January 18, 2010

That driftwood look

In the two photos above I have set the side wall of the house right next to the front wall of the house. You can see the before and after effects of aging the timbers. The floors of the house are also in the photo, they were not bleached as the wood was already light in tone but they did have a vinegar and iron solution brushed over the raw wood as the first step in aging.

 I have mentioned before that the coastal cottage project is intended to have a grey cast to it invoking the feel of driftwood on a beach. The old timbers on these old houses will always weather to grey if left unfinished but they may still have some brown undertones to them. That is the look I want. This is a small cottage and the timber framing is very busy, the overall monochromatic color scheme of the dolls house has a calming effect on the viewer that lets one focus better on details.

I told you about a two step process to recreate mother natures reality aging in my workshop laboratory. Mad scientist at work! So first step is the two part wood beach, it is a peroxide based oxygen bleach. I stop the bleaching action by brushing water onto the timbers. As I am using a water proof substrate and also waterproof glue no warping or other damage is done to the dollhouse from this process.

The second step is the application of a dilution of iron minerals in vinegar. This solution is easy to make, soak rusty objects in vinegar then strain it and store it in a plastic or glass bottle. Never store it in a metal container. Or you can shred steel wool pads into vinegar, let sit for a day or two and then strain that solution. Usually though I purchase the famous Thomas "Bug Juice". I know the strength of the solution is consistent and  my purchase helps support the two people in the miniature business who have taught me more than any other individuals, Noel and Pat Thomas. They used to write a series of articles for Nut Shell News, Dollhouse Miniatures and later Miniature Collector I have all those articles saved into a big notebook. It is a fountain of wisdom, artistic attitude and examples of building fine miniatures from scratch.