Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wicker Shopping Trolley

Surely all of the people in my miniature world love to shop as much as I do  :) Therefore I'm brushing up on my wicker weaving skills by creating a shopping trolley/cart. I'm using the directions from Jane Harrop's book, Thirties and Forties Miniatures in 1:12 Scale. I hope to post the results in a few days.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Glazes and Other Finishes

In my previous post about the putz village, I mentioned a "lacquer" that I had heard about. The product creates a ceramic appearance to whatever it is applied to. I couldn't recall the name, so I had to do a bit of research and came up with Triple Thick brush-on gloss glaze. I'll post my findings after I get around to making the next village.

What kinds of glazes, paints, varnishes, etc. have you found useful in achieving the "right look" for your mini projects?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Putz Christmas Village

Well, it's not exactly Christmas time, but I was really in the mood to make a tiny village of glitter houses. I was inspired by some breathtakingly beautiful houses at the Chicago International Show and I wanted to try to make my own.

During my search for inspiration on the web, I came across SilverCrow Creations, which has some really interesting products. I haven't ordered from them, but I'm sure that some of the products are perfect for minis — how about some black German glass glitter or bat's blood ink for the Halloween enthusiasts? I found some interesting tools that I had never heard about in the tools section of the website.

I think that if I make another glitter house, I will add a hole in the back side to insert a tiny light bulb. I think it would be fun to make a "ceramic" looking village. I've heard of a lacquer that can be applied over acrylic paints to give a ceramic look. Does anyone know the name of the product?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Treasures from the Chicago International

I thought I would share a couple of things that I found at the Chicago International Show. I didn't go overboard with buying artisan pieces this year, but this baby from Victoria Heredia of Spain caught my eye. (Click on the photos to see them larger.) The last couple of years, I've purchased pottery pieces from Jason Feltrope at the Independent Miniatures Show. I adore this 1 cm tall pitcher and jar. Although they were created for 1:24 scale, I think they may work nicely for a cream and sugar in 1:12 scale. This perfect rose is the creation of Carol Wagner. Placed in a bud vase, it will make a nice addition to a dressing table.

I found myself gravitating to the do-it-yourself items and tools this year. A jeweler's saw, paper punches, a teeny tiny paintbrush, lace and trims of all kinds, and more. I bought a couple more flower kits. Apparently the 13 hosta plants (whose leaves I cut out individually last winter) didn't deter me flower making.

As usual, the work of the artisans was tremendous. I'm a bit on the shy side, so I didn't feel comfortable asking to take photos of their work, but I see that other bloggers have provided some fine examples from Chicago, including Tracy Topps and Catherine from Kilmouski & Me.

All of the inspiration I've gathered has me many ideas, so little time!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thank You to Lara for an Award!

Thank you to Lara at Lara's Miniature World for this award. Lara has an eye for color and incorporates it beautifully into her miniatures.

I am happy to pass this award on to 10 blogs that I follow:

Carmen at Enlaces
Ingrid at Mijn Droomwereldje
Karin at Karin's mini en maxi hobby's
Kim at Flowers and Art
Kim at It's a Miniature Life
Kris at 1 Inch Minis
Margaret at My Petit Parterre
Maria at Muñecas Miniatura 1/12 y 1/24 de creación 
Mimmi at Mimmi's dollhouse
Oiseau at Le Petit Monde d'Oiseau

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Using Photoshop for Mini Making: Part 4 Creating a "Rubber Stamp" Look

Create a "rubber stamp" look from clip art using Photoshop Elements. This customizable design is perfect for signs, pillows/upholstery, bags, etc. (Thank you to Norma at Make Mine Mini for suggesting this idea). 

Let's Begin
Download the clipart and save it to your desktop. Open the file in Photoshop Elements.

The artwork that has been provided is meant for you to customize. The examples above show a couple of ways to embellish the artwork. If you would like to add a monogram, text or another graphic to the middle of the circle, now is the time to do so. If you are not familiar with combining two images into one, please see Part 3 of the Photoshop Tutorial. Note: You will want to work with an image that has only one layer, so if you have placed another graphic or text into your document, you will need to flatten the layers into a single layer.

Using the magic wand tool (the 7th tool from the top of your toolbox on the left side of your screen), you will select all of the black areas in the design. To do this, click on the magic wand tool. At the top of your screen, change "Tolerance" to "10". Make sure that the "Contiguous" box is unchecked. Now, click once in the black area of the design. Marching ants will appear around all of the black areas of the design to show you that they are selected.

You will apply a filter to “eat away” the insides of the design. Go to Filter - Other - High Pass. Play a bit with the slider. For the example I set the Radius to 10 pixels and applied it twice.

To achieve a “grainy” texture, go to Filter - Noise - Add Noise. Click on "Gaussian" and "Monochromatic" and set the slider to an amount of 15. Click OK.

Your design will look like this:

From the menu at the top of the screen, choose Select - Deselect.

Now we'll make it even more pixelated by increasing the resolution. From the menu at the top of your screen, choose Image - Resize - Image Size.  Click on the "Resample Image" box at the bottom. Change the resolution from 72 to 144.

To mask the remaining bitmapped areas, we'll Diffuse the image. From the menu at the top of your screen, choose Filter - Stylize - Diffuse.

Increase the resolution again. From the menu at the top of your screen, choose Image - Image size Resample image. Change the resolution from 144 to 288.

To remove the tiny pixels created by the Diffuse filter, we'll apply a Gaussian blur of 1 pixel. From the menu at the top of your screen, choose  Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur. The Radius slider should be set to 1.0.

Increase the Brightness and Contrast until you reach the desired amount of “inking”. (Enhance -  Adjustment Lighting - Brightness/Contrast. Contrast brings out the texture. I set both sliders to +50.

Your design will look like this:

The High Pass filter we applied at the very beginning primarily affects areas with substantial volume (the middle of the large circle). Therefore you may wish to do a partial selection of the border of our design and apply a higher amount of contrast to bring out more noise. From the toolbox on the left side of your screen, choose the lasso tool (the 6th tool from the top). Click and drag around the edges of the design. To add to the area that you are selecting, hold down the shift key and click and drag again. If you look closely at the example below, you'll notice that everything except the middle of the large circle is selected.

From the menu at the top of the screen, once again choose Enhance -  Adjustment Lighting - Brightness/Contrast. Set the contrast slider to +75.

From the menu at the top of the screen, choose Select - Deselect.

Prepare the image for conversion to a bitmap image Filter - Adjustments - Treshold. You may wish to play a bit with the slider until you reach the desired amount of “inking”. I set the slider to 96.

That's it! Your image will have a "stamped" look like this:

Changing the Color
Your graphic is set to print in black and white. If you 'd like to change it to another color, follow these simple directions: 
  • From the menu at the top of the screen, choose Image - Mode - RGB Color.
  • On the right side of your screen, you'll see the Layers palette. At the bottom of the Layers palette, there is a row of icons. Note the circular icon that is half black and half white. Click on this icon to create a new adjustment layer. When you click, a drop down menu will appear. Click on Hue/Saturation.
  • Below the Layers palette, you'll notice that the Adjustments palette now shows rainbow sliders. Below the sliders, click on the box that says "Colorize."
  • Move the "Lightness" slider to the right. You'll notice that the color of your design will change from black to brown.  The more you move the Lightness slider, the lighter the brown will become.
  • Play around with the sliders until you are satisfied with the color.
Your final graphic is 3.2 inches wide x 6.5 inches tall. You may wish to make this smaller for printing. From the toolbox on the left side of your screen, choose the crop tool (the 10th tool from the top). On the menu above your design, type in the Width or Height to your desired size (choose only one). Type "300" into the box that says "Resolution". Click and drag the crop tool over your design. When you are satisfied with the crop, click on the green X that appears at the lower right corner of the selection.

Making it your own
You may wish to add a monogram, text or another graphic in the middle of the circle like the examples at the beginning of this post. If so, just make sure that you add your text or graphic before you begin the rubber stamp tutorial so that everything has the same stamped appearance.

The graphic used in this tutorial has been designed by me and is copyright free. You may use it however you wish.

Feel free to post questions about this tutorial or suggestions for future Photoshop tutorials.

If you would like to learn more about using Photoshop, please see my earlier Photoshop posts or visit for video tutorials. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm Still Here

I haven't fallen out of the blogosphere entirely. I'm just on vacation. Instead of somewhere warm and sunny this year, we decided to have a stay-cation and get caught up with yard work and home maintenance. It has kept us quite busy, but it's fun seeing the small transformations we've made around the house.

I've been keeping up with everyone's posts and I'm in awe of the talent in our online community!

I'm working on a new Photoshop tutorial and will post it after I get back from a weekend of splurging at the Chicago International. If there is something that you'd like to see in the tutorial, feel free to leave a comment or email me.