23 November 2012
Kevin Jackson this shows us the techniques of miniature dolls house plastering with the roof and base of the market square. ...
If you have difficulty in finding any of the materials required, Kevin is happy to provide a quote for supplying everything including the MDF cut to size and the Burbridge mouldings. Also, please note that since completing the project the CD42 twisted rope moulding by Richard Burbridge is no longer available. As an alternative, we recommend that you use the FB200 instead.
The overall dimensions of the finished dolls house are approximately 110cm wide x 120cm high x 72cm deep. Please scroll to the bottom of the page for links to the previous and next parts of the project.
This project is suitable for the advanced miniaturist with good wood working and machinery skills. For the less experienced, we would recommend you work with someone who can help you with the more technical aspects.
BEFORE YOU START, USE MASKING TAPE TO MASK OFF THE AREAS OF PAINTWORK NEXT TO THE PLASTER. DON'T FORGET TO MASK AROUND THE CHIMNEY TOO!
Pour a generous amount of PVA into a mixing tub and add about half a bucket of water to it, stirring until it has dissolved. Start adding the undercoat plaster, but keep stirring, keep adding it and stirring until you have the consistency of very thick porridge.
Starting with the front of the house begin spreading the plaster evenly over the roof to a thickness of about 8mm - 10mm. Cover the whole of the front section including the dormer roof, then smooth off with a palette knife or thin scraper.
Move to the back of the house and do exactly the same, when you have finished make sure you plaster a thick line along the ridge line of the roof, smoothing it off from both sides
When you have finished plastering the back of the roof, move back to the front and while the plaster is still wet, use a steel ruler to start putting the horizontal tile lines in to it. Do this by keeping the ruler at about a 45 degrees angle and keeping a constant pressure on it draw it through the plaster, repeating at about the width of the ruler each time.
When you get to the part of the roof that is between the dormer and the valley, you will have to turn the ruler round and use the end that you have cut to sculpt the lines.
You will get rougher edges to the lines by doing this, but don’t worry at this stage; you can tidy them up later when the plaster has dried a bit.
Keep going until all the lines have been done up the roof, then do the same on the back of the house.
Don’t try to do too much in one go, when the plaster starts to harden in the mixing tub it will harden very quickly and become impossible to use. It is better to do a manageable amount then mix up a fresh batch of plaster. I would even suggest that you might want to mock a little sloping panel of MDF up, and have a few practice goes before you start on the house.
With fresh plaster mixed up turn your attention to the chimney side of the roof. Apply and spread as before, plastering up to and around the chimney support you glued to the roof (we cut out around this later). Move on to the chimney before attempting the horizontal lines.
Plaster the whole of the chimney on the side of the house, carefully plastering over the edges of the exposed bricks forming a random shape so that it looks as though patches of render have fallen off over the years.
Now plaster all of the paved areas around the house including the small strip along the back of the house, don’t worry too much about getting it completely smooth and level, it will all look great when it has been sculpted and coloured.
Form the horizontal lines in the roof on this end, before plastering the last thing which is the chimney stack. You need to plaster it all the way round but leave the plaster well short at the angled base, and don’t plaster the top where the pot will be fixed later.
Now your house should look something like this.
Depending on the humidity where you are building your house, it should be about five or six hours before it is ready to start sculpting the vertical tiled lines and other effects. You can tell when it is ready because the plaster goes darker in colour as it starts to dry out and when it is uniformly a darker colour its dry enough to start.
Using a very fine precision screwdriver or bradawl, carefully start at the bottom of the front of the house, etching vertical lines, making sure that you get the point of the tool well up into the horizontal line above. Be especially careful to avoid over scratching and marking the row below the one you are working on. You can make the tiles as big or as small as you like, the smaller the better, but bear in mind the smaller they are the more work you will have to do.
Start at the right hand front corner with a full tile and work along to the valley to the left, then on the right hand side of the second row, start with a half tile and work along. Continue this brick bond effect all the way up the roof. After each two or three rows, use a dusting brush to brush away the bits you are scratching out.
Use a sharp knife and cut away the plaster from around the chimney support and brush clean.
Then etch the tiles over the rest of the roof.
Remove the masking tape from either side of the chimney and use a damp cloth to clean excess plaster from the surrounding wood work. Continue this for the rest of the house. Use the fine pointed tool to create fake cracks in the render on the chimney, and a knife to cut away the rough edges of plaster from the edges of the MDF forming the roof.
Use the same tool to etch the paving on the base including the strip along the back of the house. The best way of doing this is in small manageable sections, constantly brushing the joints out with a dusting brush as you go.
The weight of the plaster on the roof can distort the shape a little, so check to see if all three of the top floor lift off panels still fit, if not sand the edges until they do.
This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.
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