Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A New Project

A number of years ago, Mom purchased a shop kit, intending to make it into a toy store. But she abandoned the project after realizing that the deep depth of the box made it hard to see tiny toys. Ever since then, I've wanted to create a shop facade which would allow me to display some smaller toys.

I looked in to purchasing various kits, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted, especially since my budget for this project was "as cheap as possible." The idea went on the back burner. It wasn't until I was making some foamcore displays for the Philadelphia show that I started thinking how easily I could use it to build a little shop facade. So far, I haven't needed to spend a penny on this project: I've been able to make everything from supplies I already had.

The facade was built on a foam core base. I used strip wood and cardboard to build up the molding and door, then embellished with metal jewelry findings. The body of the shop is painted Antique White, the interior Baby Blue, and the door Dove Grey (all folk-art acrylics).

I wanted the door of my shop to be a weathered French blue. The baby blue I'd used inside was too fresh and clean. To make my 'French blue" door, I used Folk Art's Dove Grey paint. Then, to add texture and age, I streaked the door with watercolor pencils. I used every shade of blue in my set, as well as black, grey and brown. I like to dip each pencil in water before I color with it, then go back and soften/blend the colors further with a soft brush. I also used the pencils more lightly on the rest of the facade at this time.

I still have quite a bit of work left to do. Though it doesn't show in the photos, the interior of the box is completely warped. I think it may be easier to remake than to repair it. I plan to cover the outer back and sides of the shop with bricks cut from sandpaper (an idea I'm borrowing from Josje.) I need to add glass to the front window, a copper roof to the top, a (nonworking) lantern, and possibly gutters. I'm also toying with the idea of landscaping the shop. I'd love to cover it in climbing roses, but I'm a bit worried about how delicate paper flowers will hold up when I need to remove the front panel to change out my window display.

P.S. For the first time, Mom and I decided to list a few of our miniatures on Ebay. The auctions include one of my favorite dolls, and one of my beaded handbags and all the auctions started at $10. Please take a look here.


  1. What a lovely shop facade, Eliza, I love the colors! I also like the idea you've made it from scraps and carton, although it is warping you can't see it. I like your ideas for the decoration too.
    Hugs, Ilona

  2. Hello Eliza,
    It is gorgeous! The structure is beautiful! I just love the finishing. the door is spectacular. I cannot wait to see it filled with toys.
    Big hug,

  3. Wonderful! I like your new project and I'm curious to see more.
    Greetings, Faby

  4. What a great start. I cant wait to see the shelves filled! Keep up the good work. Troy

  5. Lovely shop front. Really like the idea of using jewellery findings for molding.

  6. This is a lovely way to display some of your toys. The idea of 'work with what you've already got' always appeals to me and I like what you've done so far.
    I've only worked with foamcore once and wasn't that happy with it as it warped. I have abandoned the stuff since then. As for the sandpaper bricks, that probably wasn't an idea of mine. I think I must have read about it somewhere once and stored the idea in the back of my mind to use when I needed it. It's a lot of work but it looks very good!