This past week I got to enjoy a rarity at home: having the apartment to myself while BK was away on business.
While I enjoy my husband’s company and all, I do enjoy the moments where he’s out and I can pretty much do whatever I want at home. Like opening my pantry cabinet o’ shame and eating Spam for dinner (yes, I do like my Spam). Or finally having a chance to clean the apartment thoroughly. Or watching my pile of movies BK refuses to watch.
Or better yet — I can actually spend a series of evenings working on the minis.
Sadly, my packages didn’t arrive this week so the Primrose had to stay at my worktop’s corner for another week (starting to worry if you ask me). In meantime, figured some easy, almost mindless projects would be a good way to pass the time.
I had amassed a good number of bookcases in my inventory of minis, but I never was able to find books to populate the shelves. Most shops carry some that are ready made — but they’re either too plain, or too expensive if you want the really nice looking ones. And while the world’s embracing the Nook and Kindle as a mode of literary entertainment….there’s still something pleasurable about reading a physical book. Plus they just look so damn nice on a shelf.
As an experiment, I chose three bookcases to populate, and three types of books to try out. Two are actually kits I bought online or via eBay respectively while the third was something I decided to make on my hand. Overall, they worked fine I think.
The first were book kits I purchased at Manor House Minis. It was pretty basic in scope — you have a sheet of shiny, almost plasticky paper that has the book covers and another sheet of laminated cardboard. All you do was cut out the covers (depending on which kit — they all at least can make up to 20 books),. Then on the cardboard sheet, cut out the “pages” that correspond to the book cover, and glue the pages together to form a stack. Then you wrap the cover around the stack and you have a book.
Verdict on this kit? They’re not bad I guess. The covers look nice enough, but cutting out the cardboard pages was a pain in the rear. It took a little longer to cut them out using a ruler and a sharp X-Acto knife (definitely use a new blade if you do this). Plus, when you glue the matching stack of pages together, you have to be careful in making sure they’re all even on the sides. Otherwise, if you try to wrap the covers around the stack to create the book, it will look lumpy. Not sure if I’ll get this kit again…but I guess in a pinch, it’ll do.
The second kit was easier that’s for sure. I actually saw this as an eBay listing – the seller basically sells the book kit using precut pieces of very thin leather. For around $6USD, you get a bunch of the precut leather “covers”, a bunch of precut basswood pieces and premade paper pages. All you do is again to glue the covers around the wood blocks or the paper pieces to make the books.
It was ridiculously easy, and if you wanted to make the spine more prominent, a thin gold or silver marker would probably do the trick (though I didn’t do that to my stacks – couldn’t find my darn markers to begin with!). But if I need more books, think this will be my first choice. Unless I want to make my books readable/viewable like the wedding photo book….these will make good fillers.
The third type of book – it was kinda more of an experiment if anything. Because I was using a white shelving unit, I wanted to populate it with more “fun” looking books. Was initially thinking of using cardstock, or maybe designing some patterns on Illustrator and printing them out….until I found my stash of origami paper.
For starters, I had to go through the origami sheets and picked out ones with small patterns. Once I made my choices, I rummaged through the supplies and found strips of wood in various sizes. Since I was working in 1:12 scale, figured I should stick to wood strips that were didn’t exceed 7/8 inches in width or thickness.
Using a ruler as guide, I cut out rectangular blocks of wood from each of the strips. I tried to make them as random as possible. After cutting out the number of blocks I wanted, I sanded each pieces (several of them had one side sanded to create a more “rounded” spine) before painting them white. Once the paint dried, they were resanded and painted one last time.
As the blocks were drying out their second coat, I took the origami paper (they were 3×3 inch squares) and cut them into strips. Because the height of my wooden “books” varied from a mere 3/8 inches to almost 7/8 inches, I did the same for the paper as well.
After everything was set, it was time to wrap the covers around the books.
Picking up a wooden book, I picked out a paper strip (whose height matched the height of the book) and initially wrapped it around the book. Notice that I didn’t glue anything yet — I wanted to “measure out” how much of the paper strip I needed to cover the book.
Once the amount is determined, the paper strip was removed, I used my glue stick and smeared a thin layer on the front, spine, and back of the wooden block. Then I wrapped the paper strip back on the block again, gently pressing the paper against the glue.
Once the paper is glued, I used a small sharp scissor to cut off the excess paper strip (which I reused again on the next block of wood). And voila, a book! I kept repeating this step until I used up all my paper strips and wooden blocks. Since everything was prepped, the assembly went by quickly.
After everything was assembled, I used a pair of tweezers to carefully put them in my white shelving unit. I ended up using some clear gel Tacky glue to hold them in place of the shelves.
Add a couple of home decor accessories (also from Manor House Minis) — and the shelves were done. Now I just need a place to display them in!
I finished these projects late Thursday, and left them on my work table in the dining room. But when I checked this morning, I found my mini counterpart doing some polishing. Probably a good thing too — the apartment gets ridiculously dusty!
Well, at least this explains why my Sharpie markers have little dents on them….