Tag Archives: 1:12 scale

How to add brick slips to a dollhouse shop kit

My Sid Cooke shop kit (‘Number 1, High Street’) was gradually taking shape. The next stage was to find out how to add brick slips to my dollhouse shop kit, to make it look more realistic, and to complete the name board.

I needed to find a name for it first though – some people agonise for ages over the name for their shop. With me, I just thought that it was a dollhouse shop, and it would be selling tiny toys, so I’d call it ‘Tiny Toys’. Simples. Job done  🙂

I bought some MDF letters on Ebay from Dolls House Direct for £4.50 for 8 letters, 30mm high, and painted them gold with Humbrol enamel paint. Then I stuck them on the signboard that had already been painted green when I did the rest of the lower front of the shop. The gold trims above and below the lettering were also painted with the Humbrol paint, and then the signboard was fixed in place with wood glue.

Then on to the brickwork….quite a mammoth task, and I was very aware that if I got this wrong, I’d have ruined it (so, no pressure, then!). I had researched online for hours to narrow down what kind of 1:12 bricks I wanted. Brick papers were discounted really early on, as they looked too childish and clunky for me – far too unrealistic. Real brick pieces looked nice, but were very expensive, and I’d worked out that I would need almost 4000 bricks for the front and both sides, so I needed to keep the cost down a bit. Real brick slips would have also made the house very heavy.

I eventually settled on these – brick slips made from card with a textured paint coating. They are called Versi-Slips from Richard Stacey, and are really easy to use. They vary in colour, so when you mix them up they look very realistic. You can get them in a yellow/buff mix, too. I needed four packets, plus a packet of the corner bricks, which are longer, and you fold them around the edges of the house to give a realistic-looking corner. Each packet cost me £12.95, so doing the brickwork for the whole of the exterior cost me around £55, including the corner brick slips.

I used PVA adhesive to stick the bricks to the plywood/MDF shell of the doll’s house. I used a cocktail stick to put a small amount on each card piece, held it for about ten seconds for the glue to penetrate a bit (or it just ran off), then placed it on the house wall, along a line that I made by sticking a metal ruler in place with masking tape for each course of bricks, moving it down one course at a time. This gave me a solid edge to work to. I found that most of the bricks stuck first time, but a few would curl up and need pressing down until they’d dried out a bit. I pencilled a guideline in centimetres near both wall ends, so that I was sure that I was completing each row perfectly straight. Between each course, I also checked the measurements from each end to the base line, to make doubly sure I was doing it right!

I’d decided before starting the brickwork that although it might be tricky (‘might’?! It was!!!) to apply the bricks around the window woodwork, it would look better later, as the brickwork would look more realistic than if I’d stuck the window trims on afterwards (as then they might look as if they were ‘floating’ on the brickwork). I had painted the window trims first with an undercoat and then two coats of off-white emulsion, then attached them to the house with contact adhesive. This image is upside-down because I found it easier to apply the bricks from this direction, with the house laying on its back  🙂

I found it easier to work from right to left each time. As you can see from this image, the corner bricks were added first, to work out the spacing for a few courses, before adding the bricks for the whole row. I didn’t do the corner bricks up the whole side in one go, though – just a couple of rows at a time was enough.

After sticking on each brick, and before the glue had dried completely, I scraped out any residue with a dental probe (every miniaturist has a dental probe in their toolbox, don’t they?!).

The brick slips were easily cut with scissors to fit around odd shapes, and ends of rows, as you can see here. The narrow strip already bricked that is showing towards the top of this image is the lift-off front for the upper storey, which I bricked first before I stuck the bricks on each side.

As I worked my way down each side, I had to make sure that the courses of bricks ‘flowed’ from the main body of the house on to the front lift-off piece, so I had to use masking tape to hold the two pieces together, and cut bricks in half on alternate rows to keep the pattern going.

After 35 hours in total of sticking on almost 4000 brick slips, it looked like this. I had carefully trimmed a lot of the brick slips up into the ‘triangle’ of the roof area, before realising that all of that would be hidden when I stuck the gable end boards in place, but never mind, *I* know it’ll always be neat under there!

You might also be able to catch a glimpse of the wallpapered interior in this shot – I’ll blog about that another time.

So, this is how it looked after all that brickwork. I’m very pleased with it, but to be honest, I wouldn’t choose to do brickwork like this again. Not sure yet how I’ll tackle the other shop kit that I’m planning – maybe I’ll choose an easier finish, like paint!

The next job is attaching and tiling the roof, which should make it look much more ‘solid’  🙂

 

 

Introduction to my three doll’s houses

I have owned a Georgian-style twelfth scale doll’s house since 1982, and recently, as that house was *almost* finished (they’re never completely finished!) I became interested in getting another miniature building of some kind.

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But which kind to get?! I eventually settled on a Sid Cooke 1:12 shop kit (called ‘No. 1 High Street’), which will become an Edwardian toy shop. But I also became tempted to get a third miniature building soon after, when I came across the wonderful mini food created by Paris Miniatures, and I then decided to create a French-style two storey doll’s house shop, with a cafe upstairs (to display all the yummy cakes in), and a flower shop downstairs, as I have always adored miniature plants and flowers.

So, I now have two miniature shop buildings to complete at once, and I’ve decided to expand what I write about on this blog, and to start sharing with you the process of building, decorating and collecting for both of them.

I’ve always loved doll’s house nurseries, so the idea of making a toy shop in 1:12 scale has always appealed to me. It would give me so many opportunities for collecting all those little toys, especially dolls!

When I decided to make a mini toy shop, I thought it would be easy to choose a building. But once I started looking, I got picky. I needed a building with a Victorian/Edwardian look to it, with no stairs (as that would take up valuable display space) without too many upstairs rooms (as I didn’t want to be doing ‘living accommodation’, just shop rooms).

This is the image from the Sid Cooke website, when I first decided to get the kit:

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I chose this one, as I liked the off-set bay windows that it has, and the balanced look to the first floor facade. The kit was half the cost of the assembled version, so I sent off for that. It was a bit of a shock when I opened the box on Christmas Day (Santa agreed to get it for me!) to find a couple of dozen bits of MDF and plywood, and quite a brief booklet on how to put it all together.

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I’d never put a kit together before, and to be honest, when I looked at all those pieces, I thought, ‘What have I done?!’

But I spent two days putting the basic carcase together (with the help of my husband, who knows how to bang a nail in straight!), and it didn’t seem quite so daunting once it started to look like a building. Building it from scratch, of course, means that I can customise bits as I go, and it makes painting the trims far easier.

Since I got the kit (three years ago – there’s a reason for the delay in assembling it, which I’ll explain in a later post!), the Sid Cooke business has been sold on to Maple Street online doll’s house shop. They tell me that they are working to get all the Sid Cooke range of houses back on sale, but as of this post (February 2017), only the bestsellers are available, which doesn’t include this particular shop kit, but they hope to have it available again by the end of 2017.

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The French shop that I want to make will be in a mini building which I bought, again as a kit, from Dolls House Direct. The doll’s house is called ‘Malbury’. To me, it’s got a vaguely French look to it. I had looked for ages to find something with a French look, and there was nothing really strongly French, but I think that by painting it in cream and blue shades, I can make it look suitably French! This is the image from their website:

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It’s got two good-sized rooms (quite a bit deeper than the Sid Cooke house), with an interesting ‘fake door corner’ in each room, giving the impression of further rooms beyond, but no actual staircase to take up valuable space.

Although the Malbury house normally comes with upstairs windows in both left and right hand side walls, I had a custom one made, with only a window on the right wall, so that I can put a large cabinet full of cakes along the left hand one. For once, I am planning ahead…..

So, I’ve got two houses on the go now, as well as my embroidery projects, which are a constant in my life. Stops me being bored, anyway!