Last year, you might remember that I made a few little furniture/decorative pieces for my friend who collects and displays fashion dolls. (Like the Asian inspired shelf, or some of the other Making Miniatures posts)
Well, before covid shut everything down, I used the maker studio’s laser cutter & paper cutter for a few other things as well, and for Christmas 2020 I ended up finishing them off and giving them to my friend as well. (Her Instagram, @CanadianFashionDoll isn’t really being used currently, but maybe she’ll be up and running again?)
Thicketworks Gothic Medieval Desk – inspiration
I’d been drooling over the amazing projects produced by (the ASMR-worthy voice’d Heather Tracy of ) Thicketworks and tried a few of her free projects (or… at least started them… oy) but the gothic desk was gorgeous – but in order to work for my friend would need significant changes. The idea of buying a digital file, only to have to change so many things about it seemed… a bit silly to me, (And I wasn’t even sure if the purchased file would work with my super old software for editing) so I designed my own entirely from scratch in illustrator, though if you watch her video, you’ll see it’s STRONGLY inspired by her design.
At the maker studio, I cut out pieces in both cardstock and a very lightweight chipboard. Although Heather’s videos talk about chipboard like it’s an easily accessible product, and that the paper cutters can cut it with ease…. neither of those were particularly true. I was only able to find VERY thick chipboard at Michaels, or quite thin chipboard as single sheets.
At the studio, I’m not sure if the blade was dull, or the wrong blade… or what… but it didn’t cut the chipboard fully, so each piece had to be further cut using a craft knife after the fact. Pretty frustrating. But.. finally it was cut out, and I could begin the … frankly… entirely fiddly and time consuming process of construction.
Each piece has several layers, but not all of the layers are the same, which allows for a recessed effect in some areas, but they’re all based off the same base design, so they line up as well as possible.
The basic construction took about 3 evenings at the dining room table, where finally I secured all the pieces to dry with elastic bands… and it then sat on the table for several months due to… well…. 2020.
Once assembled and dried, I gave the whole thing a thin coat of burnt sienna craft quality acrylic paint, then a second coat. Then I did a black dry brushing along the edges to give the appearance of age and distressing. The black seemed a bit harsh, so I did a very watery coat of a mix of burnt sienna with a touch of black and a touch of blue (it looked like a muddy purple) which did WONDERS for the piece. I also used a bronze acrylic craft-quality paint to add highlight areas, which looks a LOT like gold leaf. I put this largely on the recessed areas, as well as on the false ‘drawer’ front.
Over the bronze, I put a layer of Glossy Effects, which has a glassy finish that I love. It makes it look a bit like enamel to me or something…. Then after how lovely the self-leveling gloss gel worked on the shelf I made at the same time, I used this too and that REALLY made the whole thing take on a very “antique wood” look and feel.
Of course, I designed the desk, cut it out, began assembly LONG before doing the painting – which means I didn’t end up following any of Heather’s advice for finishing at all – but I’m still very happy with my results.
I also didn’t follow her advice about using super glue to harden the chipboard…. however I later did – and if I were to make another project like this in the future (once the maker space opens up again… which… likely wont’ happen for a long, long time) I definitely would follow this advice for sure!
Further, I didn’t do the gouging that she did – although it looks super cool in her version, I didn’t think the “haunted gothic manor” aesthetic would work for my friend.
Ouija board & Planchette
To accompany this desk I also made a miniature Ouija board and planchette that I found on two different sites (I didn’t copy the links I used unfortunately) and printed them out at the same time as I was printing off a number of other things for this project. It’s just glued to cardstock.
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