This might be a rather long post, so I want to provide my apologies way in advance.
Had originally planned to do maybe 1-2 things today on the ARC II/Archie since I got him yesterday. But I guess I’ve discovered a magic equation of sorts when it comes to covering a good amount of ground with my projects.
McDonald’s McCafe + supplies + kit + day off from work = you’re going to get a ton of stuff done
Granted, it could have been because I took a day off to clean the house, clear some appointments, and finish errands before the Memorial Day weekend. But I’ll stick to my gut instinct that something was put in my McCafe Mocha frappe this morning to put me on Energizer Bunny mode.
Again, digressing once more. Onward to the point of this post.
While I’m still cutting up bricks and stones for the CC (I have started installing said stones/bricks….it’s just so darn TEDIOUS. Why didn’t anyone warn me about this?? Oh wait…yeah, Brae did warn me about that. Sorry.), decided maybe start with the interior of the ARC II/Archie. So I decide to take a stab on the floors.
Instead of doing my usual route of installing the 1:12 wood flooring, I read about this on a couple of threads on the Greenleaf miniature forum. Apparently alot of the seasoned miniaturist had used wood veneering edging as wood flooring. They’d take the strips, cut them down into sizeable strips, then apply them using a clothes iron. Had been intrigued by this method, but none of the edging at my local Home Depot/Lowes caught my eye. So I went online….and found ChiquinellySupplies on Etsy.
The shop sells various kinds of wood veneer edging in different widths and lengths. Granted, these are meant to be used for edges of kitchen counters and cabinets….but I love the wood selection. I ended up getting the walnut edging, though I might try the teak, mahogany , and birch in my next projects.
In terms of applying the edging…it’s pretty easy actually. First, i cut a bunch of strips long enough to cover the length of the ARC II’s first floor. The edging is about 5/8″ in width, which I should have cut into thinner widths in order to stay in the 3/4 scale. I, however, opted not to do that — not sure why though. Maybe the caffeine from the McCafe got to my brain took quickly.
Once I got the strips positioned, I pulled out my clothes iron from the laundry room and preheated heat to its highest setting (for cottons). The edging strips have an adhesive in the back that activates when heat is applied to them (like an iron). But according to folks at the Greenleaf form, the adhesive might ooze out in between the strips as its melts — and get onto the iron. Considering I use this iron to get the wrinkles off BK’s and my work clothes…I placed a sheet of wax paper atop the strips before running the hot iron across them.
I did these a couple of strips at a time. You have to be careful to not run the iron on the strips too much. Otherwise, the adhesive backing will melt enough to cause the strips to slide — and push everything else out of alignment. Whenever that happened, I quickly tried to move the strips back into position. Not exactly fun, given the edging strips were HOT. But then again, BK always joked that I have asbestos hands.
Once the strips were applied, I ran the iron a few more times before leaving it alone to cool. After a few minutes, I turned the floor over and with a new craft blade, trimmed out the excess. Am so glad I got my new stash of blades — the adhesive was still gummy so by the time I finished trimming the excess stuff off, the blade was caked with the glue.
I repeated the process with one of the second level floors (which will be the bedroom). So in less than 45 minutes….I got 2 of the 3 floors completed. I sanded the edges to smooth out the cuts (and have them flush against the curves of the floors), then did a light sanding on the strips themselves before wiping the dust with some tack cloth.
In terms of varnish, I usually use the beeswax based polish from IKEA. But like what Brae mentioned in her blog, the stuff could coagulate if it gets old. In the case of my beeswax polish, think mine went rancid because it smelled absolutely AWFUL when I opened it last month to check. Since I have a dog that follows me wherever I go…I had to find a varnish that I can use that was safe to use around my puppy, and something that wasn’t going to cause me cough up a lung each time I opened it.
Again, I went back on Etsy to see what I could find. And noticed alot of vendors were selling beeswax varnish with some kind of oil mixed with it. Apparently these were designed to polish not just furniture, but also wooden cooking/baking utensils, wood toys that might end up in some kid’s mouth. Got intrigued by it, so I decided to splurge a few weeks ago and ordered Mrs. Honeybee’s All Natural Beeswax Polish as a possible varnish.
Have to say, when I tried it on the ARC II’s floors, I was impressed. I used a clean cotton rag and applied a small amount. You can tell the wood absorbed the stuff quickly. But what made me happy was when I buffed the surfaces with another rag…the flooring not only looked fantastic, but had this very smooth feel to it when you run your hands across the surface. And the best parts? One, no smell – well, there was a faint scent of the beeswax (which I love). And two, some of the polish got on my hands, and my skin actually looked and felt soft! Capital!
Again, I applied and buffed the floors with the beeswax polish. And admired the handiwork (definitely getting more of this stuff once this jar runs out)!
Polishing took about 15 minutes. So that meant in an hour…I finished the wood floors. And it wasn’t even past 10:00 am yet. So I thought “ok…maybe I’ll figure out the walls next”.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for the walls. I thought about painting the front walls (the panels with the windows and door) with either a cream or off-white color to keep the rooms bright. As a contrast, the side walls will either get wallpaper or some kind of treatment. Like bricks or stones of something.
To help me decide, I had to make a decision in terms of where certain rooms will be. Figured at least the bathroom and kitchen should be on the same side…at least for plumbing reasons.
Once the layout was settled, it made it easier for me to
wing it plan. And when I mean “planning” – it meant hopping onto my laptop and doing a search in Google images for inspiration. These two grabbed my attention.
Even though I’m groaning from my 4th Circle of Hell (aka cutting bricks and stones from egg cartons), I just gritted my teeth and proceeded to cut apart another egg carton to build a new set of bricks & stones for the ARC II. Luckily, the measuring and cutting didn’t take too long since I didn’t have alot of surface area to cover.
For the bathroom, I cut out 1/4-inch wide strips from the egg cartons, then cut them into 1-inch lengths. Then for each row, I applied a coat of Weldbond glue and installed the strips. I used a dull craft blade as my “guide” to make sure the spacing is as even as possible. Though looking at this photo, the whole thing looks kinda crooked. 😦
The kitchen was the same process. Though I cut each “brick” into 1/4 inch x 3/4-inch strips. A piece of thin basswood was used as a guide since these needed a slighter wider ‘gap” between them for the mortar. also, I kept the area where the second floor (the bathroom floor) will be positioned. I want to make sure that floor will install flushed and even against the walls.
Once the stones and bricks were applied, I put that wall aside to dry. At this time, it was 12 noon….and BK surprised me by coming home early from work. And gave me an even bigger treat by taking our dog outside to the patio with him while he read and relaxed. Given that all my chores and errands were done…figured I should see how much can I cover with the ARC II. Onto the other wall then!
Since the right wall was all about stone and bricks…thought for contrast, I’ll do some wallpaper. And with the ARC being in 3/4 scale….decided to use some 12×12 inch scrapbook paper. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but hopefully the following makes sense.
First, I choose the papers I wanted to use for the sitting room & bedroom’s accent wall. Then, I traced the shape of the entire left wall on each sheet and cut them out.
Once the shapes were cut out, I took my pencil and ruler and measured the height of the actual living room wall. In this case, the living room wall had a height of about 5 3/8 inches. So I took the scrapbook shape I cut out (from the paper that I designated from the living room), and measured out that same height. Then I cut that portion out from the shape – basically, I cut out the bottom portion of the shape to be used for the living room wall. Then I repeated that process for the bedroom wall. Except that I measured from the top part of the wall, and applied that measurement onto the second shape.
I had to trim the new cut-outs a bit to make sure they fit/flush against the walls’ edges…before I glued them onto the wall using a thick coat of YES! paste. Again, like the other wall, I kept the areas where the second floor would be attached bare. Just in case I might need to apply glue on those areas to secure the wall when I get to that stage.
Again, I put this wall aside to dry. Time it took to complete this? About 30 minutes. Which meant….it was close to 1 pm. From here, I decided to tidy my dining room/work station to pass the time. Especially since I woke really early in the morning to clean the rest of the house. <slaps forehead>
After the dining room was cleaned (aka, crap shoved into the trash can and the floor swept), I checked the walls and floors and noticed that they were close to being completely dry. So I took them to my kitchen’s pass through and dry-fitted them once more to make sure everything fits. And they did!
In the above photo, you noticed that there’s no flooring on the bathroom. The reason is because I had to order some cork sheeting online – my local Michaels store ran out. I wanted to do a cork floor as a contrast (hopefully) against the stone wall. Let’s hope it works, decor-wise!
And just when you think I’d be done (and finish writing this entry)….was crazy enough to do one more task. And it had to do with the exterior front of the ARC….the “outside courtyard” so to speak.
I knew some landscaping was in order for here, but I wasn’t sure what kind. Think mostly because I still haven’t decided what to do with the overall exterior of the ARC II. The only thing I knew for sure though, was that I wanted some kind of stone path leading to the main doorway.
These mini stones were purchased from miniatures.com awhile back to use on the Sedona roombox. I had 3 packages as spares, so I decided to just use them up since they were small enough to work with the scale. So with a pair of tweezers, I started putting the stones randomly to form the path. It took a good hour for me to finally find a layout that I was happy with.
Unfortunately, by the time I took these shots, I had to stop for the day and get ready for a dinner out with friends. And celebrate the official kick-off of the holiday weekend! At least this means I got something to do Saturday morning right? 🙂
In the meantime, I managed to take a pic of how the path looks from inside the doorway…