One Honey of a Tea House
My second January project for Faith Pocock Craft Studio was such a delightful kit to work with. This cutest little tea house was fun, and the style has some really gorgeous features - like the balcony. Combined with my Holiday Chalet project completed in December, I have the beginnings of a super miniature village.
As per usual, I began the process with a dry run - fitting the pieces together, without glue, to get an idea of the sequence of construction and how to approach the painting and decorating. A little bit of trickery was employed to get it to sit together without glue for the photo (*hint* a little bit of masking tape hidden here and there works wonders). Already I was in love with this cutie, particularly the park bench which just makes me smile in a sort of satisfied contentment.
Now I had a clear idea of how I wanted to proceed. Straight away I could see that a stucco effect on the walls would be sweet, inspired by my own 100-year-old home. But before I added texture to the exterior, I needed to deal with the inside of the teahouse, as I'd decided I didn't want to leave it plain.
From a wallpaper sample book I chose a pale dusky blue wallpaper that had a copper leaf pattern on it. It was measured and cut to the fit the wall pieces, making sure it didn't intrude over the tabs. The next step was fiddly, but it gave a pleasing result so I'm glad I went to the time and effort. To trim the wallpaper from the window openings I started cutting from the exterior side, letting the craft knife run along the edge of the opening. Then flip it over and again let the knife be guided by the edge to trim in and around the corners. The tab slots were trickier to do, but by no means impossible. I used the same method as for the windows.
Finally, to complete the walls, I wanted curtains at the windows but only for the rectangular windows, choosing the leave the arch balcony window without. I bought a pack of coloured plain matchsticks as that's all they had at the time. Fortunately the blue coloured ones were quite a close match to the shade I was using for the roof, so I went with them. The wallpaper sample book also contained matching fabric samples, so I cut sections of a white fabric with the same leaf pattern on it to form simple curtains which I then wrapped and glued to the matchstick. I wasn't particular about the curtains (perhaps you can tell hehehe) choosing to leave them with a frayed finish. I finished the curtains by using elastic loom bands - the children's toy ones - as ties. You can that see in a later photograph.
On each side the long fence is cut from the same piece as the wall section - they are not separate pieces. so I masked off the fence first to give a nice clean line to work to for the wall. Into the painting then, I painted the walls a base coat of the pale blue I had chosen. Once dry I added random dabs of modelling paste with a palette knife to achieve the stucco look. Then a second coat of the paint over top. In the first photo below the left hand piece has the base coat and modelling paste on top; the second piece has the final layer of paint. To complement the pale blue I chose a bright mid blue for the roof and window frames. I also used the mid blue to paint the floor of the balcony. I had intended to add details to the roof pieces, but as the paint dried I liked the tile pattern that showed through and decided to run with that.
The idea of having actual window panes appealed to me greatly, and are one of the little details that brings me pleasure. I used acetate (OHP transparency), cut to size and glued onto the back of the window frames. If you don't have access to acetate, then the plastic lid from a cottage cheese-type container, or a clear plastic bag, could be used instead. Clean up wet glue that squeezes out onto the acetate quickly so it doesn't leave opaque 'stains' on your nice clean window panes. Once the glue was set, I glued the frames in place onto the walls.
Before gluing the walls together, I needed to tackle the fence sections. I wasn't at all sure what I wanted to do with the fences, even at this stage. I went with a watered down white, lightly applied, to give the semblance of whitewashed palings. I'm not sure I'm happy with it, but it does show up better in real life than it does in the photos.
Time for the base. Again, it took some time before I worked out how I wanted to decorate it with thoughts ranging from complicated and elaborate schemes of cobblestones, grass and carpet to a simple 'concrete it all look'. It was one of those times I had to verbally encourage myself to... "Just make a decision!" So I made a decision, and you know what? It turned out fine.
Using the tab holes for the walls as a guide I measured a piece of scrapbooking paper to fit the area that forms the floor of the house and glued it in place. Then I applied masking tape around the edges of the paper so I could paint the rest of the base. The painting was fun. First layer: a base coat of dark green. Second through to Seventh layers: dabbing on five different shades of green paint and a smidge of yellow randomly, with an old, splayed out, plastic-bristled kid's brush. Perfect for applying a mottled texture that is both visual and tactile. The other addition I made to the base is a little planter box made from the coloured matchsticks. Three are stacked together with glue to form each long side. With a craft knife I trimmed some matchsticks to equal lengths to form the short sides and glued those together. A dab of glue at the corners and you have an empty planter box. For the dirt, cut some packaging foam to the right size and paint it brown. In the photo below it is sitting in place, I didn't glue it in until the fences were in place so I could make sure it was exactly where I wanted it.
Ready now to glue the walls and fences to the base. It's starting to take shape.
I had initially thought to make the roof detachable for easy access to the interior. It would have worked, but it wasn't going to be secure enough for me to consider leaving it unglued. So the roof was glued on. Fortunately there is still access to the inside via the archway beneath the balcony, so inserting fairy lights is still possible.
The balcony was added next - glue all parts of the balcony together first, then glue it into position on the house.
For the cute park bench I painted it all in the same brown used for the 'soil' of the planter
box. Glue the leg pieces into their slots on the base and then glue each slat onto the leg
sections. It comes together very easily and quickly, but don't try gluing it together before putting it into the base.
A few last touches to complete this project: I made some flowers for the planter box. Some small snippets of the plastic greenery I used on the Holiday chalet were glued into the 'soil' first to add some green leafiness. Using a small flower-shaped punch, cut a flower from red, orange and yellow paper. Cut a slit in each flower to the center and then wrap the two petals either side of the cut onto each other and glue to make the flower cup. The three flowers were glued into the middle of each set of plastic leaves.
The very final step is something I just could not resist. I wonder if you can spot the character hiding in the photos below. ;)
Did you find him? I am a confirmed cat lover with four fur-babies at home. So when I remembered I had this little plastic kitten, it was an easy decision to add him to the scene, being close enough in size to not look ridiculous.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about how I created this version of such a darling kit set. You can find this kit set over at Faith's website - follow this link - along with many other kits that cover many styles and subjects. Do check them out and share with me your own version if you care to. These kit sets are just such great bases to get as creative as you dare.
My first project for February is completely different and I'm thoroughly enjoying both the change of style and having lots of time to tinker. I look forward to sharing it with you next month.