Thursday, March 17, 2011

Conservatory Walls

I was quite pleased with the windows so I put them aside to tackle the walls again.

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.




Catherine said...

i love the texture you got with it.

Janice said...

Looking good Tabitha. I am only just realising, with the help of many blogs like your own, that many basic DIY products can be used in minis for a fraction of the cost of specialist products. In some cases they work even better.

Michelle said...

This is a great look and looks easy to use to! I've heard of this stuff but I think we must call it something else in the UK as I've never seen it for sale. As Janice says, DIY products work out so much cheaper especially when having numerous projects to do. :o))

Michelle xxx

Tallulah Belle said...

I am just playing catch is looking great Tabs. Love the effect oyu have with this. and i love how you did the windows.

isn't it much more fun to have a back story :-)

Michelle and is just powdered Polyfilla :-)

Whittaker's Miniatures said...

Playing catch up here too! Its going to be a wonderful conservatory, and love the effects your using. Cant wait to see more! Kate xx

Wendie said...

For Michelle - you know, for years I wondered what 'spackle' was too... we call it polyfilla here in the UK, its brilliant stuff for mini-ing. I used the fine/smooth finish ready made stuff when I did my house.
I look forward to seeing the greenhouse when its all finished :o)

Tabitha Corsica said...

For those outside the US, Jayne is probably right about a product called "polyfilla". There are several such DIY products that miniaturists use to create stone/stucco/plaster effects. Think it might be time to "ask Tabitha"?

Debie Lyons said...

I often buy ready made filler from the £1 shops we have over here its great stuff. Its looking good Tabs xxx

Lorra Luffies

Debie xxxxxxxxxx