Fun with (Artist Trading) Cards

Since I started moving to modern miniatures, one of my biggest challenges was the decor. Notably wall decor.

Will admit I relied on the stylings from other modern miniature blogs like Mini Modern where I got introduced (and hooked) to displaying mini Rex Ray paintings and what not.  Or lately, I do enjoy randomly using laser cut beads and arranging them to look like installation art.

Living room in the ARC III.

Living room in the ARC III.

Or using my Photoshop/Illustrator/Fireworks to resize existing work. Vintage travel posters are always a reliable standby.

But again, I didn’t want to rely too much on these options. Hence my discovery on Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and ACEOs (Art Cards, Editions and Originals).

I didn’t know much about them – but I remember seeing these cards for the first time at a local art festival where BK and I used to live. I initially thought these cards (they’re about the size of a baseball card, about 2.5 x 3.5 inches) were business cards advertising the artist. Until I saw they had price tags – price tags that imho, were WAY more reasonable than the actual life sized pieces.

Jerry’s Artrama gave a good definition of what ATCs are:

“…Artist trading cards (commonly referred to as ATCs) are miniature pieces of art that are traded around the world. Artists create, trade and collect art at organized “swap” events, either in person or online. The only official rule for ATCs is the size: 2.5″ × 3.5″.

Essentially (if I’m understanding it right), the intention is to give artists another means to trade and collect works from other fellow artists. Which is a pretty darn cool idea. Even cooler for a miniature dork like me? They’re another source of artwork to grace my miniature scenes. Especially if I wanted something big.

So whenever I can get a chance, if I see an ATC card, I usually try to pounce on them and buy copies if I really love the design. One such artist is Poxodd – definitely fell in love with the ATCs for not just how colorful they are, but it had that delicious mix of the weird and fantastic that I couldn’t resist.

My first ATC cards from Poxod. Initially purchased from Etsy, but available at shop.poxodd.com

My first ATC cards from Poxod. Clockwise from top: Communications Operator, Swamp Dweller,  Cactootsy – Poxoddland Band #2, and the Bellmeister – Poxoddland Band #3. Initially purchased from Etsy, but available at shop.poxodd.com.

I had initially planned to use some ATC frames (D’s Miniatures and Collectibles on eBay carries some nice ones that can fit them nicely). But I was worried having something frame them these prints would detract the eye from the card’s overall design.  Guess this meant another trip downstairs to my (just recently cleaned) dining room for a quickie project.

My implements of war for this project...and a sorta assembly process. Just work with me people.

My implements of war for this project…and a sorta assembly process. Just work with me people.

Again, didn’t bother with taking step by step photos because (a) was winging it overall and (b) it happened pretty quick. I prolly banged this out in about 30 mins….way less than it’s taking me to write this blog entry. (“Slow and steady wins the….nope, still plodding along”).

But basically what happened was this:

  1. I measured out the dimensions of the ATC card – as stated earlier, they’re about 2.5 x 3.5 inches.
  2. I used some 1/8×1/8 inch wood strips and cut out pieces needed to make a frame that’s the same size as the ATC. To make it faster (since I had 4 cards), I used about 1.5 wood strips to cut out 4 pairs of the long sides for the frame….then when made another 4 pairs for the short sides. Cluelessness Laziness Airheadness Efficiency at its best I guess.
  3. Once the pieces were cut, I group them into four sets (each set having 2 long and 2 short ends). One set at a time, I sanded/wiped down before getting some beeswax woodpolish to make them nice and shiny.
  4. After all the sets were prepped, I used my corner tool (the thing in white) and started assembling them one set a time. I’d glue one long/one short together using Tacky glue, let it set a few minutes, then attach the remaining long/short pieces to form the frame.I used a fast grab type of tacky glue so the pieces would set quickly for me to gently slide them off the tool onto my work mat so I can work on the next set.
  5. Once the sets were dried enough, I attached an ATC onto a frame using GlueDot strips along the back edge of the card before pressing it onto the card. I ended up putting a pile of heavy books atop the framed art cards to make sure the glue strips had a chance to bond onto the frame…and for the frame to stay nice and flat.

End result? I got my lovely ATCs from Poxodd set to look like they’re artwork on a canvas frame…and I got to a chance to display the back of the cards (to show the artwork’s title and the artist’s name. Win!).

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Was pretty happy at how this on the fly project worked out. So much in fact…I actually had extra pieces that made the frames. Ended up bagging them so now I’ll have a template to use the next time I decide to do this for future ATCs/miniature artwork.

Let's hope I don't lose this...I really don't want to waste my lumber supplies figuring this out all over again.

Let’s hope I don’t lose this…I really don’t want to waste my lumber supplies figuring this out all over again.

In the meantime…looks like my new roombox’s new occupants made dibs on a couple of the prints. I’ll think about it. Right now, the place still looks like a disaster zone! (shudder)

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Hey! What are you doing??? Put those back – no never mind, they left the cash on the table. My bad!

 

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Move In Day

Now with the Lundby roombox done (I haven’t figured out a name yet…BK and I are still doing rock-paper-scissors-Spock to determine who gets naming rights), it’s as my mother and sister love to call “funsies time”. AKA decorating time.

Thought maybe this might provide some (hopefully) giggles from my readers (seriously, thanks for your patience not going after me for being absent putting a decapitated horsehead on my bed) …figured a scene for a not so fun time in our lives would be in order. Also known as moving day.

Holy crap, the %$@* just happened here?

Holy crap, the %$@* just happened here?

Will have to admit, moving doesn’t bother me so much. Mostly because I seem to have a weird fondness for cardboard boxes, the smell of storage units (is there a candle scent for it? No?) and the rustle of tissue/packing paper.  Though I definitely don’t like driving a moving truck (BK doesn’t mind it thank goodness. Again, another reason why I married the man).

Of course, for every move…you gotta have moving boxes. I didn’t have any, and at the time I decided my scene needed said item (at around 1:00 am Sunday morning), I was determined to make some. After all, I had a pile of shipping boxes stacked by the recycling bin. So why not wing it?

I didn’t take pics of how I did it, but I did chicken scratched scribble down some notes. This was what I was able to read from my handwriting.

  1. If using actual cardboard from shipping boxes, use the flaps (that make the bottom/top of the box). They’re thinner and easier to work with.
  2. Use a sharp blade. Box cutter is deal, but larger X-Acto knives are easier.
  3. Score lightly on areas you need to fold. Makes it easier/folds look neater.
  4. Pay attention to scale. No one ever uses a moving box that’s 50% of their height. (yes, I wrote this apparently. Stupid insomnia)
  5. Use actual packing tape. It’ll hold the cardboard together during assembly. Cut into thin strips so it looks believable/to scale.

In terms of a pattern, it was roughly like this. Basically, I stuck to the general rule that the top/bottom flaps of your box should be 50% of your overall box dimension. So for example, if you’re assembling a 1-inch square box, then the flaps should be about 1/2 inch.

Moving box pattern.

Moving box pattern.

Once I got the hang of the pattern, it was actually pretty fast and easy. And so long as I stuck to the ratio, I was able to assemble good number of 1 inch square and 1.5 inch square moving boxes (a reasonable size for 1:18 scale). Most of the boxes I sealed shut with tape, but the ones I left open I filled with crumbled bits of tissue paper and kraft colored origami paper to simulate packing paper…or the crumpled up remains of it.

View of the chaos.

View of the chaos.

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BK suggested rolling up the rug and stacking it somewhere. I took the rug I’m planning to use, wrapped it tightly around a pen before tying the ends with some snipped up rubber bands.

The “plastic sheeting” around the credenza is actually from those plastic bags you use to hold produce at the grocery store. I had to cut out the back part (that didn’t have the store’s logo on it), and wrapped it around the furniture. Not bad right? And the big box I created to house some square wood frames.

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View of the wrapped credenza using plastic grocery produce bags. Framed artwork a gift from Monsiuer Z, Mme KP and Mlle Luna from 3StarStudioArts. Thank you all for it – I LOVE IT!!

And of course, moving day won’t be complete without some groceries…didn’t have time to create 1/18 scale groceries, so made do with the ones that came with the Lundby kitchen set...

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Well, I’d better beat feet before the new occupants come back. I’m guessing they went out for some pizza and beer to celebrate. Or steel themselves in cleaning up this hot mess…

New Year, New Distractions

Good lord, what a year 2016 had been…and given what most of us are seeing in the news, it seems like the new year will be a doozy as well.

Yes, it has been awhile. 2016 got crazy both in the work front and home front, and to be honest, I just didn’t have time for anything short of sleep and using the bathroom. Not exactly the life I wanted to enjoy daily, but let’s just say certain things popped up in life that I had no choice but to answer.  So with the new year…all one can hope for is to start where we last left off. Which in my case, a buttload a lot.

Figured for the new year, I needed to start something small. In this case, I decided to tackle a roombox to display some Lundby pieces.

The finished product.

The finished product. Roombox was a custom pruchase from RoomLotus. Lundby Stockholm kitchen unit purchased from Little Citizens Boutique.

And in pure, Miniature Obsession fashion, I didn’t exactly take pics of the actual construction. It’s hard to describe but the moment I sat down in my dining room and started working on the roombox…it’s like you’re in the zone. You don’t want to stop until “oh, let me finish cutting this last piece of trim” or “almost done sanding these guys…y’know I might as well roll into painting the trim”.

However, I did take pics of what I did from converting the Lundby Stockholm Kitchen Set from this…

Stockholm Kitchen Set. From the Little Citizens Boutique website.

Stockholm Kitchen Set. From the Little Citizens Boutique website.

…to this. Mostly because I wasn’t exactly going all ga-ga at the turqouise/white tile backsplash. Luckily, it wasn’t as complicated as I feared it would be.

A little better...don't mind I fudged it a little bit.

A little better…don’t mind I fudged it a little bit.

For starters, I had to use one of my X-Acto knives to free the upper cabinets and the range fan/hood. The entire thing is essentially glued to a MDF board which made it easy. The not so fun part was making sure I didn’t scratch the cabinets in order to cut away or loosen the glue.

Hah! They're freed!

Hah! They’re freed!

Once the items were freed, I used the blade to scrape the “tile” background. It was basically one huge plasticky-sticker, so about 75% of it peeled off easily once you scrape up a corner to pull on. Anything that was left behind took a few quick scrapes to remove. Once the backboard was done, I started doing the same for the upper cabinets.

Bare as...babe's bottom. That's PG enough right?

Bare as…a baby’s bottom. That’s PG enough right?

Didn't realize the white "backing was really just a paper sticker..with really sticky residue. :(

Didn’t realize the white “backing was really just a paper sticker..with really sticky residue. 😦

All cleaned and purtified. Of all things, a rubber eraser removed the residue.

All cleaned and purtified. Of all things, a rubber eraser removed the residue.

From here…was kinda winging things along so hopefully the following makes sense. Because I wanted certain areas of the now bare backboard to display the file, and others to be the new backdrop for the cabinets, I traced the area where the cabinets would need to be positioned.

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Ignore the stupid chicken scratch on the upper left corner. I started thet habit of having Post-It notes on hand to scribble dimensions and stuff.

Once that was done….it was time to cut some tiles. I used these Victorian tiles since they were all I had on hand looked small enough to pass for Lundby scale.  I only had two sheets on hand, and because they were just a wee bit short on the width side (so I couldn’t use say one whole sheet to cover the background), I had to piece things together to make it look as seamless as possible.

From here, I cut some white cardstock for the cabinets’ new backdrop but trimmed off about 1/16″ all around. I wanted the cabinets to have the background, but be able to actually attach them directly onto the MDF backboard. For glue, I ended up using some GlueDot strips to hold the cardstock and tiles, and a thin smear of tacky glue to put the cabinet and range hood back in place.

Tiles installed.

Tiles installed.

For fun, I wanted the kitchen and sink units to have some fun drawer liners. I dug through my desk drawer and found my pack of origami squares. Kinda wish I had these in my kitchen cabinets now – something about the yellow and blue makes me chuckle for some disturbing reason.

Silly, but a little distraction didn't hurt anyone.

Silly, but a little distraction didn’t hurt anyone.

All in all, I guess this wasn’t such a bad endeavor for one day. I revamped a furniture, and was able to turn a barebones roombox into something that was ready for move in. *gives mental high five*