While visiting GA recently, I discovered a local hobby shop that had just acquired an estate’s massive dollhouse collection. They had rooms of miniature items they had barely begun to sort through. But the owner was awesome and let me dig through drawers and shelves and he often made up prices for me as we went through things. Needless to say, I walked away with quite a haul and several freebies he threw in.
During that shopping adventure, I ended up purchasing several fireplaces and mantels. So when I began working on the Linfield Living Room, the hardest and most time consuming part of the process was deciding which fireplace would work in the designated space.
I ended up choosing this small corner fireplace.
I then pulled out the jewelry findings and set to work on breathing new life into this diamond in the rough. If you read my other posts, you know that I mention jewelry findings with every project. I have built up quite an impressive stash of do-dads and what-nots. So to get started on this project I began pulling out items that would, when painted, add a plaster look to the facade of this piece. I then began dry-fitting pieces to the fireplace until I was happy with the overall look.
Once the findings were glued in place, I painted all over with a dark steel gray and then covered with my own white paint mix. When going for a plaster type look, I mix my acrylic craft paint with a bit of cornstarch. I can’t really tell you an exact measurement, I just mix in enough until it’s the consistency of a thick, white glue I suppose. I then paint it all over the piece. This paint mixture dries very quickly so you have to work fast and it will produce small cracks in places which is a great effect for shabby pieces. It also works great as chalk paint if you plan on sanding parts to let the base color show. I do recommend sealing it afterwards with matte mod podge…another product I use all the time.
Next, I wanted to tile the hearth. I wanted to create my own shabby tiles but, alas, I am a horrible artist/painter. So I found a cute wallpaper image online that I thought could be cut into acceptable tiles. After printing and allowing the ink to set overnight, I applied several coats of luster mod podge to make it appear more like tile. Once dry, I cut my tiles.
I then began gluing them to the hearth, using my pick tool to clean the glue globs from the grout lines. Once dry, I painted in between the lines with a light gray.
I allowed everything to dry and then dry brushed a blue-green color lightly in places.
I was ready to begin decorating…the fun stuff!
I pulled out my miniatures and began figuring out which items I wanted to use and began deciding on their placements. I painted the black grill in the same blue-green color I had dry brushed onto the fireplace. Then I added some sticks for logs.
I set about making my own candles and candle sticks from wooden beads. To make the candles, I first burned a tea light until it was mostly melted. I took a drinking straw and cut to length. I then inserted a piece of string through the straw. I poured the melted wax into the straw sections and allowed the wax to reset completely. I was then able to gently pull the candles out of the straws.
I set my candles to the side to dry while I worked on the candle holders. I stacked and glued various wood beads together and then painted them using more of my homemade chalk paint.
I began working on my bookends. I cut a round jewelry finding in half. Bent each half in two and the glued small rose embellishments to each. I then glued the stack of books together and added the ends.
I took a metal sewing item that I found at a fabric store, trimmed it out, and added sticks.
Only one more piece…the birdcage. I pulled out my florals and began gluing a vine and flowers to the cage.
Finally, I placed everything on the mantle and hearth and called this project done. This is the best hobby in the world!