Small Details

Building 1/12 scale room boxes is one of my hobbies. A room box normally depicts one single miniature room in intricate details. In 2001 I was lucky to participate in a Brooke Tucker’s room box workshop, The Country Kitchen, just a few years before she retired. Although I never quite finished that particular project, I had lots of fun learning from a great artist. I  was also honored to sell Mrs. Tucker some of my painted miniatures. She used them for a piece commissioned by the Miniature Museum of Taiwan. Mrs. Tucker’ s elegant but informal kitchen room box was featured in the March 2002 issue of the renewed Miniature Collector magazine, where, if you have a very good eye for details, my little pieces can be found at page 58, perching out shelves and on top of a cabinet.

Some of the miniature paintings I made for Brooke Tucker and now part of a room box depicting a Tuscan kitchen that can be admired at the Miniature Museum of Taiwan:

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I used inexpensive wooden pieces normally sold at craft stores to make the jars by gluing together different parts. The apothecary urn is a miniature replica of a normal size piece I bought in Italy and that is displayed in my kitchen. I used white Fimo to model the urn.

Some other places where I talk about miniatures:

Here is a lens about the even smaller world of quarter inch scale I created for Squidoo.

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Small Details

Girl’s Bedroom Vignette

In 2001 I presented a few of my miniature pieces at the Seattle Dollhouse Miniatures Show. The Girl’s Bedroom was one of them:

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I made the tiled floor by cutting rectangular pieces from an egg container. I glued them on the wooden platform, filled the gaps between tiles with a paste made of flour and Elmer’s glue, and then painted all over with a mixture of brown and black acrylic colors. I removed some of the painting with a cloth to create the distressed look, and finally I sprayed the floor with two layers of a glossy finish. I used white Fimo to create the tea set resting on the rocking chair, painted it with acrylic colors, and sealed it with a glossy finish. I used skin-color Fimo for the baby girl sleeping inside the crib, and also for the doll and the doll’s crib. A special crackling finish was used to give the doll’s crib the antique texture. I made the toy bear with a brown cleaning pipe and painted the nose and the eyes. I painted the landscape on the toy box with acrylics and finished it with a watercolor sealer.

Other places where I talk about miniatures:

Here is a lens about quarter inch scale miniatures I created for Squidoo.

Girl’s Bedroom Vignette

Amazing Dough

 

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AKA Cornstarch Dough or Cold Porcelain Dough

About ten or twelve years ago I started using a homemade modeling dough that was sturdy and durable when air dried and required a few cheap ingredients to make. After years spent working with the well known salt dough, I was looking for something that didn’t disappear before my eyes when the weather turned humid. At the time I was living in a small maritime town and all my sculpting efforts tended to dissolve in a poodle of salty goo. I found the recipe for the cornstarch dough almost by mistake, but I tried it nonetheless, and I have been loyal to it ever since. Recently, I saw that there is a commercial cornstarch dough sold at craft stores. It is quite expensive, but if you are in a hurry, and not sure if the fumes coming from cooking the mix of cornstarch and Elmer’s glue on your stove are healthy, I suggest to go for it.

The Recipe

The Ingredients:

  1. One cup of cornstarch flour
  2. One cup of Elmer’s glue or any other brand of glue with similar characteristics
  3. One tablespoon of vegetable oil
  4. One tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar
  5. One old, no-stick pan
  6. One wooden spoon

How to do it:

Mix the ingredients in the pan and once you have a thick dough turn on the stove and cook it on medium low, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough comes away in one single piece from the pan. Turn off the stove, remove the dough from it, put it to rest on a cold surface, wait until you can safely handle it without scalding your skin, and work it as if it were pizza dough. When you have thoroughly worked the dough and there are no lumps in it, wrap it in plastic film, and finally store it inside a plastic bag. Remember, the cornstarch dough dries completely if exposed to the air and it becomes hard as porcelain. You can mix drop of food coloring, or acrylic paint, with the freshly prepared batch to obtain colored dough. I personally prefer painting the dough after a piece is done.

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A final, important note: clean the pan and the wooden spoon immediately after you have used them and store them away. Do not use them for cooking food.

Other places where I talk about Cold Porcelain and its awesomeness:

Author Gabriela Popa has a blog where guests talk about anything but writing, and this is my humble contribution.

Here is a lens about cold porcelain I created for Squidoo.

Amazing Dough