December 13, 2014

Christmas Village Shadow Box Scene


© Kris Hull 2014  Christmas display created by Kris Hull of Forks, WA all reproduction rights reserved.
A photo treat that spreads some Christmas Joy made  by  Kris Hull of Forks, WA.  I just love it when one of my customers shares photos of their projects with us!  Kris used five of the buildings from the Tiny Village 2013 set for this project.

What a great job she did. There is a lot of depth to each of the small vignettes in this scene plus it incorporates other paper miniatures such as vintage Christmas Card scenes. I am loving the sleigh and horses with the bottle brush trees up on top as well. Plus of course she lit it up!

Kris shared the following information about this project.
" just thought you would like to see what I did with my Tiny Houses...this is one of my favorite projects ever! I used a Tim Holtz Configurations box and a strand of tiny lights (the battery compartment is stored in the base that the box is sitting on!) Thanks for the great houses :) "

Kris also said " I made the trees from bumpy green chenille and cut it and painted them with white paint--they were so simple. And the backgrounds are just vintage Christmas card scenes. "

I have not yet taken the time to get out the glitter, tinsel, etc and create some scenes of my own this Christmas season. You have all kept me pretty busy with cutting, packaging and shipping.  I am cutting gingerbread brown buildings today as I had run out of stock of many of those sets. Next on the schedule is making more of the Tea Light Snowflake kits. After that I might get out the glitter and see what I can come up with.

Hope everyone is having a Holly Jolly Holiday season! 

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved




December 7, 2014

Teaching paper building design and fabrication



I get letters from people asking me if I would teach them how to make these paper buildings. Not assemble them but the whole process. Can they come to my workshop and have me show them how? They look simple don't they? Fun and easy to do right! Sure it looks that way but that is not the truth.

First of all my workshop is not a suitable teaching space.  It is my boyfriend's space so he gets to make the rules. The rule is no visitors.

But besides that point this is not something you can just come into my workshop and learn in a day or two. You need to start by  learning several  software design programs. Then you will need a cutting machine and learn how to use it. Plus you need to really understand architectural history and practice drafting a complete building by looking at a photograph without needing to have any dimensions given to you. You also need to understand the basics of paper engineering.

Two semesters of 3D CAD drafting
One semester study on a vector design program
A seminar in running vinyl cutters
A study in paper engineering is also a help
Of course then there is the architecture part. I have no idea how long that will take, it depends on what you want to make.

The paper engineering part for creating miniature buildings is not something I have ever seen put together all in one seminar any place on the internet You can learn bits and pieces of it in various places and but you will learn more of it through your own direct experience.

I guess its time to start playing around with creating an all castles set. But I also have a 1:48 dollhouse from cardstock design I want to get finished. It folds up much the same as the Tiny Village glitter house series does. But the back is open for a functional dollhouse. The holdup at present is finding the right card stocks to cut it from. Those are two of the micro size glitter houses inside of it. http://karincorbin.blogspot.com/2014/03/red-roof-prototype.html


November 29, 2014

Winners of the Black Friday Giveaway


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

There were a total of 53 entries for the giveaway. Two entries were submitted by email and I added them as they really tried hard but could not figure out how to leave a comment (it happens).

Every person was assigned a number. I printed out all the comments starting with the first comment as #1.  I then used the function from random.org to choose 5 numbers . I had decided that I wanted everyone to have really good odds of being a winner. So you each had  a 1 in 10 chance of winning. This means there were 5 winners!

Thank you everyone for entering. Your comments were very fun to read, lots of creativity out there!

Winners you need to email me karincorbin@gmail.com include your mailing address and also the kit of your choice. Please put Black Friday Winner into the subject line of your email. Go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/karincorbin to see what the sets look like and their names. Then send me that name so I know exactly what you want. Just copy and paste the name of the set into your email. The kits are shown in white but there are always 3 colors to choose from. Remember you can choose any set you want. If you choose the 2012 village set the church shown in that set will be substituted with the buildings shown in the photo at the top of this posting unless you tell me that you would rather have a church instead of that tower house with chimney variation.

The winning comment entries are:

1. Blogger
 Caseymini said...
Karin, I have been a fan of your work for years. These black ones would be to put in one of Tessie's rooms. Being a witch, she would love the littlest ones for her mantle or even under a witchy Christmas tree. Thanks for all of the tips and tricks that I have learned from you along the way!

2.
ShellyH-Y said...
l would use some of them as birdhouses for Ravens house. She is a tiny witch/herbalist who lives in the woods and cares for many creatures. Her house is already built (1/24th scale) and done in shades of purple and black, so these would be PERFECT! Thanks Karin!

3.
Sanschichis said...
Hi Karin,
Thanks for this amazing giveaway! I would like to build a chrismas scene with them: black houses in the dark night, flown by Father Christmas's sleigh! Keeping my fingers crossed!
Nathalie

4.
Judith Andraka said...
They are great!They would be perfect for a "Brigadoon" village that I have been wanting to make - rising from the mist among the hills. Thank-you for this give-away opportunity and your great blog.

5.
Wanna said...
I see a spectral figure (like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come) holding out his arm with all these little black houses on it. The caption would be:
There are some neighborhoods that are best kept at arm's length.



November 28, 2014

Black Friday Giveaway

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Update,  Black Friday is over. No more comments please.

I have already printed out the list of eligible entries. I will post the lucky winners very soon. I  will assign everyone a number then I will use a random number generator to choose who gets the set of your choice.





© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

November 21, 2014

FAQ's from my Etsy Store

I have gotten a fair number of emails in my Etsy store asking various questions and making a variety of suggestions for what my Etsy store should contain. I am creating this posting so I don't have to create a personal response to the same questions that get asked multiple times.

Template patterns
I do not have template patterns available for download. Perhaps someday I will offer some but they are not any available at this time.

The smallest miniature building sizes, the micro sizes, would be extremely difficult to precisely cut by hand and score in exactly the right place.

We are partners in this venture, I do the design and cutting as I have the specialized skills and precision quality tools for making the micro scaled pieces and you do the assembly and decorating.

Size of the buildings and thickness of the card stock
The Tiny Village series are designed in 1:220 scale. All the pieces are designed using a specific weight of cardstock which at this scale can be easily folded into intricate details. Any heavier and it won't fold into those details, any lighter and the structure was a bit too flimsy. So there actually is "just right cardstock" that I will continue to use for this series. I can not accommodate request for a change in material thickness on these buildings without changing the size of the buildings. I cannot make them smaller that the Micro sizes I currently offer (see paragraph below). The scale of the Micro size is approx. 1:336 which is very close to the 6mm micro wargaming size of 1:330. 

I do not have time to redesign the cutting files for special request of thicker paper for the standard sizes I offer. That kind of change is a month's work that means changing the dimension sizes every single piece of each building then creating new cutting files and testing them and no one would want reimburse me for that many hours of labor for just one set of buildings.



Making the pieces in very small scales. 
I get a lot of comments about how miniature glitter houses offered by other persons do not have the detail level mine do and they are correct. That detail level in my work comes because I am using design tools that they do not use. I take into account just how small I can go with pieces and still make it possible to cut and to fold accurately. My Tiny Villages are my personal art that has been very carefully engineered. Yes the two concepts can go together, most especially in architecture.

Realistically there is a limit to how small I can make intricate details that can still be folded. I have to use a paper that has enough substance not to crumple up when being worked with. Size also means realistically you can't get a grip onto and then fold a piece where the paper is nearly as thick as the width of a wall segment. It is doomed to failure to attempt it but naturally I tried and failed. I really don't want that to happen to any of my customers so I test and retest every design. For the micro sized kits I again experimented with the weights of cardstock. The thickness of paper for the 1:220 size would not fold accurately into much smaller sizes of details. When I design the buildings I input the dimension of the actual material thickness of the paper in the 3D CAD program. Every single element in the buildings is based on being adjusted to that dimension which is why they fit together as near to perfect as possible. Even a two thousandths of an inch makes a different in the fit of parts. That is the dimension I use to create the extra little bit of wiggle room such as when a roof needs to slide down over a dormer or chimney.  When I reduce the size of the buildings by a percentage then that also changes what the thickness of the paper has to be in order for the pieces to be perfectly aligned. So making them smaller means using thinner cardstock but the size I had to chose for a reduction was limited by the need for strength in the material.

Making the buildings larger is much the same as making the buildings smaller. The wall thickness of the buildings changes as I increase the size of the cutting file by a percentage. So I need to use thicker cardstock. I also need to use thicker cardstock for larger buildings so they are more sturdy in order to support themselves with those wider and taller walls and larger roof spans.  I have not yet listed any of the larger sized versions made with heavier cardstock in my Etsy store but they are available by initiating a custom order request.

My response to suggestions from people on what I should be selling in my Etsy store.

My etsy store is a place where I sell my own original art work.

People write me with lots of ideas of what I could sell in my store or things they wish I would make and sell. However being an artist is not about selling other peoples objects or using other people's designs to generate income. There are people in the miniature business who have that business model, I don't. There are other people in the miniature business who sell glitter houses that are made from patterns that were published in old craft magazines and patterns taken from web sites of glitter house patterns, projects that included things like trees and fences, but I am not one of them. They sell lots of things to go with their kits such as LED lights and small trees or figures but I don't. I am not a merchant and I don't want to run a variety store. I am an artist. I only do my own original designs and I only make what I personally am inspired to make. What I am inspired to make is architecture in miniature of my own original design based on historic forms of architecture from around the world. Of course I also have a passion for furniture design but that won't show up in my Etsy store in the immediate future but one of these day I hope to make that personal dream come true.


Creating lots of pretty display examples to post photos of
 Please send me photos of what you have done with the tiny buildings. It puts a smile on my face to see your creativity in partnership with mine. I would love to have permission to post them in a gallery on the glitterhouse blog. I admit to being much more of an architect than a glitter fairy godmother who creates magic sparkles wherever she goes.

I don't own a house or live in one or even in an apartment.  I don't own a dollhouse or a roombox. I don't decorate for the holidays as I don't entertain at home. You will always be the ones who do more decorating with them than I can. When I was much younger I enjoyed decorating things with glitter and such but not so much anymore. But I love designing buildings and these paper kits are fun to design. Every now and again I get inspired to do something with some of the prototypes I have assembled, most often when I need a gift for someone, and that is when you see photos of them all decorated up with glitter on my blog.

Posting more detailed photos on Etsy
Etsy limits the number of photos on a posting to 5. It is absolutely essential that I show a photo of all the pieces in the set with a ruler in front of them so the size is clearly understood. Then a second closeup photo of a building  with a ruler showing the height.  I try to show an example of them dressed up in glitter or arranged as a village or feature the buildings next to a recognizable object be it my hand or  sitting on or next to penny. I must also show the various color options I offer the pieces in. Because the number of photos is very limited I will never be able to show all the details on every side of each building. But I do provide a link to my blog where I post photos and also to the step by step directions that has lots of photos with every single feature and detail of each of the buildings.

Shipping the items
When I designed the first set of miniature paper buildings for a girlfriends' Christmas party in 2012 I quickly got asked by people who are into dollhouse miniatures if I would sell them. As I need supplement my meager retirement income of course I said yes! Which of course brought up the need to be able to ship them anywhere in the world. I needed to keep my shipping simple so it was easy for me to do and affordable for my customers. As the  buildings are shipped as small flat pieces of cardstock and don't weigh a lot I devised packaging that would distribute the pieces across the width of a business size envelope and also distribute them top and bottom without creating any large or hard lumps. In the USPS rules as long as the items in the envelope are flexible and under 1/4" thick with no big lump and weigh 1 ounce or less  they only need a single first class postage stamp to ship anywhere in the world. If I put two sets in one envelope then it jumps into an entirely different postage rate and I would have to weigh each package and calculate the postage by specific addresses. That would drive up my labor and I would have to charge you more for the shipping. Also I would have to purchase much more expensive mailers to put them into. Again that cost would have to be paid for by yourselves. So while it might seem unusual or strange that I ship each set on its own the reason I do so is to save you money.

On orders in the USA if someone is ordering six or more kits the shipping price then equals the cost of priority mail service. So I do an automatic upgrade to priority mail shipping and then they are sent together in the same mailer that is provided by the post office.

On any customer orders for the larger sized buildings shipping will have to be determined by where it is going. Typically in the USA it will be shipped by priority mail at a predetermined flat rate. For Europe, Canada and elsewhere I will have to evaluate your needs with what is going to be the most affordable option.

Custom Orders
Custom order request in my Etsy store are for size and quantity variations on the items that are listed in the store.

I can not make a replica of your home for an affordable price. The design time involved to create the cutting files makes it impossible to keep the price affordable.  I  design original buildings that are based on historic architectural styles of buildings. I am not making scale models of existing buildings although on occasion a specific  building or group of buildings may have a strong influence on a pieces I design. 

I will not make replicas of other people's designs. I respect their design copyrights as I would hope they respect mine.

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved








November 18, 2014

Shipping time

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

 I was preparing some of the Tiny Village series orders for shipment and noticed what a colorful array they made. So just for fun I took a photo of them.

November 11, 2014

Micro Tiny Tudor set is now in Etsy



© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
They're here, I got the micro sized glitter house village, putz buildings are all assembled and lined up for a family portrait. This new micro sized kit is now ready to ship.

The new cutter with its high resolution has made it possible to include all the flourishes and details of the larger sized Tiny Village set in this micro sized version. Ruler included in the photos so you can see the size of the set.  The average height of the houses is about 3/4" and the height of the gatehouse to the top of its chimney is 1-1/16". The detailing of these pieces is from the Tudor Revival and Normal style Revival buildings  of the 1920s. But of course revival styling means they also look much like the original buildings they were inspired by.

November 3, 2014

Fairy Tale Castles

© Karin Corbin 2014  Fairy Tale Castles, a glitter house, putz kit.

What's next? Why a fairytale castle set. Today as soon as I finish the directions for the new Tiny Tudor set I will be tweaking the castle pieces that are from the other collections and releasing them as their own grouping.

I had made up my mind to create a special grouping of the castle style buildings last Christmas. They will be cut in 4 sizes. The two sizes you are used to Micro and Tiny and also 2 more larger sizes that can be used for Christmas ornaments and decorations. I can cut thicker cardstock with my new machine so that means I can expand the designs into the full size glitter house market opportunity. Of course they are still miniatures ;).

One of these days I will do a larger castle with more turrents but that won't happen this year.

November 2, 2014

Fireplace mantel village snow scene


© Cecilia Colo 2014 project made with Karin Corbin's Micro Tiny Village Gingerbread 2013
Cecilia Colo from Mexico has graciously shared  photos of her Christmas Village scene on a 1:12 fireplace mantel. What an outstanding job she has done with this project. I love the vertical use of the space with the trees coming down the slope. No doubt about it there is Christmas magic in this scene! That garland with Christmas cards is lovely too, what a great touch that is, it really adds to her artistic composition.

I love seeing what people do with the kits so please share photos with me. 
photo © Cecilia Colo, 1:12 Gingerbread Village Scene using a Karin Corbin  Gingerbread Village houses kit.

The kit used to create the scene above is the Micro Tiny Village 2013 in gingerbread color. They really do look like a gingerbread house when displayed this way. You can buy that kit in my Etsy store Micro Tiny Village 2013 Gingerbread
photo © Cecilia Colo 2013, all reproduction rights reserved

The lighting used in the scene is from Evan Designs

November 1, 2014

holding a ruler down for cutting

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

In a chat today I was reminded that it is easy to have trouble with some of the basic tasks in model making. This time it was how to hold a ruler firmly while cutting. My best friend happened to be close by so he became my hand model. He has that hand tremor condition but despite it can do great fine detail model making so he is perfect for demonstrating its all about how you position your fingers, not about how steady your hands are. The little finger is on the table adding stability, heel of palm can rest on the table for extra stability if needed. There is a cork backing on this steel ruler. Do not use a ruler for cutting against with a knife unless it is made from steel. Never plastic or aluminum rulers as the knife blade can snag into those materials.

October 31, 2014

Tea Light sets now available!


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
They are now in my Etsy Store. https://www.etsy.com/listing/209204113/snowflake-set-for-decorating-led-tea?ref=shop_home_feat_1

Snowflakes only are in this first set made for 4 tea lights. No buildings included and no tea lights. Later next week I will release a set of 3 houses with 3 snowflakes sets included.

You might wonder what determines how many items  are in the sets I put together. It is based on what will fit into a business sized envelope that weighs less than one ounce when all packaged up. I do it that way as a business model for several reasons. First of all I can keep the shipping very affordable. I also can keep a supply of regular stamps on hand and don't need to find a post office to ship from. When I send kits overseas they look like the purchaser is getting a greeting card in the mail so no delays from customs.  The most important reason is I can fit this business into the lifestyle of a gypsy woman who chooses to live in a tiny vintage motorhome for much of the year. No space for storing cardboard boxes for shipping.

I will have the assembly photos for the tea lights posted on the www.glitterhouses.blogspot.com very soon. But it is pretty much obvious how they go together.

So many photos yet to take this next few days to get ready for listing  the new Tiny Tudor Village set. But it will most likely happen this Sunday. Had a slight delay in launching the series as I had several large orders come in this week that I had to cut kits for. But one of those orders was what made the new Snowflake Tea Light accessory kit available to all of you.

Still learning to use the new cutting machine. It is more accurate than the original hobby machine I started this Tiny Village series on. That has made it possible to cut those fancy snowflakes. But it has not been without its learning curve.


Off the topic, did any of you catch the news that the Dremel company is launching a 3D printer for sale next week on November 3rd ? Now that is interesting news. It only works with PLA plastic filament and it steps in vertical layers that are .004" thick. That is about the standard resolution for a 3D printer in the price range of just under one thousand dollars. Home Depot store is one of their retail partners for developing this new printer, Amazon is also a retail partner in the project. Actually it is the first 3D printer that has been created for sale by any major tool company. It makes sense that it was done by the Bosch company, they own the Dremel brand name. Dremel has always been a primary power tool line used in making miniatures by hobbiest.  I won't be purchasing one as my boyfriend  owns a 3D printer that can use more types of plastic filament.
https://3dprinter.dremel.com/

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved.

October 27, 2014

Candle Light and snowflakes


video 
© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
The new snowflake set for creating scenes with flickering tea lights. Not decorated with glitter, I don't have time for that this week. But I had a custom order request for the snowflake sets this week so I wanted to grab a quick video since I was set up to do photography for the Tiny Tudor Village instructions.

The micro sized buildings will not fit over a tea light as the hole in the base is not large enough.

October 20, 2014

Tiny Tudor Village Set


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
All done with the design work! I can start cutting and packaging the kits now :)


October 19, 2014

The inspector general


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Zak's favorite spot to hang out while I work. He sits right in front of the heat exhaust from the laptop. I am doing the final check on the prototypes this morning. At this stage I work right by the computer so I can make immediately stop and make any needed adjustments to the cutting files as I am assembling the prototype buildings.

I should be able to start producing the new kits tonight!  Creating the instructions usually takes several days.



October 16, 2014

Storybook style

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

When I went to cut prototypes I found I was frustrated with the assembly of one of the buildings in the Tiny Tudor set so I replaced it.  I keep getting asked when I will build a castle. Not yet! But I did add a gatehouse to the Tiny Tudor set. There are a number of fun Tudor Revival Storybook buildings in California that have arched gateways in them plus towers and overhanging dormers and bays. Of course the real thing is around in Europe as well. Anyway this is my own original design of that style of building, hope you like it :)

I will cut the prototype for this building this morning. I am busy making friends with my new cutting machine, so far I am pleased with the results.  I don't use a laser to cut this series as the pretty white paper would be not so pretty and white. They are cut with a miniature sized knife blade! Hopefully a bit more fine tuning of the settings will get rid of 99 percent of the hanging chads which will make life a lot more pleasant for me.

October 13, 2014

Tiny Tudor Village

The design work is all done. Here is the lineup of images from my 3D CAD design program.
© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

Tiny Tudor Village Set


The design work is all done now, there are eight buildings in this set.

My old machine lost adequate cutting pressure this week so I will start using the new cutting machine I bought a while back.  I decided instead of switching my mental gears from design mode to technical machine mode it would be best if I just got all the designs finished so I could then focus on learning to use the new machine.  While I am always thinking about designs creating the models in CAD is a rhythmic dance of steps and if I take a break from it then I have to get back into the mode to be proficient. Plus memorizing the function steps on a new machine is best done by focusing all my attention on it.

I am still on track for having some of the new kits for sale by November 1st.

October 6, 2014

Glitter House Inspirations

http://www.pinterest.com/corbincabin/1920s-1930s-glitter-house-christmas-inspiration/
I have created a Pinterst Board  for glitter house inspiration. Some of the images are of real houses others are the vintage 1920's and 1930's Christmas Cards that can be used as inspirations to create village scenes with my little glitter house kits.

 Lots of fun colors in those old Christmas Cards.

The buildings in them are typically Tudor Revival Style some with steep pitched roofs others with the timberi patterns from the Half Timber buildings of Merry Old England. In England they called this "Mock Tudor". Some buildings of that era were also Norman French inspired.

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

September 7, 2014

Micro sized spooky old town



Add caption© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Micro sized kits for Old Town 2014 are now in my Etsy store.

September 6, 2014

My Vintage Motorhome Project

My vintage motorhome remodel progresses very slowly. Always much slower than I would like it to.

I don't want the focus of this blog which is about making miniatures to become a blog story line about remodeling a motorhome. They are two very different things even though skills needed, materials and  tools used do overlap at times. But people have been asking about it so here is a bite of what is going on.



When I first bought it, little 4 cylinder truck with a tiny motorhome on it.This particular brand of motorhome has a very strong following and it is difficult to find a low mileage one at a fair price.

The size of the whole motorhome is only 18 feet long from front bumper to the back. It will fit into a regular parking space. Now there is a challenge for you fit what you need for living and working into a standard sized parking spot. Well at least it will be just me and maybe the cats a lot of the time and if my friend comes to where I might wander he will surely bring along his own mobile workshop. Yes he does seem to be a soul mate at least in that aspect of our lives.
The interior as I purchased it is
35 years old and badly needs updating.
Appliances are worn out and rusting
Electrical for the coach needs upgrade too as well as new energy saving lighting and eventually solar power.

It was an almost bargain priced candidate ready for sweat equity. If I want to have the chance during the first decade or two of my retirement years to become being what is called a "snow bird" heading south for winter and north for summer this will be how I can best manage to make that idea a reality.  Month by month a bit of labor and some funds for materials trickles into it.

The standard configuration of small motorhomes is not a match for my need to have a workbench and storage for tools and material so customizing one is also the only option available to me. It will be my Makerspace on wheels.


That  gold shag carpet so poplular in the 1970's was applied to areas jut below the ceiling and even some of the wall surfaces.  It had to go. Particle board framing in cabinets is broken so they got torn out too. Wood grained vinyl wall paneling. Has anyone ever actually liked the look of that fake wood grained surface? I have mostly replaced that with new plywood sheets. The original ceiling is still intact, that would be a big mistake to remove as it is what is known in the construction trade as a SIP, a structural insulated panel. It would be impossible to replicate in a remodel.

A motorhome under going a remodel makes for some  unusual photos, not all of them are easy to understand unless you are there at the time. I am not in a stage on the project where there is anything very attractive about it. It looked much better when I started but that is the nature of such things. However I am at the point where I am just starting to put the new pieces back inside after doing repair work and a few needed structural changes such as better support for the upper cabinetry.










Concept layout for the interior with 6 foot workbench on one side, reclining couch to rest my back on that turns into a guest bed. No soul to this image, it does not show any realistic finishes on the surfaces.The 3D CAD model was just created for space planning purposes. The large closet looking structure at the right represents the existing tiny one piece fiberglass bathroom. The kind where the whole thing is a shower stall with a drain in the floor and the toilet in the center of it. I am not changing out the bathroom, I am only going to make a new door with frame and a new medicine cabinet for it. You can't see it from this view but there is space for me to pull up a swivel chair to the workbench. When using the recliner my legs can be stretched out under the workbench. Laptop/TV/blue ray DVD  sits on top of the workbench for recreational viewing time. I have a lightweight, three legged, collapsible, swivel chair that can be stored in a cabinet. It also doubles as a chair to take outside. The chair was designed for use by hunter's who need to be comfy while sitting for hours in hunting blinds. Tiny homes require creative furniture solutions.




Damage in the floor by the rear corner was from an old plumbing leak and also from water getting in through leaking tail lights and the cargo compartment door. The bad layer of wood had to be removed and new plywood patched in. Fortunately it was not a difficult job. There are almost always a few unpleasant surprises of this type when remodeling older structures.









My friend in this photo is helping me with a new layer of plywood that goes over the original floor to get rid of the saggy issue in front of the bathroom and kitchen area. Both sides of the plywood were covered in fiberglass and epoxy. Then it was coated with epoxy on the bottom side to bond it to the original floor, both were screwed together as well.  A lot of work and expensive to do but it fixed the issues. A helper is essential at times when there is a lot of epoxy to work with as it starts to cure much faster than I could have managed on my own.










The original tail lights were corroded inside, the lenses were cracked and water was leaking into the inside of the motorhome. Had to purchase replacement ones from Ebay. Someday I will upgrade them to all new LED lights but not in the near future. The list of things to do is way too long to get to be able to do all upgrades at once.







 I had to shift the vent stack plumbing for the bathroom a few inches so I could build a new closet that is full of drawers for storing tools and supplies for making miniatures.

This area used to have a small closet with two tiny drawers and a useless rod for hanging clothes. There was a furnace below it and a broken refrigerator next to it. Two very large holes, a couple of feet square each were cut out in the wall for venting the old refrigerator than ran on propane. Filling in those holes with fiberglass was a big job and a nerve racking one as I don't have a lot of fiberglass experience. But at least I had a helper on that task. A new 12 volt refrigerator that needs no vent  to the outside will be installed next to the sink and stove. Changing location of the fridge was needed to fit in a good sized workbench.

These are the two panels I have just finished building, they are the sides for the new storage closet. The white pieces are the runners for the drawers. Metal drawer slides and wood drawers would be way too heavy for a 4 cylinder motorhome so for my drawers I am using Cambro translucent food pans that are made to go into salad bars. They are designed with lips on the sides that  slide into storage racks. Labor savings for me since I don't have to fabricate the drawers. 

The cabinet structures inside a motorhome are built differently than what is done for a regular house. They need to be light in weight and also somewhat flexible but strong so they don't come apart as the motorhome wiggles down the road. This type of construction is called "stress skin panel". The framing is glued onto thin sheets of plywood rather than being made as a 3/4" thick plywood structure.


My motorhome was created with a fiberglass shell. It was made in big molds in two halves, an upper and lower, then bonded together along a seam line. On the outside there is a metal trim band all along that seam to cover up the rough edges of the two halves. The seam does not leak but they sometimes put too long of screws into the banding and they punctured through the fiberglass. Over the years the stainless screws corroded and left a few small open holes that leaked water into the interior.  I had to remove wall panels on the inside to fix the leaks and put a layer of fiberglass on the inside of the wall along that seam line to prevent more minor leaks in the future.  In the photo below taken from the interior of the shell you can see those screws breaking on through the fiberglass. The bed in the overcab area was getting damp from it and the water coming in was also causing the particle board framing on the lower edges of the bottom cabinets in the kitchen area and elsewhere to come apart.

 
 I added in some wood blocking while I had the wall panels removed. There is no wood or metal framing inside of the fiberglass shell.  It is a self supporting structure of relatively thin fiberglass. The thin plywood interior wall panels were only attached at the floor level but the bottom of the upper cabinets was suspended off those 1/8" thick wall paneling. As I wanted to improve that situation while I had the paneling out I used epoxy to bond some wood blocking strips to the inside of the shell where it was strongest at the upper edge, lower edge, along the seam line and also just under the window openings in the rear.

  Photo below shows the original situation of 3/4" by 5/8" inch strip of particle board on the backside of the plywood wall panels that was helping to suspend the upper cabinets.....way scary as screws do hold good in particle board in a structure that is flexing as it goes down the road. That small strip of particle board over very thin plywood and a few screws into the 3/16" plywood of the ceiling are all that was holding the upper cabinets in place. Plus remember those original upper cabinets were just 1/8" plywood framed with 5/8" x 3/4" strips of particle board.  The yellow surface at the left of the photo is what the inside of the fiberglass shell looks like. That metal square poking through it is for the exhaust port of the vent fan over the stove.



The fiberglass shell of my motorhome takes a Z shape at the top of the walls where it transitions up to form the roof. That Z shape forms a strong structural beam that runs along the length of the coach. I have epoxied solid wood boards along the side and bottom of the fiberglass Z shape on the interior. That wood will now give me something solid to screw into to help assist in the support of the upper cabinets. Plus across the upper back wall I am adding in a new upper cabinet so I have epoxied in more wood support for hanging that new cabinet.






If you look closely you can see that slight arc in the ceiling. I had to cut that support board for the new rear upper cabinet to match it. Sometimes making temporary bracing for holding in pieces such as this one while the adhesive sets requires a bit of creativity with boards, wedges and clamps. I don't put fasteners through the fiberglass shell, epoxy has to do all the supporting  the blocking. You can see that I now have some paint on finished wall panels. The ceiling is going to be planked with yellow cedar after the cabinets get installed. That will create a cozy gypsy wagon feel.

I have put in support cleats and the seat base for the rear reclining couch/bed. No face frame on the front of it, just some random boards to support the front edge for the moment. Face frame work comes later in the project after all the basic cabinet framing is done. This has now become a handy place to stack tools and supplies up off the floor. Plus the weight of them is also a test to be sure my base will be strong enough to support constant use. So far its holding the weight very nicely.  Remember that I have to build things as lightweight as I can but still have them strong and of course I am not quite sure how strong my structure really is as this is the first motorhome cabinet job for me. I have to make somewhat educated guesses about all the details of construction. There are no sets of plans for this kind of work.  The photos below are showing the lightweight aluminum bracing that goes from the front face frame to the back wall to support the seat boards. I am putting storage bins under those boards.

The cross bracing supports which hold up  the seat boards are pieces of 1" x 1/8" T-bar aluminum. I had a lot of it on hand so that is what I used. Very strong stuff for its size and weight. I had to cut notches in the ends of the T-bar and chisel the seat support cleats so the bracing is level allowing the seat boards to lay flat against the cleats on the back and side walls that support the bed. I will secure the seat boards in place with Velcro so I can lift them up to access the storage area below.

I used my Proxxon bandsaw with a bimetal blade to notch the aluminum braces, very sweet saw, it will travel with me in the motorhome for making miniatures. Of course a Dremel Motor with various accessories also gets used on this remodeling project almost everyday. It truly does have 1,000 uses.






So today the list of tasks to be done still stretches far in front of me for some time to come. Even after the cabinets are done I have the upholstery work to do.  But all such projects progress one piece at a time and when the last piece is fitted it will be a lovely space to be in. I love the big windows in it and I can change my vista to interesting new scenes now and again if I choose to do so.

Maybe next time I post something about this project I will have that workbench installed and I will then be using it for working on the face frames for finishing the cabinets.

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved