Thursday, 12 June 2014

Hello all,  I hope you are finding something interesting in my posts. In the last week I've been busy working on 3 dollhouses, a 1/24 version of the Fairy Tale Villa, the designs are finished and the basic shell went together last night, being held by tabs and masking tape, will cut and fit the windows,gingerbread and roof tiles today. hope to post photos later today.

I have also been working on the Judy in 1/48th for an order, This is a very simple little house that I've added stairs to, as well as opening up the roof, I've made versions in boxboard and mdf.

As promised last post I've also started painting up a Painted Lady. Although this is not completed yet, I thought you might like to see what its starting to look like. The kit is finalised, but I'm just waiting for some RC board to arrive from the USA to cut the windows and trim from. This is a thin but quite hard card that works exceptionally well in the smaller scales for laser cutting and because of the coating takes paint exceptionally well.

When  I was at the Sydney dollhouse show I was asked how I stop board and mdf from warping, I had forgotten that this was a problem because for years I've found I just coated everything in a thin coat of shellac.


If you use mdf or cardboard in your model making keep a sealed container of thinned shellac on hand. I make a mix from a cup of flakes in a bucket, cover it over with methylated spirits (also known as denatured alcohol.) let it dissolve the flakes then add more meths and then a little more. Shellac is a wonderful sealer and finish for wood working but this mix is thinner than what you would use for that, Because the methylated spirits evaporates quickly it leaves the dissolved flakes to settle into your board and reharden, you are only wanting a thin seal, not a heavy finish. I just slap it on with a 2 inch brush and then wipe off again almost straight away with a rag. The first photo is my bucket of shellac, this bucket is about 15 years old and I can't get this brand locally any more but I just throw in some more flakes and a bit more methylated spirits and it keeps on going. Even dried on shellac rethins with more meths. Use a lidded bucket because even this amount will evaporate in about a day or so. The second photo shows the mix slapped on the house with runs, quickly wipe of and you have an even surface to now finish however you like.

Then leave it to dry for half an hour, because it hasn't dried yet even though it feels dry. I just did half the house in about 20 seconds to take the photos.

Second 2 for 1 Tip Use fine or medium steel wool to sand the shellaced board if you need a smooth surface, Not sandpaper, steel wool works quickly and gets you into all the nooks and crannies. Now its a smooth as a babies (you know what).

When dry, paint and glues will stick as if there was nothing there, so you can seal pieces before assembly or after as in this case. In set construction in the film industry we coat everything in shellac as it seals out moisture from the air and even a bit of rain, however this is not suitable for exterior use, but hopefully your dollhouse is staying inside or if its being left outside, whether the shellac hold up or not is not relevant .

A Warning: methylated spirits will soften PVA glue if left on to long or to heavy, If it starts softening your glue, just leave it to dry out again and your glue will harden again. My preferred option is to use exterior grade PVA as this is not affected by Meths once its dried. I also prefer exterior PVA as it dries faster and seems more tacky, almost like a tacky glue.
Also wear gloves and try not to get to much on your skin, Its not particularly poisonous but it's better to not come into contact with any chemicals. And work in a well ventilated area.

Last picture for this post, The getting towards finished Painted Lady................

Until next time....

Yours in miniatures

Warren  or Wazza.
no wonder I have a split personality

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