Julian and Cara showing off their Fiendish Devices. The larger one I previously detailed. The smaller one is another circuit board from the same stereo, housed in an iPhone 5 box, with indicators made of findings with pins inside. Continue reading Julian’s primary and auxiliary Fiendish Devices
Back about a decade or so ago, I lived in an apartment on the third floor of a house. The landlord collected stuff. I got the innards of an old record player, as well as some vacuum tubes, from him. These, along with a circuit board from a calculator, as well as the halves of some plastic Easter eggs, some ball-headed pins, and some pipe cleaners, became a 1:6 scale Fiendish Device.
I originally thought I’d use it as a piece of equipment for my Frankenstein-like scientist Janet. However, the Device took up too much desk space to be a truly usable background element. Also it was really heavy, so I eventually ditched it before moving.
I’ve always missed the Fiendish Device. Sadly, though, the only record I have of it survives in this small photo of crappy quality in which Will, dressed up as Frank in prep for a midnight showing of RHPS, pretends it’s a sonic transducer.
I should remake it. It was the best vaguely ominous, sort of scientific-looking thing ever. Continue reading The Fiendish Device: a 1:6 scale piece that I wish I still had
I’ve been focusing on digital for so long that I don’t even recall the last time I posted about doll-related creative projects! I’m shifting, though, away from an all-consuming obsession with digital to my first love, actual dolls. Right now I’m working on Zombieville stuff, but [eventually!] I’ll get to those BJDs who have languished, unfinished, for a year or more. [I’m sorry, Delmar and Fritillaria!] In the meantime, see below for details on Isabel’s wardrobe and workplace. Continue reading Isabel’s shitty sock sweater and in-progress office
Vermont Doll Lovers has its Halloween meetup in about a week and a half, so I’ve been collecting seasonal props appropriate for dolls of various scales. Today I took the inspiration even further and decorated one of my 11″ fake pine trees, previously serving as a piece of my forest set, to be a Halloween tree. Since a Halloween tree is exactly the sort of thing Isabel would enjoy, we may see one shortly in Zombieville. Pictures below.Continue reading What’s more fun that a Christmas tree? A Halloween tree!
Since Chapter 7 [and some of Chapter 8] of Zombieville centers on Isabel’s visit to Doctor Z, I decided a long time ago that I needed to make an exam room set. I started sometime last year with research. I had the opportunity to sit around in an actual exam room for about 45 minutes, waiting for a doctor, so I took the time to observe the layout and contents of the room. I sketched a diagram, which I then transferred into Photoshop. Continue reading Recent projects #4: doctor’s exam room set
At the suggestion of a Figurvore member, I added a local menu to the fridge. [I found it online and reduced it to 16.67%, then printed it out.] I also added a LOVERMONT sticker, since Vermonters really like to proclaim their attachment to their state.
This month’s Figurvore prop challenge was to construct something kitchen-related and to provide photos of dolls using the item. Originally I planned to make a popcorn popper, though I had no use for it, but I turned my mind instead to one of the gaps in my set collection that has long frustrated me: the lack of a 1:6 scale refrigerator. Sure, I’ve got a stove, a sink, a microwave, a coffee maker, a table and chairs, a toaster, a blender, cooking utensils, silverware, plates, bowls, a hutch, crockery, a colander, etc., etc., etc., but I wanted a fridge dammit!
As the next ep of Zombieville will be set in Isabel’s bedroom, I needed to complete the interior decoration thereof. Isabel, because she dislikes her grey hair, shaves it short and wears a variety of meretricious wigs. In a natural extension of her interest in dolls, she has customized her wig stands by repainting them, renaming them and giving them personalities.
I had a few inquiries on MWD about the cemetery set for the latest episode of Zombieville, so below I’ve collected some notes and photos that I created during its creation.
Sure, I have a wonderful little Rement gumball machine that I could use on the counter of Peter’s resale shop, Rumpy Pumpy. However, as much as I love Rement, I love even more the satisfaction of finding a Valentine’s candy dispenser for 88 cents the day after Valentine’s and quickly repurposing it into a gumball machine that I customized by my very own self.
Last year I acquired a small replica of William Wetmore Story’s Angel of Grief that he originally carved for his wife’s tomb. Made by Design Toscano, your friendly neighborhood purveyors of all things mediocre, tawdry and expensive, she looked like this initially:
Chaz’ mobile throne is done. [Chaz also has a haircut.] Details on construction in the last two pictures.
Continue reading The tacky wheelchair is completed!
Some weeks ago, I used one of the last warm days in November to empty a can of fluorescent pink spray paint on the base of Chaz’ electric wheelchair, a 1:24 scale ForTwo Smart Car. Today I finally connected the wheelchair’s seat — a salon chair that I acquired this summer — with the base.
Continue reading Chaz’ chair coming together
Isabel’s glue gun is a ray gun from the Takara Cy Girl Aurora, repainted with green spray paint. I drilled a hole in the back end and inserted a polymer clay glue stick that DLSarmywife on Figurvore made for me. I wrapped a little tin foil around the nozzle for the metal and then added a blob of actual hot glue.
Continue reading “Say hello to my little friend.”
Last night I took a class in making polymer clay foods with Melissa Cook, a local miniaturist. I really enjoyed myself as she taught us how to make jack-o-lanterns, apples, bananas and bread. She was teaching in 1:12 scale, but she provided enough clay for me to make fewer items, but larger ones.
Jack-o-lantern: formed, carved and baked around a core of loosely wadded tin foil.
Apples: lime green dusted with bright red pastel.
Bananas: bright yellow flattened to make four "ribs," brushed with lime green along top, bottom and ribs. Top to be colored with black Sharpie. Spots to be added with brown marker.
Bread: very pale tan with most color added via pastels: red, orange, brown, yellow, ochre. Red and dark brown look good for the toasted parts. Ochre gives the cooked parts a nice depth.
One Zombieville set that I will greatly enjoy making is Isabel’s room, including her mess where she customizes dolls. The accessories for this set will be easy to furnish since I can use many of my own supplies for Isabel’s. See:
Continue reading Stocking Isabel’s mess: art supplies
Well, technically, it’s Isabel’s doll studio, but it’s a barely organized heap of several projects in progress, so it’s pretty messy. I should start making this. I’ve been amassing dolls, doll parts, shelves and tables for her for quite some time, and I think I need to just dive right in and do it. The huge list of supplies I want to stock her with looks daunting, but, as much of it is either easily made or cut down from my own supplies, I should be able to quickly generate it.
Next I made Aves Apoxie Sculpt bases, covered with moss and crinkle paper, for my trees. I added a few stands of slender trunks to the thicker ones.
The forest still looked sparse, so I added some sprays of plastic leaves to pass as young trees.
I tried putting down loose green crinkle paper for additional ground cover, but it was the wrong shade.
Then I added stands of plastic ferns.
I am probably not finished with this set. I’d like to have the option of a stump or log, a conifer or two and maybe a rock.
EDIT: The pictures were not hiding behind the cut, so I removed them. >:(
Following the principles in my June 12th entry, I made more 1:6 scale plants for the Figurvore Custom Challenge. Here’s the whole set:
Figurvore’s first custom challenge is to make a 1:6 scale plant. I toyed with the idea of making a bonsai tree with some of my various wire for a skeleton and possibly some fauxliage as leaves, but that looked like it would require hours, rather than minutes, of effort, so I scaled back. I made an E-Z Cactus, as previously mentioned in an entry in December, 2012, but with some improvements.
I made the cactus by twisting together two shades of green pipe cleaners. Then I formed the pipe cleaners into a club shape with a projection on the bottom to stick into the soil unit. To help the cactus stand upright, I rammed a slender piece of bronze wire up inside it.
To make the soil unit, I filled a 1.5" diameter terra cotta pot with Aves Apoxie Sculpt most of the way. I snipped off small shreds of brown crinkle paper and stuck them to the top of the Aves Apoxie Sculpt to look like wood chips. Then I stuck the wire on the bottom of the cactus into the soil unit. When the Aves Apoxie Sculpt dried, I used hot glue and more "wood chips" to cover the areas where the soil unit showed.
Continue reading E-Z Cacti [TM]
Here is the dead version of Isabel showing off the hollow plastic gravestones I got at the end of last week. As you can see, the fronts are, like most Halloween decorations, bullshit in terms of cemetery iconography, but the backs are fine!
I have recently developed the useful and somewhat surprising facility for making my own serviceable 1:6 scale stuff. I go through the following process, demonstrated for example’s sake with an electric wheelchair:
- I want a 1:6 scale electric wheelchair.
- Let me search for a commercially produced one.
- There are no commercially produced ones, or they are too expensive.
- I’ll have to make one.
- Let’s break down the electric wheelchair into its simplest components, which I may be more likely to find in 1:6 scale.
- An electric wheelchair looks like an office chair on top of a lawn mower.
- I have procured an office chair, but I can’t find a lawn mower.
- I will have to use a 1:18 scale ForTwo Smart Car instead.
- [Construction ensues.]
The key steps, I think, are 5 and 6. I’m currently planning to scratch-build two 1:6 scale things, not necessarily because I need them, but because I want to see if I can.
The first is a tape dispenser, which is basically a block with a channel down the center and a roll of tape half-submerged in the channel. I know exactly how I want to make this; I just need to sit down and actually do it.
The second is a grandfather clock. I started coveting a functioning 1:6 scale grandfather clock on the Doll Page Show and Sell site, but $33.00 for something I don’t really neeeeeeed seemed too rich to me. Even when I got the idea that the dead version of Isabel could come and go in Isabel’s room through the door in the clock, I still couldn’t bring myself to spend north of $30.00 for one.
I’m perfectly willing to make one, however. A grandfather clock is basically a clock face on top of a locker, so, once I find the appropriate 1:6 scale locker/narrow cupboard with working door, I have the base for a modern grandfather clock!
New things since last time, going L to R, top shelf to bottom: Rement mushroom container with frog, 1:6 scale Vermont bicentennial license plate [scanned from personal collection], Rement vase of flowers, Rement orange pen [below vase], Mattel watch, Rement magnetic paperclip holder, Kitchen Littles mug with Rement utensil sticking out.
I’ve gone off on a bookcase tangent. I’m trying to make its contents a little more interesting than just books, but generic enough so that the bookcase can be used as a general backdrop. I added three things today:Continue reading Continuing to work on the bookcase
As I’ve mentioned before, bamboo drawer organizers make wonderful bookcases with little to no modification.
Make page blocks for dummy books by hot-gluing together "signatures" of balsa, foamcore or craft foam cut to size.
Don’t forget to vary the dimensions of the dummy books. No one’s library contains uniform volumes of all the same size.
Use scraps of paper sticking out from between "signatures" for bookmarks.
Create the impression of a diverse library by binding your dummy books in a variety of papers. Magazine pages and origami paper provide aesthetically pleasing patterns. Used cheap self-adhesive gift tags for trim, stripes and further differentiation.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to distribute colors and patterns randomly amongt the stacks. Very few people shelve according to the color spectrum. :p
For added realism, make it messy. [Tip for the lazy: Falling-over books take up more room than neatly stuffed shelves!] Have some books stick out further than others. A pile of books can act as a makeshift bookend. Try shelving some books on top of other books.
Use some sort of adhesive to keep the books on the shelves, particularly those that are falling over or leaning precariously.
See these principles in practice below.
A test of the forest against the deciduous background reveals that it needs more filler.
Continue reading [Isabel] Forrest in the forest for the fifth time
I finished the large trees tonight.Continue reading [Isabel] Forrest in the forest for the fourth time
Okay, so technically Isabel’s not in these pictures. Let’s pretend she’s standing just out of frame. :p
Behold the understory! Yesterday I harvested some slender twigs from the nearby woods, then turned them into the understory for my forest set. I made bases for clusters of twigs using the same principles that I used when making them for my underbrush this weekend. This time, though, I did things differently.
First, I didn’t use polymer clay. I used Aves Apoxie Sculpt. It is a two-part sculpting medium that requires manual blending in 50/50 composition before use. It then has a working time of approximately two hours before it dries rock hard. When pliable, it may be tinted with acrylic paint. When dry, it may be sanded or carved.
I really like Apoxie Sculpt. I find it easy to use, with the caveat that hand-mixing just about three-fourths of a handful of it at a time is best. Otherwise I hurt my hands in an attempt to blend huge wodges at once!
Once blended, Apoxie Sculpt starts off slightly tacky, soft and very pliable, slowly stiffening and drying as time wears on. It responds readily to tools, cut it’s also easy enough to form with one’s fingers. [The instructions recommend wearing nitrile gloves and make it sound like the stuff is difficult to get off, but it’s really not. The second time I used it, I didn’t wear gloves, and I removed the sticky bits from my fingertips with soap and water.] Unlike polymer clay, it cures on its own, so no putting things in the oven, then juggling hot items as they come out.
Second, I didn’t glue the twigs into guide holes the way that I did with the underbrush. Instead I just stuck them in the Apoxie Sculpt bases and let the Apoxie Sculpt cure around them. As much as me and hot glue are BFFs, sometimes it’s nice not to have to use it.
When we last looked in on my forest in progress, it was pretty much uniformly green. In the mean time, I have made some improvements.
I acquired a few gunmetal satin drawstring bags in a recent purchase of 1:6 scale doll heads. You can easily find such bags in a variety of sizes in craft supply stores or online shops in the category for weddings. I guess people often put favors [Jordan almonds BLECH!] in them.Continue reading Easy 1:6 scale pillows
There’s a thread on Figurvore about one’s first attempts at set pieces compared to one’s current efforts. It got me thinking about how I used to make sets.
When I first started in 1:6 scale, I built movable sets on my desktop or more permanent ones in bookshelves. I had very few backdrops and/or set pieces, so I mostly made do by repurposing commonly available items. One of my favorite examples of such reuse was the jelly bean seat.
To make the jelly bean seat, I started off using a short cylindrical container for binder clips. I brought it home from the office because it looked about the right size to serve as a table or ottoman or something.
When I got it home, I discovered that it was, in fact, the right height. However, the flexible plastic bowed under the weight of a doll, so I needed something to balance, solidify and add support.
It being in the vicinity of Easter, I hit upon the idea of filling the container with jelly beans. Hey, why not? I reasoned that they were attractively colored and also unspoilable [being made mostly of wax :p ]. I filled the container with a pleasing series of jelly beans, then glued the top on with my best friend ever, hot glue.Continue reading Set pieces from the depths of time, part 1, 03/24/04: the jelly bean seat
After suffering many years with a 1:6 scale bed made from a saggy, undersize cracker box covered with a piece of fabric from a pillow case, I improved my 1:6 scale bed tonight. This one is a sturdy, NON-saggy doll box, also covered with another pillow case. Isabel enjoys a book on it. I need some throw pillows that DO NOT have monkeys on them.
Continue reading Bed
Like most kitchens I have experience with, it has very little counter space. :pContinue reading Finished kitchen
I made some 1:6 scale spaghetti this week. At first I coveted Rement’s Fun Meals #8, Spaghetti and Meatballs, but it’s out of print and running at ridiculous prices on Ebay. I am not paying $20.00 for a plate of plastic spaghetti! I don’t even pay that much for a plate of real spaghetti.
Anyway, I decided to make my own. I mixed up some yellowish tan polymer clay and rolled it into a long thin string. The I swirled the string into a pile and cured it. After curing, I added sauce. The lumpy consistency of the acrylic paint worked in my favor, giving the appearance of tomato chunks and possibly pieces of ground beef.
Continue reading Recent projects: spaghetti and Peter
A smallipop, of course!
I finished making a bunch of 1:6 scale lollipops last night and tonight by modifying a tutorial by Linda Chang on WonderHowTo. She uses polymer clay for both lollipop sticks and the candy parts themselves, but I used toothpicks painted white, trimmed down and sealed with matte varnish for my sticks. I also lacked any colors of polymer clay besides white, so I tinted my clay with shaved chalk pastels, which worked really well! I was able to get surprisingly vivid colors, especially in my second batch of pops [red/white/purple].
These smallipops were really fun to make because they required very little effort to create a really cool spiral/swirl effect. My favorite smallipops are the green/yellow/white swirls and the red/purple/white ball pop.
Here’s Peter and Isabel showing off my smallipops. I love taking pictures of both of them because they have so much expressiveness in their faces. Peter’s all "Oh shit!" and Isabel’s all "No shit." Continue reading What do you call a little hard piece of candy on a stick?
I made a bathroom today. From left to right we have a wooden box [once held gift condiments] supporting DripClips paperclip holder sink, various Rements [soap dispensers and tissues], some Barbie bottle, Japanese t.p. erasers by Itasho, unknown trash can [helpfully labeled RUBBISH BIN!] and a squirting novelty toilet with the squirt removed.
Continue reading Lazy bathroom finished and lazy kitchen in progress
In case you haven’t noticed, Peter has been modeling most of my recent 1:6 scale accessories and set pieces. That’s because he’s the only finished Zombieville denizen of average height that I can stand. Both of these qualifiers are important, because Béatrice is finished, but she has dwarfism, so she’s not as easy a reference as a Zombieville denizen of average height. Theophany is finished, but her personality annoys me too much to let her in pictures frequently.
Other Zombieville denizens exist, but they are not ready for modeling:
- Anna needs her hair finished. I’m having an epic fight with it, to be detailed later.
- Carter needs a headback, a custom body constructed [fat doll!], faceup, eyes, hair and clothes.
- Chaz needs faceup and hair.
- Isabel needs a custom body constructed [fat doll!], faceup, eyes, hair and clothes.
- Novella needs faceup, eyes and hair.
Okay…anyway…here’s Peter showing off the blender that I got from stupid.com. It started off as an Xmas ornament, hence the little metal loop at the top. It’s a solid piece of painted resin, 2 inches high, which scales out to 1 foot in 1:6 scale. There are no removable parts, but it’s well sculpted. I also may be biased toward it because its design reminds me of the blender in my kitchen growing up. Continue reading Peter shows blender and lazy cacti.
I finished shelving books on my 1:6 bookcase made from a repurposed drawer organizer. A shipment of premade dummies in two sizes arrived today from Factory Direct Crafts, so I spent from about 1:30 to 9:00 PM [with a break for an appointment, a brief trip to the grocery store and dinner] completing the project.
I’m not the sort of person who feels the need to scan actual books and print out their covers in 1:6 scale for a library appropriate to each character. However, I was dissatisfied with the plain, undifferentiated spines in the earlier iteration of the bookcase. I spent most of those hours creating unique dummies with the help of solid origami paper, patterened origami paper and gift tag stickers with vaguely Xmas- and winter-related patterns.
I also endeavored to arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, representing a variety of heights and colors, as real bookshelves do. Then I glued them into blocks of several books, but these blocks are not glued to the shelves. Instead they are kept in there by the fact that everything is wedged so tightly. I’m sure there’s a technical term for that, but it escapes me at the moment.
Anyway, behold the bookcase! Though it’s currently displaying Peter’s interest [flora], this bookcase, like pretty much in my collection of 1:6 scale set pieces, will be used wherever a full, well-used library is needed. In fact, the shelves with the flowers and lava lamp I have intentionally left open so that their contents can reflect the bookcase’s current owner: cacti for Peter [have to make some of those], 1:6 scale figures for Ellery or Isabel, zombie dolls for Theophany, mementos mori for Lucian, etc.
I’m in the process of shelving things on a lazy 1:6 scale bookcase. It’s a lightly customized bamboo drawer organizer [$10.68 from Walmart].
Jennifer shows off Lucian's castle wall with tapestries. I don't want to hear anything about unconvincing fabrics or obvious tacks. This works for me.Continue reading Lucian’s castle walls
I made some potted plants today for my 1:6ers by scrounging leftover bits of 1:1 plastic flowers from AC Moore, then gluing sprays of them into 5/8" spools. I wish I had gotten some larger spools, but I think I did well with the plants shown. These will be great for Mark, who can never have too many plants, or for Waverley, an easy way to decorate her studio apartment. Continue reading Lazy fleurs
Below are a picture of my work space and some pictures of my plastic food collection. I don’t collect dolls, but I do collect plastic food, almost all of which is either Iwako or Re-ment. People have diverse diets, so I want to reflect that in 1:6. [My vampires, though bloodthirsty, eat human food for nostalgic and sensory reasons.] I’m not looking for a plastic representative of every food ever, but 1:6 versions of foods commonly found in American restaurants and kitchens. It’s all stored in plastic trays that used to hold beads or nails. Continue reading Work space photo and plastic food collection
Are your 1:6 dolls, such as Barbies, GI Joes, Cy Girls, etc., hungry? Now you can make them some 1:6 canned goods. I have taken public-domain images of vintage [1910s-1950s] canned goods and reduced them to 1:6, while still maintaining the crispness and detail of each image.
The 11 labels include lima beans, fruit salad, clams, beets, wax beans, spinach, salmon, potatoes, pineapple, peas and pears.
To use these labels, take a link to the PDF or the Word 2003 doc. Cut out each label and wrap it around a cylindrical shape, such as a dowel, a glue stick or a bit of tubing. Labels can be affixed to cans with glue or tape.
See photos of some of my lazy 1:6 furniture below, including a list of materials of those things I made myself. Tonight we’re looking at Will’s vanity, a generic end table and a stool from the Nightcrawler. Continue reading Lazy furniture: stool, end table, vanity