Monday, October 26, 2015

The Finished Gypsy Wagon

This one went really quick. I tried to use everything I learned from making the French Dollhouse (and a few new ideas) in this one. I cut everything to fit as I went but I drew patterns for the big pieces in case I want to make another one or just write out the instructions.

The lights really look neat all lit up... and it's not even dark yet. These lights are soft and not too bright. The final coats of paint and the satin/gloss finishes on everything really makes it shine!

I decided to re-paint the door medium brown and add lighting after the fact. It would have been much easier to wire it before making the built-ins but who knew? I used two Tim Holtz battery powered ideaology mini lanterns for the porch lights. I put one battery compartment in the storage under the wagon and one in the closet.

The finished wagon has 20 hand made aluminum hinges for the doors, cabinets and windows and I used two pre-fab long brass hinges on the tail gate. The two little oaken buckets are filled with foam and little flowers with moss glued in the spaces to fill the pots. I applied rubber cement liberally to everything I did not want to move but it can be changed out at any time without damaging the wood finishes. An alternative would be museum wax or tacky wax for miniatures.

I used plain screw eyes to hold the tools and wash tub to the back of the wagon and I used Tim Holtz fittings to hold the chains for the gate up and Tim Holtz ideaology hitch fasteners for the larger door knobs throughout the wagon. It's like I've been waiting for a project to come along where I can use all my Tim Holtz stuff!

I painted a colorful little metal set of table and chairs with Adirondack alcohol inks to carry around in the back of the wagon.

I'm really proud of the roof. I used a painting system from Tattered Angels and a heat gun to give it a metallic antiqued bronze sheeting look over three layers of foam core and plain brown cardboard cut from food boxes. It looks like real hickory parquet. I took the stove pipe straight up through the roof. Well, not really... I just made it look that way. It's just a half inch dowel with metal tape ends and a collar to help hold it in place. I couldn't be happier with the way the roof turned out.

I loved working on this project, I wish I had one life-size to play with. Wouldn't it be fun to just get in your 'real size' wagon and take off down the road for an adventure? I must have been a gypsy in a past life!

That decorative laser-cut trim really makes this wagon stand out! It just adds so much style to it.

Well, that's the end of this project. Who knows what the next project will be? I'm getting ready to go into Christmas mode before too much longer.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Finishing The Inside

I knew there would be a little sewing involved in finishing the bed because I needed pillows. The seat cushions and mattress are just fabric wrapped around foam core and glued to the back though - no sewing involved with them. The only real sewing I did was on the pillows.

I had some little dishes I bought a while back and only used two of the cups and saucers so I decided to use the rest of the set here. I made a little corner cupboard with a plexi front. The angles were a little tricky because of the slanted wall but with a little trial and error, I got it to fit together pretty well.

I made a little step stool so you can get in and out of the bed easily. It can be stored out of the way under the bed.

I made a little lamp for the dresser. It is made from two beads, a button and the cap of a little squeeze bottle that has been cut off and reamed out with an exacto.

It's lit from a tiny light kit with a button cell battery that's hid in the drawer. It has a little on/off switch in the drawer. The wire runs into the drawer from the top and the lamp is glued onto the dresser.

The hardest part of decorating this wagon was figuring out how to add railing to the shelves. I wanted to do them out of metal like I'd seen in some real wagons but I didn't want to use raw wire and try to get it to look right.

I remembered I had some hardware cloth coated in plastic so I cut two strips to size for both shelves then bent and glued them in place. It worked! It's just the look I wanted.

A few little books and pictures here and there to personalize the space. The look of frames on the pictures is done by dragging the edges along a Tim Holtz distress ink pad color Vintage Photo. Then I glued the pictures right onto the walls.

The bed area also gets a homey touch with its own photos on the walls.

Curtains, blinds or string beads? I had trouble deciding so I finally went with sheer tulle curtains on the windows.

I used my white gel pen to decorate the door glass, then I put a layer of tacky glue over that and rippled it by dabbing my finger over it while it was still wet. It looks frosted when it dries.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Built Ins

I like the way the furniture is built into the wagon. The seats are easy to make, they are just little cushions setting on a wood frame. I chose a fabric with some yellow, green and gold in it for the seat cushions and just glued the fabric over cutout pieces of foam core. I covered the (foam core) mattress with fabric and glued to the back, then made some little accent pillows.

The stove turned out really cute. Flat black paint made it look like cast iron. I made a little heat reflector over the stove out of aluminum tape and card, then scratched a design on it with a ball point tool. The stove pipe is a half inch dowel. I made the handles for the stove out of wire.

Most wagons have a dresser and some sort of bookcase or closet. I've not seen any two that are exactly alike. I made a little dresser on one wall. The top drawer opens but the rest is faux made to look like a built-in.

I also made a closet next to the stove for storage.

The mollicroft really was a forerunner to modern skylights. It was a neat area to make and decorate. It throws additional light into the rooms so I wanted to keep it bright and airy. Some of these wagons are really over-decorated with strips of trim and bright paint patterns everywhere but I didn't want to do that to this one. One thing I've noticed about gypsy wagons is that you never see anything painted all white. Everything is decorated and colorful. I used a scrapbook paper with a flower motif for the ceiling.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Working On The Inside

I love the sleeping area because it can be closed off with a decorative wall so you don't have to share it with the living area. I chose a dark finish for the wood. I laid down the wooden floor with skinny sticks. I stained it with watery FolkArt Burnt Umber acrylic paint then I gave it a coat of glossy ModPodge for a waxed look.

I used scrapbook paper to glue on to the walls. I wanted a colorful 'hippie' vibe. Can't you just see colorful pillows and string beads already?

The divider wall was the most fun to figure out. I used little poly mirrors for the slide doors and decorated them with a white gel pen. I wanted an etched glass look but when I tried to scratch the plastic, the mirror looked funny and my tool was hard to control on the slick surface. I like the delicate look of the white pen marks but it's not very durable. It can be scratched off. Good to know if you make a mistake though. My mirrors are recessed by gluing the frames over them. The mirrors underneath are full square pieces.

I made the grooves for the sliding doors by gluing on strips of wood to the top and bottom of the large mirror area. The doors are a little taller than the opening so they slide. I also added matching doors to the storage area under the bed. The bottom mirrors get the same decorative treatment as the door panels.

I added a little pull out table to the wall because I thought it was a good idea. It's the perfect use of a wasted space since there are going to be two seats right outside the mirrored wall.

Love all the wood. Won't this be fun to decorate!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Windows and Trims

The little back window is stained glass look made with thin plexiglass. I used permanent markers to draw on the pattern and color it in, I used white glue for the frosted look. Then I put the window on hinges to prop open outward.

I wanted my windows to open like house windows so I made them in little frames in the cutouts. Next time I make windows that open like this, I will put them together separately before setting them in the cutouts. I think that will be easier.

NOTE: Apple Barrel's Vineyard Green has been discontinued but the same shade still exists. It is now called Marsh Green.

The carved decorative trims for the outside are actually little 2" x 3" laser cut frames I found in the Christmas decorations at Michaels but you can use any decorative swirly wood you want. You could even cut out and "carve" your own pieces with a ball point tool. I just thought these were really pretty so I tried to use as much of them as possible. I did manage to use the whole frame cut in pieces on my wagon. It took 2 frames.

The tail gate holds all that junk you travel with like chairs, tables, buckets, umbrellas and other household stuff like a little garage. It will be fun to make some of that stuff. I used long brass hinges to hold the gate onto the back porch.

The bottom storage section could hold a spare wheel, shovel and other tools. Any gaps in the wood when you put the wagon together can be filled with wood filler or vinyl spackling.

I put little seats on the front of the porch on each side of the door. You need a place to sit when you guide your horse-drawn wagon down the road don't you?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Working On The Outside

I've started painting the outside edges and I put siding on the wagon. I also made windows in the mollicroft and finished them out. I got the tri-door hung with hinges that I made out of layers of aluminum tape and straight pins. I still have to trim them out and find some knobs and hardware - or make some.

I'm cutting my own finishing strips for the trim out of thin balsa wood. I get it in 1/16" and 1/8" thicknesses in sheets of 6" x 24". It's cheaper to cut the little stuff yourself.

I'm almost out of this shade of green paint. I'll have to get some more Apple Barrel Vinyard Green. I think I'm going to paint the corrugated siding with a darker green with the color of FolkArt Thicket and save the Vinyard Green for the trim.

I haven't even drawn and cut out the steps or the tail gate yet but the windows are next on the list.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's a Vardo!

I know, I know, I barely got one project done and I'm starting on another one already... I can't help it. That's what I do. I make stuff.

I started out with a paper mock-up to see how it could fit together and went from there. I've been wanting to make one for a long time now but there's only one kit that I could find and it's way out of my price range.

I finally decided not to let that stop me so I'm designing my own. I have nearly a whole sheet of plywood and a new dremel scroll saw to break in.

I love the romance of a gypsy wagon and I prefer the kind with the raised skylight roof. It's called a mollicroft. I also like the little chicken cages on the side. I tried to put everything I like into this one wagon. I'm getting a sixties vibe on this one.

The roof is a little tricky and I can tell you that thin sheets of balsa and poster board work wonderful to bend it into shape. You hold the shape with rubber bands while the glue dries overnight between the layers. Then the mollicroft rectangle is cut out and built.

I had a little trouble with the wheels because I couldn't find spoke wheels locally. So I bought flat 2-1/2" wheels and 4" wooden rounds (could have cut them out myself), then decorated them with a foam core rim, skewers and chopsticks for spokes. It works for me and much cheaper.

I sketched an internal wall the way I want to make it. I will use it as a guide to make the wooden wall for the bed and under storage. I'm going to do mirrored panels that slide shut to close the bed off from the living area.

I also have some other little tricks up my sleeve for the wagon before I can start decorating.WHEW! This is going quick compared to the French Country house!