Thursday, September 27, 2012

First day at Camp Mini Ha Ha - start of project

My workspace in the project room!

First full day of Camp started bright and early with breakfast and our first bag full of goodies made by our fellow campers!)  Then we were right to work on our project.

Our project is a corner scene with the theme of "Inside and Outside".  One of the things I really like about this camp is that we're all encouraged to go our own directions with the basic layout of the project. There are quite a variety of scenes being planned by the participants: English cottage, fairy house, hobbit hole, gardener's shed, Tuscan house and many more!  I decided to try a crofter's cottage with a stone floor and stuccoed exterior.

Lots of workshops today: wiring (with LEDs), various faux finishes (including bricks) and paint techniques. Lots of good advice: I learned about an excellent glue: Crafter's Choice, which dries clear and stable (unlike Tacky Glue, which continues to have some give to it).  Nice stuff, and amazing for work with foam.

One of the things I learned today was how to carve the 9/16" thick builder's foam we're using as the basic building material for our structures.

Draw flagstones (or rough, uneven shaped stones) in pencil on the foam.  This will be my floor, but of course you could use this technique for walls.

With a very sharp Olfa cutter or other small craft knife, cut v-shaped grooves for the lines between the stones.  Carve some of the stones a little uneven (as if a corner is chipped off, etc.).

Next, add texture.  We were shown how to use a rolled up, crumpled sheet of aluminium foil to texturize the foam surface.  I also added wear in the centre of the stones with various tools.

And at the end of the day today I had the basic framework of my crofter's cottage roughed out.

I've increased the size of the inside floor, and moved the window from the end wall to the door wall in order to make room for a fireplace.  I changed the end wall to incorporate a double thickness of chimney. 
I've left only enough room on the outside for a few climbing roses! Some people have made the garden area much, much bigger than the inside, and some have added extra baseboards for more garden!
I also got my mantlepiece done and painted (I made the large beam for the mantle from carved foam, which I'd never tried before), plus my door and window.

Tomorrow we learn how to upholster a chair and make draperies -- I probably won't use those in this project, but I am really looking forward to learning how to do them!


  1. It looks like an interesting project to work on and will enjoy seeing your progress. Your flagstone floor looks great.

  2. Sounds like you are having a great time!

  3. You're certainly off to a very good start. The foam appears to be interesting stuff to work on with loads more possibilities. Looking forward to more.

  4. Thanks, all! I love working with this foam. It's much finer in grain than the 1" thick builders foam I've been using for the William and Mary house -- you can actually carve this stuff. I was amazed by the precision I could get, especially for the mantlepiece, which I'll photograph today. I carved it, sanded it, added detail with the knife -- it's an amazing modelling material. Okay, off to breakfast!

  5. Oh wow...Camp mini, sound so much fun. Thanks for sharing your first day there. This builders foam looks very interesting for many projects.
    Have fun at the rest of your days there,I am looking forward to what you learn and make there.

  6. Hello Nina,
    Glad you're enjoying your classes. Your projects are off to a greta start.

  7. This sounds amazing!! and in Ontario!?? My home province!! I need to know more about this so I can plan to go one year in the (very near) future. :) :)
    I look forward to following your stay there! Have lots of fun!


    1. Hi, Rebecca! This is in Nova Scotia, although we get quite a few campers driving out from Ontario :) It is SO much fun!

  8. Looks like fun _ looking forward to seeing your progress.

  9. Nina, isn't camp wonderful. I loved the project we did there two years go, it was also with the same foam. It's wonderful to work with. I'm so envious of the other workshops you'll be doing with the upholstery and window treatments. So many new techniques to learn, I love that! Enjoy every moment, they're a great bunch of ladies!

  10. Your project already looks very interesting. I also learnt how to add texture to the foam by spraying with hair spray. Mini hugs, Natalia


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