Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday

To wet your appetite while I work on new content, here are some photos from the 1:48 scale San Francisco row house.  This kit was designed and lasercut by Leonard Ficki of

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hello World, It's Good to Be Back!

Long time no write!  Last I left off, I shared a little of my adventures of graduating college and starting the job hunt.

Then I disappeared.

I landed that new job as a graphic designer in a marketing organization pretty quickly and the months flew by as I rolled up my sleeves and dove into all the graphics and branding projects I could desire.

Nearly seven months have gone by since I was regularly blogging, which for me has felt like a blink of an eye.  But, for avid readers, I know seven months is a long time to wait for new content, so imagine my surprise to see that, not only were people still reading my blog, it had outgrown my professional design blog by a few thousand page views!  You guys rock!

Thank you so much to those who have stuck with the blog.  I am slowly getting back into this blog and my hobbies in general now that I've settled into work and have found a new home.  For those who came across this blog more recently, stick around.  All of you can now look forward to new content.  It may start to trickle in at first, but it will come!

And for now, here is a peek into what's on my workbench.  

I purchased 1980's plans by the Scale Cabinet Maker for a 1:48 scale Victorian row house but, rather than cut it by hand, I've decided to bring the plans into the latest decade by converting them to Illustrator files for lasercutting. And, being a graphic designer, using Illustrator lasercut files is another way to fuse my vocation with my hobbies. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What's New In the World of 1:48 Modern Decor

Photo by Pretty Small Things.
The offerings of 1:48 mid-century modern and contemporary scale furnishings is growing!  Today's post features some great finds on Shapeways.  Check them out and show these great designers some love.

Fabulous Y chairs by SimplyBill. Can you imagine this in the year's trendiest colors?

Photo by SimplyBill.

Sly Lounge Chair, also by SimplyBill.

Photo by SimplyBill.

Eames Molded Chair, by Anshuman Bhatia.

Photo by Anshuman Bhatia.

Elegant tufted sofa by Pretty Small Things. Perfect for your lux living rooms!

Photo by Pretty Small Things.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I'm Not Dead

Just busy with some life adventures! One of them is interior design at life size and moving that little San Fran house of mine to a whole new town.  Here's a tiny peek and stay tuned for more soon!
It's been awesome creating life-sized interior design projects, like salvinging this vintage mid-mod creadenza.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Easy Steps to Dressing 1:48 Scale Beds, Part 2

The Pillows
As with the false bed sheet in the previous part of this tutorial, it pays to cut corners so as not to add bulk at these tiny scales.  While you can cut and sew pillows the exact same way you would in real life for larger scales like the popular 1:12, at 1:48 it is much more beneficial and easier to use a pattern made for folding and gluing. Here is the one I've developed for my pillows--an easy cross. 

Begin your pillows by cutting the size you want from a piece of cardstock. Grab your cotton ball again and pull parts away, enough for each side of the cardstock, and glue to form your pillow.  Put a dab of glue on your chosen fabric and glue the pillow. 

Next, cut your cross shape from the fabric, then glue the left and right tabs first, shaping the form of the pillow with your fingers as you go. Glue the other short tab and finish with the longer tab.

Cut any fabric excess and put a very small dab of glue on the corners of the pillow--not enough to discolor it but just enough to prevent fraying. And now you have great little pillows for your tiny 1:48 scale bed without the hassle of sewing.

You now have the know-how to make your own great little beds. From here, experiment with different blanket combos and different pillow arrangements for a really luxurious look, or keep things simple for your minimalism scenes. The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Easy Steps to Dressing 1:48 Scale Beds, Part 1

The last article showed you simple ways to convert the Petite Properties Ltd. 1:48 bed kits from traditional period pieces to sophisticated modern. Today, I'll walk you through the steps to finishing the mattress and dressing the beds in style. Then, learn how to make tiny 1:48 scale pillows for your bed in part two.

Creating A Convincingly Cozy Mattress
What's so great about 1:48 beds is you really don't need special materials to dress them.  For a comfy, pillow-top bed all you need is the supplied cardstock mattress and a cotton ball. Pull the cotton ball apart and glue the separated piece to the mattress--how much cotton you pull apart will depend on how fluffy you want your mattress.

Next up, cut white cotton fabric with about a quarter inch of space around your mattress and put a little glue in the center of the fabric to help hold everything together.  Glue your mattress cotton-side down.

Now cut the corner to the edge of your mattress as shown in the photo below.

Glue the edges of your mattress and fold the cotton down (as shown above). When that is dry, cut along the edge of your mattress to get rid of the excess fabric and then glue down the tabs as shown below. Ta-da! You now have a fluffy mattress ready to dress.

Easy Blankets and False Sheets
To prevent bulk at these small scales, I use a shortcut. Instead of creating both a sheet and a blanket, I cut my cotton fabric for the blanket and cut only a strip of white cotton to represent the sheet as if it was folded over the blanket (see photo below). Be careful not to put too much glue on the white strip or else it will show through.

That was easy, and now all you need to do is glue this to your mattress. Again, glue and fold the edges the same way you did on the mattress itself, then cut the excess and glue the tabs at the ends.

Aside from pillows (keep reading for those), this is all you need to create a basic bed, but let's take it a step further and add a feeling of life and realism with a rumpled throw.

Extra Realism with a Rumpled Throw
Lightly coat the backside of your throw blanket with some white craft glue applied with a plastic brush.  The coat of glue shouldn't be heavy (you don't want to saturate your blanket and cause the inks to run).  What you're aiming for is an even coating.  Next, scrunch up the blanket with your fingers and press it down to the bed, making sure the fabric is scrunched the way you desire. Hold until dry and ta-da, a convincing 1:48 rumpled throw!

And for Part 2...
Stay tuned for the second installement of this tutorial: creating plump pillows for your bed!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fab Transformation - Traditional to Industrial Chic Beds

When traditional dollhouses are everywhere but you want modern, go for the reclaimed look! This edition of Fab Transformation shows you two approaches to transforming traditional beds for modern settings. As always, these examples are in 1:48 scale, the quarter scale dollhouse, but the techniques are just as applicable to the larger scales. Tomorrow, drop by for a tutorial on dressing these beds.

Chrome Edwardian
The first transformation on the Petite Properties Ltd. Edwardian single bed is very easy--just spray-paint your bed kit in your favorite metallic color. I've found the Rustnolium Bright Metallics line to be the most effective true metal look and I did mine in silver for a nice chrome effect.

Reclaimed Tudor
This second transformation on the Petite Properties Ltd. Tudor single bed requires a few more steps, but each are easy too. First, spray-paint your bed in a light application of tan.  

Spray paint tan

Drybrushed brown
Then, using a dry brush, dip it straight into your brown paint, and drag it along a bit of paper. Once the brush becomes streaky, it's ready to drag along your bed.

Drybrushed dark brown and some sanding

Repeat the dry brush with a darker shade of brown. Once the bed is dry, sand it with fine grain sandpaper (600-800 grit).

More sanding and a wash of brown

Next, make a brown wash by watering down your brown paint until it has the consistency of skim milk. Cover your bed in this brown wash to even out the tones.

At this point, you can stop here, but if you want a reclaimed wood look, dry brush other colors such as blue, red or orange onto specific parts of your bed until it looks like it was made from many different pieces.

Up next, learn how to dress these beds!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Easy 1:48 Scale Artwork with the NYPL

This January, the New York Public Library (NYPL) released a ton of images and artwork into the public domain, perfect for those mini modern scenes, especially retro loving hipsters.

Today's post walks you through easy steps to using these public domain images for quick and visually engaging artwork and rugs for your micro mini scenes.

You'll learn how to make gorgeous, photogenic rugs from inkjet fabric and how to frame your own artwork with ease.

NYPL Art as Rugs
Find your favorite abstract artwork from the NYPL archives and copy it to a Word document, then size it for a suitable 1:48 rug (around two to three inches on one side is great). 

Grab a sheet of inkjet printable fabric from your local craft shop and print the Word document exactly as you would a regular piece of paper (no special settings required--in fact, the ink will mess up if you don't use the regular settings).

After 10 minutes, iron the inkjet paper to set the ink. For rugs, I don't remove the paper backing before ironing because the rugs look more realistic with the extra thickness and the glue holding the paper to the fabric will melt when you iron it, helping to seal the fibers and prevent fraying.  Cut your rug free and you are done. Instant mid-century inspired rugs!

NYPL Images As Framed Prints

Even though 1:48 is a tiny scale, making artwork for them is actually very beginner friendly, especially if you go for the over-sized print look that has been so trendy these past couple years.  Oversized prints at this scale aren't any smaller than your average 1:12 scale artwork.

Once you've found your favorite artwork, size them to your taste and print on cardstock (remember, in 1:48 scale, a quarter of an inch is equivalent to one foot, so a print 1 inch long is 4 feet at this scale!).  I usually like to size mine about 1 inch or smaller with a boarder of space about 1/8 of an inch.

Create false matts by giving your artwork a boarder of space. I usually mark 1/8 of an inch around my artwork using a ruler, which looks nice with basswood that is 2/32 of an inch thick (shown).

Begin by cutting a 45% angle at the tip of your basswood.

Cut this strip to the edge of your print and add another 45% to the other end.

Keep repeating this process until you have all sides of the print framed.

I usually like to glue each side as I go along, and it only takes a very fine bead of glue to do the job. Any more will ooze onto your mat, or possible your artwork.

Ta-da! An easy, over-sized poster print!  As a side note, if you are going to paint your frames, it is best to paint the strip of basswood first, then cut and glue to the artwork for the cleanest results.