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.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

On-Trend Tips: Layered Rugs

Not only is it chic, layering rugs is an effective way to utilize your rug collection and combine eclectic styles. And, for mini modern lovers, this is a great way to create a very modern atmosphere with the traditional and Victorian rugs that are abundant in the mini sales market. Let's begin!

Warm and Cools
Clashing styles are most effective when there is actually some sort of unifying element.  Add some harmony to different patterns or textures with thoughtful use of color. In this 1:48 scale room, yellow and orange dominate, but I have also pulled in a soft blue rug, the complimentary color to orange and it too, has a little yellow.


Color On Top of Neutrals
Colorful rugs will really pop if you layer them over black and white rugs, or cream and tan.  This 1:48 scale room uses Greco and Moroccan patterns in soft browns and creams underneath a more contemporary blue Tibetan rug for a very masculine, mid-century living room.

Combining Modern Patterns
As mentioned before, use color to unify your different patterns.  In this example. both rugs have navy blue and cream, while the small addition of red adds a little pop and extra interest.

Old On Top of New
Finding smaller, traditional rugs and throwing them on top of a larger, modern rug is not only attractive, but is an effective use of the abundance of traditional, antique and Victorian rugs you'll find in the miniature market. Unify them with similar colors or similar patterns. In this example, both rugs have cream, blue and interpretations of floral patterns.

Similar Patterns, Different Cultures
Selecting a pattern theme, such as Kilim in these examples, and then pairing them with samples from different countries will simultaneously add unity within variety and can very quickly create a fascinating Boho or world traveler look.

Similar Patterns, Different Periods
If the above technique still feels to traditional to you, add some modern pop by selecting old and new samples within a theme. This sample uses antique Navajo and Tibetan with a contemporary geometric for a more to-date Kilim pairing.

You now have six different techniques for layering rugs, so what are you waiting for? Grab your rug collection and see what exciting mini modern scenes you can create.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sneak Peek of Upcoming Tutorials

Hello everyone!  New articles featuring 1:48 scale mini modern goodness are scheduled for this month, with more lining up for next month. 

On the 16 of this month, drop by for a tutorial on the recent trend in real décor--layered rugs.  While demonstrated in 1:48 scale, it's also great for the larger scales and a fabulous way to make use of all those Victorian rugs in a modern décor setting.

On the 23 of this month, I'll introduce you to the New York Public Library's newly expanded public domain collection and show you how you can use these wonderful photos, illustrations and graphics to create stunning rugs, blankets and framed artwork.  I'll walk you through easy framing steps for 1:48 artwork and how to use inkjet printed fabric to make your own rugs and textiles.

Later in January, learn how to create industrial chic beds out of the traditional 1:48 bed kits from Petite Properties Ltd as well as a step-by-step tutorial on how to dress these beds.

So keep checking back for lots of goodies and modern inspiration!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Mini Modern House Sneak Peek

A little peek into my smallest project yet--customizing a 1/144th scale Victorian farmhouse into a renovated modern home. Check back often for progress posts and the final reveal.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Must Read Blogs For Mini Modern Lovers, Part 2

As promised, here is part two of the must-read blogs, ranging from mid-century, to ultra modern to a hints and tips blog.  There is also one featuring a half scale house, the other micro scale aside from the 1:48 scale that I've been featuring.  Titles of each blog are click-able so you can go straight to them and get inspired ASAP. Good luck with everyone's projects!

Mitchy Moo Miniatures
On of my favorite blogs, this woman has tremendous talent.  The photos of her latest build, a contemporary black cabin for the HSB Creatin' Contest, looks ripped out of a high-class architecture magazine.  While she works in the larger scale (1:12), this blog is one you won't want to miss if you're looking for inspiration for your smaller contemporary builds.

The Shopping Sherpa
A blog from Australia and another trailblazer in modern minis, this blog often features tips on creating contemporary mini scenes as well as featuring a healthy dose of inspiration and sneak peeks into her own scenes. Also check out her posts on showing miniature scenes in the fine art gallery world--it's pretty exciting.

Kitty and Kat Miniatures
This mom builds her own mini scenes but has also been building a cozy and very chic 1:24 scale cottage for her daughter, which I'm sure will inspire your smaller scale builds.

Dollhouse Decorating
Much like my blog, this one features tips for decorating your mini home, but she broadens out beyond 1:48 scale and covers many of the different time periods and styles, not just modern or contemporary. Sure to get the juices flowing!