This is a post I wrote last year. It was such a fun, easy project that I should dig it out of the blog archives!
My workspace is in the dining room. That means that whenever there's a holiday, I have to do some major tidying, so that my supplies are much out of sight as possible. While I was cleaning up today, I came across this great Christmas card which I'd stashed away last year. I thought it would make great advent calendars. You just need an exacto knife, card stock, glue, and an old Christmas card with a small scene.
I cut my calendar out of the bottom left corner of the card. I made it about an inch across, trying not to cut any of the people in half.
I cut the windows next. I cut the windows from the front, so that the windows could follow the shapes of images in the calendar. I also made the windows open from all different sides. I then scored the fold of the window from the back of the card. The back of the exacto blade worked well for this.
Then I used the tip of the knife to gently open all the windows, and smeared the back of the card with glue. I used Tacky since it was nearby, but a glue stick would probably be better.
Gently press the calendar on to a piece of plain white paper, keeping all the windows open so that they aren't accidentally glued shut. I think it's easier to trim the backing to size after the glue dries. Finally, I ran a gold paint pen around the edge. You could add tiny paintings behind each window now if you want, or just leave it plain the way I did. White glitter on the snow, or gold on the lamps looks nice too.
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.