Saturday, 25 September 2010

Gingerbread trim

This week I've been finishing off the roof.

I decided to take DS's suggestion and drybrush the roof.  I drybrushed in Anita's Dusty Green colour, which is like a lighter shade of the Leaf Green I used on the roof.  I started out on a little corner to see if I liked it, and was amazed at how it instantly brought the texture of the roof to life.  So then I did it all over the roof.  In this photo, I was trying to show the contrast between the area at the right (drybrushed up to chimney) versus the area above the bedroom cutout (not drybrushed) but it was hard to get it to show in a photo.

This is a closeup of a drybrushed area. You can see how the lighter colour picks up all the texture of the wooden shingles, and also defines the edge of each row.  The extra shading makes the roof look less toy-like.

Then I had the pleasure of finally unwrapping all the cling film and bubble wrap from the house - like opening a Christmas present!

I had already spraypainted the trim with primer, so I gave it a few coats of first, white acrylic, and finally the white emulsion to match the house.  I love the trick of resting the trim on pieces of dry spaghetti to stop it sticking to the table - wish I had known that one years ago.

I had previously traced around the roof peak onto a piece of paper, before I put the roof on, so that I would have a pattern to use when cutting the trim.  I am using the same Houseworks trim that I used for the conservatory roof.  I played around with it a bit to see how I could fit it into the roof peak, and also have an interesting finish at the bottom edge of the roof.  Then I cut it carefully, and sanded the cut pieces to shape them into a natural looking curve.

Here are my three sets of trim, after I'd touched up the cut areas with white paint.

I glued my gingerbread trim underneath the roof, flush with the edge (as in the right of the photo) and then added a plain stick to trim the edge of the roof (as in the left of the photo).  I used a trick Rik Pierce taught us when I took a workshop with him, which is to add dabs of super glue along the length of wood, in between the white glue, to give some instant grab while the white glue sets.

The trim on either side of the chimney, at the side of the house, stands out from the wall.  I finished the gap at the top with another little bit of stick.

I'm quite pleased with the trim, it really brings the house to life.  Once the glue has dried hard, I am going to go in and touch up the joins and cut ends with white emulsion.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Painting the Forth Bridge

No pictures this week as the only job I've been doing is painting the shingles when I get a chance.  It's been a busy week, without much time for dollshousing.

For such a little house, painting the shingles has felt a bit like painting the Forth bridge: endless.  I've done several coats, only to turn the house to a new angle and discover new unpainted crevices.  I've just finished what I hope is the definitive and final coat, and I put a bright worklamp between my eyes and my paintbrush, so that I could look extremely closely at the roof and really work the paint into all the cracks.

DS is suggesting that I add some realism by drybrushing the roof in a different colour, or highlighting some of the shingles in different shades of green.  I'm a bit worried that introducing too much colour will distract from the appearance of such a small house, but I might experiment a bit on a small corner of the roof.  I was thinking that drybrushing with grey might make the roof look a bit weathered.

I spraypainted a coat of white primer onto the trim that I will use to trim off the edges of the roof gables, but I still need to paint it all with white emulsion to match the house.

I also spent three hours on Tuesday night relocating the house off of the dining table, and onto the little picnic table because DS had invited three friends over for Friday supper.  It took quite a while to shovel through four months worth of accumulated tools, materials, paint bottles, wood scraps, wallpaper etc., and find new homes for it all. A lot of it is currently on the floor of my bedroom, in case I need it again during the remainder of the build.  The little picnic table feels small and makes me feel sad that I don't have a proper studio to work in, but I expect I will get used to it.  There aren't any really big messy jobs left now, just lots of trimming out to do, so I don't really need any more working room than I have.

I'm enjoying watching the Fairfield build on the Looking Glass Miniature blog.  She has a neat idea for using fancy trim scissors to cut edging for shelves, fireplaces, windowseats etc. which I think I may have to copy, it looks really cool.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Shingling done, for better or for worse

I made a big push today on the shingling. The family went out for the day to a modelling show so I was able to put in about six hours on the dollshouse.  I am relieved to report that all the shingles are now on, including the ridge tiles, and the first coat of paint applied.  I will be honest and confess that I am not incredibly happy with how the main roof turned out.  My row spacing is pretty erratic in some places.  I'm thinking perhaps the inhabitants got their cousin the roofer to do the shingling job for them on the cheap (and perhaps he has a slight alcohol problem). My only excuse is that with these little shingles, small discrepancies soon build up into obvious faults.  Also, if I were to do it all again, I would buy third-party shingles and not use the kit shingles, as they were pretty rubbish.

At the end of the shingling I still had a good half a bag of shingles left.  If you put your rows closer together than I did mine, then you would use more, but there are still ample shingles supplied in the kit for the job.

After completing the wooden shingles on the roof, I moved on and shingled the porch roof.

Then I shingled the bay window roof, which was tricky because of the angles and small area to work on, plus having to notch the shingles around the vertical battens.

Ridge Treatment

While deciding how to finish the ridge of my main roof, I had a look at several other houses pictured in the gallery on the Greenleaf Forum to see what other people have done.  There were a variety of treatments used:

  • butting the last row of shingles neatly against each other
  • applying individual ridge tiles overlapping the roof ridge
  • applying long horizontal lengths of trim along the ridge
  • applying an ornamental 'gingerbread' fretwork along the ridge and butting the shingles up against this
  • applying a long horizontal strip of folded card or paper along the ridge, to mimic roofing paper or flashing.
I also looked at the pictures I have of the original Pickett Hill house that I am copying, and it seems to use individual ridge tiles.  So I decided to go with those.  I used my quilting ruler to mark up thin card (from the back of a writing pad) into strips 3/8" wide (roughly the width of a narrow shingle) and 1/2" long (to overlap 1/4" on either side of ridge).  Before cutting these out, I scored a line halfway along the length, so that each shingle would have a fold line.  

I applied these to the house using Aleene's Thick Designer Tacky Glue, which is a super tacky thick white glue which works really well with card.

On the dormer, I cut the 3/8" strips into longer 1-inch lengths, with the fold scored at 1/2", so that the dormer ridge tiles overlap 1/2" on to either side of the dormer.

With all the shingling done, I applied a first coat of Anita's Leaf Green acrylic paint, using a pointed brush to carefully paint the areas touching the white walls, and a bigger brush for the main areas.  This is going to take a few coats to achieve a uniform colour.  Shingled roofs are one of those never-ending paint jobs where you think you have it all painted, then you turn it to a different angle and suddenly see all these crevices and bits you missed.

Curiously, I think the house looks smaller now than it did when the shingles were plain wood.  Perhaps because the green has made them darker, as well as uniting the various surfaces into one roof.

Looking on the Greenleaf Forum gallery has left me with a major case of inadequacy.  Some of the pictures on there are so detailed and so perfect that it is hard to tell they are of dollshouses and not of real rooms.  I know my house is never going to look that perfect (particularly in unforgiving high definition photographs). I can only admire people who can achieve that level of detail, particularly in the half-inch scale.  I have to remind myself that my original goal is to achieve a suitable home for my Lydia Pickett furniture, and that it's not a competition, and there are no Dollshouse Inspection Police!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Shingling is killing my brain cells

I'm still shingling and so far this has to be the least enjoyable part of the build.  As well as being fiddly, and slow, it is also incredibly annoying due to the size variation in the Greenleaf shingles.  Dealing with too-short shingles and too-narrow shingles is throwing off my rows and my rhythm.

I am slowly working my way up the front/side roof.  I am doing them all at the same time, so that the rows line up.  This means that on every row I have to cut shingles to fit into the valleys around the dormer and between the two roofs. You can see my half-inch guidelines on the side roof.  You can also see how uneven the tops of the shingle rows are due to the varying height of the shingles, grrrrrr.

I'm also not very happy with the spacing of my first three rows on the main roof.  Now that I am several rows up, it is bugging me that the second row isn't centred between the starting row and the third row.  However, I expect this will be less obvious once it's all painted.

Today I went to the Epsom Dollshouse Fair and picked up some sticks of wood 1.5mm x 5mm which will be my fascia boards to hide the front roof edges once the shingles are on and painted.  I also got some 1/24 cornicing, but I thought it was rather expensive at .90p per wall-length piece. I got six sticks of coving and six sticks of cornicing, which should be enough for four rooms.