After putting together my reveal post last week, I realized I still had a few more photos I wanted to share from this patio project. Today I'm giving a look at how I made the cushions for the patio furniture and the new backdrop I used for this shoot.
Let's start with the cushions. I cut out some 1/4" foamboard to match the shapes of the lounger and tall chairs. I did one layer for the lounger and doubled the thickness for the chairs. To make the long cushion lie flat against the bent lounger I scored the foamboard on both the top and bottom, cutting right through the foam but not through the paper on the other side.
I used a spray adhesive and tacky glue to attach some white felt and fabric. I only put the layer of white felt on the top, mostly because the fabric was really thin and I thought it gave it a smoother appearance. (The great thing about using thinner fabric in miniatures is that it is much easier to fold and manipulate so I highly recommend keeping this in mind when you shop.) I didn't properly finish the bottoms of the cushions because I knew no one would see them.
The layer of felt:
Not pictured: Once the fabric was on I placed the cushion on the lounger and added some small objects on top overnight to help the lounger cushion dry into the bent position.
Here is the same process with the chair cushions:
Don't they look comfy?
For a little bit more of a behind-the-scenes look at my build, this is one of the photos that didn't end up in the landscaping post but was a great example of the realities of crafting. Having the garden growies spread out on the surface allowed me to pick out the nicest bits of fluff, but it went everywhere! I kept the vacuum beside my desk during the entire project!
I also did something different for my photoshoot this time and I hope it helps some of you too. Typically when I go to make a backdrop for my build I start by finding a commercial-free image from Pixabay and use photoshop to crop and manipulate it. Then I go to my local Staples (office supply and print shop) and use their big copy and print machines to print backdrops on 11x17in paper for 99 cents each. I then tape them all together and make one big photo backdrop. It's a lot of work, especially when I have to photoshop out so many overlap lines in the post-edit stage, but it's been the most economical way to do things.
Last time I was there one of the employees suggested I look at doing an Engineer print in colour, which is used by architects and designers for blueprints. The thing is these prints are far cheaper than any other large print I've seen! For a 24x36 sheet it was $11 Cdn ($14 for same day service).
I only did one print this time because I didn't know if they would work, but next time I'll do 2-3 depending on the size of the project. I found the colour and paper quality great for this purpose and the bigger size makes my life so much easier.
Here are a few shots of the backdrop. I have the engineering print in the middle and then a couple of 11x17 prints on the side. It was a super dark and rainy day so I've also got this bright led light and a photography reflector from Amazon.
It's such a nice size! Post edits were a breeze, a lot of images I took stayed within the border of the engineering print and didn't need to be blended out. (Keep in mind a lot of time the background is out of focus anyways).
In comparison, here is the backdrop I made for my Belmont house, over 30 sheets! They each had to be trimmed and taped together.
Would you like to see more posts about how I photograph my miniatures? I was thinking once my big dollhouse is a little bit further along I could show how I properly light my scenes and what equipment I find most helpful. Especially when taking photos indoors and in dark light.
I just realized Canada Day is next weekend, and now that I have this great outdoor roombox it only seems fitting to have a BBQ. Hope you'll all come over again and join me!
My miniature backyard patio retreat is now ready for summer! I had a lot of fun creating this scene with pieces from Hobby Builders Supply and miniatures.com. This is quintessential summer for me, outdoors, by the water and bright colours. Day or night it's the perfect place to relax and hang out!
Make sure you don't miss the promo code for 25% off at the bottom of this post!
Now let's get on to this tour while there is still daylight... the table is set with some kebobs and what I think is tomato juice...
Did you notice the new addition to the patio furniture? I think the cushions add a little bit of softness to this wicker set which really gives them a more realistic look. I made them with foam board and fabric (and I'll post a quick tutorial next week!)
Now for the plants! I changed things up a bit since my last landscaping post, but the methods are all still the same. The Garden Growies ended up being one of my favourite parts of the entire scene, they give that bright and colourful garden look I was after. I used tweezers to add some final big pieces of coloured "fluff" to the top of each bush at the end for the most impact.
The Garden Delights grass/bushes were moved to the stand-alone planters because I felt that the Autumn colour palette I got might be nicer to switch around depending on the season. (These bushes come in 3 colour variations). I did double them up to get extra height.
Another favourite of mine ended up being these white mum "flower spots". After putting them in my planters I realized the white blooms didn't quite show off as well with my white planter bases. However, the nice thing about these bushes is that the flower tops are easily removable and pop off. I decided to mix it up and on two of the bushes, I added my own colourful flowers (just like Elizabeth's geraniums, although these look a bit more like hydrangeas) . The leaves are a great scale and the height is perfect!
Lots of accessories have been added throughout now. We need a garden hose for sure, I don't expect much rain here in 1:12! I'll have o water everything myself!
And we can't forget to take another look at this pool! The ripple water sheet catches the light with or without LEDs.
And just like that, the sun has gone down!
I think this scene gave me the best of both worlds. I tend to like a lot of DIY elements and I felt like the plants, trees and patio furniture really gave me a chance to customize my overall look, but had the big bonus of speeding up my crafting time! I can't wait to create more scene setups with this roombox in the future, I think it's going to be the perfect addition to my collection going forward.
What now? I want to share some photos of the patio furniture cushions next week and I was thinking of sharing some of my behind the scenes photos of my backdrop set up for this shoot, like the paper photo I used and the bushes, lighting etc. And then I think it's time we got the third floor of my big dollhouse up!
I hope you all have enjoyed this series! I want to give a big thank you to Hobby Builders Supply and miniatures.com for helping me put together this project. I've found some new mini favourites along the way.
If something caught your eye you can find the link to it in the list below! Don't forget miniatures.com has 25% off your purchase until June 21 with the code WHP3908 (more details on their site homepage).
One more week until the big reveal! Today is a bit of a teaser because I don't want to give the whole scene away just yet. I've got some behind the scene photos of how I got the planters ready and how I used the tree and flower materials from Hobby Builders Supply/ miniatures.com. A few final touchups and I'll be ready to have you all over!
To get the planters ready I started off by adding some interior foam board wall pieces to raise the soil beds (in some cases I used a thick foam sheet too). Then I added a piece of foam board on top.
I looked at both soil and rocks to fill my garden and decided I liked the soil with the little "garden growies" best.
I painted the foamboard black to blend in with the soil.
Next, I used some Fine Turf material from my local hobby shop and some Scenic Cement. I used a washed out spray bottle to apply the Scenic Cement on the painted foam board. Then sprinkled on the fine turf mix and shook off any excess.
Once dry I fitted these top pieces back into the planters. I think the soil looks very realistic because it's so fine.
Ready for plants!!!
I bought a couple packages of the Garden Growies in both colour selections (here and here) to create bushes with. They add a great pop of colour to the soil. While I had been thinking of using them as big fluffy bushes to fill my planters they actually work better as ground cover or smaller sized plants. So I changed my design plan a bit.
To make some little bushes in my scene I layered the fluff and the glue to create tiny mounds.
Next time I might try some spray adhesive instead of the tacky glue (or even the Scenic Cement which I used for the soil) because that would help with the little runaways.
Up close they might look a little unruly, but when combined with the other plants I think they look fantastic and add some dimension to the planters. And look how vibrant the colour is!
Heres a look at the mixed variety in the lower container.
And the red ones in the back:
I also was surprised with the squeeze me style tree bushes. Kat, who also just finished a Patio scene, told me how they could be cut and manipulated in different ways because the material went all the way through. This really helped create different shapes and styles to mix in the garden.
Cutting the bottoms off the 4" trees helped them sit flat while cutting the circular bushes in half made them look a little less formal.
To round out the planters I put in some garden delights which have a grass-like look. I like the medium height they added.
On to the home stretch! A couple of cushions and some final touch-ups (like those wires hanging behind the fence!) and I think this scene is ready for the summer.
Thank you so much for the messages and encouragement with this project. I haven't been feeling my best the last couple of weeks and have been a bit slower at responding and keeping up with everyone because of that. I hope you all have had a happy and productive mini weekend. See you next week!
This series is sponsored by Hobby Builders Supply/ miniatures.com. Lots of cool modern patio and garden minis from their site are featured throughout!
Nothing adds magic to a miniature scene like lighting! I've added two modern outdoor lighting options on my patio, including one that might surprise you... Any guesses as to what these miniature deck lights are made from?
Drawer Pulls! Turns out these cute hardware pulls from miniatures.com don't just look great on your kitchen cabinets, they also have the perfect shape and style to direct the light down just like the real thing! The patio now has the perfect glow!
I used a 1/8 drill bit to create holes for my 3mm LEDs to sit in and light. I made it so that each deck/ stair light would shine on two steps that way it didn't look too crowded.
I also used a larger drill bit to create openings for wires to pass through the different planters at the bottom.
Time for LEDs! I got out my wire strippers, hookup wire (red&black), 3mm LEDs in warm light, and shrink tube in both 1/8" and 1/16".
I started with 5 LED stands and twisted the red ends together and the blacks separately.
Threaded through some shrink tubing:
Attached a longer red wire (so that I could run it under the deck base):
Covered with the shrink tubing:
To seal the shrink tube you need to heat it, so I use my small travel hair dryer:
The final result: 5 LEDs connected to one wire strand which can be connected into a power source. Red goes to positive and black to negative.
I threaded the wires through the openings on the planters
And pushed the LEDs into the 1/8 drill holes, using masking tape to secure.
Now for the fancy part! I took the drawer pulls and painted them an antique bronze to match my other lights. Then I glued them over the holes using tacky glue.
Don't forget to paint the nail holes! (You could add some mini nails, but I thought it looked fine without).
Moving on to the other light sources, I also used the same 3mm LEDs for the pool. I added two to the side and strung the wires to the back.
Finally the sconces, I used rectangular styrene tubing from the hobby shop. I cut small lengths and drilled a small 1/8" hole in the back.
I found placing them on a spare stick helped keep them in place while I drilled the hole:
For these I used nano LEDs. Mostly because that's what I had on hand and I liked that they were a little less bright.
Before adding paint:
For paint, I lined them all up on another stick and sprayed them with Rustoleum Antique Brass. (You can see how I painted the drawer pulls on a masking tape stick too).
I used the same method as the stair lights. Combined all the nano LED red wires together and then the black, added a long lead. And strung them to the back. - - - Here are some photos of the back of the roombox.
To connect to the power source I took all the black wires from the pool lights, the stair lights, and the fence lights and connected them all as one to the black power wire.
As for the red, I kept them separate, connecting each of them to their own power supply wire with a switch.
Originally I was going to have a light on every fence section but decided it was too much. What do you think?
Here it is with one on every other. I think to brighten up any spots in the future I will add some lights in the planters themselves.
And for the wow factor at night:
So ready for accessories and plants! My landscaping post will be next week and then the big reveal the week after!
If you are looking for more outdoor mini inspiration Kat of kittyandkatminiatures is creating another fabulous patio space! She's posted a step by step tutorial to finish an outdoor brick fireplace and it looks so realistic. I can't wait to see her big reveal too! This series is sponsored by Hobby Builders Supply/ miniatures.com. Lots of cool modern patio and garden minis from their site are featured throughout!
Construction has moved right along on my backyard patio collab with Hobby Builders Supply/miniatures.com. The privacy fence is up, the pavers are laid, and the pool is ready for a party! Let's take a look at how everything came together.
I started by painting the planters a warm off white and adding a new little bench at the back behind the pool.
I then moved onto the deck. Before adding any stain I used the palm sander to smooth everything out and get rid of glue spots (stain won't cover the glue).
I went with the Saman brand stain in the colour Colonial. I love their wide selection of colours and the easy application. I did pick a slightly darker stain than I originally had intended but I think it still works. I found the best way to apply was with a sponge brush and then a rag to wipe down the surface. You have to work quickly and in the direction of the floorboards because at this scale, you can't have patches of colour.
I knew from the start I wanted a privacy fence to make an easy built-in backdrop for this scene. Originally I was going to use skinny craft sticks but they wouldn't take the stain, so I ended up using stip wood and cutting it to size. I stained everything before glueing together.
Love how the fences turned out!
The next project was the pool. I used Benjamin Moore "Jamaican Aqua" on the inside and the very top. It was important to pick a colour that would look good under the acrylic which slightly darkened the shade while also compensating for the extra light of the LEDs I want to put in the pool.
I like to use tester sized paints from Home Decorating stores because you get a better selection of colours than the craft store.
To create the water effect I used the acrylic Rippled Water Sheet from miniatures.com. I placed it on top of my pool box base and then added my floorboard frame on top. I think it looks just like a breeze is blowing across the water!
With the acrylic sheet:
Since my last post, I made the decision to bring the pavers closer together. I glued them down and placed a heavy book on top while they dried. I then added a soft grey paint with a foam sponge. I took out the palm sander again to smooth everything out before adding the second coat of paint. They still have ridges and dimples, but they are no longer really rough.
Once the pavers were dry I filled in the grout lines with Pollyfilla (drywall mud) and wiped off the excess. TIP Pollyfilla is water soluble so if you get some left behind on your stones you can use a wet rag to wipe it away, even if it's dried.
So impressed with how the balsa tiles turned out! They were easy to cut and they didn't warp which was a big surprise. Thank you for all your suggestions, I was ready to try them all!
And here is everything together!
I have deck lights and plants left to add before moving in the patio furniture. I'm going to need a lot of plants to fill these planters! I think the height of the fence really pairs well with the 4" Spring Green trees. Here's a sneak peek of what's ahead!
I'm just thankful these plants don't require a green thumb.
After some time away to recharge, I'm back with an exciting project! I've teamed up with Hobby Builders Supply/ miniatures.com to create a summer scene featuring a few outdoor items from their catalogue.
This in-depth weekly series will take you through my build from start to finish as I create a modern miniature deck and patio space. I've done my best to use accessible materials and tools and provide tutorials and tips throughout (from faux finishes to electrical). This is probably my most step-by-step build-a-long yet! Today we're starting with the base of the build with the structure, the stairs, and flooring.
I personally like to start by selecting the furniture and visualizing the space before any walls go up in my projects. Sometimes I do a sketch, but usually, I use Photoshop or a similar program to copy and paste images of my structural elements and furniture I like. I knew I wanted a split level design with some sort of hot tub or pool and an eating area. I searched Miniatures.com's outdoor items and copied and pasted the product photos I liked into a college.
I already own a bunch of outdoor small accessories in my collection, so I tried to think of what would really tie together a scene. In the end, I selected the patio furniture because it has a modern feel and wasn't too cottagey. I really liked how it had lots of pieces to choose from and was the same colour as the planters I already owned. (In a future post I'll share some more close-ups of the texture on these wicker pieces!)
Once everything arrived, I made a mock-up with foamboard. This step always helps keep me from wasting more expensive material in the long run. I quickly realized the scale of my lounge chair didn't quite work with my small hot tub idea. I needed to make the pool bigger and move it, which took a couple of tries.
The stairs were the first thing I put together. It was much easier to make the second level fit the height of the stairs, versus adding on stairs later and trying to get them to fit. They were made from 5/8" high wood I cut into blocks. I used Arlene's Tacky Glue to secure them.
The base was made of 1/4" MDF and cut on a table saw. The entire project sits on a 24"x24" 1/4" thick piece. I left the back section of the supports open so I could access underneath for electrical components.
I also created a notch in the corner of the top deck for the stairs to recess into using a jigsaw and left the right side open for the pool.
The pool is a separate component from the base. I thought this would make it easier to work with and add paint/finishes. I cut a frame like piece to sit on top using my laser cutter, but I could have glued four pieces of MDF to create the frame shape as well.
I cut out lots of planters at different heights to go around the deck and in front with more 1/4" MDF.
For the flooring, I went with a large roll of Birch Veneer from Home Depot. The grain is minimal and easy to stain. I used this technique with the floor in my first laser cut Modern Kitchen Roombox. However to save time I used my laser cutter to cut long strips 3/8" wide. TIP You can use a simple scrapbooking slider paper cutter to cut out long flooring strips too. The most important part is to find a good veneer with minimal grain, that way it won't split when you cut it. You can read about that diy floorboard cutting technique here.
I used a handheld mitre tool to cut my strips to size (highly recommend this tool!) and Arlene's Tacky glue to secure my pieces. It was essential to place a heavy book on top while they dried to prevent warping.
I made pavers for the lower level from 1/16 Balsa, using the scrapbooking slider paper cutter to cut 2"x2" squares. Balsa is very easy to cut with a knife or paper cutter.
Check back next week as I share the next steps in finishing the deck, adding in some cool structural elements and get to work on the pool. I've got a great deck light tutorial in the works and some ways to elevate these patio pieces in future posts too.
Bring on the sunshine!
(This series is sponsored by Hobby Builders Supply miniatures.com. Lots of cool modern patio and garden minis will be featured!)
Hi everyone! Thank you so so much for all your comments and kind words on my last post! I read through every single one. It was great to see some familiar names and ones I haven't heard from in a while too. I was so overwhelmed with all your love and encouragement! I had a wonderful day and was surprised with this little guy! Meet Clive! I've wanted a miniature cat for years and couldn't be happier, he's by the talented Kara Lancia (Galway Goodies on Ebay)
Okay, let's get to the reveal! I had over 100 entries and I collected all the names into a list, then printed and cut them out. I pulled the winning name out of a bag and...
...a big congratulations goes to 430Greyhound! Please contact me at paperdollminis @ gmail.com (no spaces) so I can get the Shapeways gift card to you.
Thanks again to everyone who entered! I'll do another giveaway again soon!
Coming up I have a new project in the works. It's a summer inspired scene with a bunch of DIY and mini makeovers. No fancy laser cutters or 3D printers needed!
And I've also cut the door openings on my third-floor walls for my traditional dollhouse this past week. Those should be glued and assembled soon too. Can't wait to share! Now Clive and I just have to tidy up this party!
It's my birthday and we're celebrating! It's my 3-0 and you're all invited to my mini party. To make it extra special I'm doing a giveaway to mark the occasion too. One lucky winner will receive a Shapeways gift card to purchase some minis (details at the bottom of this post)! Let me show you around!
I've set up the Belmont dollhouse for this occasion. We've still got lots of snow here in Ottawa, but I tried to bring in some spring with lots of tulips and bright colours. The best part of setting up a mini scene is getting to see all the pretty artisan items that are usually safely stored in storage boxes.
The rustic style cake with berries on top is by the talented Handmade Miniatures by Alma! It was my big mini-splurge for my birthday and I'm so thrilled with it. Alma is an amazing artisan, the berries are perfect and look incredibly realistic. And it turns out we share a birthday! So she's a guest of honour at this party too.
The rest is a mix of pieces I've collected over the years. A few of the standouts are the iced tea drinks which were by Everday Gourmet on Etsy, and the champagne and wine glasses are from the Little Dollhouse Company. The bar stools are by Boutique Miniatures on Etsy. And all the cookies and pastries were made by me.
The tulips are all from both the Little Dollhouse Company and Grandpa's Dollhouse. I love the little metal pails. The three-tier cookie stand and cake stand are from Miniatures.com.
I also got my mobile pot filler painted and installed in this kitchen just in time for the party! The top arm can swing out. I posted a video and some behind the scenes painting photos on Instagram, look under the 3D Shop highlight.
And I replaced the old faucet for the sink with a new bridge style, it's kind of hidden behind all the party items but I have a photo from when I was painting it below. You can find both these styles in my shop here.
So glad you came to my party!
Thank you so much for following along and supporting me through all my mini projects. I'd love to share my birthday cheer by offering one of you a $25 USD Shapeways gift card. You can use it at my shop to purchase things like mini pot fillers or faucets like the ones I have in this post, or anything else on the site!
To enter simply leave a comment below. You can also get a second entry by leaving a comment on the very first party photo on Instagram and tagging a friend there (it will be labelled as the giveway post). I'll be selecting a winner Saturday, March 30.
Limit two entries total will be counted. One for the blog and one for Instagram. :) Now, who wants some cake?!
Happy Valentine's day all my mini readers! My life is definitely better with all of you in it! It's always nice to take out the seasonal minis and do up a scene.
I got the roses on my last visit to The Little Dollhouse Company and used material from little gift bag to make the wrapping around it. The chocolates are originally from my 2014 Valentine's day scene.
If you are curious about where everything else is from... The sign: Michaels Craft Stores, in the fairy garden section Small white candles: Handmade Miniatures by Alma The roses, champagne, glasses, large candles in the background, table, and hutch: The Little Dollhouse Company The sofa and chairs: Bespaq brand
My Valentine's day looked a little different, I'm currently sipping chicken noodle soup and getting some rest. I seem to have caught the bug going around. Sending lots of love to you all!
I'm very pleased to share an updated tour of the dollhouse on the blog today, including a video! The first and second floors are glued together and primed, and the windows have been cut and painted. The last of the structural design dilemmas were sorted during this process (which caused quite a bit of delay) and the house now features many more accessibility points.
The dollhouse splits on top of two homemade rolling drawer carts. They each have their own turntable which allows for easy access. And they are so much fun to spin! I'll share more about the carts once I get the hardware on them, for now I have some extra information and videos of them on my Instagram page.
You might notice some of the windows are a bit bent as they aren't in securely yet. I have to wait to finish the wall coverings first. Once the trim and plexi is sandwiched together they will all stand straight.
If you want to get a closer look at the house so far, you can watch the youtube video below!
Transitional Dollhouse Progress Tour 1 - YouTube
Here are photos of the rooms with descriptions, starting on the first floor:
The living room, includes my roombox fireplace for now:
The entry, which is where the stairs will go:
The dining room:
The kitchen, featuring new a new tile pattern I'm working on. I decided the small herringbone was too busy.
And then we jump up to the second floor with the master bedroom:
The hallway once again, where the stairs will lead up to the third floor:
The big (master) closet:
The big (master) bathroom:
The third floor is next!
I have a few process photos below. During the glueing process, I added an extra column to help support the upper floors. It will be hidden by cabinets. I hope to add a few more hidden supports like this throughout. It helps keep things secure when so many walls are opening on hinges.
I used wood glue to secure everything and squares. Going one floor at a time.
I can't believe it's been a year now since I started on the designs for this project! I can start on electrical next. I'll be using LEDs and hiding the wires under the sub-floor. Then the fun stuff!
I'm hoping to do a little Valentine's scene this week, so be sure to check back. I hope you are all having a productive and happy mini weekend :)