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Saturday, July 19, 2014

More Mini Candles


For some reason I've become obsessed making these mini candles.  The two stumpy ones didn't come out too well because the candles I used were old and flaky.  But they kind of have a very used look to them.  My next project will most likely be candle sticks.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ole Fashioned Miniature Candles


Confession time: I love candles.  My house is full of them.  While I've seen many beautiful miniature candles made from clay, my clay supply has runneth dry (literally because I failed to properly seal the container I was keeping it in).  So I had to get creative, which meant trying to make mini candles using actual wax and candle-making techniques.  The ole fashioned way.


First I found a thick drinking straw and cut about a 1/2" portion.  For the wick, I needed a somewhat thicker thread to hold it's shape upright, so I used beading thread that I cut the length of the piece of straw.  Then I wrapped the thread around a toothpick to hold it up while the candle dried.


This is when things got a little sticky, or, better yet, waxy.  There needed to be a base to the straw to both hold it upright and to stop the wax from flowing out when poured.  Clay would have probably been helpful for this purpose as well, but instead I poured a little wax from a candle (flame off) on the board and waited for it to dry and cool enough to be handled safely.  Before wax fully dries, it's maleable enough to form into the bottoms of straws.  I pressed the straw onto the dot of melted wax and waited for it to dry a little more.  


Pouring time.  The tweezers were to add extra stability when pouring the wax.  

This is the part when I'm obligated to say that working with hot wax and flames should always be done at your own risk and with this project, you risk burning yourself

I poured the wax from the life size candle (flame off) into the straw.  Some wax did end up spilling out from the life size candle, which explains the waxy mess next tot the straw.




After about 30 minutes of dry time (I wanted to be extra sure they were fully dried), I cut the thread from the toothpick and gently peeled the straw from the candle.  Then I cut the base to flatten the bottom and trimmed the "wick."  The result are very realistic candles that look like they have been lit a few times.  A bonus is that they smell and feel like real candles since they're actually made from real candles.  I can't wait to try this with other wax colors and straw sizes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Go Print Yourself: Twinkind and 3D Printed People


Anyone who reads my blog will know that one of my obsessions while making miniatures is realism.  Unfortunately, my doll making skills are abysmal at best so I have to rely on the marketplace offerings which are lovely, but not as realistic as I would like.  So when I recently read an article on 3D printed people and saw the photos, I was blown away.

Twinkind (twinkind.com) is a Germany-based company that will photograph you and print you out.  According to the photos on the website, the results look impressive.  There are a lot of caveats including you have to go to Berlin, and there are limitations on wardrobe choices and accessories.  But for around $340 (250 euros) you can get a 1:12 scale figurine that looks exactly like you.  They even have options for dogs.  Although I'm not frequenting Berlin any time soon, I love the idea that 3D printing might become so popular that they begin to make affordable, home printers.  Twinkind is currently doing a sweepstakes to win a figurine on their Facebook page (facebook.com/twinkind), and you better believe that I entered.

This is the Wired article that brought my attention to the company: http://www.wired.com/2013/08/this-company-will-transform-you-into-an-incredibly-detailed-3-d-printed-figurine/

Also, if anyone wants to sponsor me for a trip to Berlin; I'll gladly repay you with hugs.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Return and Goals


Well, it's been a while.  I've had to take some time off from miniature making for a while thanks to time constraints and life in general.  But, what were lemons, are now lemonade!  I'm very excited to return back to the hobby that I love, and I return with some goals in mind:

1. Focus on my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/maria609).  I closed my shop temporarily months and months ago and was not accepting orders.  But now I'm reopening and starting to think about inventory.

2. Work on my artist's loft.  This loft has become my white whale; the bane of my miniature existence.  What was initially a contest entry has turned into a project spanning years.  Unfortunately, it's recently become a well-made dust collector.

3. More tutorials.  I love making tutorials because I love using other people's tutorials.  This means I have to start making more stuff, so this is technically a 2-part goal with the second being start making MORE STUFF.

Another side goal is keeping up-to-date with the online miniature community.  There have been some wonderful comments during my break, and I definitely miss being a part of the community.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dexter Loves A Good Dollhouse


I have been on a miniature hiatus from making miniatures, but I have been able to catch up on some of my favorite shows.  One of those is Dexter, a drama about a loveable serial killer.  Anyway, on the episode I watch watching last night, a dollhouse popped up.  I'm always excited when dollhouses show up on mainstream media.  Like the following Family Guy clip:


Monday, January 28, 2013

Making Miniature Vases From Wooden Dowel Caps


There's a section in most U.S. craft stores that carry unfinished wooden items in many varieties.  If you're building miniatures, this section's definitely worth a look because there are items that can fit perfectly in a doll house.  One of these are Lara's Crafts Finial Dowel Caps.  I suppose you could use them to cap your finial dowels, whatever that means, but all I see are mini vases.  The ones I used for this post are the 3/2in with 1/4in hole ($0.99 for a pack of 6, item #11042).  When you get them, they look like this:

Just like little vases, right?!  
  
You can use almost any method to finish: paint, stain, decoupage, etc. But I've found that an interesting trick is to use permanent marker.  The marker soaks through the wood and acts kind of like a stain, thereby letting some of the original wood grain show through, giving it depth.  Plus it dries almost instantly and, like a baby chick, it's cheap-cheap.  Haha, I kill me (and you may want to too after that joke).  

The first thing is to color the top and some of the interior of the vase.  If you're going to put flowers inside, you don't need to color the inside too much, but I always do a little just because:
 

After the top is colored, I stick a pencil with a dull or no point into the vase.  If you use a pencil with a sharp point, it won't fit all the way in.  After you jab the pencil in enough to stop the vase from moving around on you, color in the rest.

The final step (yes, it's that easy), is to seal it with a high-gloss, oil-based sealer.  Time for my spiel on sealer.  I seal almost EVERYTHING I make to the point of insanity.  Most of the time I use matte, water-based sealer or matte, spray sealer.  For this project, I highly recommend an oil-based sealer in high gloss because, let's be honest, the oil-based makes it shiner than a greasy baby's bottom.  You need to seal in a ventilated area and be careful of breathing it in, but it's worth it:

Eventually I will post a tutorial on making these bouquets, but here are what the finished vases look like with flowers in them:


Saturday, January 26, 2013

This Is What A South Jersey Snowstorm Looks Like

View from my 3rd floor a.k.a. workshop

I was SO excited about finally getting snow.  We hadn't received any all winter, and that's what we got.  Woot. 

...Back to re-runs of Little Britain.