Sunday, 1 May 2011

Something Old, Something New

One of the things I love about my day job is the variety of broken items that inevitably find their way into my miniature 'to do' tray.
After months of nagging about the importance of re-cycling, (no matter how small a scale it is), my workmates now bring me an assortment of objects for perusal before taking them on to the rubbish skip. Our company are often sent samples...Formica, carpet tiles, flooring surfaces. Pretty much anything to do with building maintenance. 

Over the weekend I've been busy recycling two hundred or so Formica samples into miniature.

  The bathroom of my 12th scale pub was in dire need of some colour so the Formica was cut into 30mm squares and dry laid to see how it would look. I'm still pondering the layout and colour scheme *any thoughts?*

The next Formica project is a modern office table with drawers.
One of the great things about Formica or any factory prepared surface is the excellent finish you get to anything you make. I'm sure that anyone who has ever brush painted miniature furniture will agree that it's a pain in the proverbials. It takes a lot of preparation, sanding between coats and cursing to a large degree.
I still have the drawer fronts to sand and glue into place. Then there's the legs...oh and the drawer handles *guh* Always a problem to get modern miniature handles and one of those items that puzzles me enormously. Brass, in comparison to aluminium or steel, is expensive, tarnishes badly and is a pain to reproduce. I suppose miniature suppliers where thinking 'Victorian' and have never quite moved on. 

I've just jotted 'resin handles from molds??' onto my ever expanding list of experiments.

Digressing here a little but does anyone else keep a jotter of notes/scenes they like/photos of furniture or is that just me? =0/

The final bit of rubbish~come~prospective~miniature to cross my desk was a knot of used domestic wire. Now I've always wanted to do a miniature garden. I've had a thing for the simplistic beauty of Oriental gardens for years and I've finally decided to pull my finger out and do one. I saw a mini tree making technique on You Tube somewhere. You basically twist wire to form trees. This is as far as I am ~ a sheet of model makers grass, a copper tree ready to be rendered with air dry clay and paint and an air dry clay patio circle which needs painting to make it look more realistic. I really need to sketch a layout before going any further and maybe Googling some Oriental garden designs. I'll keep you posted.
Before I go I need to ask for some help from the miniature community. The progress of the12th scale Pub has reached an impasse. To maintain a sense of realism I want to install a set of folding attic stairs and cannot find any detailed plans to copy from. The type I'm after is the sort that get stowed away into the attic space when not in use and then pulled down for access. I don't have the floor space to put in another staircase up to the attic so this is pretty much my only option. Any pointers would be HUGELY appreciated  =0)  

Til next time, have a great weekend,


  1. A great idea to use the formica samples as tiles, I also have a lot of samples lying waiting for a good use! I like the shown colourscheme too, and the little shelf with sliding doors under the sink is a beauty!

    I admire your urge for realism, attick ladders isn't something many of us would attempt to make in miniature! I found a page with good illustrations of an attic stair/ladder here, but it's in Norwegian:

    I also found a blogpost about installing an attic ladder here:

  2. Pubdoll, you're an absolute star! Norwegian or not, this gives a better understanding of how the ladders actually fold. Thank you soooo much *hugs*

  3. The bathroom looks great! I like using long metal beads (spacers) for handles. I've used them for this kitchen:

  4. Lucky you for getting first dibs at other people's junk :-)

    For modern handles, I tend to use staples, which come in many sizes (see an example here: )

    As for attic stairs, there used to be a set available in the big spotty catalogue: I think they were made by Timberbrook...

  5. Hi Pepper :) reading about your woes made me nod my head alot in agreement! as to drawer handles, have you considered checking out some jewellery findings? i recently bought some (but haven't found the time to use them) at a local supply shop, i think they're called "connectors"

    ok i did a google search:

    ooo they're also called links. given your skills, slightly bending them to the shapes you want should be no problem! hope this helps...

  6. Hi, I'm new to commenting so please forgive the anonymity for now. When I figure out who I am I'll let you know! As introduction, I'll say I am an experienced mini-crafter in the U.S., who enjoys sharing and learning with other miniaturists.

    First, let me say I'm enjoying your blog immensely, and I saw plenty of inspiration in your photo album as well. I especially liked the chairs; another poster said it perfectly, the technique and result is elegant. Thanks for sharing your talent.

    Next, as actual comments on this post, hopefully in order:
    Oops! Have to back up already. I have many, many ideas for ways to do things but never enough time to actually do them, so the suggestion I am about to make is untried (but should work). Handles. In the jewelry-making aisle of craft stores I have found inexpensive chain with fairly large, oval links, about 3/8' x 1/4". The links, if cut in the center of both short ends, should yield two arcs, which resemble simple handles in miniature. I have the chain in shiny "silver" but it may be available in "gold" as well. Should even work with large jump rings too.

    Notes: constantly, and an immense file on my computer of images of things and ideas I like.

    Tree: looks wonderful so far; hope you'll share more.

    Attic stairs: Believe it or not, someone does (or did) make a miniature folding attic stair. The company -- in the U.S. -- is called Timberbrook Miniatures. I don't know for certain whether they still make the stair. I did find one online seller who has one (next-to-last item on the page):

    However . . . I had a similar dilemma but went a different route. I was able to find space for a fairly shallow closet, and installed a ladder-type stair to a trap-door opening in the attic floor. My "closet" is in a hallway and I didn't want it to be obvious, so the door is a disgiused one, a "jib" door, as I learned from an English friend.

    Sorry to be so long-winded (busy-fingered?) but thanks for your patience. Hope this helps.

  7. Hi Annina, your kitchen looks fantastic. I think spacer beads are certainly the way to go, Thanks for the help =0)

  8. Thanks Shopping Sherpa, your resourcefulness as always is outstanding and helps a great deal =0)

  9. Thanks for the link Snowfern. I find it ingenious how some miniaturists make items that aren't readily available from suppliers. Your moulded food containers are brilliant!

  10. Hi Anon. Thank you for sharing your expertise. It's people like you who inspire and help those starting off in the mini world. Thank you so much for the link and advise, it's invaluable =0)

  11. TSS is right. Look for = TimberBrook Disappearing Attic Stairs

    I love what you create. I can't wait to see the modern office table with drawers.

    Yes, yes. I , too, have the idea book--which is really a stash of papers and notes lumped into a box on my desk. Eh, not so tidy...

  12. Hey there Modern MC.
    Stairs...I'm on it, table is almost there and you sound as organized as me. I have a bi-monthly reshuffle of pictures/doodles/scraps of fabric that eventually make it to the idea book. I soooo need more storage =0/

  13. I love your bathroom! especially the tiles- on the floor and on the wall.
    I wish I will reach your workmanship one day....

  14. Hi Pepper, your desk and flooring using the tiles has totally inspired me and I'm about to dive in a try playing around with a few samples myself to see what I can come up with, just thought I'd ask you first.... What do you use to cut/trim the samples? Is it best to use a cutting wheel on a Dremel and then sand or will that cause the samples to chip?
    Really appreciate your help if your able!
    Hugs, Mins xx

    1. Hi Mins,
      I use an electric saw to cut the tiles but you can also score Formica with a craft knife and snap it against a straight edge (such as a steel rule) The edge will need a bit of tidying up with sand paper after. Hope this helps =0)

  15. I love the bathroom. But then I started reading the comments, and decided I HAD to look up these Timberbrook stairs. Now I'm sorry I did. I'm in love, but the only place I could find them for sale was ebay, and they're uber expensive. le sigh.