Sunday, August 7, 2016

How To Make A 1:12th Scale Rain Chain + Product Review: Fred's Wood Weathering Stuff


As far as blog posts before work get's crazy, this will be my last hoorah! The word is that a 1:00pm conference call tomorrow will kick things off and then the rat race is on!

First up, I wanted to make the little pigs a nice rain barrel for the front porch. I had an unfinished wooden barrel, the pump assembly from the Chrysnbon sink kit and a spigot from a garden hose set.


I wanted it to look something like this:


I'd need to make some modifications to my barrel, like chisling in board lines, making the metal straps prominent and adding some rivet detail. And definitely give it a good old country aged flavor. On my last order from HBS/miniatures.com I saw a new product called Fred's Wood Weathering Stuff. It looked intriguing, so I picked up a bottle to give it a try.

I started with a smaller barrel just to make sure it would go in the distressed direction that I had in mind. The instructions say to keep layering on coats until you achieve the look you want. This is after the first coat:


This is after the second coat:


This is after the third coat:


The directions also say that it will affect different woods in different ways. I found it to be a nice aged and weathered finish, and am excited to use it on other woods and painted surfaces in the future. There is no odor at all - I was kind of expecting it to be vinegar based, but there is no odor at all. It will stain clothing etc., so be careful when you are applying it. Overall, I give it two thumbs up!

I repeated the three coats onto my larger barrel, but took the detailing a step further. I made vertical board marks using a small flat blade screwdriver to chisel them in. Then I used a dark brown to highlight the barrel straps and the grove between the boards. I used the same brown watered down washes to highlight areas where grime might accumulate over the years. Then I added rivets or nail head dots using a metallic bronze glaze. I used the same glaze to tone down the brass spigot. For the pump I added a black plastic "pipe" to reach the bottom of the barrel.


Now for the rain chain... There are a million styles and materials in the real life versions, so this is where you get to let your imagination go wild! I made the one for Encounters using a plain copper chain. You can use the glue bottle tops from Tacky Glue, you can use a variety of beads, you can use saucers - just dig through your stash and you'll find something!

I had a lot of the Farrow tiny plastic tea cups and saucers left over from my failed attempt at still in design mode chandelier prototype for the Shabby Chic Soap Shop. I liked the bell shape and thought they would work nicely for rain chain cups. I grabbed those, some black chain and a screw in eyelet.



I cut the handles off and sanded any uneven plastic leftover from manufacturing.


Then I found a drill bit that was just a touch smaller than the width of the chain links and drilled holes through the bottom of the teacups.


I measured the height from my roof edge to the top of my rain barrel and decided that five cups would work nicely.


To string my cups onto my chain, i looped a piece of piano wire through the last chink and used that to thread on the cups.


Some cups were a tighter fit than others, and I found that forcing them only made my chain break. After the first repair, I figured out that going slow and putting equal pressure on both ends of the chain made the cups slide up the chain nicely. They fit so snugly, I didn't even need to glue them. I spaced them out evenly, and added in a couple decorative larger jump rings at the top and bottom.


To paint the assembly, I needed to rig up a paint booth - one where I could turn the chain 360 degrees to coat all sides. I drilled a hole into the top flap of this Amazon box, then attached the chain with a piece of copper wire threaded through a loop, up through the drill hole, then flattened it out so I could spin the chain as needed to paint.


I coated the entire chain assembly in flat black and let dry. Then I sprayed and overcoating of aged bronze metallic.


Here is a mock up of the assembly - not where it will end up yet because I still have some detailing to do to the barrel. It just gives you an idea of something you can do that's easy, fun and will add another level of detail to your project!


This will be one of the last things marked off my Creatin' Contest To Do list for a few weeks, I'm afraid. But I have so many more fun and interesting things to look forward to! That will keep me motivated to work hard and fast so I can get back to the excitement of creating a mini world!

Wishing all of you the best!
Back soon!

Jodi

15 comments:

  1. Un trabajo estupendo y una buena descripción.

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    1. Gracias Isabel ! Espero que darle una oportunidad !

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  2. I am definitely going to pick up a bottle of that magic potion.

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    1. Awesome! I bet you'll do some amazing things with it!

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  3. Hello Jodi,
    You think of all the perfect little touches and details to make your project come to life. Fantastic job on the rain barrel. I love the way it turned out and the rain cord is an awesome detail. What a great house for those little pigs.
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Thanks Giac! I think they'll be very happy there!

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  4. Wow! Looks amazing. I'm just floored by how cool this looks.

    And I'll admit to having no clue what a rain chain was until I looked it up on the interwebs. Then I was even more wowed.

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    1. Thanks Sheila! I am not surprised that you didn't know about rain chains. We get loads of rain here in the Northwest, but you guys in Texas only get floods, right? LOL

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  5. Dear Jodi...this is just an intriguing project and I love the ingenuity you apply to each aspect of a project! I have been learning that to create great miniatures you must think of the smallest of details and spend the time 'getting it right'. The effect the Fred's Wood Weathering Stuff had on the barrel was great and again it brought out the aged colours one would expect from a barrel standing outside in the elements. Thanks for sharing! Cheers, Alayne

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    1. I'm really glad that you are enjoying the build and all of the mini (pun intended) projects going into it! I really am, too! Hope to get back to it soon!

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  6. Hi Jodi! I love how you've used the teacups to complete your rain chain. Love the look of the weathering solution on your barrel and think that the entire idea is Really Cleverly done! :))

    elizabeth

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I hope you give it a try on Villa Leone because I'd love to see your twist on the idea! Like everything you do, it would be fabulous!

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  7. From your photos I learned that such a thing as a rain barrel exists. I looked them up on the internet and I must say, your rain barrel is fantastic. Great work! Thanks for sharing how you made it.

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    1. Thank you, Drora! It's great that our mini community is spread far and wide! We get to learn so much from each other - even the everyday things that are completely new to someone else! I'm so happy to have woken up to such a nice comment! Thank you!

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