Mikros Kosmos #1: And it begins.

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Blog entry by tyskkvinna posted 06-30-2010 05:12 AM 1594 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Mikros Kosmos series Part 2: The biggest pieces, the littlest pieces. »

Okay all. Time for something a little bit different.

This story has a preface:

When I was wee, I kept to myself. I was not particularly interested in playing with other children, though I did have some friends. I had a series of autoimmune disorders that kept me occupied (and often still do). I was allowed to have any books I wanted. While I did my fair share of reading of young adult literature (Nancy Drew!) my favourite thing – and thing I asked for most – were things about houses and architecture. Every time I saw a houseplan magazine in a store, we had to get it. I would spend hours looking at houseplans and I’d pull out the ones I loved most. I’d hang them up, much like most other girls would hang pictures of their favourite rockstars from the rags. I read up on all aspects of it, became very familiar with the different styles and architects and learned all about the engineering …

I’ve since gone on to (among many other things) learn the nitty-gritty of architecture and engineering.. which comes in handy.. although I have since decided that I don’t really have the desire to build other peoples’ houses all that much. I do want to build my house someday… but that is not today!

Anyway, I found a way for me to get my house-fix without having to finance building entire neighbourhoods was to work in miniature. I’ve been building since I was maybe 9 or 10. I am working on plans for a really impressive one – with working plumbing, even! – but I’m waiting until I can get everything “just right”.

Since many of you follow along you may know that I do not have access to most of my tools right now… and I don’t have a workshop.. unless you count the 50 sq feet I can squeeze out of my garage. So I opted to play it small (no pun intended) and go with a pre-made kit.

I don’t consider this “real woodworking”.. I’m going to be blogging about this over on my website, mostly, but I’m going to mention the woody related things here. In particular, I’m going to do some very fussy finishing work. So, whatever is relevant I will post here and whatever is not, I will do a short post letting you all know there is more going on… Seems like a good system! :)

Here we go. The big parts are MDF, the little parts are solid wood. (Some kind of SPF I’m sure – they’re not Balsa, they are a bit sturdier than that.)

The doors – which I love. Mostly I like the fact that they are actually separate panels, they open and close.. The front door has a panel of plastic in it. I may or may not remove it and put in a slightly sturdier piece of plastic. I will be adding plastic to the tiny windows on the top.. I have some colourful stock that is just perfect.

The exterior colour scheme. I learned a long time ago to always spray paint the clapboard siding… I do not need to prove my patience to anybody.

And the wallpaper for the interior.

I’m going to try and hit Woodcraft sometime soon and see what they’ve got in stock for pretty pieces of exotics. And thinking inlay pieces could make for some neat borders. I need to hammer out what to do for the floors. The craft store sells wood plank flooring (pine) but it’s stupid expensive – $10 for a single room. I mean, it’s nice in that it’s pre-cut and on a sticky back so you just stain and go. But I feel I can do better.. I don’t mind doing some sawing next time I’m with my tools.. but I have no table saw right now.. anything I can do on a mitre saw would be fine.

I printed out my list of suggested woods from the thread I posted a bit back so I will be keeping that in mind.

The theme I am kind of going with is “Remodelled Farmhouse”. Traditional exterior but extremely modern, refinished interior that still has hints of the past.

Should be fun.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

14 comments so far

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3335 days

#1 posted 06-30-2010 05:37 AM

nice way to keep your hand in , lis .

working your way up is a good idea ,
by the time you get to the real deal ,

you may need arms like Popeye’s (LOL) !

that kit looks like fun for dad’s little girl gift ideas .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3044 days

#2 posted 06-30-2010 05:45 AM

If you are looking for more interesting floors, try this you can cut it into short strips and make it look like plank flooring. It comes in lots of nice woods and the iron on edge banding is stronger than the peel and stick business.

View mpounders's profile


875 posts in 2889 days

#3 posted 06-30-2010 06:30 AM

You are in for a lot of fun! I was out of work last year and picking up some extra cash with my woodworking. I gave a cane I made to a lady I knew and she offered to pay me to assemble a doll house kit that had sat in her garage for 20 years. Her late husband had bought it as a gift and never assembled it. I realized why when I opened up the box….this kit required almost everything to be glued up….each and every clapboard piece, each individual piece of flooring, etc. etc.! I went through a ton of glue, but I stuck with it and completed it in about a month. It turned out great and she loved it, even paid me a bonus. Your wood working experience will allow you to do many things most hobbiest might not attempt. The flooring for mine was thin strips of oak veneer and I used a small nail set to add the “nail” holes at the end of each board. I look forward to seeing yours, especially as you progress.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3328 days

#4 posted 06-30-2010 10:37 AM

Good luck with your project Lis. It looks like a quality kit. I love to build models and have done a bit of it in the past. I keep thinking about getting back into it, but I just don’t know what I would do with the finished products.

I built a doll house for my granddaughter many years ago. Instead of a kit, I got house plans from a building company. They weren’t building plans, just the marketing brochure which pictured the house from different angles and with interior floor plans showing the scale. I modeled the house according to the plans. I thought it was very helpful to have proper architecture and a plan to go by. I found it fun and challenging to figure out how to build all the separate elements. Of course I had a fully equipped workshop to do this in. I realize you don’t have the tools to do that right now, but I just thought you might find the idea interesting.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#5 posted 06-30-2010 11:40 AM

What a fun and interesting project, Lis! I love your ideas about making it so personal and I can’t wait to see it unfold. I think it will be a terrific experience and I am so happy to see you do it. I used to always see those architectural mock-ups of houses and buildings in movies and think what a wonderful job it would be to build something like that. When I lived in Chicago, we used to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was a huge and wonderful place. One of my favorite exhibits was Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. It was an exquisite doll house that was so detailed it was unbelievable. You would have to be in line for almost an hour, I remember just to walk around it and peer into it (the outside walls were all missing so you could see all the rooms). My mind would just race while looking at it, trying to absorb every detail It was truly incredible. Here is the link if you want to check it out: Colleen Moore

When seeing what you are up to, it reminded me of that memory. I am sure yours will be every bit as wonderful. It will be a pleasure to see it come to life. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2979 days

#6 posted 06-30-2010 01:45 PM

Oooo, I will check out that veneer. I have seen it before in passing I think.

Sheila – I have seen that Castle!! I’ve been to the Museum of Science and Industry many times. It’s breath-taking.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#7 posted 06-30-2010 01:48 PM

It’s on the lower level, Lis. When I was in high school, the admission was free and our group of friends would take the bus and go there for the day and split up in teams and play ‘hide-and-go-seek’ from opening until close. We never caused any trouble, but it was so huge and complex that it was a great day. I also saw the Titanic exhibition there and it was incredible. Lots of good memories . . . :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2979 days

#8 posted 06-30-2010 02:09 PM

I was always kind of partial to the “Inside the Human Body” exhibit.. and that silly little fake grocery store downstairs! :)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3951 days

#9 posted 06-30-2010 02:20 PM

That looks like a great project Lis. I have been making models my whole life..plastic, resin and architectural models in high school. I have always wanted to build an HO train layout…not for the trains but for the opportunity to build a whole town in miniature! Check out this site Micro-Mark They specialize in model making tools and supplies. There is a hobby shop about two miles from my house that has a huge doll house section, filled with all kinds of furniture, wall paper, tiny rugs, etc…..all kinds of everyday items you would find in a house in miniature. I always walk through there when I go..I get a kick out of all the stuff..I have loved miniatures my whole life! Keep us informed with lots of pics!


View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3030 days

#10 posted 06-30-2010 03:08 PM

Looks like fun, Lis. I almost got into making scale house kits once. But I found I couldn’t make a good enough margin. Thats the most capitalistic I ever got. Until now. I’m looking into building a website. Trepidation.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2979 days

#11 posted 06-30-2010 03:16 PM

Micro-Mark is awesome!!! :) I could spend way too much money there…..

Martyn – I agree, the margin is pretty tight for this. I am working on making dollhouse kits once I have everything up and running again – with my CNC it would be pretty easy. I feel that there should be some houses in styles you can’t really find. There’s a handful of modern houses but they are either 1) prohibitively expensive 2) too “artsy” and not so much functional/realistic 3) crappy. (With few exception) I build mostly for myself. :) Sometimes when I am done I donate the house to a library and they display it under glass in the children section. I have a couple that have done that.

I’d be happy to throw you some suggestions for easy ways to build a website – it’s part of what I do for my “day job”.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3109 days

#12 posted 06-30-2010 03:17 PM

that´s a nice little project that easely can takes thausend of hours Lis
if you want to make it your own, before you are finished with all the furniture
good luck with it
I will look forward to see what you come up with


View chewbuddy13's profile


150 posts in 3279 days

#13 posted 06-30-2010 04:02 PM

You have more patience than I do. It would drive me bananas to do something that tedious….that’s right I said bananas, I’m bringing it back.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3030 days

#14 posted 06-30-2010 04:37 PM

Lis. I wish you good luck. You seem to have a viable niche worked out, something I never did.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

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