Monday, November 23, 2009

Bakery / Sweetshop model in 1/12 scale (P1) >click here to see models on my Flickr page<

Front Door & Stain Glass construction

Layout & fabrication of the front door

For the Bakery / Sweetshop project, I started with the most basic element, the front door. I did a whimsical sketch on graph paper to keep it in a 1/12 scale, then used it as a template to cut the pieces.

I rip all my pieces on the table saw from 3/4" pine shelving, rough shape on the band saw, then clean up on the spindle sander. The clear window is 1/16" clear Plexiglas cut to shape on the band saw.

I like to use 4 penny finish nails as the hinge pins. I always prefer this to store bought miniature hinges that wear down and deform over the years. When I build the threshold and header frame, there are holes to receive the nail heads, with a small washer as a spacer in between. The "Old World" hinges are just made from bits of basswood pieced together in place, drawn black with a sharpie. Because everything is wood (except the clear Plastic of course), its all carefully glued with white glue, then wood stained.

"Coloring" the stain glass

The stain glass "lead" is just a thick black thread about 2mm thick, carefully glued on with white glue. As a rule, it doesn't stick to clear Plexiglas in the long term, but it will hold it down long enough to drip in the color inks.

The ice cream cone was just an afterthought. Originally, it was just going to be the random pieces of glass, clear in the middle with a color border. This piece is a Sweetshop / Bakery, so it stands to reason there may be ice cream as well, plus the fact that Snowfern makes the most amazing mini ice cream cones :)

The coloring is from the kids 'light catcher' craft toys where you drip the color inks into the clear plastic frames then hang in the windows. For the cone itself I wanted to suggest a shadow by using a drop of brown and several drops of yellow, then carefully swirling them together with a toothpick. This is not unlike old world glass, to have distortions and color variances. The clear is used in the other open reservoirs which completely lock down the black thread to the clear plastic. Use very sparingly for the very first coat because its water based and will dissolve the white glue and the black threads will just liquify into a messy bowl of spaghetti. Just a single drop of clear (or color) and carefully move it to the strings and let it soak in then dry overnight. That locks them down. The next day, refill the reservoirs with multiple coats, filled to the top (the clear is like milk, but dries clear). As it dries it recedes down and can take another coat again in a couple hrs. Mix colors, add clear over colors, have fun with it.

The finished door from the outside

The door and frame should always be a complete unit then installed rather than trying to make it all as separate pieces and build into the wall. Work out any problems on the workbench rather than deep inside a room box.

I cut all 4 vertical frames (2 inside 2 outside) at once on the table saw, then shaped the freehand look on the band saw and spindle sander. The actual jamb is 1/16 thick and follows a parallel cut to the thicker frame, just stepped in slightly.

Only the outer (exterior face) frame & jamb can be cut on the freehand curve. The door itself and the interior frame must be true vertical, or else the door can't swing inward. The effect therefore is an illusion that the exterior face of the door is just as "crooked" as the frame.

The finished door from the inside

Typically an exterior door swings into a house. The exterior side gets the free form crooked frame, but the inside must have a straight vertical frame parallel to the hinges or the door will bind up when you try to open it.

Technically, you could curve the doorknob edge as well like on a Hobbit-type house, I will play around with that on another door sometime.

The header above was stacked pine pieces and parallel cut on the band saw then spindle sanded. The compound curve within was just 2-part polyester resin spread in the stair step, then a dowel with a rounded end drug thru it for the finished effect.

The door now swings nice and free with no friction. The wood fin above is the attachment surface to the rough cut opening in the wall above the door. There are slots along the 2 sides for the same vertically (they just weren't in the picture).


  1. ahhhh a new layout and a new post WOOT! soon you'd be wasting all your time on fb! ;P

    shucks, thanks for the credit that i don't think i deserve LOL i wanna make a larger scaled version of this..i'm so nervous! maybe i'll start next week after i finish up some stuff.....

    i didn't know about the door swinging inward/outward thing, over here, it's pretty topsyturvy, i always get confused when i'm entering a building there's never any consistency, heck i even walk into automated sliding doors i'm that much of a space cadet XD

  2. Thank you Snowfern :)

    Someone sent me an offline on Flickr about how can the door swing if the frame is all crooked like that so I figured here would be a better place to post that and it may assist more people

  3. In a house, a front door typically swings inward but a business with over X number of patrons the doors must swing out for emergency / panic. This is a bakery sweetshop, but its a minature so I put away the Uniform Building Code!

  4. I was leafing through architects blogs and I cam across your blog. That's a great model door. I like that you included the pencil in the pictures for scale.

  5. Thanks Steve. I have a few jobs that I forgot to put something in the photos relative to scale and it can be confusing sometimes.

  6. HOLY COW!!!! What massive talent you have!!!

  7. eeks my comment disappeared. :( okay mainly I just gushed and gushed about the door, and how I can't wait to see Cindy's ice cream cones in there.

    and I also added that the glazed ice cream in the window is the icing on the cake. :)

  8. Thank you Kiva Miniaturist59! I was really struck by your ethnic food sculptures, and it made me give thought to an ethnic food market of sorts in 1:12 scale :)

  9. Thank you Jocelyn thats really nice. Cindy's pieces are amazing and was the inspiration for the door :)

  10. Hopefully there will be pleanty of space inside for all these talented people to display their breads & dessert foods, like a group display case. That may be an idea for a showpiece at a convention.

  11. Gosh.....all I can say: what a beautiful, fantastic work !!

  12. Thanks so much KC ...So much more on the way. The blog page is still new to me here:)

  13. I'm sooo glad that Casey told me about your work!! I just LOVE the inside-out construction concept (and of course am in awe of your wonderful creations!) and thanks you so very much for the tips re door construction. It's so helpful, especially because you don't go all 'heavy machinery' on us :) I'm confined to whatever I can work with on my small (glasstopped!) dining table! Having said that I'm in love with the Unimat 1 at the moment and trying to find a stockist in Australia - at least it's little! Thanks again, and I'm sure going to keep checking back here often.

  14. Thank you Norma Im glad you stopped by! I posted a bunch of pics on Flickr and people would ask how things were built but here in 'blogger' is a much better format and I hope it helps lots of people :)

  15. Hello, I am in awe of your talent and skills. The sweet shop door is so charming. I'm not that familar with the technicals, but can imagine the difficulty, time and knowledge required for the creation of such incredible miniatures.

    I noticed you are a new follower to my blog. I am assuming there was something about my page or craft that caught your artistic eye. Whatever it was, I'm glad you did. I so enjoyed my visiting your page and viewing your wonderful talent.

    I am off to view your flickr!


  16. Hi Tina, thank you so much for your nice comments! So nice to meet you. Your beautiful mosaics caught my eye as I looked thru your photos. I would like to use your technique for some stone floors in these mini scales. I have some abaloni shell fragments I thought I would experiment with.

  17. I LOVE that door and door frame!!! Absolutely fabulous! Wish I could transplant into one of my houses - it's just so perfect! Thanks for a lovely blog Ron!

  18. Thank you Miniature Food. I got a chance to see your houses and I think one of these would fit right in :)