Saving the instructions to your computer

You can easily save any of these instructions to your computer for viewing while off-line.

On a PC use the ctrl key + s then choose to save as type "web page html only" Or do a file "save as" from the drop down menu on your browser. Direct it to save the instructions in the folder of your choice.

On a Mac use the command key +s

Direct links to the instructions for the various kits are listed on the right hand side of the page.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tree Tutorial

This is the tutorial for decorating the miniature bottlebrush trees. I am demonstrating with a green tree as it shows the details better. The same techniques can be used on pastel trees.

I have been asked by a number of friends where I get the trees I put on my glitter houses.
They are  those inexpensive miniature bottle brush trees that are in the craft stores at Christmas time. With a bit of effort they can become much nicer looking. You have seen them before, they often have a heavy coating of snow on the branches and a gold base.

The "snow" that comes on these tree is water soluble so the first thing I do is give them a bath and a scrubbing with a nail brush to clean that stuff off. I also trim the excess wire at the bottom flush with the bristles.

Next you need to decide if you want a green tree or a pastel tree. If you want a pastel tree give it a dunking in a cup of chlorine bleach for a short time. Some trees will bleach very pale, others stay a pastel green. You get what you get so be content with it. Rinse well and pat dry.

At this point in time you can brush Elmers glue on the tree, roll it in glitter and call it good.

Or you can put in a bit more time and make it something really special and a lot more realistic. The shorter tree has been rolled in glitter, its nice. The taller tree is more realistic and worth the extra steps needed.

To make a more realistic tree you start by rubbing paint into the tree. I make the tree slightly damp (essential step), then rub a small amount of acrylic paint into the tree all the way in toward the wire center. You do not want paint globs, just barely coat the branches so they stand alone rather than clumping together. Green paint  for green trees, white paint for pastel trees. Let the paint dry completely before the next step. Use a stiff wire brush to break up any clumped branches.

Press the branches in a downward sloping direction. With a needle tip glue applicator or toothpick put small amounts of glue up into the branches reaching in towards the center of the tree. Dots of it here and there, you don't need solid coverage on the tree. If your tree  has big spiral gaps from the twisted wire this will help smooth out their appearance.

Roll the tree in crystal glitter while the glue is still wet.

Now using an artist brush apply snow to the tips of the branches and the top of the tree. My snow is 3 parts titanium white paint mixed with 1 part Elmers glue. While the snow is still wet give the tree another roll in the crystal glitter.  Let dry and glue the tree to the base of the glitter house.

Chapel Assembly Instructions

This posting contains the instructions for assembling the two sizes of kits for " the Chapel". The pieces in your kit may vary in color from the photo above. The color choices are ivory with white trim and light peach with white trim.

It is important to read through all of the instructions before starting the assembly. Then go back and follow them step by step. I have provided lots of photos. Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

This is a precision laser cut kit. There is no need for scoring the bend lines as they are perforated.  Only bend parts when instructed to do so. Never fold then unfold and fold again as bend lines are somewhat fragile. You will be reinforcing these bend lines with adhesive on the inside of the building as part of the assembly process which will make those corners very strong.

 There may be smoke on your parts from the laser cutting process. If you take the parts out of the kit and they seem smokey blot a slightly damp paper towel down onto the parts and it will remove most of the smoke residue. Turn the towel to a clean area frequently and only wipe out towards the edge. Use a second dry paper towel and blot it down on the parts to remove any excess moisture. If the parts warp a little this is not a problem, you can finger press them straight later on. 

A slightly damp paper towel will remove excess glue spots if you get to it right away. Only work on one part at a time, the glue dries too fast for working on multiple pieces.  Because the glue dries fast you need to move quickly when working on this project. Keep your fingers free of glue at all times, using tweezers helps.

Please refer to the posting on this blog for extra advice on making and handling the folds on some of the very small pieces. As all the fold lines have been perforated they are easy to bend but the micro size kits do best with a bit of assistance from tweezers and such.

Your kit should contain the parts as shown in this photo. Some kits will have other color choices but the shapes are the same. The smaller size chapel will not have the narrow strips that are used as  trim around lower edge of the building.

You will use the craft knife to remove the small "sprues"  that hold  the piece into the carrier sheets.  To get a good flush trim hold the beveled cutting edge of the knife so that it is parallel to the paper's edge. We usually hold knives with the main part of the blade parallel to the cut but it won't trim the edges flush if you hold your knife in that position

Before you get started double check the finished project photo and look ahead a few steps so you know exactly which side of the walls to glue the windows and door on.

The Chapel door has two parts that need to be glued together with the edges even. A small bead of glue close the the edges is sufficient.

The two layers create a planked door as seen in the photos just below this one. 

The lighter brown paper with slits will face the outside of the building creating the look of a planked door.

Now glue the windows and door in position using the photo as a reference for putting them on the correct side of the paper. The lower edge of the door should be flush with the lower edge of the building.

Most glues will not adhere to the acetate windows. Use Crafter's Pick "The Ultimate" or rubber fortified super glue that is made for plastic or use clear cellophane tape.

Trim the windows to the outside black line as seen in the photo above. The side of the window with raised printed lines should face to the outside of the chapel. You will be able to feel the raised lines with your finger tips.

Put the glue on the walls, not on the windows. Work on one window at a time as the glue dries very quickly. Always use tweezers to hold the windows. You must work quickly as you will only have a very short time in which you can adjust the position of the window. Check the window position by looking at the other side of the sheet and reposition if needed by using tweezers to push against the edge of the plastic.

Turn the wall over and glue on the window and door trims.  Working on one part at a time apply a small bead of glue to the windows and door frame using your micro tipped glue applicator or a toothpick. Use tweezers to hold the parts while you place them in position. Quickly remove any excess glue that may get on the walls with a slightly damp paper towel.

Bend the bell tower walls around. Put a small bead of glue on the tab as shown in this photo. Use tweezers to clamp the tab against the front wall of the tower. You can use the flat surface of a ruler or the flat side of knife to make sure the front edge and the side of tower are flush at the corner.

Before you begin this step look at this photo and also the one below it so you understand both parts of this process.

Bend the main walls of the structure around towards the back to complete the shape. Apply glue as shown in this photo. The walls will overlap each other as seen in the next photo.

Mate the surface you just glued to the bell tower wall. Align the lower edge and the inside edges of the walls as shown in the photo.

After the glue is completely dry on the join you just made you can gently flex the structure to square it up.

Fold the roof as shown in the photo. Be sure the fold
on the main roof allows you to put in on the structure so that it fits around the tower.

Run a very fine bead of glue along the bend lines to reinforce them so the perforation line does not break apart during the next step.  Let the parts dry for about two minutes before you start the next step.

The roofs on this project have a curve to them. It is easy to curve the roof by rolling them against a cylinder. A half inch to an inch and a half cylinder works. I am using a glue stick here, a small pill bottle works fine too. Look at the photo below to make sure you bend the main roof in the correct direction.

Place the main roof against the bell tower side. Lift up the other side of the roof and glue as shown in this photo.

Lower the other side of the roof and working from the inside glue at the join between the walls and the roof.

Turn the roof over and with your fingertips hold the roof against the walls with your fingertips for a few minutes.

Turn the chapel upside down again and run a bead of glue up the inside corners of the walls to reinforce the perforated bend lines.

Lay the building on its side. Place the roof against the belltower and center it side to side.

Place a bead of glue inside the roof against the wall edges and also along the adjacent wall edges where the other half of the roof will touch.

Fold the roof, set the building upright. Use finger pressure to hold the roof against the walls for several minutes until the glue grips.

 Note that the smaller sized chapel does not have trim strips along the lower edge so you will not need to do this step.

On the 1:144 larger chapel there are two narrow strips that make the lower wall trims. They will only install one way due to the slope of the chapel walls. Be careful that you fold them so they fit correctly. Be sure you have the building sitting on a flat surface when you glue these pieces in position so they are flush to that surface.

Apply a thin bead of glue to the trim and place in position pressing to secure the trims in position.

If you look at the completed project photo at the start of the instructions you will notice that the house sits on the base at a slight angle.

If you wish to put your chapel on the base in the kit you may do so at this time. Run a bead of glue along the lower edge. I have put a hole in the base so you can place an LED or other cool light inside the house. Do not use standard incandescent bulbs in your project due to the fire hazard, cool light sources only!

If you choose to put glitter on your project wait until after you glitter to install the tree and the cross.

The cross is a snug fit. If the slot is too tight put your craft knife into the slot and rock it side to side to widen the slot. 

You will need to fluff out your tree. If needed you can dampen it to make it easier to fluff.
To add glitter and snow to your tree follow the instructions on this link

Glitter Instructions
The roof and the base can be glittered without putting on snow if you like glitter but are not trying to make a winter scene.  You might want to do this if you like using glitter projects year around or for wedding decorations. The chapel makes a nice Easter decoration.

For this project I will be using Martha Stewart Brand Fine Crystal glitter. This is a transparent glitter and allows the color of the wall to show through it. You can purchase this product online or at craft stores. If you can't find this glitter locally  but you have a stamping store in town then Ultra Fine Crystal glitter from Stampendous will be OK.

I put glitter on the walls before I work on the roof and base. I do not put glitter on the small trim pieces around doors and windows and the base as it obscures these fine details. Only work on one wall at a time and be sure to work fast as the glue dries quickly.

Experience has taught me that for glittering larger surfaces such as the walls of  the large chapel the PVA glues such as basic Elmer's dry too quickly. However that is not an issue on the 1:228 scale chapel or on the Tiny Village series. When working on  larger areas I use Elmers clear School glue as it has an extended drying time or I slightly dilute the other glues glue types with water so they dry more slowly.

I paint the glue on with an artist brush that is small enough to fit around details such as the window and door trims. I would describe the amount of glue I put on the walls as "moderate".  A very thin layer of glue won't be enough to stick the glitter to the surface but you don't want a super thick layer either as you don't want the glitter layer taller than the trims around the doors and windows. Plus you never want to make the paper soggy with glue.

I put my glitter in a small container that has holes in the top so it can be used as a salt shaker is used. Or I put a pile of it in a dish and scoop it over the building.

For snow I use 3 parts titanium white craft paint to 1 part white PVA glue. This is a medium thick mixture. You can add a little cornstarch to thicken it if you wish. But don't make the mix so dry that  the glitter won't stick to it.

Another nice product for snow is light weight white acrylic modeling paste. I apply it with a small artist trowel. You can sprinkle glitter on it while it is still wet and it will stick. Press it gently into the surface of the modeling paste.

For a heavy snowfall look build the snow materials up in thinner layers letting the snow material dry between layers. Glitter is only put over the final layer.