Sunday, December 30, 2012

Free Printable: Amazon Shipping Boxes

Since I received such positive feedback about my pencil tutorial, I was anxious to post another project.  I made this shipping box template (.pdf) using Inkscape, a graphic design program.  To make the boxes:

1.  Print out on thick brown paper (I use card stock).
2.  Cut on the orange lines, and fold on the black lines.
3.  Glue the tab to inside the box.
4.  Fold both ends just like a regular box.

Even if I seal the box completely, I still stuff it with tissue paper to give it some body.  I also print out (on regular paper) some little shipping labels and a bar code to stick on the boxes.  To make the packaging tape, I cut tiny strips of plain masking tape.  Hope you all enjoy and have a wonderful end of 2012!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Something To Hold Onto

Here's the time I make a confession: I don't measure.  Okay, I sometimes measure, but mostly I "eyeball" everything.  Making miniatures has much to do with patience.  Unfortunately, I have none.  I work with pieces before the glue has dried; my final fit is my dry fit; and if it looks to scale, it's to scale.  So there you go: confessions of a manic miniaturist (good blog title for someone).

I made and installed a railing for the loft portion of my loft.  Of course, I eyeballed the entire thing versus measuring anything, so it might look a little odd.  But it's nothing a ton of accessories can't fix, or hide.  I also continued working on the windows.  Similarly, I've been asking my dad to bring me some spare plexiglass for about 2 weeks now because I'm too cheap to buy my own.  Needless to say, my windows are glass-free.  Apparently my family doesn't care about the overall health of my dollhouse dolls.

Speaking of, my ferret Patrick, whom I frequently write about, decided to steal and hide my look-a-like doll pictured here in her former glory:

So Patrick, if you're reading this (which I'm sure you are because you probably stole someone's laptop) please give her back.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

UPDATE: Pencil Tutorial

I FINALLY made my first tutorial!  It's very basic, but I wanted to get my feet wet and start with something simple.  To download the pdf click here.  (I'm new at posting downloads directly to the blog, so I hope that works).

UPDATE: I also attached the following screen shots of the tutorial b/c it's easier to download:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Patrick's Quick Project

I was digging around through my attic space (or as I know it: the room I dumped the last moving boxes that I was too lazy to unpack), and I found these bracelets my dad brought from Ecuador last year.  My first thought was, "Wow, these look like little tissue boxes."


So I stuffed and glued some toilet paper into a bead and voila:

A fun little project and another excuse for not having time to clean out the attic.

And here's my ferret, Patrick, thinking that the loft is his new bachelor pad:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Even More Door

I am happy with the way the exterior is coming along.  The trim for the door was initially laid over the brick, but it looked terrible so I carved space out of the brick and inlaid the trim.  The trim for the windows is going to look almost the same. 
Here is a close-up of the doorknob I made out of wire.  I hammered holes into it using a needle tool to add a little character.

This is the interior of the loft.  The door has no trim because I like the look without it for the inside.

Also, a HUGE thank you to Monique from for the mention!  Her work is phenomenal, and she really went out of her way to showcase my blog.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finished Door

Here is the front door after aging.  The sealer is still drying so it won't be as shiny as in the pictures.  I painted it a base coat of Cardinal Red (Americana brand acrylic paint), then sanded it and highlighted some of the age marks with watered-down white stain.  The handle is made out of 20-gauge jewelry wire that I hammered flat, bent to form a handle, and hammered the two ends to make them wider and rounder.  I'll try to get a close-up.  The "lock" is just a crimp bead that I hammered flat.  The back of the door looks the same only without the hinges.  Don't mind the gap around the door; I'm going to frame it around the brick so you don't see the ugly parts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Front Door

I'm very anxious to finish some of the basic elements of the house including the windows and door.  I don't know what I'm going to do about the glass for the windows, but I started making the door.  I used balsa because it's soft enough to make indents to simulate wooden planks.  It's also soft enough to "nail" the pin heads.  Below is my inspiration photo:

 I also like this mailbox and want to replicate it too.

The door is in the first stage of drying (and SO rough), but I like posting progress pictures.  The finished door is going to be red and aged.  The back looks the same as the front.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Finished Cabinets

The built-in cabinets are pretty much finished and overall I think they came out okay.  I really need to make another craft run to get more paints and stains after realizing that everything is turning out the same brown/beige hue because I pretty much use the same paints over and over.  The shine to the cabinets needs to be dulled a little, but I think it will look much better when I add all the nick-knacks to the top.   

Also, now I feel the green desk sticks out too much.  Argh...I am too critical of myself.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cabinets and Brick Sign

I was finally able to get to the craft store to buy balsa and bass wood so I could continue building my artist's studio.  Ironically, my shopping spree only cost $16 so I could have gone a long time ago after all.  Anyway, I was able to start building the built-in cabinet.  It's VERY rough still and hasn't even dried, but the picture below is where it's going to be placed:

Like I said, it's very rough and still needs primer, paint, knobs, sanding/shaping, etc.  But I like the way it fills the space.  It's made out of bass and balsa wood, and cardboard for the cabinet doors. 

Since this is supposed to be an old warehouse building, I free-hand painted a company sign on the outside brick and then aged it.  I don't love the way the word "coal" came out, but I'm putting in on the back burner for now and hope it gets more aged as I work on the project.  The sign reads: "Peabody & Sons Coal Company," named for my dog Peabody.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Canvas Boards

I'm very anxious to keep working on the structure of my artist's studio, but I'm out of wood and disposable income thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  So instead I've been making random miniatures to put inside the artist's studio with any odd materials that I have laying around.  The result are these canvas boards.  Most of them are going to stay blank, but I want to put images on a couple.  I should have probably changed the part that reads "8x10" on the back, since they're not to 8"x10" scale, but I still like the way they turned out.

They are made of a layer of thick cardstock that I used to print out the Fredrix canvas board backing.  I then took thinner drawing paper and wrapped it around the backing to make it thicker and appear more like an actual canvas board.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Finished Kindle with Amazon Box

I'm becoming obsessed with making actual things I have around my house into miniature form.  And although I have a Nook in real life, I wanted to make mini Kindle so I could use the classic box.  It took a few trials to make the Kindle because the first couple developed a green tint. 

Now onto my next project...I want to make a little scene, but have no idea what to do.  Maybe a potting table?  Or craft table. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Finished Packages

Here is the result of my post yesterday.  The template needs a little adjusting because I want to make different sizes as well, but I like the result.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Miniature Mail and Inkscape

I was looking for, and of course, couldn't find my Adobe Creative Suite software.  It's very dated (it's version 2 and version 6 came out in May 2012), but all I really use is Illustrator.  Anyway, as my budget stands, I can't afford a new version so I browsed the web for alternatives.  I found a program called Inkscape, and so far I love it.  For one, it's free versus the $600+ price tag for Adobe.  I have no affiliation with Inkscape, but I'm just thrilled to have found a vector graphics program because I've been sitting on an idea for a while: miniature mail; specifically, miniature packages.

Right now I've created a template for miniature packages with the smile logo and packages with their logo, and I'm about to start on miniature letters.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Holiday Time!

I've been working to create some minis to post on my Etsy shop and thought it was time to make some holiday-inspired miniatures.  One of my favorite things to do with finished dollhouses it to decorate for the different holidays.  The ornaments were made out of beads that I've had for years and years.  When I looked at them to other day, I thought they reminded me of those ornaments that were really thin and would break easily.  These are obviously much more durable.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sketch Pads

I made these tiny sketchpads by rescaling real sketchpad covers on the computer and then printing them out on card stock.  I added some papers and a cardboard backing to make it look more realistic.  Then I used 24-gauge wire for the binding.  I hope to make a bunch more of these because I really like the way they turned out.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I'm finally back and able to focus on making minis again!  After a move and change of jobs, I can finally relax and make time for my favorite hobby.  Luckily, my artist's loft made it safely through the move with only a minor piece of the ceiling beam falling off.  Unfortunately, I won't make the Creatin' Contest deadline, but that's okay.  I'm so excited to get back to crafting!

Monday, April 2, 2012

HUGE Update

Unlike my dollhouse, I've neglected this blog so here's a progress update (in photos) of my loft:

The lighting finally is complete!  I can't tell you how much I've obsessed over the schematics of the lighting since this was my first time hardwiring instead of tapewiring.  From now on, however, I'm sold on hardwiring.  The transformer I bought is too weak to power all the lights, so the desk lamp isn't on, and of course the wires are going to be hidden.
I used CIR-Kit spotlight bulbs for an industrial lighting effect.
There's still much to be done here including a corner desk and tons of knick-knacks.

I've also decided to make this blog a tutorial blog since much of my work is scratch-built and the result of random trial-and-error.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Artist's Table Update

Almost finished working on my artist's table.  I'm planning to add some "reference" photos, some books, coffee mug, and maybe some more art supplies.  So really, I'm not almost finished.  I like the way it's coming along, except I tried to make coffee stain using paint stain and do not like the look so I'm going to re-do it. 

One thing is for sure: my scratch-built furniture is somewhat durable.  This little table fell off my kicthen counter onto the tile floor and nothing popped out (if you don't count my heart popping out of my chest as I watched it fall).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cabinet Inspiration

My MiniTown Loft Kit arrived yesterday (but it here, $29.99, at, which means I can finally start construction.  That is, after I buy my lights and plan the wiring.  For now, I'm going to continue making pieces to put in it.  I found this picture at

This look works perfectly with my project.  I'm thinking about trying the mat board construction technique or sticking to wood like I'm used to.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sink Obsession

I'm not sure why I have been obsessing over this sink, but everytime I say I'm done with it, I do something.  I added a soap bar and poured Gorilla glue over it because I noticed when it dries, it makes tiny bubbles.  Of course I almost had a heart attack before it dried from pouring glue all over the sink and not knowing if it would look good or not.  Also, I readdjusted the cup of brushes because it was leaning too forward (see how ridiculous I am).  Anyway, I am DONE with the sink.  Except I still need to take out some of the glue under the paint brushes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Artist's Box

This is the artist's wood box I've been working on.  The "hinges" are actually painted card stock.  The colored pencils are made from toothpicks.  Still thinking about making that tutorial because they were really easy to make.

I also scratch built the green table it's sitting on and used bent green wire (the kind you find at the check out line in the craft store) for the handles.

Utility / Slop Sink

I'm currently working on a scratch built, utility/slop sink for my art studio.  Although I'm not super satisfied with it yet, I think it's a good start since I've been away from making miniatures for over 4 years.  I'm also thinking about posting tutorials for the paint brushes and maybe even the entire sink.