Miniature Patisserie: Building the Kit + Exterior Finishing
I was so nervous before building this kit. Even in my previous dollhouse building days, I was never particularly expert with wood or tools and my biggest fear was putting the pieces together without thinking through it all the way and ending up with something I couldn't do everything I wanted to with.
Happily, this kit was really quite easy to put together and I only slightly messed it up (no, the walls are not all square... oops). Once I got all the pieces together, I tried to get the exterior finished as quickly as possible because I didn't want to lose any of the little pieces.
I primed all of the pieces to be painted with acrylic gesso before putting them together to make them easier to paint with the final colors, but it did warp the pieces sometimes... another reason that not all the walls are straight. However, it did make the colors come through very nicely and a better texture to paint, so I'm still undecided on whether it was the right way to go or not.
I painted the windows, interior and exterior window trim, exterior walls, balconies and shop front pieces separately because I didn't want to get paint on any of the window acrylic or mirrors. I mean, I still did, but mostly I didn't!
The roof tiles are from JMan Laser Crafts because I wanted a really crisp, regular look. I put them on before adding in the dormers so as to make the join as seamless as possible. After I painted the whole thing in dark gray acrylic, I added coffee stirrers on the top as leading because I felt like that part needed a little extra detail.
Right before I put in the windows, I decided to add quoins to the exterior to enhance the 'limestone' effect of the facade. I simply cut them out of 1/16" thick basswood and glued them to the front and right side. The back and left side I painted white for a whitewashed plaster effect, which seemed to be the most common treatment for non-street-facing walls in Paris, based on my research. I might still add brick to those sides, which is picturesque, but not actually as common in Paris as it is in NYC (although it is used).
All of my paint is extremely matte, so I use gloss medium to create the gloss paint effect on the balconies and the shop exterior. Then I made printouts of the signage and painted in gold on the clear window pieces and the black sign above the window. Putting the final shop piece into the building was probably the most exciting part of the process so far!
I still have to age and add some extra details to the exterior, but the hardest part is over! What do you think?