grain sheet of sandpaper, such as 800 grit or 1000 grit.

Seal, Then Paint
Lasercut projects this tiny will warp if you get them too wet (such as when staining or when applying acrylic washes). So prepare your kits by sealing with a clear spray paint, such as a gloss or matt spray, and then paint. This is especially important with your cardboard lasercut kits.
Watered-down acrylic paints make effective "wood stains"

Thoughtful sanding and painting brings out the beauty of lasercut kits.

And there you have it! Pretty easy and the difference is phenomenal at this scale (and handy for the larger scales too!)  Best of luck with your mini modern projects!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ode To Mid Century and Modern

Modern, mid-century and contemporary miniature furniture and decor is still a little hard to come by, especially in 1:48 scale, but they're out there!  Here is my growing collection of scratch-built, wooden kits and 3D printed mid-century furniture and, for the other mid-century and modern lovers out there, here is a list of links to some pretty cool new modern minis to add to your own collections.

Luxurious sofa by Pretty Small Things. Feminine, upscale and yet not too delicate, it would look equally at home in a modernized Victorian home or a contemporary, industrial chic flat.

Chinese Chippendale chairs by Pretty Small Things.  While not modern themselves, these chairs have been a chic trend lately to incorporate them in modern settings, often painted black, in metallic (these would look fab in gold) or in the year's trendiest shades. Take a look at Pantone's website if you need some pop culture color ideas.

Assorted coffee tables by Pretty Small Things.  Paint these your standard black or try them out in gold or silver for some extra modern pop.  Take a look at Paris Renfroe's portfolio for finishing inspiration.

Curved sofa by Pretty Small Things. A while back at a Denver mid-century convention (the one for the real-sized items) I found this awesome modern curved sofa with fun pillows. Here's your chance to miniaturize it!

Wedgewood stove by Pretty Small Things. For your industrial chic kitchen. Need some color inspiration? Commercial kitchen chrome, glossy fire red, or retro kitchen colors like coral are really in right now.

1960's sofa by Pretty Small Things. For the Mad Men lovers! She also has a matching love seat and chair.

Modern tub chair by Pretty Small Things. The most stylized tub chairs on the market.

Tub chair by Anshuman Bhatia.  A more straightforward alternative to the tub chair above.

Mid-century square chair by Simply Bill. Another one for the Mad Men lovers.

Mid-century cocktail table by Simple Bill. Unusual and curvacious, this one will definitely make your living room stand out.  He also has a lovely round version (imagine it with gold legs and marble top--very chic and quite the trend right now).

Modern sectional corner sofa by Anshuman Bhatia. Now THIS is something you don't see every day, even in the larger scales.

Kitchen range stove by Anshuman Bhatia. A much cheaper alternative to the Wedgewood by Pretty Small Things and it would look just as fab in the trendiest colors.

Eames molded plywood chair by Anshuman Bhatia.  This guy is really doing we Eames lovers a servous! Check out his other Eames minis as well as those by Reitveld, Knoll and Neslon.

Circular sofa sectional by Anshuman Bhatia. Another great find you won't see any day, no matter the scale.

Stacked washer and drier by Anshuman Bhatia.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hello All!

It's done! After five and half years of sweat, blood and tears, I have my two degrees: B.F.A. graphic design and B.S. integrated communications. (I really do mean sweat, blood and tears: I'm not going to miss the 10 minute mad dash from one end of campus to the other in order to attend two classes five minutes apart, the little injuries in printmaking or the extreme stress of mass communications audience research!)

And now for the job hunt! In between, I also have ample time to work on projects, a first in quite some time. Which means you can look foreword to more posts on this blog and more mini modern goodness in 1:48 scale.  Pictured above are some of the projects left over from the summer and which I'll be diving into this week. The beds are by Petite Properties Ltd. in England, which I have reserved for industrial chic inspiration, the mid-century bookcase and coffee table are by Lindsay Pastore of Small Scale Living and the blue woodgrain sofa is scratch-built by me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm Still Here :)

To everyone who has been so kind to drop by this blog and especially to those who are following, I've got good things cooking for upcoming scenes, tips and tutorial posts to inspire your projects, but I've also got something else pretty cool cooking--I'm getting ready to graduate! 

So look for another post a little after Thanks Giving to tide you over and then I'll be diving into finals and presentations for the first two weeks of December. After that, my great college adventure will be complete and I'll have some time to crank up the production on this blog. Wishing everyone a safe holiday this week!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Must Read Blogs for Mini Modern Lovers, Part 1

If you're looking for some inspiration for your quarter scale mini modern projects, here are some must reads to inspire you. 

Liberty Biberty
This blog's design is as pretty as the shabby chic minis it showcases. The blog of Mercedes Spencer, this talented lady is currently working on a shabby chic farmhouse that looks as if it was ripped from the pages of a high-end magazine. Her style is very rich and just as inspiring for those who lean more towards the industrial chic side of interior design as those who are shabby chic.

Petite Moonbeams
This blog is a rare treasure as it features a quarter scale mini modern boat house. She is also working on a quarter scale French cottage from the Le Petite Maison kit from Petite Properties, which is her entry in the Undersized Urbanite contest (another great source of modern inspiration).

Call of the Small
Call of the Small is one of the giants in the hobby. One of the first to inspire the mini modern movement back in 2010, Christine Ferrara's miniature work has been featured on book covers and in a special feature article in The New York Times, which several mini modern enthusiasts have cited as their first contact with modern minis and a driving inspiration. 

Mini Mod Pod
This is a strictly 1:12 scale blog, but you'll find lots of modern inspiration with a heavy mid-century influence.  She's currently working on an awesome kit bash for the 2015 Creatin' Contest.

I'll post links to other neat reads periodically, and if anyone knows of other great mini modern blogs or blogs featuring quarter scale houses, drop a line and the URL in the comments section!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Eclectic Experimentation

I'm reworking the master bedroom in the 1:48 scale San Francisco house.  Inspired by industrial chic, mid-century and Victorian decor, I collaged this widely eclectic retreat.

The armoir is a kit by Petite Properties Ltd and you can learn how to finish it here.

The carrosse chair is 3D printed by Tiny Toes Couture.

The George Nelson marshmallow chair is 3D printed by Ashuman Bhatai.

The Victorian bomb chest is 3D printed by Pretty Small Things.

I crafted the bed from scratch and framed the vintage print. The rug is actually a very small cutting from a canvas fabric available at Walmart.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Little Freshening Up In the San Fran House

A little tour of the new living room in the 1:48 scale San Fran house. New additions are the Tibetan kilim rug, pillows and a runner rug beside the staircase leading to the kitchen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Making a Toast -- 1:48 Scale Wine Bottles and Glasses

The little things bring your miniature rooms to life, like glass ware or wine bottles.  Today's mini tutorial shows you a simple, easy way to decorate the blank 3D printed glasses, wine bottles and whiskey bottles from Stewart Dollhouses using glass paint pens.

Let's Begin!
Any brand of glass paint pen will work for this project.  I purchased mine from my local craft store.  Shake your pen and test the ink on a sheet of paper before you begin, as the first run of ink tends to gush out (not good for mini projects!)

Once your pen is ready, carefully draw the color on your bottles.  I started with the whisky and white wine bottles using a yellow pen. In less than a minute, they were done! Allow 8 hours for the paint to dry before removing your bottles from the stand (and read the finishing touches at the end of this article for optional tips before removing).

Creating the Red Wine
The merlot needs a little more work than the whiskey for a convincing look and requires two pens: one red and one brown.  Paint your merlot bottles in brown and allow 8 hours to dry, then paint over them again with the red.  It's an extra step, but the layering makes for wonderfully convincing color.

Apply the brown paint as a base coat and allow to dry.

The Finishing Touches
I wanted an extra bit of realism and so I spray-painted my bottles and glasses in high gloss spray paint for a more realistic glass look.  Also, be careful when removing your bottles from the stands so that you have a nice, clean cut.  If the bottles still don't stand up by themselves, gently sand the bottoms with fine grit sand (600-1000 grit range).  Now just glue your labels and you will have lovely little bottles for your mini scenes!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Wishing everyone a safe and fun holiday. Here's a little sneak peek of new work in the 1:48 scale San Francisco house. Stay tuned for more as I finish off this scene and put the finishing touches on some new tutorials for November.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This Blog Is Growing!

Basement living room in the 1:48 scale San Francisco row house. Scratch-built Knoll sofa (left) and 3D printed Eames lounge chair by Pretty Small Things.

Last year, I bought a 1:48 San Francisco dollhouse kit and experimented in seeing how well a graphic designer could apply herself to interior design, with an emphasis on eclectic modern style.  It started as an interior design bug and a way to try out ideas for my real house without the major commitment, but it went so well I decided to stick with it and share it on a blog too. 

Micro Modern Décor was launched in late August and just a couple days ago this little blog went past 1,000 page views. Not bad for a blog that doesn't focus on the more popular and better known 1/12 scale minis.

This blog will continue to focus on the 1:48 scale modern minis with style tips and tutorials on crafting minis. If 1/12 is more your style, you'll still find tips perfect for your larger scenes.  Coming up soon are articles on 1:48 bottles and glasses, converting a Young At Heart Oui Oui tub into industrial chic goodness, and featurettes on what's new in the San Francisco house.  This blog will get new articles and photos at least twice a month--more as my last semester of college allows!

I had to rush the progress of the San Francisco house to meet a show deadline, so some rooms, like this designer's studio, weren't fully realized.  So check back for the updated scenes!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tips for a Mid-Centry Mod Living Room

Mid-century design is so versatile: just add some contemporary touches and it will swing from masculine to feminine, from bold to cute, from sophisticated minimalism to bohemian. Today I'll share my top tips to getting the look pictured here.

Get The Look
Bold rugs. Go graphic and select black and white rugs in geometric patterns.  I choose a dark navy striped rug to keep with the subtle blue themes in the room.

Period artwork. Bring the past to life with the rich colors of midcentury artwork, be it travel posters or vases.  I replicated a 50's patterned round vase with a bead (shown on the bookcase) and chose a Victorian circus poster as my centerpiece artwork, which I hand-framed to match the furniture colors.

Sheepskin chairs.  I created this trendy look using the modern lounge chair kits from Lindsay Pastore of Small Scale Living and short-haired plush felt from a craft store.

Mid-century accents.  Stay true to the period with furniture items like a mid-century credenza or geometric bookcase (also from Small Scale Living).

A contemporized touch. Bring your living room into the present with a few modern trends. I choose inspiration from the industrial chic movement and added over-sized letters, a huge riverstone coffee table and floor mounted artwork. 

The letters were created by purchasing tiny wooden letterforms from the scrapbook section of my local craft store (each letter is about a quarter inch tall) and spray painting them in bright metallic. 

For the artwork, purchase the small or medium sized pictures from the 1/12 scale dollhouse line, or make your own (as I did).

I replicated the riverstone coffee table by sculpting air-dry clay, spray-painting metallic antique gold, and glossing with high gloss spray paint.  In a matter of minutes (minus the dry time), I had a fab modern table.

Personalize.  Give your room a lived-in look with items unique to your inhabitants.  I was modeling this room off plans for my real living room, so I filled it with my "necessities of life" for a graphic designer: books on travel and famous artists, graphic posters, and trade magazines for designers and illustrators.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Industrail Chic Desk How-To

Transform a traditional desk kit from Petite Properties Ltd. to a hip industrial chic desk with beginner friendly techniques.  All you need is black spray paint, metallic paint, brown acrylic paint and a protective spray sealer.

Getting Started
The Petite Properties kits are made from mattboard and cardstock and since they are paper products, it is good to prep the surface before applying water-based products. I seal my Petite Properties kits with a clear spray like Krylon Matt or Gloss and apply very, very light coats until the kit is sufficiently sealed.  Ta-da! Your kit is now ready for the next stages.

Using the black spray paint, lightly spray your desk, leaving some areas almost blank and other areas almost black.  Don't cover it evenly or you won't get the weathered look that's needed for the next stage.

Dry Brushing
Your final stage will give you that nice weathered wood look with a metallic shine.  Using a water-based metallic paint, such as the one shown above, dip a dry brush and drag the brush across a blank sheet of paper.  Once the paint starts to drag and doesn't leave an even mark, drag the brush across your desk.  The uneven marks make for an easy woodgrain texture.  If you find that your desk is too metallic, coat it with an acrylic brown wash.

The Finishing Touches
Paint the desk top in brown and coat your desk in Krylon Matt spray.  I also used a gloss spray on the desk top to mimic a heavy lacquered surface. Add the beads for the drawer knobs and you are finished.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Inspiration from the Denver Modernism Expo

Photos from the Denver Modernism show to inspire your contemporary and mid-century miniature creations.

Pretty Small Things just came out with a curved sofa that would paint up well as mini of this couch. Just add matching pillows!

Totally in love with the chairs, ottoman and end table. Next 1:48 furniture projects?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys

Take a virtual tour of the Denver Museum of Miniatures. Whether you like traditional minis, modern minis, small or regular scale, there are a lot of nifty items in this museum. Here are the highlights.

The museum itself would make a smashing dollhouse!

1:48 Scale
One of the museum's nicest items was this quarter scale Victorian farmhouse and it was very intricate.


1:12 Scale
The museum had many other items in the traditional scale range and here is a little of the best.


Check back with the blog on October 5th for photos from the Denver Modernism show to inspire your miniature modern creations.