Saturday, February 12, 2011

Marbling of the Fireplace

Now I will tell the very frustrating, but in the end rewarding, story of how I did a faux marble finish on my fireplace.

As you remember from one of my earlier posts, I decided on a color scheme of greens, creams, and golds. So, naturally the fireplace would have to be green marble. And that was where my troubles began. First tip of advice: Do Not begin your first faux marbling endeavor with Green Marble! As I found out, there is a very fine line between a good green marble, neon green, GI Joe camo green, and too dark forest green. Lets just say I went through a lot of paint with this project.

  • Waaay too dark!
    • GI Joe camo fireplace! hahaha sooo horrible

    Once you find your colors though, its not as bad. now I'm no expert on marbling, and used many YouTube videos for assistance, but this is what I did. All you need to do is paint base colors, low-light veins, and high-light veins. For the base you want to have a mixture of colors, very close in tone, that give an overall flow to the piece. These basic directions are what your veins will follow. I decided to use acrylic paint because its easier to water down and blend together.

    Next are the veins. The hardest part of this step was finding a brush that was small enough. Eventually though, I found a really, really, tiny brush. To apply the veins I held the brush lightly in my hand and dragged it across the surface. It made a natural and random line all by itself. When the paint was still wet I used a brush dipped in water to make any needed changes. The I dotted a dry flat brush over the veins to blend them nicely. That was pretty much it. I really suggest checking out videos on it online, they are so helpful.

    The pictures are pretty blurry but here is my finished piece! I really like that way it finally turned out! Now I'm just debating weather or not to but a gloss on it.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Beginning the Walls!

    Wow! It has been a very long time since my last post, but I have a good reason. Work! Schoolwork, miniature work, tutoring jobs, and more have kept me very busy. Just because I haven't blogged, however, doesn't mean I haven't made some great progress on my chateau. For this post I've decided to write about the paneling on the fireplace wall, first floor.

    As I researched (googled imaged rococo detailing for hours on end) I kept thinking that I would never be able to find a trim from a store that would truly be rococo. This was made even more clear when I found some antique findings at a jewelry show that would fit perfectly on the walls. So, I decided to carve my very own trims for the paneling in the room! A little crazy, yes, but worth it, completely. The first thing I did was draw up some sketches that would tie in nicely with the findings.
    After I found a design I liked, I began to block out the basic shapes in balsa wood with an Exacto knife. After that I started to sand, smooth, and add detail to the wood with my dremel (which I LOVE by the way!)

    As for steps, that's pretty much it, but don't be tricked into thinking this is easy stuff. The carving takes a lot of patience at this small of a scale. My first trim took me about 4 hours, mostly because I was being very cautious and everything was new. Once I got used to the design and tools, however, I was finishing up trims in an hour!

    • Here are all my trims! I am soooo proud of them, especially since they all look the same!

    • This is what the panel will look like, plus some gold leafing of course.

    So it turns out I was right, hand carved trims ended up looking absolutely amazing. If I had bought store bought trims it just wouldn't have been right. Plus, now that I know I can carve my own detailing, I think I'll start carving as much as I can!

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Gold Leafed Ceiling

    My god did my life get busy! I haven't written in ages due to time consuming school and recent family matters. For the last couple of months my choice was either to work on my house or write about; as you can tell I obviously chose the fist option. However, things have slowed down a bit and I have found a rainy afternoon to sit down and write my heart out. So I'm going to pick up right where I left off.

    My next step after making the parquet flooring for my very French party room was the ceiling. For a while I had no clue what I was going to do until one fateful day in Novato. My mom and I had just finished catching up with an old friend who lived in the area when we drove past a shop named Dollhouses, Trains & More. It didn't take much to persuade her to pull over for a quick peak inside. As I was looking through the dollhouse section my eyes fell upon at least twenty vertically stacked "plaster ceilings". I excitedly looked through the selection of ceilings hoping to find one that would be rococo enough for my house. Luckily I did.

    The first thing I did when I got home was tediously pick out every single plaster bubble and sand down any imperfections. I couldn't wait for the weekend when I would really get to start to working on it. That weekend turned out to be much more difficult than I had expected.

    My first step was to cut the ceiling to fit. It seemed like a simple task, but that perception was quickly changed. My first problem arose when I began to make measurements. Although the medallion was in the center of the plaster for some reason it had been rotated a couple of degrees. So, because the edges of the plaster weren't parallel to the medallion I had no right angle to work off of. Fun right? After an hour measuring, remeasuring, and racking my brain for any knowledge I had left of last years geometry, I finally had the correct dimensions. That's when I ran into my second problem, how to cut it.

    The problem was the material the ceiling was made of. Although it looked like plaster it was actually a type of linoleum; one that was not going to be cut with an exacto knife. So my dad and I got out the jigsaw and tried to make the most accurate cut possible. Miraculously, we did! The ceiling fit perfectly.

    Next was primer. I was actually pretty excited about this mundane task because a couple of days before I had bought spray primer for this exact project. There was no way I was going to attempt to paint a smooth coat of primer over all of the decorative detailing. So I happily went to town applying my two coats of primer with ease. As I stepped back after spraying the last coat a huge fly landed on the ceiling's gleaming white surface! I quickly flicked it off but the damage had already been done. After sanding the dried smudge I finally put the last coat on. Then it was time to play with some color.
    I went to the paint cabinet and pulled out my two brand new paint cans. The first color was a cream and the second a light green. First I painted the large area outside the medallion cream and then the inner circle green. For the center piece i decided to mix the green and cream together for a bit of variety in color. It looked great and the next step was gold leafing!

    I had been waiting to gold leaf for so long and could not wait to see what it would look like on my ceiling. The first step is applying the adhesive sizing, or glue. The application in itself is easy but waiting an hour for it to set is never fun, especially when you are dying to see what the finished product will look like. Once the sizing has partially dried it is time to apply the gold leaf! All you do is place the super thin foil on the sized surface and brush off all the excess foil. It's surprisingly that easy, and it looks absolutely gorgeous!

    All that was left to do before putting the ceiling in was attach the chandelier eye. I used my dremel to drill a small hole through the center of the medallion so I would be able to fish a wire through. Then I put an eye with a finding through the hole and secured it on the back. This way when I get to making my chandelier I will be able to simply hang it from the eye.

    At this point I was finally ready to put my ceiling in my little chateau! To be one hundred percent sure the the ceiling would not only stay up but also hold the weight of a chandelier I decided to use contact cement. I was pretty nervous about using it and totally messing everything up, but the ceiling fit like a glove. So, drum role please. Here is my finished rococo, gold leaf covered, ceiling!

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Parquet Flooring

    I have always wanted to use a parquet flooring kit, so I was extremely excited when I finally got the chance. I chose the Paris Maple Wood Flooring Kit, which is, of course, based on the classic 18th century style. Then, as an accent, I also bought a border to go around the room. Both of these can be bought at most miniature stores or online. Wood glue, an exacto knife, and a ruler were the only supplies needed, so it was time to start installing.

    Instead of gluing the wood strait onto the floor I decided to glue it onto a cutout of dark brown card stock for two reasons. The first was to make it easier to measure out and lay down the wood. If I had tried to fit my hands into the actual room, the floor would have been a disaster. The second reason had to do with the visual accuracy of the flooring. The dark brown peeping through the seems made the floors look unified, rather than being separated by white cracks.

    First I glued down the border. This was definitely the easiest part of the process but I did have one problem. As you can see in the top left of the border there is one less diamonds than on the bottom border. The last diamond lined up right at the corner and would have messed up the entire seem. To fix this problem I cut out the diamond and connected another strip so that it would reach the entire length. With the help of wood putty you can hardly notice any seam at all.

    • "ah oh, thats a problem"
    Then it was time to start laying the parquet. The classic French style places the tiles in a diagonal pattern. This was quite handy because it also makes any room look larger. First I had to find the center of the room. Then I drew two perpendicular lines , their intersection point in the center, that extended to the outer corners of the floor. These would be my guidelines. As for the gluing, it was really easy. I just used a brush to paint a thin layer of wood glue onto the paper, then placed the wood on top. Before I knew it I had finished the majority of the floor.

    Now came the hard part. For the next two hours I cut and glued the tiniest pieces of wood and inserted them into the tiniest slots................and it was so fun! Now all the pieces had been glued and I was ready to stain and wax.
    For the stain, I chose a light oak color. To apply I used a rag and then simply rubbed it in. The final color was gorgeous.

    Next I applied the wax finish. This seamed appropriate because a high gloss would not transfer to miniature scale very well and the wax would fill the spaces between the wood. I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax and a cheese cloth rag. All you do is rub some wax on the cheese cloth and spread an even layer over the entire surface, then let it dry. I applied a second coat just to fill up all the gaps. Once the second coat was dry I used 0000 extra fine steal wool to buff the wood and give it a little shine. My last step was to take a look at the beautiful floor I had just created. Oh, you can have a look too.

    • applying wax

    • can you see the seam?

    Making this floor was so fun and the result is absolutely amazing. I will defiantly be doing it again for my second floor. Whoever is out there reading, besides my mom or history teacher, you should absolutely try it. Until I write again, Katie.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Theme of First Floor

    Now that I had a fabulous roof, the question was what to work on next. If my thought process was anywhere near normal I probably would have chosen to work on the faux stone exterior. Instead I chose to take a turn in the complete opposite direction, the interior. Looking back I most likely would have kept working on the exterior, but something got in the way. One picture in the book Period Style by Mary Gilliatt and Elizabeth Wilhide. Period Style is a history of how and why architectural and decorative elements of homes have evolved. I found my lovely inspiration room within the section about the transition from Baroque to Rococo.

    • this room is in the Grand hotel Faligan, Belgium.

    This Rococo room has a color scheme of greens, creams, and of course, GOLD! The trompe l'eol style paintings were what popped out at me first. I knew that I had to have something just like it in my mini chateau. After hours of searching "18th century paintings", "rococo paintings", and anything else I could think of I finally hit the jackpot. A panoramic view of a very 18th century outing. It had cherubs dancing around fully costumed men and women in front of the most perfect light blue and green background. Once again I could not have asked for more.

    After meticulous measuring I had three, two inch panels to go on one of my walls. A fireplace would go on the other wall and the floors wood be a beautiful parquet design. At his point I was thinking "OK, I have the main elements and color scheme down, but what will this rococo room be used for??". The answer to this, and many other questions was in one of my favorite movies, Marie Antoinette. As I was watching the scene of Marie's birthday it hit me. The room would be the scene of a soiree, with cards, cakes, and lots of champagne! Now I had a clear goal and was ready to get working. Next step, PARQUET FLOORING!
    Untill I write again, Katie.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    First post!

    Well here we go, my first post on my new blog! I'm going to start with some background info because this is definitely not the first, or even second day of my new miniature project. It has actually been about a month from when my mom pulled down a huge box from the attic one summer day. When I opened this mysterious new box I was pleasantly surprised with a cracked, brittle, and swollen piece of wood with a Bespaq sticker on it. The roof was almost completely separated from the walls, and the detailing around the door was completely ripped of the side of the building. This dilapidated piece of wood was just the sort of project I love. For the next two days I did the most sanding, wood puddying, and gluing I have probably done in my whole life. After all this work you could actually see what the chunk of wood really was. A very elegant chateau style house.

    • note the bottles of putty in the background

    Originally the roof had nothing on it and it looked extremely plain. This had to be fixed. After a quick stop at Shellie's (Miniature Mania), Michael's, and the closest golf store I could find, I was ready to make a fabulous copper roof. The first thing I did was add two perpendicular pieces of, err trim I guess you could call it ( sorry still working on the lingo here), on the top of the roof. I did this to add height and make it look more like a metal roof. Wood trim was also added to the flat part of the roof for gutters. The next step is where the golf store starts to make sense. I bought lead tape ( I think golfers put it on their clubs or something) to make ribs on the roof.

    Now Michael's comes in. I bought Sophisticated Finishes: Copper Metallic Surfacer and Patina Green Antiquing Solution;and just some basic copper colored high gloss paint. I didn't want the roof to be as green as the Statue of Liberty, but instead have some shinny copper popping out through the weathered green. This is why I used the regular copper paint as a base coat (after a coat of primer of course). Once the paint dried I waited for a nice foggy day in South City to use the finishes. To apply the Copper Metallic Surfacer I used a sponge to make sure there would be no brush lines. Extra paint was put in the corners where most of the water would have collected and run down. Then before the paint dries I used a combined method of spraying and flicking with a tooth brush the Patina Solution onto the roof. All that was left to do is wait for everything to dry and cross you fingers for a good result the next day. All I can say is the four leaf clover I found when I was seven must still be working because the roof turned out perfect! I couldn't have asked for anything more, especially on a first try.

    • The photo on the left I took while waiting for everything to dry. The photo on the right is the finished product.

    Alrighty, that's it for tonight, my next post will be about the theme, flooring, and ceiling for the first floor.

    Until I write again, Katie