With the 4th of July coming up next month, I thought I’d try my hand at building a little ramshackle roadside fireworks stand from scratch! I built the entire stand from foamcore and textured it with steel brushes to resemble wood.
I searched for vintage fireworks images and found a ton of great old posters, which I affixed to the front and sides of the stand, as well as old packaging that I was able to print out and turn into bottle rockets, sparklers and fountains. For the little smoke bombs, I painted wooden beads black and glued white embroidery thread in the hole on top for the wick.
To make the lit sparklers, I use a pom-pom making method with silver tinsel for the tops and then glued the sparkler to a piece of white floral wire.
To make the flags and bunting, I printed the images on inkjet printer fabric. For the flags, I cut them out and folded them in half around a trimmed and sanded toothpick and then glued them. I aged the edges with a Tim Holtz ink pad. For the bunting, I glued the half circles together at the tops and then sewed across the length of the bunting, pulling the thread taut to create the bunched effect. I then took a piece of red ribbon and glued that across the top to cover up the stitches.
To fill out the stand, I also printed out little patriotic top hats, pinwheels, a bird house and Cracker Jack boxes. I thought they brought a little nostalgia to the overall look of the stand.
A little over a month ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across a Pier 1 ad for terrariums. When I saw the Daisy Terrarium, I just knew I needed to get it and transform it into a miniature conservatory!
Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with creating miniature plants and flowers, with the help of laser cut sheets from Tropical Miniatures by Mary Kinloch (the orchids, the split leaf philodendron, the parlor palm and the ruffle fern). Every other plant or flower was created through trial and error, hand cutting and shaping paper as well as floral tape.
My biggest challenges were the fountain and the scarlet macaw. For the fountain, I started with a fairy garden bird bath. I then used polymer clay to sculpt the base of the fountain.
I used UV resin and clear kitchen wrap cut into thin strips to create the cascading water effect. I sculpted my koi fish from polymer clay, then painted it with acrylic paint and Pearl Ex powder to give it that fishy shimmer.
Once the koi was complete, I filled the base of the fountain with resin. When it was almost fully cured, I added my water lilies and lily pads. They were all created with paper punches and alcohol ink markers, then shaped and detailed with a ball stylus.
The Scarlet Macaw
For the macaw’s perch, I started with wooden dowels painted with a metallic bronze acrylic. I then sculpted my macaw’s feet separately in polymer clay and glued them to the perch.
Next, I sculpted the macaw’s body from red polymer clay. His eyes are 1mm glass eyes, and the area around his eyes and his beak have been painted with acrylics.
After I baked the polymer clay, I hand cut every feather and applied tacky glue to affix them. Once the feathers were in place, I used red flock to cover his head and his body. When that was done, I used E6000 glue to affix the parrot to his feet on the perch. This macaw is the first bird I’ve ever sculpted, and I have to say, I’m delighted with the results!
The Tropical Flowers, Trees and Plants
I created several cymbidium orchid arrangements in different colors with help from Mary Kinloch’s laser cut sheets. I also hand cut the butterflies, which were printed out on my inkjet printer.
I mainly used alcohol ink markers to color the orchids, and I love the vibrant hues I achieved.
In my quest to make more tropical-styles of plants and flowers, I spent a lot of time looking at photos online and decided to try anthurium, aka flamingo flowers. I hand cut each and every flower and leaf on these plants, and I used a high gloss varnish to give them that shiny, waxy look.
To this arrangement, I added some bromeliads, a butterfly and ferns to fill it out.
The bird of paradise was tricky, but I finally figured out the shapes I needed to achieve the right look. I hand cut each component and used floral tape over wire for the leaves.
I also made a parlor palm from Mary Kinloch’s laser sheets, but the large potted double palm was a happy-go-lucky accident that turned out great!
I stumbled upon a feathery-looking floral pick at Michael’s and thought that it might make amazing palm fronds, so I bought a few, brought them home and painted them with green acrylic. Lo and behold, they do look awesome! To make the palm trunks, I wrapped brown pipe cleaners with brown floral tape until I got the diameter I wanted. Then, I painted over the trunks with matte gel medium, followed by various shades of brown and gray acrylic paints. I added coconut fiber just under the fronds to cover up the floral tape that holds the separate fronds together, and it worked out perfectly.
Lastly, I made the draecana with twigs I had in my craft stash and floral tape over wire. When I had a grouping of several leaves ready, I wrapped the stems in more floral tape and painted over that with matte gel medium tinted with green acrylic.
As you can tell, this was a real labor of love. It was also my first major “roombox-type” project, and I’m so proud of how it turned out.
Because I had so much fun with this, I ordered a smaller size Daisy Terrarium from Pier 1. So what’s next? Maybe an aviary? Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!
Don’t miss the April 2019 issue of American Miniaturist Magazine!
I’ve had the honor of being featured in American Miniaturist‘s latest issue! They included one of my Easter baskets, filled with metallic eggs and chocolate bunnies. The issue is chock full of gorgeous springtime inspiration, including lots of beautiful gardens and flowers – don’t miss out!
Happy New Year, everyone! Today, I wanted to share a little tutorial on how I made this miniature snowy mailbox scene for Christmas. I love how it turned out, and I hope you enjoy!
Basic Tools & Materials:
Most crafters are likely to have the items on this list on hand.
Chalk paint in black and brown
Hot glue gun
Small beads of your choice
3/8″ ribbon (double sided)
These materials are more specific to this particular project.
2″ to 3″ wood slab
1:12 scale miniature metal mailbox
1:12 scale miniature cardinal
1:12 scale miniature pine cones (I used Bright Delights’ version)
1:12 scale pine garland
Miniature bottle brush tree
Aleene’s True Snow or Glitter Snow
Unfinished wooden block – 1/2″ or 3/4″ cube
Brown kraft paper
Fake snow (optional)
How to Make The Miniature Snowy Mailbox Scene
The finished piece measures about 4-1/4″ tall and 2-1/2″ in diameter.
Start by painting your mailbox. For this shiny silver mailbox, I found a couple of coats of chalk paint gave me the rustic, matte finish I wanted. I used wire cutters to snip off the flag, but that’s completely up to you. I painted the mailbox itself black, and the post is a dark brown.
Once dry, use a hot glue gun to affix the mailbox to the wooden base. You’ll want to select one that’s about 2-3″ in diameter.
Next, apply a layer of True Snow. You can use a palette knife or an old paint brush for this. Make sure to give it some texture. Allow to dry overnight.
If your mini tree has a base, use wire cutters to snip it off. Then, hot glue the tree to the base next to the mailbox post.
Now, you can apply a second layer of True Snow to the base (you can also sprinkle on some additional fake snow and gently pat it into the True Snow while it’s still wet to give it extra texture), also dabbing some on the branches of the tree. You’ll also want to apply a layer of True Snow to the top of the mailbox. Allow to dry overnight.
Measure and cut a piece of pine garland long enough to drape over each side of the mailbox and gently bend it into a “U” shape. Snip shorter lengths of the pine garland with your wire cutters and then hot glue them to the longer piece in sections to create volume and body.
Use your hot glue gun to apply whatever beads you selected, as well as the pine cones.
Hot glue the garland near the center of the mailbox so an equal amount hangs down on either side.
Create a multi-loop bow from your 3/8″ wide ribbon and hot glue it to the top of the garland.
Hot glue the cardinal to the top of the mailbox.
Take a small paint brush and dab True Snow on the garland to give it a snowy look.
Cut a piece of brown kraft paper large enough to wrap your wooden block. Coat the block with glue from a glue stick, and wrap with the kraft paper like you would any gift box. Finish it off with a piece of baker’s twine tied around it.
Hot glue the wrapped gift to the snowy base.
Create small envelopes from colored card stock. I used red and green, and then I printed out a white envelope addressed to Santa Claus. Glue them together with a glue stick, then affix them to the interior of the mailbox with a small dot of hot glue.
Lastly, if there are any spots where you can see the hot glue, take a small brush and dab a little more True Snow on to make it blend in better.
That’s it! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
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