Your miniature questions are welcome here!

The original Miniatures Question and Answer Blog was the brain child of Nikki Rowe from Witch and Wizards Miniatures. Lately, she realized that she was spreading herself way too thin to continue doing all the things she's involved with well.

Since we all wait in anticipation of what awesome item she'll create next and we all want her to concentrate on making those fabulous mini's that we love, I have agreed to take over the responsiblity of the Miniature Question and Answer blog.

Format is the same. Once a week, on Sunday or Monday, a new question will be posted, researched and, with any luck, answered. You are all welcomed and encouraged to comment with your own answers and suggestions.

If you have a miniature related question you'd like investigated, the best way is to send me an e-mail.

tabithacorsica@gmail.com

But you can also put it in the comments section as a suggestion for the following week and, hopefully, I'll find it.

Nikki will be deleting the original blog so you will have to "re-follow" here, but I have saved all the questions...and answers and comments and they will be the subject of the first post.

Sounds like fun, eh?

Tabitha

Followers

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wrought Iron Railings?????

I am rather in over my head this week ...in more ways than one...

My "professional" life is frantic right now.  Note to self: NEVER send out work to individuals whose skill sets are uncertain, regardless of how much there is to do or who recommends them...

On to the question for this week.

Jenn from Looking Glass Miniatures asked:  How to make miniature wrought iron railing? I have one tutorial for railing but the link is at home and i found it hard to understand.

She included the link.  Miniature metal railings how to

I had a quick look at it and while it appears relatively straightforward (aren't most things that often prove disasterous in the end??), I suspect it is not as easy as it looks.

I have no idea which metals work the best, what can be soldered to what.

...and how   ...and where to get supplies.

I confess that when I was planning the Alice Project, I really wanted an ornate gate at the entrance to the tea party garden.

Something like this...

......or this...


However, I quickly put it aside as something I had not the talent nor the time for.

The question intrigues me, as I am still of a mind to try a gate....sometime...soon...maybe.  I've not had a second to research it, though. 

However, I am sure sure someone knows the answers so I am tossing this one to the masses and hoping an "expert" steps up to the plate.

Come on...I know you're out there!!

Tabitha

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Can't Tell a Book by it's Cover....

The lovely Kate from Whittakers Miniatures asked:
I love making books Susan but half the time my method always seems to take forever and Im always wondering if there are easier ways!! Open and closed books would be a good question and answer, how people cut their paper, age it, do the covers, even to how to make mini proper book covers with front, back and spine images.
Books are so very versatile.  The can be used in almost any setting and time period from Ancient to Modern.  They are the kind of detail that adds dimension and depth to a miniature setting and they are not hard to make.
Book can be a variety of sizes also.  Medieval or magical setting can handle books of a much larger scale than an 18th century or more modern setting.
They can be covered with paper, leather, faux leather or cloth; be open or closed; single or stacked.
One of the best miniature closed book tutorials that I have seen was done by Kris Compass from 1 Inch Minis.  Suffice it to say, I use my own adaptation of her technique now whenever I make books.
Can you believe that I used to cut strips of paper and then make individual pages and then glue the binding??!!  Took forever!  And the pages were never even…..
The tutorial is in 2 parts with a very informative addendum about printies for pages.


Printies for pages    read through the comments on this one for important information!

Here is an example of some books I made using the technique.  I used scrapbook paper or paper I printed from the internet.  Some of the “leather look” is actually a scrapbook paper I found at JoAnn’s.  Some is real leather from old wallets or gloves from the thrift store.  For the edging, it is really important to use extremely thin leather. 
To get the coloration on the edges (I didn’t want white), I used a stamp pad with either a gold or champagne ink or an “old paper” or “tea dye” ink.  The last two are by Tim Holz.  I like those for aging paper.  I did that before I attached the cover.  The stamp pad ink allows the pages to be opened whereas paint or marker will make them stick together.  Your choice.
These books open but have blank pages. The largest (a ledger) is about 7/8 inch longer x 5/8 inch wide.




Of course, sometimes, you don’t want the pages even and you want your books bigger and a little less “nice” looking.  Here is an example of some of the Magical books I’ve made.   They are thicker, wider and a whole lot dirtier.  I used a less delicate leather on all of these and then did all manner of things to it to age the leather.  I sanded, inked, stained, re-sanded, re-stained….until I was satisfied.  I also used chalks and sometimes plain old dirt.  These pages of these books tend not to open because I have used a gold paint on the edges. 


However, I have made open books.




I start with the same book “blank”, attach the cover and then press the book open, usually in the middle.  If you have glued the binding sufficiently, it should not fall apart.  For open books, I used paper that has been aged to a cream or tan color.   I’ll often put a bookmark ribbon done the center by gluing a piece of silk ribbon into the binding at the top and then draping it over the page. 
You can make the two “printed” pages several ways.  I usually print out whatever I want on a pre-tea stained piece of parchment or tracing paper.  Then I cut it to size and glue it over the blank page.  The parchment pretty much disappears.  Or you can just add two printed pages (same paper as the book) to the center with glue and press them back.  Then add the silk ribbon.  It will be necessary to weight the book in the open position for a while to keep it from closing.  I press it between two pieces of thin wood with spring clothes pins.

Of course, there are other ways to make books…
When I was filling this bookcase, I cut foamcore to size, painted the edges with gold paint and covered them with scrapbook paper.  They cannot be removed from the bookcase.




These books in Professor Pimm’s study are made from balsa wood cut to size.  The edges were stained with a wood stainstick and lightly gilded.  Then they were covered with thin leather.

You can add paper details to the leather covers easily.  One trick I learned to make the paper look like part of the leather is to rub it lightly with petroleum jelly (just a teensy dab) and buff it with a cloth.  It soaks into the paper and makes it somewhat translucent.

If you are even the least bit computer literate, you can reduce and print out covers and text for your mini books.  Of course, on the smallest sizes, it will not be legible so it really just depends on what your final goal is. 



So that’s what I know.  What about you? 
Is there something you’ve learned while trying to make your mini books? 
Is there something I’ve missed that you have some questions about? 
Do you have any suggestions or know of another good book tutorial?
I'm waiting to hear from you.....
Tabitha

Sunday, October 24, 2010

...technical difficulties...

...ahem...due to my inability to upload (or is it download....) pictures tonight, there will be a slight delay in the posting of this week's Q&A. 

With any luck, I'll have this sorted out by tomorrow....

Hope you all are not too shattered by this news.... :-)

Carry on....

Tabitha the Totally Inept

Friday, October 22, 2010

???????

Hi all!

I haven't gotten any questions for this weekend yet. 

Anyone have something they're buring to know?

...or even mildy curious about?

Send me an e-mail at   tabithacorsica@gmail.com

Later,

Tabs

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Sticky Situation....

.... in other words...GLUE!!

What’s your favorite?  What works best for you in certain situations?
There are lots of explanations/tutorials about various glues on the web and this is not intended to be another, but one of the things I find lacking in those descriptions is personal experiences.  We’ll focus on adhesive miniaturists are most likely to use.
Ya know, just because something is supposed to work in a certain way doesn’t mean it will. :-/
PVA
We have all heard of PVA glue (polyvinyl acetate).  Here’s some helpful info from the site  This to That:  I’ve add my comments in Red.
PVA (Polyvinyl acetates) are probably the most common adhesive on the market. They come in a variety of formulas, all ever so slightly different, and specific to what they are designed to glue. Here are some tips for using polyvinyl acetates.
§  All PVAs are designed to work on porous materials only. This means they won’t work very well when gluing plastic to plastic or plastic to wood, for example.  It might seem to hold initially but the bond is not permanent.  Of course, if you don’t want the bond to be permanent, that’s another story.  I use PVA to glue plastic window panes to the frames of the windows because it dries clear, doesn’t damage the plastic and I can remove them easily if I want.  It holds enough to keep them in place because there is very little stress put on that bond.  So it suits my purpose….
§  PVAs are water based, and clean up with warm soapy water.
§  PVA is only toxic to ingest, it does not emit any harmful fumes, and is not hazardous to touch
§  PVA sets best in good air circulation, at room temperature.
§  PVAs need pressure to adhere.  Only slight pressure is usually necessary, depending on what is being glued.  I use the little non-toothed clamps made specifically for electronics on paper or card.  I have some clamps for wood or I use tape.  When I use my gluing jig, the pressure from the magnets seems to be enough.
§  Most PVAs are not water proof. The yellow PVAs have a higher moisture resistance than the white ones, but neither are completely water proof.  If I want a wood join to be as strong as the wood itself, I always use a yellow “carpenter’s” glue. White glue works but not nearly as well in my experience.  Also, the yellow PVA is not flexible when dry; it forms a nice, hard bond.  Keeps the legs from wiggling on the table…
§  Never allow your PVAs to freeze. This breaks down the polymers and your glue will be rendered useless!  Found this out the hard way….
§  Yellow PVAs have a shorter shelf life than white PVAs.
§  Be wary of overpriced PVAs that claim to be for a specific use. There is very little difference from one PVA to the other and nothing that should increase the cost. Except that I find Elmer’s, while it dries clear initially, tends to yellow over time and is not very flexible.  Alene’s and Sobo both dry clear.  I personally prefer the flexibility of Sobo when I am looking for that particular trait.  Weld Bond (sometimes referred to as “Wellbond”) is also a PVA glue but, according to its manufacturer, the polymer is “catalyzed”, changing its molecular structure and, apparently, making it stronger.  Allegedly, it can glue some non-porous materials such as stone, glass and concrete but it requires clamping for up to 4 hours and 24 hours to cure.  I cannot think of an application for miniaturists except for perhaps large dollhouses…even then, I’d think wood glue adequate.
§  Although PVA is not gap filler, in some cases you can add sawdust to it to increase its gap filling ability.  I’ve never done this, nor have I felt the need…
Another use of PVA glue is as a sizing.  Meaning it helps paint to adhere to surfaces.  I got this suggestion from Nikki Rowe of Witch and Wizard miniatures when I was trying to get acrylic paint to adhere to Fimo polymer clay.  I had all but given up when she made this suggestion.  I coated the item with thinned white PVA, let it dry and then painted.  The paint went on smoothly with no streaking and peeling or flaking.  I re-baked the item and the paint seems to be permanently attachedJ. 
CA = cyanoacrylate
CA glues, better known as “Super” glues. These glues hold fast, some almost immediately, bind many non-porous things together and come in several viscosities.  Zap-a-Gap is well known to miniaturists but there are others which work in a similar fashion.   They are sometimes used in conjunction with PVA glues as the bond formed can be brittle, such as in miniature flower or plant construction.  The CA glue makes the initial bond while the PVA makes the more permanent one.  There are accelerators for CA glues but I don’t use them as I have a bad respiratory reaction to them in aerosol form.
Here is very interesting article by a model maker.
Personally, I use CA glues for adhering a variety of non-porous things together, such as tiny beads to metal or porous things to non-porous things, such as metal to wood, although I don’t use it exclusively as I find it “frosts” glass or crystal (beads and such).  I have found a CA glue which DOES NOT frost crystal or glass, however.  It is called Sinbad Glue, manufactured in Germany and available in the US.  I imagine it is also available in Europe and the UK. 
Here is an interesting review of it. It is a medical grade CA glue. I do have the accelerator for this as it can be applied to one side of what is to be glued with a brush, thus no aerosol fumes.
 I noticed several dollhouse retailers are carrying it at shows now. I bought mine directly from the importer who had a stand next me at a show several years ago.  It is a little pricy but when gluing glass or crystal beads, it is all I use now.  I have both the liquid and gel formula and I also use the Silicone Glove hand cream which does work as indicated….when I remember to use it. :-/     Sinbad Glue
E6000 Industrial Strength. 
This glue was suggested to me by a local jewelry artist and is probably my all-time favorite glue for non-porous materials.  It is a clear, multi-purpose adhesive, of medium viscosity with a self-leveling formula.  It adheres to more surfaces than virtually any other glue I’ve worked with.  Because it does not dry instantly, you have 3-5 minutes to make adjustments before the glue begins to set.  It takes 24 -72 hours to fully cure.  I use it, along with a CA gel (and the Sinbad glue) for all my jewelry-like doo-dads such as the telescopes, scales, orreries, etc.  It does have fumes that might bother some people but no worse that CA glues or their accelerators.
Is there a unique application you’ve discovered for an adhesive?  Does anyone have experience with epoxy glues?  What about glues for plastics? Any questions about the glues discussed or additions you can make?  Let’s hear from YOU!

Added:  Here a few links for Quick Grab.  And Here also.
 Tabitha

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Color...

...or, sometimes red and yellow DON’T make orange!

Janice of On Being Minimom recently posted a question about mixing colors:

"I am not very good at mixing colors, is there a site that gives you a mixing list...?"

Today, I read some posts on Facebook from a very frustrated miniaturist trying to make orange from red and yellow. Sounded like a topic that might interest more than a few people so here’s what I’ve discovered.

Most of the information I’ve reviewed deals with artist acrylic paints, which come in a tube or a jar, as opposed to the type of paint we are used to using called acrylic craft paints. There are rather significant differences between the two.

Artist Acrylic Paints
Artist acrylic paints use pure pigments, usually a single pigment or color. Each pigment dries to a different sheen, from matte to very glossy. Depending on the pigment, colors range from very transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque to opaque. These values are always indicated on the tube when using artists paint.

Within this category, there are both “student grade” and “artist grade” acrylics. The available colors are standard, though, regardless of grade. You will find colors such as Cadmium Yellow, Cobalt Blue and Phtalo Green. The colors are intended to be mixed to create different hues. The paints can be used as they are, directly from the tube or jar, but they are usually thinned with water or an acrylic medium.


Craft Acrylic Paints
Craft acrylic paint is made using fillers & opacifiers to allow the paint color to cover another color. Craft paint generally dries to a matte finish unless it indicates “gloss” or “shiny” on the bottle. Often the individual colors are created by mixing several pigments together. This makes mixing colors somewhat tricky as one is very often likely to get dull brown in the end.

Although there is no “student” or “artist” grade in craft acrylics, there is great variety among brands in terms of coverage and consistency of color. Some of the more familiar Brands are Ceramcoat, Americana and FolkArt. JoAnne’s has now produced their own brand of craft paint. The colors ranges are vast. I once saw a color chart in the store that matched a color of one brand with that of another, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of that comparison.

Personally, I use both the Artist acrylics and Craft acrylics in my work, depending on my project. If I am painting the interior of a room or the exterior of a dollhouse, I will actually use latex paint from the paint store. I used to buy a quart of the color I wanted (of course, it was way too much) but now it is possible to buy sample colors for most brands. I prefer the latex house paint for the big jobs as it goes on nice and smooth and clean, isn’t streaky at all and I don’t have to buy multiple little bottles. Some dollhouse shops sell this type of paint in the same small quantity cans…must be about a pint, I think.

I use the craft acrylics when I am doing different painting techniques such as crackling furniture or with aging effects. I used craft acrylics on the wicker chair in the previous post. Craft acrylics dry much faster and have a much shorter “working time” than artist acrylics so that might be a factor when choosing between the two.

When I paint on polymer clay, however, I am usually going to use the artist acrylics, mostly because I find they stick a little better. I used a combination of both artist and craft acrylics on the Carnival masks I make a while back.


Color Mixing
I think most crafters have a box load of craft acrylic paints… I know I do. I love the variety of colors within a hue…so many different reds and blues and greens…that would be almost impossible to reproduce with any consistency. And the reason for this is because these colors are not necessarily made from one or more pure pigments.

With an artist acrylic, a true “'Cobalt Blue”, for example, will contain cobalt pigment and no other. But a craft acrylic “Cobalt Blue” may be a mix of white, black, blue and green and possibly even violet, depending on the brand.


Blue + Yellow = ?

Here are the results of a little experiment I tried. I took equal amounts of Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Yellow from both artist acrylics and craft acrylics. I also used a color called Bright Yellow of craft acrylics because it looked closer to Cad Yellow to my eye.




I mixed them together on a ceramic tile.


Then I painted each on white paper.



The resulting greens all vary but the mixture of the artist acrylics produces the clearest and cleanest color while the two greens from the craft acrylics are lighter and duller. Also, the green produced by the Bright Yellow craft acrylic is closer to the range of the acrylic, even though it is considerably lighter. When it comes to craft acrylics, name probably mean very little.

I did the same with Bright Red, Cadmium and Bright Yellow with the following results:


The Artist acrylics are on the left and the Craft acrylics are on the right






They are all "orange" of a sort but the Artist acrylics (on left)  produced a much clearer color...on the top I used red with a spot of yellow; on the bottom, yellow with a spot of red.  The "oranges" in the right photos are from the Craft acrylics and they are more of a salmon/coral or brick/terra cotta.

So that's all I know about mixing colors, more or less.  One rule of thumb is always start with the less intense color and mix a bit of the other in gradually.

Here are a few links I found:  all deal with Artist, not Craft, acrylics but the principles are the same.

Acrylic Painting for Dummies

Color Theory and Recipies

How to Mix Colors

I am sure that many of you  have developed your own tips and tricks! 

Care to share?  Let us hear from you!

Tabitha

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fighting the Effects of Aging…..or Not!

One of the “left over” questions from the original Miniature Q&A Blog had to do with aging. 
Aging paper or cloth using tea, coffee, inks and ….good lord!!....scorching  were discussed under the “Paper”  topic. 
But miniaturists age lots of other things, too.  
What are some ways to age wood or stone or upholstered furniture or air dry clay or walls made of styrofoam or Mod Rock or spackling paste???  The list goes on…..
I’ll start with a tip I learned many years ago when I took a class by Bill Lankford.  The building in question was a ½ scale Chicago brownstone.  The walls were molded brick and architectural detailing in stone, but the actual composition of the walls was some sort of light-weight foam.  After the bricks and stone were painted (and thoroughly dried), a wash of denatured alcohol and India ink was liberally applied.  Voila! Instant old building!
The proportion is lots of alcohol and very little ink….like maybe 4 – 6 oz of alcohol and 2-3 drops of India ink. I think the "official" recipe was 1 tbsp ink to 1 qt alcohol.  We brushed it on with a large brush but I have also used this in a spray bottle on painted Paper Clay brand air dry clay.  I have also brushed it on to raw and painted wood with good results.  Use an old brush or one of those cheap bristle brushes.
I do not know if the reaction is different if one uses isopropyl alcohol as opposed to denatured alcohol but because their chemical composition is different, I’d guess that there might be. My understanding is that India ink was made by suspending lampblack (or soot) particles in denatured alcohol or even vinegar. 
Which reminds of something I read on Casey's blog just the other day.   Woolly Vinegar

This reference suggests using tea on the wood prior to the vinegar solution.
Be careful with the India ink as it stains permanently and is almost impossible to get off your skin…wear  gloves and old clothing and protect your table tops and floors.

Here are two examples of aging.

The original looked exactly like the settee on the right...which was dark glossy green.  I dropped it a while back and the front leg snapped.  The repair was too obvious and I put aside until recently when I needed another chair for the Alice project. 

I painted it white and then used several washes of various colors of acrylics to achieve the "aged" look...the added mosses help, too.

This is a door I did recently for a castle ruin I'm working on.

 
I used the alcohol solution on the raw wood after gluing.  You can see how it did not take where glue had seeped into the wood, even though I wiped it off well...I thought!

For my purposes, it was ok.  I also used some of Tim Holz's alcohol inks.  And ended up using some of acrylic paints (both washes and straight) to acheive that green damp and the rust.

I aged the metal bits also with paint as the metal aging product I had did not work on these jewelry findings.  First I gave them a light coat of Testors enamel (flat black) as the water based paints wouldn't stick to the metal.  Then I used burnt sienna and some grey and green to achieve the aging.


Here a great site:  How to Make it Old
The author discusses supplies, techniques and how to use "layering" to age an entire room or setting! Thanks to Lyn from lynstinycorner for the link!

So what about the rest of you?  How do you age your miniature creations?  Do you have more than one technique you favor?   Let hear from YOU!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Onward and Upward!....

All the information which was on the original Miniature Q&A blog has been transfered here and is avaible in the previous 5 posts.  These cover photography, resins and other "water" media, how to age paper and woriking with various polymer clays. You can still comment on any of them if you like.

On Sunday evening, the next question will be posted.  If you have any suggestions or questions of your own, please send me an e-mail!  If there is something you don't think was fully covered about the previous topics, or your specific question wasn't fully answered, we'll explore them further.

You can also leave a comment with your question if you wish.

Tabitha

Photography

Some tips on photographing miniatures...

Susan from http://tabithacorsica.blogspot.com/ emailed me earlier in the week asking if I would create a post about photography and in particular photographing miniatures

I'm not too great at taking photos of my minis myself, and mostly just hope for the best. But I do use my macro button which will be explained in the tutorial link below.
My knowledge on this subject is limited and hoping we can all advise and give each other tips, links, info etc.

Useful Links and Tutorials

Here's a link to Artisans in Miniature http://www.artisansinminiature.com/ . Once there go to the top of the page and click Archive... here''s a link for that anyway... http://www.artisansinminiature.com/photo_2.html and then find the April 2009 issue of the free online magazine, to follow a great photography tutorial by Aim Member Vicky Guile
This is an absolutely brilliant tutorial explained in an easy and clear way. It helped me loads and improved my own photos.
But, I know I could get better results too if I could just find the time to read my camera user guide.


Here is more info on using the macro mode for your camera.
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Using-your-digital-cameras-macro-mode-4848


Here's another great tutorial.
http://www.ifelix.co.uk/phomin.html

Michelle said…I must confess that I found out the best (or hard way!) way to photograph mini's was by trial and error! More errors at first! lol Even with the macro on (that's the tulip symbol selected to on), you mustn't be too near to your item other wise your photo will come out blurred.

If I want a photo to look like you're in the room I hold the camera in the room and just keep taking photo's till I find the best angle and photo and then take them proper ones. For low down shots (for items that are tiny and low down) I have the camera on the same level.

For a group setting I simply move back a little more than if I want a close up (still with the macro on, in fact all my photo's have been taken with it on). As with anything..practice makes perfect. :o))

BlacknickSculpture said... Thanks for the links Nikki. I also have trouble getting consistent results when photographing miniature work.

Besides the macro setting I've found using a tripod helps with eliminating a lot of the blurry results I used to get.

Further Sources for Water Effects and Resins


Resins, Liquid Polymers and Scenic Water

Resins, liquid polymers and scenic water was also discussed.
Resins, liquid polymers and scenic water

Resin

I’ve only ever used resin (solid water) by deluxe materials. I'd like to try other resins but not sure which and so have held back. Other makes are available in larger amounts and so would be more economical but as for which I have not got a clue.
I know there are dyes in various colours the makers of this product advise to use, although I’ve only used oil paints in tiny amounts to colour it.
I really like it; it dries to a high shine and has given me the results I want. I've not had any problems with clay or items I’ve set into this product. I know a lot of people say clay and painted items when set in some resins can have a chemical reaction but I’ve not had one... as yet!
So far I’ve only used this product for small items like jars, bowls and cauldron and used a cocktail stick to drop it into each item. I also managed to fill some tiny glass well with this product like test tubes and tiny potion vials.

Liquid Polymers
Liquid polymers such as sculpey and fimo, I don’t use much. When I have I’ve always coloured them with oil paints.
Mostly I’ve used this product for open containers such as bowls, sinks, and cauldrons etc. I've mixed all kinds of materials into this product with no problem and find it to be great for a variety of projects. I’ve also used it to create broken and spilled jars of food with great success.
I don't however like it for filling glass jars and the like because for me it always separates away from the sides and leaves air bubbles. But I know many people use it for this type of item with great success.
I don’t use a syringe like many people suggest. It just never happens for me and refuses to come out.
I tend to use a small brush or cocktail stick to drop it into whatever I’m working on.
It doesn't set to a high gloss and so needs a varnish if that is the look you want.
 
Scenic Water Re-meltable
Scenic water I really like although I find its use is limited, especially for items I sell.
I colour it with water colour paints and food pigment colour powders like those used for decorating cakes. Normal food colouring is no good.
This product is like a gelatin/jelly so melts as such.
I take from the pot what I need, and heat in the microwave in a small ceramic dish.
It only takes a few seconds for this product to melt in the microwave.
Again i don't use a syringe and tend to use a brush to drop it into what I’m filling.
It's great for glass food and potion jars although you have to seal these jars incase the product warms and melts at a later date.
Because it can melt I seal jars with corks and pva glue and then cover with a cloth for potions.
Because it can melt I don’t use it for anything that's open. It picks up dust easily and isn’t easy to clean on open items like bowls and ponds etc.
But if it's for personal use and you don’t have the worry of it melting maybe in the post, it can be used for almost anything and with ease.

Brian at
http://blacknick-sculpture.blogspot.com/ has run through a few products for making water effects.
Brian’s sculptures are fantastic and the water effects are so realistic its untrue.
Pop over there for a good read about creating water effects and also to see the wonderful sculptures.

Ewa at
http: //thesunnyhours112miniatures.blogspot.com/ has been running tests over on her blog using a product called still water. I too have used this product in the past and found it also took a long time to dry but with good results. For items like ponds and large item i would suggest creating them in layer and once each layer is dry then building up. But then it would take forever for an item like a pond. I also found it shrank a tiny amount.

Nikki xxx

Tabitha Corsica said... The only product I have ever used is a 2 part resin by EnviroTex. It is available at Michael’s or other hobby stores. I think it was used primarily for high gloss, super-hard, coating on surfaces like tables or bars...at least that is what is shown on the package. It looks to be similar to the Solid Water (which I have never seen in the US). I have tiny bottles of dyes for this product which I got eons ago. I have not seen them offered for sale anywhere lately but then I haven't looked online. It dries crystal clear and rock hard and it sets up fairly fast. I have used it to fill containers and for a pond. It is possible to layer it (for the placement of fishes in pond or fruit in punch) without an obvious line.
I am interested in a product that I can get a pearlescent look from. Any suggestions?

The Old Maid said... That's funny because I posted today about something I found in my country - as there is nothing else here - and is called Still Water.

Merry Jingle said... Have you tried these professional concentrated jelly like food colourings with the Scenic water? I have some of them in fab colours and wonder how they react with it.

Michelle's Mad World said... Gosh, how fortuitous that this has come up today! I am about to fill a few jars and I was going to use FIMO decorating gel. I don't want my liquid to come away from the sides, so I will use Solid Water instead - off to order some as that's only one I don't have indoors! lol

BlacknickSculpture said... Just a quick thought about creating ponds. You can use a sheet of Plexiglas to create the surface of a pond. You use a Dremel tool to carve in the water ripples.If it is to be a deep pond you can airbrush the underside of the Plexiglas to simulate the center of the pond being deeper.
After you fix the Plexiglas in place and seal the edges well you brush on a coat of catalyzed clear liquid resin. The resin hides all the carving scratches etc. It is a fun technique and a lot faster than building up a pond with multiple pours.

Glenda said... I bought a product from US eBay called Krylon Triple Thick Glaze after seeing it on a Youtube minis demonstration. It worked well when I filled a bottle by dripping it in with a skewer. You can colour it with non-oily pastel powders. The only trouble is that I reacted to the smell which was quite strong - but as I'm supersensitive to chemical smells (they trigger my unidentified 'tiredness syndrome') it might not bother other people. I'm hesitant to do more testing with it.

Michelle's Mad World said... I have a question. I want to make my solid water murky. I also add some tiny bits of scenic soil and the like. I gather I would need to add white to make the resin opaque and then add the colours I want? Has anyone added ultra fine glitter, soil etc to this substance?

Creepy_Creations said... Oh this is some great information! I have tried Castin' Craft Clear Resin with not much luck. The first time I probably didn't mix right and it stayed tacky. The second time it didn't set up until a week later. I will definitely try the Envirotex!! I have the Liquid Sculpey and have not used it much. I was wanting a more clearer look like for cabochons and stuff. I read where adding pastels (grind to powder) to the liquid sculpey or fimo can add color. You can probably get the murky look or if you can find pearlescent pastels might work for that too? I have not tried adding the pastel to resin though.

nikkinikkinikki72 said... Hi Michelle. I wish i could advise you. I do know if you want something to be right in the middle it’s a good idea to pour just under half way, let dry, add your object and then more resin. Kind of like if you were making a multi layered coloured jelly. I've tried adding tiny light flecks of flower soft into resin but it sank. Maybe glitter would be different. Try it in something that's not needed before you use a good item.
Hi Jamie… Thank you for the advice and tips. I think i have seen people using the triple thick for cabochons and similar. I’ve seen some tutorials online and you tube. Try and do a search, I’m sure something will come up. You can also get pearlescent food colouring pigment powders, I wonder if these work in scupley and liquid fimo.
Star said... Hi, I just wondered, do someone know about a place in norway, sweden or denmark you can buy resin, still water or solid water?
I've tried to find out what it's called in norwegian without luck;/
Marion said... It reminds me of my problems with Scenic Water. I had bought it and never used it for a year or two or longer. Never got it to work. Does anyone know if it has a 'use by' date at all?

Eva said... I am experimenting with ceramic varnish...I think that it works at least for small ponds ...I will post soon about this when I can show you.


Paper, paper printing... longevity.

Another question related to the printing, dyeing and aging of paper.
This week we will look at paper, paper printing and the longevity of these products when combined in relation to miniature work.


What ink to use for printing, best types of paper for various types of work, how to age paper, how to create effects with paper, can paper be baked, will this last over time, and so on.


Pop over to this blog: http://true2scale.blogspot.com/
Carol has kindly created a photoshop tutorial on how to create aged paper with a burnt edge. Photoshop I find difficult, but the way it’s been explained is fantastic and ever so easy to follow. Thank you Carol.


 Scrolls stained with tea prior to printing. Tim Holts distress ink has been used to further age the edges once the scrolls were put together. Did not burn the edges for these.




The Fairy papers were stained with tea prior to printing, once printed and cut out I burned the edges a little, and then use Tim Holz distress ink to age slightly in areas I wanted to highlight.


Fantastic product... comes in various colours and they even do an old paper.


Julie Kendall said... I would like to know about the new eco printing machines that use solid ink (wax).  Price or printers and ink blocks to replace, longevity of printed item and so on ( don’t want much do I...lol ) and if anyone has any info or has them etc...guess who needs a new printer :O)
I follow this ladies blog and she has lots of tutorials from youtube...thought this might help, http://creatingdollhouseminiatures.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-make-miniature-dollhouse-scrolls.html


Tabitha Corsica said... One thing I have started to do is aging my paper BEFORE printing on it. I use strong tea. I have found that the lesser grades of printer paper do not take well to this process, however...they begin to disintegrate. So I use a heavier paper, don't leave it in too long and lay on paper towels to dry. The "dye job" is not uniform but that is what I want. If the paper becomes o wrinkly to put through the printer, I iron it. When I've printed what I want on it, I spray it with a fixative or matte sealer, cut out what I want and then use a heat tool to scorch the edges.
When I print on un-dyed paper, I spray with fixative before aging but I have found the tea/coffee doesn't work as well then. I have used chalks to age paper I haven't dyed but I prefer the texture of the tea-dyed paper.
I haven't been doing it long enough to know how long it will actually last. I have toyed with the idea of using acid/lignin free paper but dipping in tea rather defeats that end, I think.


nikkinikkinikki72 said... This is how I age paper. And also some suggestions from people. I use a top quality matte photo printing paper. It’s a little thicker than regular every day use printing paper. Although i would love to find one that is not so heavy. I use a large paintbrush (decorating one) and paint it with a mix of tea and coffee and let dry. You can microwave them if you like to dry or even pop them in the electric oven (not gas). Then these sheets go under something heavy like a stack of books to make them flat again ready for the printer. Then I print my images/text.
Then spray with a matte sealer. I then cut the images just a little bigger (say 2mm) than the text or image. Using a lighter I hold to one edge of the paper to it and keep rotating. But it will burn quick and so I have spare paper below me and as I burn I bring it down onto the sheet to stop it burning too much. Goes out instantly by the way. I’ve tried many ways to burn edges and find this one the best and quickest for me, but its best to have the click lighters and several because they get hot to hold, just use a different one every few minutes.
I then just rub the edge on a cloth (normally my clothes, lol) to take away the burnt edge a little.
If it’s a very small item say for instance a label use your tweezers to hold the paper.


I have heard you can age edges with Lemon juice on advice by Debbie of Tiny Treasures. You just brush or dip your edges into the juice and use a heat gun over the paper to make the lemon go dark and create the aged effect.(crafters one, not a paint stripper type, lol like Ithought... stupid me, lol).

I have also recently started using Tim Holts distress ink. It comes in like a stampin block. It’s the tea dye one and acid free.  I use the lid for watering down the ink with water and use a soft watercolour brush to work on edges and make them a little older.
Use the same type of paper as your image to run quick tests as you work. Too much ink on your brush can spoil your work.I just add more water in the lid of its too strong and dark.
The Tim Holts inks mentioned also come in various colour including old paper.
I don’t know if you are meant to use water with these but it works for me.
If you have a particular paper you like but it won’t feed through the printer because it’s too think and flimsy. Say for instance tissue paper, this is what I do to make it happen.
Using a regular piece of printing paper, I use a glue stick and at the top (the bit that will go through the printer first) I attach the paper that would not otherwise not go through.
If you pop to my witch and wizard blog you will see some printing sewing patterns on the hat table. These were made with very fine tissue paper.
But for this I had to set my printer to have wide printing margins because I also had to glue all the four edges. I tried just the top edge but the tissue ripped on printing.
Doing the four edges worked and did so several times, so it wasn't just pot luck.


You can also do this with fine material such as cotton and silk on just the top edge glued down to the regular A4 paper.
Don’t forget to set the top margining high because you lose a lot of that edge due to the glue.


My Wee Life said... I use tea and coffee (for larger labels that I have used on jars in my kitchen I also put some cinnamon powder in!). I normally pop them in the oven and to burn the edges on my kitchen jars I used a match blown out and use it like a pencil and then rub off with kitchen towel. The one thing I haven't thought of doing was preparing the paper and then printing!! I have done it the other way round and sometimes the print runs unless I use a laser printer. Think I will be trying some of these other methods.


nikkinikkinikki72 said... Just put a picture of some scrolls and fairy papers I aged using the Tim Holtz distress in. I have the tea one by the way).
For the open scrolls I used a lot of ink, but the fairy papers just a little to highlight areas such as the envelopes to make them stand out more.
I brush little bits on the old photos to give them a very slight sepia look.
You can also find an image of tea stained paper on google images, copy and paste it, then attach to a word file and print off.
The pop back in the printer and print over again with your images.
Or find the right colour in paint/photoshop, print off and then print over as above again.

Debbie said... Walnut Ink Granules can be used to age paper. Grab an old jam jar boil the kettle, add a teaspoon of the granules to the empty jam jar, add hot water and mix until all the crystals have dissolved. If the colour is too light add more crystals, if too dark add more water. You can either use an old baking tray to pour some ink into and place your paper in that, or use a spray bottle to spritz the paper with the ink. I used to use this for aging paper for my scrapbooks. Be warned though Walnut ink is not acid free. Store unused Ink in the jam jar, but make sure you label it. If it’s left for a long time, the water evaporates a bit and the solution becomes stronger.
I also read in a scrapbook mag that to age the edges of paper, dip in lemon juice and then heat with a craft heat gun and it will turn it brown as if it’s been burnt. I age my paper before printing on it.


Carol said... Nikki, I love your ideas. You mentioned that you would like to try Photoshop to age your paper. I posted a tutorial on my blog: http://true2scale.blogspot.com/2010/05/photoshop-tutorial-aging-paper.html


nikkinikkinikki72 said... I didn’t explain earlier about the strength of the tea and coffee solution and also about making it. This is what I do:


I use about 1 teaspoon of coffee and 1 tea bag in a coffee mug or similar.
I add boiling hot water to this about 2-3cm high in the cup.
Let the tea bag sit for about 10 mins, squeeze it out and get to work painting the pages with a large brush.
Test your solution on some paper, if it’s too strong in colour add more water, if too weak add more coffee and tea.
I don’t have a lot of this on the brush and tend to work back and forwards, so the paper is moist but not swimming in the stuff.
Only takes roughly tens mins somewhere warm, or about 1 min (maybe less)in a microwave on full power, or an oven for say 2 mins.
It does however I find dry darker when put in the microwave or oven than letting it dry naturally.


Glenda said... What I've learned from my small foray into mini paperland - chinese calligraphy paper is no good at all, it disintegrates.
I have dyed tissue paper with tea and hung it up to dry on my 'flying nun' indoor clothes dryer - works well, but messy.
Throwing a little rock salt on to wet dyed paper makes lovely effects.
Paper can be ironed to flatten it.
In miniature paper work, the way it's cut shows up - scissors and scalpels sometimes have different effects. Whether the scalpel is sharp also shows - it can drag the edge.


Whittaker's Miniatures said... Nikki I hadn’t thought of putting tea into a cup and using as a wash. I have my tea bag bowl that each bag goes into as used and then just rub the tea bags onto the paper raw! We have extremely weak tea so there always lots of colour in the tea bags still! Sometimes as I go up and down with the bag it ruptures and then you get s few leaves fall out which isnt too bad as when tipped off they seep into the damp paper and add little 'age spots' in the paper and give a good effect!! Then I just dry by the rad in winter under a book or use a hairdryer if I’m too impatient!! Have only ever used normal printer paper so bought some matt photo paper today to see the difference it makes. Why do you need to spray the paper? I love the idea of the inks or lemon as I have burned my fingers too many times and even set light to tea towels when I work! I also use an incense stick, light then let burn a little and blow out and while still hot dab onto the edges to give a singed aged look. Great advice from ALL Kate xx


nikkinikkinikki72 said... http://www.bindersart.com/store/product/44629/Artists-Spray-Varnish-Matt/
Is the type of sealant we mean, but you can use other cheaper brands.
I use one that is meant for ceramics called Mayco True Matt, its quick drying and is also great for spraying on fimo and other polymers.
It also comes in gloss and that’s ideal for spraying polymer too.


Tabitha Corsica said... Just a note to say I visited the scrapbook store today (our miniature club meets in the workroom) and was able to purchase the Tim Holz inks in a bottle. I got "old paper" and "tea stain" ....or something like that. My next foray into aging paper, I'll try these products. Nikki....the "old paper" has a greenish cast to it. And, dumb bunny that I can be, bought the re-inkers and not the pads and since I've opened them,(to see the color) I cannot return for the proper thing. So now I have a question...
Any suggestions on how to make your own stamping pad using the re-inkers?? What material might work best. Foam or cloth?