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 Miniature Gothic Bed Steps
I’d been drooling over the amazing projects produced by Thicketworks, and she offered her Miniature Gothic Bed Steps as a free download – so I really wanted to give it a try!
Since CanadianFashionDoll doesn’t have a medieval gothic bedroom setting for her dolls – I’m calling these library steps instead of bed steps though… especially since I also made her a very tall shelf!
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.
If chipboard was easier to get I might have played around with the settings a bit. I also felt a little pressed for time, and thought finishing at home would be easier than trying to get more time with the equipment later.
Since I wasn’t sure how strong my materials would be, I opted to have the arches at the front of the steps be a two-layer panel, with the arches in front and a flat piece in back – rather than having the arches open as Heather did with hers.
I also didn’t use her technique of strengthening the chipboard with super glue – but after making these steps I did… and I definitely would use this again, since it made a huge difference on that subsequent project. Because I didn’t use the same materials and techniques, I also didn’t do the significant distressing (with files and sandpaper and emery boards!) that Heather did – plus I thought my friend would prefer a slightly less “haunted gothic manor” aesthetic.
Once I assembled the steps, I let them dry for… well a really long time, mostly because of covid and the show that was 2020. Only when I was realizing I wanted to finish them off for my friend’s Christmas gift, did I remember to get back to them. They were assembled, so it was just time for paint.
I gave the whole thing a first 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, dropped into the tiny clover shaped elements on the sides. I think the bronze looks a lot like gold leaf. It’s super subtle, but I think it’s a nice touch.
Over the bronze, I dropped in a few drops 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. I think the gel plus the layering of paint really made that work.
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