According to Hester, Titania was an accomplished musician at an early age. She played both the piano and violin. The piano was kept in the ballroom (...really MUST find out where that ballroom is...) but she often practiced violin in the Conservatory amongst the ferns, orchids and other tropical plants, not to mention the odd parrot or two. Her adoring father spent a fortune importing the exotic flora and fauna…. Strangely enough, most of them survived during the time the Conservatory was closed and are still flourishing.
Note to self: search Internet for miniature tropical plant kits; employ elves to make up kits.
Better yet, find plants already made…
Since this conservatory will be more “greenhouse” in flavor, I decided the exterior and interior lower walls would best be finished in the same way. The exterior would, of course, be more aged and dirtier than the interior.
After considering stone/brickwork, using either paperclay or egg cartons, I settled on a “stucco” look using light weight spackling compound.
I used Patch ‘N Paint, which is the store brand for the local Ace Hardware store but I have used Fast ‘N Final by DAP which is exactly the same thing. I am sure other manufacturers have their own label. This can be found in the Paint aisle of any hardware store.
It has the consistency of buttercream frosting and is very easy to work with. If it gets a little dry, small amounts of water can be added to loosen it up. I used it white, straight out of the container but it can easily be colored with powdered tempra paint or even grated chalk. Using liquid paint to color it can thin it out too much so be careful if you do this.
I wanted to seal the substrate (MDF) so it wouldn’t warp as the spackle dried. MDF has a tendency to absorb water so I first brushed on a light coat of full strength white glue (PVA) and let it dry.
I whipped up the spackle with a rubber kitchen spatula and applied it to the appropriate areas with a palette knife. I tried various means of texturing (small brush, etc.) but the tip of an old dull kitchen knife worked the best.
IMPORTANT: If you are NOT using disposable tools, be sure to wash up your tools before the spackle hardens.
First I coated all the exterior walls and then, when that was set, I turned them all over and coated the interior walls. I will wait a full 24 hours for this material to cure before I paint/age it. I am sorry these photos are not rotated properly but I think you can still get the idea.
The magazine article I reference way back at the beginning also employed a stucco medium for the outside walls only. A combination of premixed grout and tub/tile caulk was used. I cannot speak to how well the grout/caulk mixture worked or the ease of application but I’d guess it was fine. The pre-painted embellishments used on that project were applied right on top of the stucco.
I had some tub caulk but no premixed grout. However,I did have the light weight spackle. Since I’d used it before, I felt comfortable with it in this application. I vowed to complete this project using only what I had/have on hand.