I kinda dropped off the planet a bit there, I went to the philidelpha miniatura show on the 2nd of November and had a bad chest cold at the time. Then over the next week it got progressively worse. Long story short I actually had Walking Pneumonia... so a regiment of antibiotic and inhalers and cough meds. I feel much better but it is still is a long recovery.
In any case, I thought I would just start talking about the Treehouse. Since it was months worth of construction and a lot of different techniques were created and used I though we could go over a few every couple of days and break down the build.
My apologies to my foreign friends as this will be "word heavy" and the translation might not go through. Feel free to ask questions and I will clarify.
Just to let you know, what I had on hand was what I used: My main goal was to construct this using all my power of creation, without spending more than 20$ extra in cost.
Stage 1: Tree Construction:
In this shot you can see the basic structure of the tree. I started with a small wooden base. I screwed a long wooden rod to the base, then I proceeded to create a trunk out of a large rolled oat container, I stuffed the container with Styrofoam for support, while still keeping the structure light.
The branches are a 13 gauge carbon steel wire, pushed into the Styrofoam and tube base, wrapped in heavy tinfoil, with lots of packing tape to support the branch: The house base was used as a guide for where to place the branches. I placed a small wooded square base at the top of the tube to compress the whole structure together.
The second part was the homade paperclay/mache. While there are many recipes out there I simply created cheap "toilet paper clay"..
Remove 1 roll toilet paper from cardboard tube, soaked in a hot water till easily shredded by fork. I then used a large screen mesh to drain the water out and smash dryish' and separate the shredded paper. I decided to use a mixture of joint compound/wood glue and cornstarch, till I felt the clay was what I could sculpt with, it was messy..but inexpensive and turned out pretty nice ;)
Here is one of the best recipes to match what I created:
After applying the mixture in stages around the tree I used one of my wooden clay tools to carve bark in the trunk and sections of branches.
You can see some balls of paper were in the clay mixture but I decided to leave them as they added more realistic bark bumps and curves to the base.
Here was my first test fit it was a bit lopsided but the simplicity of the wire and paper mixture allowed me to bend the tree limbs and base enough to level the house.
After a few days in front of the fan I started the paint job. It was done with plain water based acrylics in layers.. I did a grey brown, then a bit of coffee then a few streaks of chocolate, grey, white, moss green.. Layers and a stiff bristle.
Layer..and layer..and layer...
The first purchase I decided on was these leaves, I had to decide on what I wanted the tree to resemble. And then I remembered my own advise, if you cannot create a particular species..Minifanatisize it!
These leaves looked perfect, they had a range of small and large leaves that were attached to what, once painted, would look just like branches.
Hole punched, glued and painted branches
Mossing and detailing
A view of stage 2
Next part I will go into a bit more detail of the house construction.
I hope you are all inspired in your mini worlds...remember..inexpensive...toilet paper mache clay..,,,,play!!!