The Tiny Keyhole

A diary of my first steps into the world of miniatures. I have just bought the Stratford Place Bakery in kit form and plan to style it as the Old Curiosity Shop. Tudor building, Victorian shop and licence to buy any quirky, pretty and unusual accessory that catches my eye for the shop, this is definitely the right property for me. I will record my progress as I glance through the tiny keyhole into the miniature world beyond.
Posted in Misc. | Comments Off

Roof Tiling

1/12th Roof Tiles - Stratford BakeryI’ve started tiling the roof. First of all I painted the roof black to disguise any gaps left between the tiles. Then I drew white lines 2cm apart, starting from the bottom up. If I was going to do it again I’d probably draw the lines 1cm apart as this is the actual spacing for the tiles. Then I cut to size, painted black and glued in place 2mm diameter bamboo knitting needles! :) I needed something 2mm thick and relatively thin to put under the first row of tiles to get the angle correct and this was the easiest method I came up with (bought on Ebay). For the bedroom roof I placed the knitting needles near the edge of the roof, but as you can see the resulting tile angle wasn’t quite right. For the main roof I placed the knitting needles about 8-9 mm in from the roof edge, and this was perfect. The later method leaves a gap under the first row where the tiles aren’t supported, I plan to fill this using an air drying clay and some glue.

The tiles (Richard Stacey – weathered roof tiles) vary slightly in thickness and length, so there is a lovely natural variation which works well with the Tudor style. I’m including some chipped tiles to give an aged look. The tiles are rather fiddly to cut in half/to fit the apex and I have wasted quite a few and spent a number of hours on it, but the finished result is so effective I can’t imagine using anything else. I’m using an extra tacky pva glue to position the tiles so they don’t slide everywhere, but even so I tend just to do two rows in one sitting.

I’ve currently paused tiling the roof to source, ‘age’, and screw in place some internal cross beams. I worry about the weight of the roof tiles when the roof is left open, and as such I think some cross beams screwed in will give me that extra peace of mind.

The colour works well with the bricks, and the weathered effect of the tiles and the variation in colour combined with the close overlap gives a really pretty result.

Posted in External Decoration, Tudor | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Front Wall

I still need to finish and attach the main window frame but the front wall is 95% complete :)

Some more photos, please click on the thumbnail to see the full sized image.


Posted in External Decoration | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Wood Staining

An evening wood staining the pieces for the front wall – beams, balcony and window frames. It took  a couple of hours, just one coat but the stain needed to be carefully painted into all the groves and cuts I’ve made in the wood, and the balcony and its window frames consisted of wood that was part external and part internal so needed care that the colours didn’t cross over. The external wood is matt black to reflect the tar the Victorians put on the wood to protect it and the internal is a medium oak coloured wood dye. Using just one coat has given the wood a nice weathered look.

I left the wood to dry for a day and then glued it in place. I used a mix of PVA and superglue. I used the superglue sparingly, mainly for the balcony window frame which needed a little repair job after it came apart slightly while I was ‘weathering’ the wood with a knife (too much pressure applied to it as I worked). I also used the superglue and PVA combined, mainly PVA but a few dots of superglue to hold the wood in place while the PVA dried. Mainly I just used PVA on the beams and then used a mixture of books and objects to weigh the beams down while they dried. For example a bottle of nail varnish balanced on each corner of the main window frame, with a large clipframe on top and a wooden bowl on top of that – not an excessive weight, but just enough to ensure the edges of the beam dried perfectly in position. With cutting into the wood and staining they have a slight tendency to curl, but PVA and then gently and carefully weighting them down seems to work perfectly.

Posted in External Decoration, Victorian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sail Boat, a Tankard & a Toby Jug

1/12th scale model ship / sail boatI love this little sail boat, beautifully made and a delightful addition to my curiosity shop. I was looking at a photo of a friend’s 1/12th scale antique shop and saw it on one of the shelves and he very kindly shared with me where he had bought it.

I also recently bought this little Toby jug – the china is quite delicate and I’m very pleased with him. Sometimes 1/12th scale china items can be slightly chunky but not this one. I also bought the pewter tankard at the same time as the sail boat, the lid doesn’t open but the look is just right for my shop.

Posted in 1/12th Scale Accessories | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Preparing for Grouting Brick Slips

Before grouting the brick slips on the front of the house:

  • I wrapped the painted areas with cling film and used masking tape to secure it.
  • I wrapped the wooden beams in cling film, being careful to stay true to their shape and not add any bulk. I then used re-positionable spray glue to keep them in place. I did this so that they could stay in place during grouting thus minimising any gaps between the bricks and the window frame.
  • Where the large strip of beam ends goes, just above the brick work, I used strips from the front of an old catalogue to create an edge for my mortar. I didn’t used the actual piece of wood as it had taken me hours to shape and weather and I didn’t want to risk it.
  • I put some books into freezer bags and tied them tightly and then used these as props for supporting the front wall so that I could grout the tiles on the edges. The books allowed me to get the different heights needed for the top and bottom halfs and were stable without getting in my way.

I coated the brick slips with 50/50 pva and water before doing the above preparation and applied the grouting as before with the side walls, see The Brick Work.

The preparation worked well and I was really pleased with the result. The only thing I’d do differently was that I forgot to put masking tape where the cling film meets the window frame and some water and grout seeped through onto the paintwork. However, once dry it wiped off easily with a wet cloth and you couldn’t tell :)

Posted in External Decoration, Planning | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Teddy Bear

Hermann teddy miniaturenPlease meet the newest addition to my property. He’s a Hermann teddy, 5cm tall, fully jointed and just perfect. A surprise present.

The Victorians didn’t have teddy bears, but many months ago I decided that my property could have one anachronism and that it would be a teddy bear. In fact it now has two, the original bear who may move into the shop and my new bear. He’s just lovely.

He doesn’t have a name yet, what do you think? There’s a comments option below, all teddy bear friendly suggestions welcome.

Posted in 1/12th Scale Accessories | 1 Comment

1yr Anniversary

It’s one year exactly since I received my Stratford Bakery kit, so to mark the anniversary I took a few photos of the shop and living room, plus I’ve included a couple of ones from April of the building and bedroom (as everything that’s changed since then is still to be completed/put in place). Do click on the thumbnails to see the full photos.


I can’t believe it’s been a year! The plan was to complete the outside by Christmas and the whole project by today. That hasn’t quite happened, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I am so pleased that the pleasure I get from the hobby is still very much there, plus I have gained many new skills and learnt a sprinkling of history as well.

My thanks goes to all those at the Dolls House Forum for their support, help and kindness. And to everyone who has visited the Tiny Keyhole. Thank you!

I’m currently gluing brick slips to the front wall, carefully cutting them round the window frame, hinges and sides. Plus I’m working on the wood work for the front. Once it’s progressed a bit more I’ll post some photos. Pleased to be back to brick slip laying – surprisingly addictive and quite satisfying! :)

Posted in Misc. | 6 Comments