The Book Trunk

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My wall tent belongs to an explorer. She wants to learn more about the world around her. She’s been traveling the world, collecting knowledge. I’ve decided her furniture needs to her need for sturdy furniture that can travel well. Campaign furniture, originally designed for military campaigns, is specifically made to break down and fold so that it can be packed up and taken on the move. To ease my way into building furniture, I decided to start by making a pair of book trunks, that when open create book shelves.

I found examples online of designs that I liked and using the measurements created a quick list of pieces of wood that would be needed. I used bass wood and glued a thin venire to the outside (oddly enough, they were sheets of venire that I found in the scrapbooking aisle at the craft store). After some sanding, I stained them with a walnut stain marker and painted the inside. I went with blue paint on the inside. I was worried that there was going be too much brown if I stained them.

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I wasn’t happy with finish on the outside.

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It was spotty and not as warm and rich as I would have liked it to be. Paint seemed like the best option to create what I wanted.

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My color pallet.

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I started with a light coat of the darkest brown color.

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After, I dry brushed black around the edges, but I wasn’t getting the variation I wanted. Using a tiny bit of yellow and light brown I created highlights and streaks.

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Then, while the paint is still wet I feathered in little bits of black and dark brown. Sadly, the pictures don’t really show the variations in the paint well.

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The trunk needed details on the outside. I decided brass corner strapping would work. I made it using black card stock and rub’n buff.

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I cut the paper into strips the size of the straps and folded them in half.

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They were glued on, but needed more detail.

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I made divots with a tiny ball stylus tool and using a micro tip marker filled them.

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I glued the 2 halves together. As much as I wanted to make it completely functional, I couldn’t find hinges that didn’t look too big. The hinges and locks were also made from the paper. The details were put in with the ball stylus and marker.

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I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. I’m planning on making one more book trunk, but with a different design. I also need to make more books, lots and lots of books.

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Another Month Down

Wow! I blinked and a month snuck by me. The end of May marked the end of the school year for the kids. My 39th birthday was at the beginning of June (I don’t feel 39, but I’m not sure what 39 is supposed to feel like). I went on a quick, much needed trip with the husband to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana- five days, 1,500 miles, four states, and two national parks.

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We started in Salt Lake City, drove north and spent a couple nights in Jackson, Wyoming where we explored the Grand Tetons.

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We continued north and spent a couple days exploring Yellowstone.

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I was thrilled to see all the wildlife and to be able to wear long sleeve shirts in June. The geysers were fantastic and I managed to refrain from putting a baby bison in my back seat. We drove back to Salt Lake to catch our flight home.

On the first day back, I realized I somehow had scheduled eight doctor’s appointments for the kids and I to happen in the span of three days. It was a cold dose of being back to normal life and it’s what I get for not paying attention. Amazingly though, none of them were at the same time.

After I made sure we were all poked, prodded, and analyzed, I finally go to play on Friday. Being away from miniatures for so long made it hard for me to decide what to work on. So, I did a little bit of everything.

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What a mess! Since I don’t have a defined work space, I use the dining room table (my latest project is on an old metal typewriter table that has wheels). Which means I have to clear it off when I’m done working for the day. When I get lazy, or am in a hurry, things get stuffed everywhere.

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First, I finished this little guy. He’s supposed to be an Agama Lizard in a little terrarium. I started making him months ago, but he quickly became a comedy of errors. I ordered the glass jar from miniatures.com and sculpted the lizard out of sculpy and then painted him to look the part. The netting on top is just tulle and some thread. I think he’s adorable. It’s nearly impossible to get a good picture of him though.

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Here’s my inspiration: Look at those colors!

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Next, I worked on finishing up the second campaign-style book trunk. The one on the right is the finished one. The one on the left got sanded, stained, and painted. This is where I left it at the end of the day. I’ll post more on how I finished it up.

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And finally, I created a tent pole strap for the center of the structure. Hanging storage is very valuable in a wall tent. I started with brass hooks I ordered from miniatures.com. I glued the hooks to the pole. Next, leather pieces were cut to fit between the hooks and then glued into place.The buckle is a piece of brass wire that was bent and glued into place.

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Now, there is a place to hang canteens, bags, jackets, etc. Even if it took forever to put together, I’m pretty happy with it.

I’m excited to be creating and getting my hands dirty again. The time away helped me realize some potential problems with my plans for tenting the inside and to think of simple solutions. A real “well, duh” kind of moment!

I have just about six months to get this build done. That’s how much time I ended up using to make the flower shop. While I’m ahead of the game, I can’t get too comfortable. I’m pushing myself to build more, design more, and make more. Since vintage dollhouse campaign furniture isn’t readily available, I’ll need to stay dogged. I love a good challenge!