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Miniature wishing well tutorial

A while ago I had my eye on this resin wishing well from Miniatures.com. At $28 it’s pretty pricey, but I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to make something like that and tucked the idea away. Now that I’m working on the Thatched Cottage, I decided to give it a try.

Read on for the step-by-step of how I did it. I’ve included a parts list at the bottom with dimensions for each of the pieces. My well is half scale (1:24) but you could double the dimensions to create a 1:12 version.

The base of the well started out as a piece of PVC pipe that’s 1-7/8″ wide and 1-1/8″ tall. (It’s actually 1-1/2″ pipe — that’s the inside diameter.)

I painted the pipe gray as a base for the stonework.

While the paint was drying, I cut support pieces from 5/16″ x 3/16″ basswood. The roof pieces are from a scrap of 2-1/2″ wide luan plywood that some trim I recently purchased was taped to when I received it in the mail.

The decorative corners are Northeastern Scale Lumber BRE-1 brackets that I’ve used in various other places, like the Victorianna’s bay windows and the Gull Bay dormers. These aren’t listed on Northeastern’s website anymore, which sadly may mean they’ve been discontinued. They are totally optional for the well, or you could substitute another right-angle bracket or small apex trim.

The last major component is a 1:12 spit fork from Olde Mountain Miniatures. Alternatively you could make something like this out of wire; I bought it because I was trying to fill up a shopping cart enough to get free shipping and it seemed like it would work.

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Thatched Cottage hardwoods and fireplace

With the Thatched Cottage’s walls painted I moved on to the floors, using the same thin wood veneer I’d used in the Victorianna (but a different color). I started by staining the subfloor so any spots that showed through wouldn’t look like raw wood. I hadn’t done a particularly good job keeping wood filler and paint off the floor, so I was only really able to stain the centers. Better than nothing.

The trim at the top of the house was very faded, so while I had the stain out I went over those pieces with it. The stain is Minwax Weathered Oak. In this picture the trim at the top has been stained and the trim at the bottom hasn’t yet, so you can see the difference.

While the stain was drying I cut out 1/4″ wide flooring strips with the paper cutter. I went around the edge with Sharpie to give the flat boards the illusion of depth, and then used a thinner Sharpie to draw nail holes on each end.

The cottage’s rooms aren’t square. I started with the middle room, going left to right, which got kind of wonky when I got over to the next room that meets it at an angle.

Here’s how the three rooms ended up. I probably should have done the middle room right to left since the right edge of that room is square. Oops.

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Bill Lankford cottages – adding wood filler texture

I don’t know what materials were originally used to create the texture on the outside of the Bill Lankford cottages. Possibly spackling compound. In the past I’ve used watered-down wood filler for a stucco effect (Rosedale, Artist’s Cottage) and since I’m more experienced with that than spackle, I decided to do something similar to add texture to the cottage walls.

My wood filler was almost empty, so I bought a new one. Previously I had been using Elmer’s brand and this is Dap “plastic wood” (Home Depot didn’t have Elmer’s). The consistency is different, almost like thick tahini sauce.

I mixed it up with the rest of the Elmer’s (the yellower, crumblier stuff).

After adding water and stirring, they mixed together fine. It was a little thin — maybe I should have added more of the Dap stuff — but I just wanted some texture, not stucco necessarily, so I thought thin would be okay.

Before I started painting it on I put tape over the windows, leaving a bit around the edges to account for the trim, which I thought would be easier to glue onto flat wood than textured.

I forgot to take a picture at this point in the process, but I spread this stuff on the walls with a sponge brush, swirling and dabbing to create texture. When some of it had dried a bit I went back and dabbed some more. Then I let it dry a few hours, peeled off the masking tape, and started the first coat of paint.

Here it is completely painted. I was using a sample jar of Behr “Sandstone Cove.”

The masking tape didn’t work out quite how I’d hoped. I think this happened on the Rosedale, too — the lines left by the edges of the tape are much too obvious, especially since I wasn’t precise about how much trim area got masked off.

I did another round with the wood filler, being super careful not to get it on the windows. I also touched up some other areas that hadn’t come out as textured as I wanted.

Much better! And because this is a thin layer and not as bumpy as the stucco, I don’t think gluing trim over it will be a problem.

Here’s the Thatched Cottage with all its walls done.

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