With my puzzle house almost finished, I’m now thinking about how I want to furnish it, and got started yesterday with a Quicker Wicker settee kit for the living room. I bought this from Miniatures.com (along with a chair kit), but a quick Google search reveals that they can also be purchased directly from the K-Cee’s Miniatures website in a variety of styles not available at Miniatures.com. I haven’t seen these in any other online stores so I’m guessing they’re mostly sold at brick and mortar miniature shops and at shows.
The finished product. Keep reading to see how it’s done.
With a name like Quicker Wicker, I was expecting the kit to provide an easy way to make a wicker-like piece of furniture, but I didn’t realize until I saw it just how basic the assembly would be. The settee itself is cast in resin, no assembly required. The parts you put together yourself are the legs and the cushions. I’m used to House of Miniatures and Chrysnbon kits containing tons of tiny pieces that need to be sanded, glued, and painted, so I was surprised by the kit’s simplicity. With so little work to do, I wondered why the whole settee hadn’t been cast in resin and sold as a finished piece. On the other hand, it’s very easy to put together in a short amount of time (less than an hour for me), and the end result is a cute little couch that’s different from most of the mass produced half scale furniture available.
The settee kit comes with the resin settee, a piece of coated wire and a piece of waxy cord to make the legs, and a paper pattern and foam for the cushion. You also need what the instructions refer to as cyanoacrylate glue (not knowing what that is and too lazy to look it up, I used QuickGrip, which worked fine), tacky glue, wire cutters, fabric for the cushion, and paint (spray or acrylic) if desired.
The first steps are to cut the wire into four 1″ lengths, and glue these into the holes in the bottom of the settee to form the legs. The wire included is a good 4 1/2″ long so there was plenty to go around. Next, you use cyanoacrylate glue to attach the end of the waxy cord to the bottom of the settee near one of the legs, and wrap the cord around the leg. You’re only supposed to wrap the cord about 5/8″ from the bottom of the settee, but there’s enough cord included in the kit that you could probably wrap all the way to the end without running out. Then you apply a thin layer of tacky glue to the wrapped leg and wrap another layer back down to the base of the settee. Snip the cord and glue the tail to the bottom of the settee, and repeat the wrapping process with the other three legs.
I had a few tense moments during this part of the assembly. Even though I’d glued them, the wires were loose in the holes in the base of the settee, probably because I didn’t wait long enough for the glue to dry, and I was worried that I would pull them out while wrapping the cord around them. Also the fact that all four legs have already been attached makes the wrapping a little difficult, since the other legs get in the way. When I do the chair kit I might glue in one leg at a time to avoid this, particularly because the chair has a smaller base and the legs will be even closer to each other.
The next step is to cut the legs down to 1/2″ lengths. I’m not sure why it’s done this way, rather than starting with 1/2″ lengths to begin with, unless it has something to do with keeping the wrapped cord from unraveling at the ends. The nice thing is that you can customize the height of the settee, if you need it a little taller or a little shorter to work in your mini setting.
When I cut the legs down to their final lengths, I found it hard to measure 1/2″ from the base of the little settee using a standard sized ruler and I worried that they wouldn’t all end up the same height. The wire cutters cut the wire fine but snagged on the waxy cord. In spite of this, three of my legs turned out okay, but for one I needed to add a bit more glue to keep the severed cord from unwrapping at the bottom. Luckily the legs are all about the same length and the settee is level.
Painting is supposed to be the next step. I skipped it, because I want my settee to be white, but the resin is such a harsh white I might end up painting it. In any case, that can be done later—preferably once I’ve decided on my wallpaper and flooring for this room.
The paper pattern for making the cushion seemed kind of insubstantial, but it actually works very well. You first cut the pattern out and make sure it fits on the settee, trimming accordingly. Then use tacky glue to attach the paper to the foam, and finally stretch a piece of fabric over the foam and use tacky glue to attach it to the paper base. Fabric is not included, which is fine, since this way you can choose something to match your decor. I used a floral pattern that had been the lining of an old purse.
There’s plenty of extra foam that can be used to make pillows, although the instructions leave a bit to be desired. They say to sandwich the foam between two squares of fabric and then cut the fabric to fit around the foam, which leaves exposed edges of foam. Instead I wrapped one piece of fabric all the way around the foam and then glued another piece on the back and trimmed it close to the edges. The backs are kind of sloppy but the fronts look decent, and that’s all that really matters!
The settee is a good size for the room its going in, and I’m happy with it in spite of the kit not being quite what I expected. It’s an easy kit to put together although for $16.99 from Miniatures.com, a bit pricey for what you get. I got it during a 30% off sale which puts the price closer to $12—more reasonable for this piece, in my opinion.