Room Boxes by Denise Morales
Seen in the back right corner is an Art of Mini glass canister and to it I added a mixture of white and blue children's craft sand to make mini laundry soap. To make the blue fabric softener in the cork-topped glass bottle, I used Deluxe Materials Scenic Water and dye.
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The black-inked drawing on the left side of the wall is another rub-on sticker. The slim windowsill holds tiny quarter scale bottles colored with alcohol inks and are a kit by Cynthia Howe. Sprigs of foam-covered lavender are placed in a glass vase. Who doesn't have "Lost Socks" in their laundry room with the missing pair finding its way to Neverland? These miniature versions were made by folding a small rectangular piece of knit cloth (i.e. men's t-shirt material) in half and then freeform cutting a sock/foot shape on the opposite side and gluing these edges together. No pattern needed! Scrunch them up and hang them over the edge of the windowsill, these socks will make a nice accent to any mini laundry setting.
An old-fashioned clothespin bag hangs on the line next to pretty lacy clothing made with antique laces.
The ironing board was made with a mat board top and wooden legs. I had to customize the size in order to make it fit in the snug space. To decorate under the window, I used a floral rub-on sticker. On the floor, you will find a small rug made with an antique sari remnant from India that I found at the International Quilt Show in Houston years ago. It has a quilted design with super tiny colorful embroidery stitches--such talent.
A scrapbooking frame was embellished with gold paint, no-hole beads, paper and nail art flowers and sequins. Layered inside the oval center were brown paper, a fine metal screening, carpet thread, vintage laundry images, and clothing cut-outs.
Provided in the kit were two upper cabinets. To their tops, I added two larger stained wooden counters and stacked one on top of the other and placed them in this cosy space in the box. They were filled with cleaning supplies, untidy linens, boxes, and excess knick knacks.
Thinking that the mouse and duck toy were sufficient entertainment for the bathing cat, the haggard old lady needs to act quickly before the desperate cat bolts out of her bath thereby creating more of a mess for the overworked homemaker.
How to create sudsy water: I glued the cat made from pipe cleaners into a metal wash bowl, Then in a small paper bowl, I stirred in a little Dawn Dish Foam to melted Scenic Water by Deluxe Materials. I then poured this sudsy mixture into the metal bowl and after it gelled somewhat I added the soap bar and yellow Duckie. To my surprise the wonderful bubbles remained. I am not sure how long they will last but this photo was taken several weeks later.
I glued five metal sewing hooks onto a tiny popsicle stick and painted everything with brown chalk paints, then sanded the edges. A floral laundry bag, dustpan, a broom and brush (Art of Mini kit) hang from the hook board.
To make the "wooden" paneled inserts inside the frames of the doors, I made indentation lines on cardstock using a Martha Stewart paper scorer.
Tina Squire, a fellow club member and porcelain doll maker, taught at several club meetings how to china paint on porcelain doll blanks. She brought her small kiln with her to the meetings and fired the doll parts after the club members layered different color paints. The above housekeeper was the result of those classes. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but I am not sure if I would be willing to invest in a kiln, molds and porcelain slip in order to make my own dolls. Maybe it will be something to consider a decade from now.
In the bargain basket at the miniature store, I found this ugly brown vacuum cleaner and transformed it into a white and pink one after I had been inspired by one seen on Pinterest. I painted it with chalk paints, aged it with Citadel paints and made a bag with paisley brown, yellow and pink cotton fabric.
This poor neglected plant is in need of a little TLC (tender, loving, care). To make the long stems of the plant, I pulled apart and gathered lots of the wire from the screen material used in the collaged scrapbook frame above the sink. I painted the wire and glued onto it the fallen bits of dried greenery material.
Into a slurry paste of brown chalk paint, fine sand and matte Mod Podge, I dipped the soles of Silvia Roundtree's leather boots to simulate mud. Then when the paste was dry on my paper plate, I picked apart tiny pieces and sprinkled and glued them near the waiting-to-be-cleaned boots.
I Googled images of washing machines to inspire me in making this machine out of mat board and jewelry findings. I ran across images of children's play washers and this gave me inspiration to create a more whimsical one instead of a more accurate and realistic one. (Whimsy is more my miniature style any way.) After I painted the machine a realistic white/cream color it was so stark and bright when I placed it in the aged vintage style box. I then toned it down by painting some Agrax Earthshade by Citadel followed by washes of creamy white chalk paint mixed with Mod Podge. Lastly, I painted several coats of gloss Mod Podge to give it a little shine.
I had bought Russian punch needles at the quilt show years ago and I finally decided to experiment with them. I made a "hooked" bird rug and decided that I had no skill with the needles and felt the project was such a flop. But ...... I liked the texture of the rug so, I chose to keep it instead of throwing it away and draped it over the edge of the machine.
Also on the washing machine is a "Loose Change" label that was glued onto a plastic cap full of tiny metal sequins for coins.
The sudsy water technique was also used for this sink full of soaking garments. However, since the sink was made with water soluble mat board, it had to be sealed first. I sealed it with nail polish but maybe a polyurethane varnish would have been a better sealant. So far, so good and I will cross my fingers that it will hold.
The Ball canning jar sitting on the top shelf was given to me by fellow club member Linda Hughes and was made with a mold and UV resin. To the right, wooden spools were wrapped with lace and ribbon. The Robin starch box on the left was an internet download. I used a stretchy black netting fabric for the screen in the cabinet door. To give the untidy linens in the top right shelf an interesting look, I used various types of fabrics with different weight and texture and varied the numbers of linens used and the way they were stacked, folded and layered on the shelves. Tiny rectangles of a white baby wash cloth were mixed with purple weave cloth, aida embroidery canvas, lace, cotton, and different upholstery grade fabrics.
Just playing with different photo color effects.
My last room box, A Mini She Shed, was the 2017 birthday party project sponsored by the San Antonio chapter of the Texas organization of Society of American Miniaturists. The 2018 birthday party project's theme, sponsored by the Houston chapter of which I am a member, was a twelfth scale kitchen vignette. The project kit included upper and lower cabinets and a farmhouse sink that were all laser cut from mat board. Since I had already completed several kitchen scenes, I decided that the cabinets and sink would be perfect furniture pieces in a laundry room setting. While working on this project, several people questioned the appeal of creating such a utilitarian and possibly boring theme. Well, in my mind, in combining muddy brown work boots waiting to be washed, soiled shirts soaking in the sink, lacy clothing drying on the line, an ironing board stacked with crisp starched linens, and a pathetic looking cat ready to vault out of his wash basin, I asked myself what is not to like (or even love) about creating these images in a miniature room setting? Completed February 2018.
Just ideas to spur your creativity:
A photo of most of the supplies and tools to make the collage laundry scene. Unfortunately , I pulled the wrong hole punch and it should be the 1/16" size. Shown is the Agrax Earthshade by Citadel which I used to weather other pieces in the scene. My thoughts about products to use in a miniature project: use what you already have on hand and experiment but, sometimes there is no good substitute for a certain effect. A photo can make it easy to visualize what certain items might look like. Have fun creating!
I had just begun this room box when I spotted this mouse laundry scene on eBay made by Cottage Kitty. When I realized I was the lucky bidder/winner of the auction, then I began wondering how I was going to incorporate it into the scene. Placing it on the scalloped corner shelf and surrounding it with painted fern leaves, I felt that it blended so smoothly into the scene. The tiny mice and mushroom houses are so precious.
To this floral Itsy Bitsy Wallpaper, I painted a wash of white chalk paint mixed with matte Mod Podge to further the mood of a vintage, old-fashioned, antique setting.
These rose rectangular tiles that form the backsplash to the sink are so appealing to me even though they may not be 100% realistic in their size. Who cares! In my humble opinion decorating rules are made to be broken.
Grain sack tea towels are folded, stacked and tied with heavy duty sewing thread and a fancy button was glued on top. To make the towels, I used the Mac Pages program to draw red lines and printed them onto fabric printer paper.
A collage of miniature sewing items placed in a framed bulletin board hangs on the wall above the Chrysnbon treadle sewing machine kit.
It's Laundry Day
To make the simple wreath, round and twist green paper wire, or a thin wire, into a wreath form. Paint spaghum moss with a mixture of green alcohol ink and chalk paint and glue little pieces onto the wreath form. Add a second dried greenery, something you already have in your stash, to give additional texture and interest and then paint everything with a matte Mod Podge to seal and prevent the greenery from crumbling.
Measuring spoons were a tote bag item provided by Linda Hughes and were made with jewelry findings.
Saved for later is a well-deserved midday snack -- a cupcake made by Brazilian Miniatures. A round miniature circular tin holds a variety of miniature buttons. Below the sewing table is a crocheted sewing basket that I found on eBay.
The left wall was the last section of the box that I finished. I wanted to add some artwork on this wall and my vision kept leading me to create a clothes line scene. So here is how I created this 3/4" X 3 1/2" collage which has many parts that were literally trash pieces on my desktop:
(Please scroll to the bottom of this page to see a photo of the supplies and tools used for this project.)
1. I took a scrap piece of mat board and glued a piece of aqua scrapbook paper on top and when it dried I painted matte Mod Podge on top.
2. I took blue, green and yellow alcohol inks, at times mixed with a little water, and lightly brushed and dabbed on top of the paper to create bushes on the bottom and the sky and sun on the top portion. You may need to add several layers after the layers dry. This is not complicated, just make a distinction between sky and bushes with the middle portion being left unpainted. (Antiquing medium used in Step 4 will help to blend everything.) Lay another layer of Mod Podge.
3. Add simple clouds with white acrylic or chalk paint. This does not need to be perfect because they will mostly be covered up by clothing prints and antiquing solution, which is step 4. You can then layer with Mod Podge.
4. Because the painting was way to bright for this scene, I toned it down with brown wax and Folk Art antiquing medium. You can use both or either product. Have a light touch and wipe off with paper towel. You can always add another layer if it is too light. Mod Podge again.
5. I took 4-5 toothpicks, cut off the tips, then cut them in various widths to fit around the mat board. They were stained with antique medium and then glued around the picture. This is folk art--imperfection is the key.
6. I cut, split with an Exacto blade, and painted tooth picks to look like small wooden posts. Glue them on picture. Glue a knotted white sewing thread to one post and then the other post to form the clothes line. You don't need to glue the thread in between the posts because the tiny clothes will be glue to the thread.
6. I Googled clothes line "images" and printed what was appealing. Here is the link for what I used: here. I added a layer of gloss Mod Podge to the front and back of clothing, then when dry cut out and edged the sides using a brush marker. To create dimension and movement to the clothing and pink girl, I used a ball stylus and foam pad and pressed down firmly with a circular motion on both sides. (My Pinterest Laundry board has the little girl image as well as other images from this box.)
7. Glue clothing and girl on the sewing thread. I added scrap pieces of striped knit material and white paper for towels.
8. For greenery, I used variegated green foam, used by rail roaders, and scrap piece of painted spanghum moss that were Mod Podged after they were glued in place. Flowers were tiny torn pieces of thin paper and shaped by cupping with a tiny ball stylus and foam pad. (You can also use a 1/16" circle punch for the flowers.) Additionally, I used a scrap piece of material strip that was cut with my 3 mm scalloped edged pinking shears and glued on the bottom edge to look like bushes. And you are done!