Hints & Tips

CEMENT

A very convincing cement can be achieved by adding sand to spackle to give texture. Spread the mix where required then press the edge of a popsicle stick into it to give the effect of bricks or slabs. When dry paint with light grey.

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ATTIC

For ultimate realism in your dollhouse attic, glue strips of wood to the underside of the roof and above the ceiling of the 2nd floor to simulate rafters and joists. Line between the strips with some insulation or newspaper for a truly unique look.

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PAINTING METAL FIGURES

The best way to paint miniature metal figurines is to damped a sponge slightly and lay them on it while you paint. The rough surface holds them securely even when tilted.

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SANDING CURVES

For easier sanding inside curves of various sizes, glue strips of sandpaper around dowels of different thickness.

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SMALL PARTS

An idea borrowed from a jeweler. Use thumb tacks to attach an apron to the underside of your workstation edge. Any small parts dropped or accidently swept over the edge will be caught by the apron and eliminate the need to grovel among the sawdust and shaving trying to find them.

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MINIATURE DIRT

Take a used tea bag and let it dry. Once dry open the tea bag and viola instant dirt

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DOG FOOD

Old buttons that look like a bowl can be used to make dog or cat food. Just take some kibble and crush it. Then take nail polish and dribble it over the crushed kibble. Do a few applications of nail polish drops - this keeps the kibble from molding.

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WASTEPAPER BASKET

You can use the inside cap of some hairspray containers to make wastepaper baskets in 1" scale. Paint or wallpaper can add a bit of color.

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SHELF PAPER OR BOOK COVERS

Inspect the inside of envelopes - many have tiny designs on the inside that can be used for shelf paper or book covers.

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KEEPING PAINTED ITEMS FROM STICKING TO PAPER

After painting an item such as trims or dowels place them on a few strands of spaghetti. This will keep them from sticking to the paper underneath.

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WALLPAPERING

When you make the paper template of each wall and then adhere it to your wallpaper first, cut each window or door opening out about 1/8th inch larger than the actual opening.  That way, when you glue your moldings on, some of the molding wood is actually being glued to your wood, not just on paper, which could loosen.

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Use Silicone adhesive for ceiling fixtures. It remains pliable and fixture can be removed easily with a razor saw when the bulb needs replacing. 

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Roughen the back of a metal hinge with sandpaper or emery board and the glue will adhere better.

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Miniaturize your own photos. Just mount a dozen or so on a board (use masking tape behind each) - step back four to six feet and shoot the whole board at once. You now have a dozen tiny photos to cut out and frame.

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If a lighting fixture emits a harsh light, soften the effect by painting the bulbs with stained glass paint.

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If unsure about assembling a dollhouse kit, tape the shell of the house together with masking tape. This dry run will do wonders for your self-confidence.

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Full-sized white, or off-white, vinyl wallpaper with a very tiny stippled effect gives the appearance of real plaster. It brightens the room and hides many evils.

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Micro 'alligator' clips with smooth or gripped edges make great little clamps for holding tiny items when gluing (available at home renovation centres and electronic shops).

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Emery boars make great sanding tools.

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For a metallic shine on painted surface, rub with graphite (pencil) shavings.

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To turn copper a 'weather beaten' green use ordinary household ammonia.

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