Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Working With Foam

Working With Foam

Pink Insulation Foam

What it looks like:

What You Should Know About It: 

Purchase it in either half in or one inch thick slabs. One slab will do you for a while, depending on your project. The slabs are fairly large.

Where to Find It: Home renovation stores such as: Home Depot, Rona, Home Hardware, etc.

What to Use it For: Carving into, basing things, bricks, structures.


*Cut the foam using a hot wire foam cutter or a utility knife.

*If you're using a utility knife, always use a sharp knife when starting a new project or the foam will "pill", which is a giant hassle and will cause problems and annoy the heck out of you. The sharper the knife, the smoother it will go through the foam.

*If you use a hot wire foam cutter, you can either make your own or buy one pre-made. It melts through the foam giving your nice smooth flat cuts.

*Try making your own hot wire foam cutter.

Childrens/Kids Foam

What it looks like:

Where to Find It: 

Craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

What to Use it For: 

Smaller, thinner details. I use it for shingles sometimes, fake leather texture.


*You can cut it with normal scissors. I don't recommend using utility or craft knives to cut it as it will pull at it and your cuts won't be as nice.

*Use kids foam to make an aged book!

White Styrofoam

What it looks like:

Where to Find It: 

Craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby, you can sometimes find it as insulation at home stores as well like Home Depot.

What to Use it For:

Basing, etc.


*I'm not personally a fan of this type of foam and steer clear of it. I don't like that it's made up of tiny bits of smaller balls of styrofoam - it's jagged and ridiculously messy and have so far never come across an occasion where I've needed it.


What it looks like:

Where to Find It:

Craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby and dollar stores like Dollarama and Dollar Tree.

What to Use it For: 

Making buildings, basing, carving into, literally everything.


I buy mine from the dollar store rather than the craft store because the paper comes off easier. It rips off in one swipe, rather than having to soak the paper off in water which is way too much of an ordeal for me.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Crafting & Depression

With the change in seasons for most people brings along Halloween costumes, cozy sweaters, hot chocolate and thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas. For others, there's a lack of bright sunshine, bringing on a different feeling - seasonal depression.

I find it difficult to work in the summer because I don't have air conditioning, but I have no small amount of creativity. My brain is moving a million miles a second and the real world just can't keep up. I'm out at the beach with my husband and daughter, thinking up new things to create miniature versions of.

I've got a love-hate relationship with the seasons. I'm uncomfortable, drained but creative in the summer months and in the colder months I'm comfy and able to actually work, but I'm depressed and find it harder to accomplish anything.

My advice is thus: switch your game. If you normally work on making fantasy things, switch to horror this month. If you normally work on 1:12 scale, switch to 1:24 this month. If you normally work with your hands, make something digital. Switch your focus.

I've been making digital collage sheets lately and taking a break from making physical miniatures and it's been helping. Teaching myself to use the free program Gimp so there's no cost to me in buying Photoshop (yes, I know I could just download it, but I'm not advocating that - give Gimp a try if you're new to image editing).

I've been making things I know I can use in my own room boxes and scenes and putting them in  my Etsy shops, in hopes that other people can get some use out of them as well. It's definitely a nice change and I still get that sense of accomplishment of finishing a "craft", even though it's digital.

So change your view if you're feeling out of sorts, if it's weather related or not. See if it helps. Do something a little different and try out something new, teach yourself something different.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Nemo's Organ

Captain Nemo's Organ Room
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    The Nautilus - a submarine of fantastic proportions. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was first imagined by Jules Verne in his epic novel and re-imagined in the 1954 film of the same name.

During the scene where the giant octopus is attacking the submarine, I took my chance - a scene of agitated disorder ripe for the picking!

So I created a 1:12 scale room box for Alpha Stamps for their underwater steampunk theme.

Here is the full corner scene, featuring Captain Nemo's organ.


A steampunk ornately framed gentleman.

The bottle of bubbly has been tipped and is in the midst of toppling, along with the table, completely over.

I use buttons as a backing for collage printables.

The sheet music at the organ, slowly falling to the ground.

The candle and sheet music both in the stage of falling.

I really love this sheet music - printed at 50% to fit the 1:12 scale best.

Book printables from Alpha Stamps falling off the shelf.

Close up of falling sheet music.

Another ornately framed cabinet photograph.

I've "steampunked" this piano in an attempt to make it more organ-like.

Mr. Octopus is holding tight to the submarine and giving it a good shake.

A plastic tentacle really does the trick in setting the scene here.

Alpha Stamps Supply List Can Be found Here

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Shabby Front Hall - Mini Room Box

The Shabby Front Hall 
a mini-room box

I was asked by Amy of Shabby is Chic Boutique to guest design for their Design Team for April. I created two projects for her and this is the first of the two. 

I was well out of my comfort zone for these - shabby chic design is a far departure from my normally grungy and aged artwork. 

I worked with blue and white hues for this box - some scrapbook paper as wallpaper. The box and table are from Dollarama.

The Shabby Tea Shop - Mini Room Box

The Shabby Tea Shop
a mini-room box

I was asked by Amy of Shabby is Chic Boutique to guest design for their Design Team for April. I created two projects for her and this is the first of the two. 

I was well out of my comfort zone for these - shabby chic design is a far departure from my normally grungy and aged artwork. 

I created the room inside a wooden box from Dollarama (this size are usually $2.00), used some Graphic 45 paper (Typography) for the top wallpaper - the bottom of the wall was created using fabric tape.

An X-Acto brand table - some tea related mini's, all to create the set-up for the tea shop. Check out the pictures below!


Friday, May 20, 2016

Tutorial: Medieval Room Box

Tutorial: Medieval Room Box


1/2 inch thick Owens Corning insulation foam. You can get it at Home Depot and similar stores.
Ballpoint pen
Wood stain marker
Nail files
X-Acto Knife/Box Cutter
Aluminum foil

Cut a floor and two walls. My floor is 6.5 x 7 inches. My window'ed wall is 7 x 8.5 inches, and the other wall is 7 x 8.5 inches.

I like to draw a grid on the foam very lightly with a pen so it doesn't indent into it. The grid doesn't have to be specific - just something to guide you straight - you don't have to make your bricks as big or as small as the grid. It helps me make sure I don't start out one size and finish with another.

I used the largest Dragon Shape from Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. Place it in the center and trace around the outside, making sure it's smack dab in the middle of the floor. I added a circle around the dragon for added oomph using a compass.

I drew on random stones using my ballpoint pen, pressing harder and harder each time I go over the area with the pen, so that it breaks through the foam. Then I took a stain pen - designed for fixing odd spots on furniture and the like - and drew over the dragon, which melts the foam in that area, creating a stone-like texture, as well.

I added a window to one of the walls and then drew in the bricks around the window, followed by the stone in the wall itself. This method is repeated from the floor, and also on the other wall.

Grab a bit of aluminum foil, balled up and start pressing it into the floor and walls. Both sides of the walls, just the one side for the floor. This creates a stone texture that will come into play when you're painting later. The more you do to add texture, the more realism you can add.

I bought a pack of nail files from the dollar store and went through about ten of them for this project. Cut it to the shape that works best for you - I cut it in a sort of pointy shape, as you can see above. Then went through each crevice with the file, to separate each brick. This is tedious. But the end result is totally worth it.

I am lazy and used hot glue to attach the walls and floor - you should use PVA glue. Or hot glue. Don't let me tell you what to do.

The window.

Do the same to the floor - if you use straight angles, it's a little easier than these more random ones.

Then I painted the room. Use your own favourite painting techniques here. You could make the floor anything - you could make it scarier, or less scary, more mosaic - the sky is the limit! Here's the finished pictures: