The Den of Slack

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Miniature beaded curtain tutorial

It’s half scale swap time again! This year’s theme was Kitschy Things, and I made beaded curtains. This post will show how I did it, so you can make one too.

My curtains are 1 1/4″ wide by about 3 1/4″ tall, which fits a 1:24 scale Houseworks interior door. You can easily change the curtain’s width and height to accommodate a different sized doorway, or increase the dimensions to create a 1:12 scale beaded curtain.

If I’d only been making one curtain, I might have had enough beads left over from various projects to make my own mix, but since I had to make 21 of these for the swap, I bought a few packs of multicolored seed beads from Michaels.

I started by cutting a 1/8″ x 1/8″ basswood strip into 1 1/4″ lengths. Then I put this up against a ruler and made dots spaced 1/8″ apart.

I used the micro drill to turn the dots into holes, using a bit slightly thicker than a beading needle.

Next I stained the wood with a Minwax stain pen.

I cut a piece of sewing thread approximately 12″ long (about three times the length of one strand of beads). I strung one bead to the center, and then doubled up the thread and reinserted it into the needle.

I strung beads to my desired length (approximately 3 3/16″).

I inserted this into the center hole and tied a knot at the top. The long tail makes it easier to tie the knot. It needs to be knotted several times to be large enough not to slip through the hole (tug on the strand to make sure it doesn’t slip through).

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Mansard Victorian – egg carton brick foundation

This is my inspiration house for the Mansard Victorian. It’s the Emanuel Kahn mansion in Salt Lake City, Utah (more pictures here).

I realize I’m setting myself up for a lot of tedious work with a brick exterior. When I did the Victorianna’s brick foundation, it took so long that I swore I would never do egg carton bricks again. I’ve used brick paper and Magic Brik on roomboxes, but they don’t have the realism I want for this house. So, egg carton bricks it is.

I’m ready to start finishing the interior, but first I need to cover up the front foundation piece, since I don’t want to be painting and grouting when the wallpaper and flooring is already in.

Before I got started, I turned the house on its back so I could see how much space there is between the front of the house and the foundation piece. I didn’t want the thickness of the bricks to prevent the front from standing up against the house.

Not only is there a gap, but the front piece is slightly bowed where I glued the two panels together. I put a piece of egg carton material in to see how it fit, and there’s plenty of space for it.

I started by filling in the screw holes on the foundation piece with wood filler.

Then I painted the foundation piece and the front edges of the walls and ceiling. My bricks will be orange with gray trim, like in the inspiration picture, but I didn’t have the orange paint yet. I grabbed a gray off my paint shelf, knowing I could paint over it later if I needed to.

I cut several egg carton strips. The strips are 3/8″ wide, and I then them into 1/8″ pieces to make the bricks.

This is going to take a loooong time.

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The Shop by Bauder-Pine

Last month, this cute half scale dollhouse showed up on eBay.

The description attributed the house to Robert Bernhard of Dolphin Miniatures. Curious about it, I reached out to Cathy Miller-Vaughn, the current owner of Bauder-Pine. She started working for Pat Bauder in the nineties, and she knows the names of a lot of people who did half scale in that era.

Not only did Cathy recognize the house, but it turns out it’s a Bauder-Pine house! Here’s what she told me:

Pat and Bob Bernhard decided they wanted to create four houses that were similar and would sit on a shelf. This is the second house. … I think it was 1997, Pat and I went to CIMTA in Vegas and met a gentleman from Sri Lanka who would cut these houses for us. There were, I think, 100 or 125 of each house created. Bob designed and created the prototypes. They came assembled and unfinished. They arrived by truck, a big truck, in wooden crates. It took months for them to arrive. I was the one who had to unload those crates. Good times!

Eventually, only three houses went into production. The windows, doors, staircase, and railings were created in Sri Lanka with the houses. These are not anything you can purchase separately. The roofing with the kit was a plastic sheet of shingles. The roofing on this house, on eBay, isn’t the roofing that came with the house. Also, the chimney wasn’t included in the house kit.

She sent me this newspaper picture of the four buildings. From left to right they’re the Shop, the second building that never went into production, the Market Cross, and the Regent Street.

This Market Cross is owned by Ann Pennypacker. Cathy thought it might be the prototype. I love the curved bay window.

Notice how the quoins are handled — they’re only the front, to allow the hinged panels to open.

This is something I grappled with on the Mansard Victorian. I decided to turn that house’s hinged panels into one standalone panel, so the quoins don’t get in the way of opening the panel, but even if I kept the hinges I’m not sure I would do the quoins this way. It’s fine to only see the quoins from the front if the building is right up against other buildings like it is in the newspaper photo, but on a standalone building it’s a little awkward.

(Don’t get me wrong, it’s still beautifully finished! Just something I noticed.)

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