Thursday, April 6, 2017

Vacuum Forming a Miniature Boat with Styrene

Every Beach Hut needs at least a rowing boat!

After countless trials making this with thin balsa strips I was a bit at a loss.
But then I chatted with Dorota from Miniafanaberia about styerene and this got me onto the right track!

I made the shape of the boat with foamboard layers and after thorough google video research about vacuum forming, I gave it a shot because I had a few glossy 2mm styrene sheets anyway (stashed away because I thought I would never use them..).

First I made the vacuum box using a plastic box, made a hole big enough for the vacuum sucker, and closed the box with wood and plenty of wholes in it.

I tried with two kind of frames.

Sheet tacked onto the frame and sits on TOP of the box: good for small items because there is less styrene waste

Sheet is clamped between two frames and is LARGER than the box: good when you need the entire sucking area of the box

The great thing though: it worked first time!! And this with rather thick 2mm styrene....

Only with the surf board the first try was not ok because the styrene was not long enough in the oven

I made three of them because it was so easy 😀. Cut them into three different heights.

Added 2x1mm rim on top with super glue. 

And here the finished product (anchor and fishing net missing..)!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chicago Fairs this April

Hi my dear friends and followers!

I am just wondering if any of you will be there in April as well.

It would be fun to meet up and do a f2f over a cup of coffee or so ... 😎 🍹

I can be found at the Tom Bishop Show and at the Miniature Show (the link does not work since about 10 days... grr..).

If so, let's organize this via my regular mail address:


BTW: As always - after making a model from scratch I think it would be great to share it with the mini community.  And so, I just added a new chair to my Shapeways shop...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Beach Hut Kit

After all these large house I built during the past years, I am running out of storage space!!

So, this is a smaller project using a pre-fab (mdf) from the dollshousebuilder in the U.K.

Bashing it and covering the walls with siding still offers plenty of room for creativity...

As a first I covered the inside and outside walls.
I used a 'plank' for the inside. Only 0.8mm thick!

The overlap clapboard outside siding I could only find in the U.S., 2mm thick.
Both are great because they are so thin!

And I covered the floors with veneer.

Making these sash windows was a 'first' for me: I used 1mm thick wood to make them look as dainty as possible.

For the round window I found something suitable in the plumbing section of the hardware shop...

I was so excited to finally find a local wood supplier in Switzerland after all my mini building activity! And not just online - he even has a shop about 50km away! And he has the full range of Everlast plastic products are well.
Rummaging around there was like being in heaven :-)

Now busy trying to integrate basics in this tiny inside space..

I keep you posted.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tutorial wooden folding chairs

Once I found the right drawings and measurements making these chairs was quite easy.

They do not really fold but it is easy to make a folded one with the these drawings.

Materials needed:
  • Wood strips 3x2mm
  • Round 3mm wooden sticks or skewers
  • Wooden U-shape profile with 2mm inside measurement
  • 7x1mm wood for back rest

Download drawing with measurements

  • wet back rest, bend and let dry round  a bottle or so
  • cut the wood pieces and sand them lightly
  • make the seats with the u-profiles and wood strips
glue side pieces together using a fram of some sorts

glue seat onto the one side

place chair upright against a straight wall and glue on other side

glue backrest and foot rests between sides
- paint or varnish but don't spray them accidentally with a primer instead of varnish like I did 😏. Well, they are now in for a color rather than looking like wood..
- stick 'metal' hinges onto sides

The only fiddly part is the assembly. But with forms and guidance bits it works just fine.

Enjoy -


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Provence House Videos

Here the summary of a year's mini passion!

Video of the model

Video of 'behind the scenes'

Monday, January 23, 2017

Provence house patio with tree

The last project was the garden - and that is now blooming with lavender and has a large plane tree. It turned out just the way I wanted it to :-)

After straightening this branch of wood for a couple of months in the vice, the stem is much straighter now. Glueing some 2500 leaves on the tree was actually very rewarding. Nothing one could really do wrong. I don't think I ever 'heard' so much TV in a long time...

Just spray painting the paper for the leaves had its suprise: one of the cans left lots of dust, which creeped in everywhere in the room! It took me some time to clean up my hobby room and every shelf...Lesson learned: only spray outside!!

'Tree planting' was not about getting the shovel out! The tree needed to be removable. Drilling straight into the stem and getting this alu rod straight was very interesting... 

A bit of lawn in front of the pottery studio - could not find pebbles the right size...

I bought the garden furniture at the Paris fair earlier this year. After a little work on it (it was an awful blueish green and the table top was not in proportion with the bench) I am happy with it. For a moment I fancied the furniture from Catherine Ferouelle but it would have been a bit too shabby-chic for this freshly renovated house ;-)

Basically, this house is now complete!
Video summary to follow...


Monday, January 2, 2017

Tutorial Mediteranean Roof

After much testing and trying other tutorials, this is what worked best for me.
But mind you: it is a luxury version because of the amount of tiles it needs!!
And I needed to make sure that the house can actually cope with the weight...

I decided NOT to have two layers of tiles (bottom and top) but to fake this only at the endings.
Reasons: the roof would have become too heavy and it is difficult to keep the tiles straight without the guidelines of the cardboard. Because there are no reverse tiles at the bottom, I had to arrange them a little closer than usual. This way, the cardboard is not visible. I covered about 1/2 to 2/3 of the underlaying tile with the next one. I needed 120 tiles for an area of 20x20cm!

The materials I used:
- Packaging cardboard (preferably not 'sandwiched' but open on one side, or peel off one side) with a 1cm wave.
- Clay roof tiles from The size I used is: length 3.5cm, width 1.6cm to 0.6cm (narrowest side). Exact description: Arab miniature tiles 35mm long. Ref. 3500771 Keranova.
1:10 scale is too large, I tried that..
- Chalky paints to color the tiles
- Wood strips for the facia, stained
- White glue
- Acrylic terracotta paint

1. I tiled the roofs before glueing them onto the house: glued the packaging cardboard onto 5mm foam board.
IMPORTANT: makes sure that you have an EVEN number of ridges.

2. Glue facia on sides, making sure it is wide enough at the front to add guttering if you want to.
Glue facia on side ensuring that the top is level with the ridges of the cardboard - to make an additional ridge on both sides.
Tip: if you want to attach guttering, the facia must be wide enough...

3. Stain or paint facia boards
4. Color the 'valleys' of the cardboard with terracotta shade crayon, feltpen or acrylic paint.

5. Color the clay tiles. I used white chalky paint, partially watered down or added other shades to create an uneven colored, lively roof.

6. If the underside of the roof is visible, best to now glue the faux roof underneath. Here one to download.

7. Lay roof tiles, using any glue. The white wood glue worked perfectly well for me.
Start at the gutter side and let them protrude minimum 1cm (try and see if the the guttering fits).
I used 17mm spacing laying these tiles.
I waited with attaching the last row of tiles in case I need to trim them.

8. Fake endings: I cut the tiles with my table saw and glued the small pieces under the first row of tiles.

9. Glue roofs onto the building. For added stability I insered wire rods through the roof into the side walls.
10. Then glue the last row of tiles onto roof and add the ridge. Ridge: make sure that both sides are level. In my case, I still could see through the roof top under the ridge - so I inserted painted strip of cardboard or wood before adding the ridge tiles.

I hope that this helps someone interested in Mediteranean mini roofing!