The next group of tasks for Tasha's kitchen included several things that were new to me and some that it seems are just a regular part of every build. I started by getting all of the hardware put onto the cabinets. To make certain they were as perfect as possible, I employed my tried and true method: making a jig.
For the cupboard doors, I took a piece of scrap wood which is the same width as the shaker frame - 1/4". I drilled a hole the distance from the top that I wanted the knobs to be placed and made sure it was centered.
Then by placing the jig flush at the top of each cupboard door, I could use my pilot hole punch to mark the door where the hole needed to be drilled.
Nearly perfect every time! I really like these knobs from Elf Miniatures. They are really heavy, have a lovely ball detail on the end and since they are quality metal, they are very shiny!
For the drawers, I had jigs at the ready. They were the inside cut outs from the Cricut cut cabinets. I just had to measure where I wanted the handles and then make the pilot holes in the chipboard. Some of the drawers have one knob and others have two depending on the width. There are more photos with the knobs later in the post.
The rendering below demonstrates many hardware configurations both for upper and lower cabinets. Pretty much anything goes. You are free to be creative and do what you like best when placing your handles.
The next task was to add lighting to a few of the cabinets - the ones with "glass" doors. I'm using Evan Designs LED products exclusively in this room box, including the transformer. This is a first for me because though I have used LEDs in the past, they are usually sprinkled among traditional 12 volt lights. I wanted all of the bulbs to last as long for Tasha as possible. For the cabinets, I am using the pico sized lights. I didn't want to use warm white LEDs because I'd like to achieve a more modern vibe with this project. The yellowish hue that the warm white lights give off works great for other settings, but here I wanted just bright white. I found that the cool lights were reading a bit too lavender.
To mitigate the color and tone down the brightness a bit, I combined a 50/50 mix of white acrylic paint and Mod Podge to apply lightly over the bulb. It worked beautifully! It's subtle, ambient light with no more purple hue!
In order to finish the "glass" front cabinets, I had to fill them with their display items. Luckily, I had a bunch of blue and white kitchen stuff left over from the New Orleans kitchen. I am saving the more contemporary and everyday kitchen items for future open shelving. I thought it would be nice for Tasha to have the "family heirloom" type pieces in the china cabinet. None of us gets to escape the stuff our family forces on us, whether we want it or not, lol! I hope she doesn't mind a little homage to the past with "grandma's china" in her modern kitchen.
Because this will be her first dollhouse as an adult, I didn't want to overwhelm Tasha with a bunch of items that come loose and have to be set up again and again. For this reason, I am limiting the loose miniatures to things she can easily change out seasonally or when she's in the mood to create a cooking scene to photograph alongside her real life culinary creations. She posts a lot of her delicious looking meal photos on Facebook and Instagram. She did not get her cooking talent from me!
Once the cabinet items were glued in ( hopefully forever due to the combination of Fast Grab Tacky and Gorilla Super Glue) I affixed the doors. They will not open. Then I installed the double oven appliance front kits and the dishwasher front kit from Elf Miniatures. It's beginning to look like a kitchen that I think Tasha will be excited about!
Time to start on the wet bar. I made an upper and lower unit using the Maker, with part of the lower unit dedicated to a wine chiller. I had not planned for a chiller last fall, but became excited about it when Tasha mentioned how great having one would be. Luckily, I just happened to have sheets of aluminum in my stash so I could make one. This will be my first wine chiller.
I cut the aluminum to line the inside of the box and the bottoms of the "pull out" drawers. I made walnut rails for the fronts to tie in with the walnut stained wine rack in the upper unit. Last weekend's bottle making spree gave me all I needed to fill up the chiller and the upper cabinets. I added some glassware, a little lighting, and viola!
Here it is in the kitchen. The upper cabinet will be mounted on the wall, the same height as the other tall cabinets. Between the top and bottom cabinets will be a subway tile backsplash and the same white counters.
Oh! That reminds me! You don't know about the counters yet! There's still so much more to tell! Sorry for the long winded post AGAIN!
Let's touch on the backsplash quickly... I am using the same type of brick patterned MDF stuff that I used in the New Orleans kitchen. You can see that here. Why? because it looks good and it's easy. There is a bit of prep work to make it look nice, but I'll go more in depth on that in my next post. I'm mentioning this because you will see it in the photo below being tested out with the contertops.
The countertops are made from a sheet of white Lucite and will look a lot like real life solid surface countertops. It's fairly easy to cut if you have a mini table saw with a guide edge, or a really helpful husband with nice tools. Cutting them to width and length is easy enough, but what if you need to make a rectangle hole in the middle for an undermounted sink? This was going to be another first for me, too. After watching a few videos on how they do this for 1:1 scale sinks, I adapted it for miniatures using the tools I have. Here's what I did.
If the cling film that is supposed to protect the surface of the Lucite is compromised, cover with masking tape before you cut it to the length and width you need. This will keep it from getting scratched.
Measure precisely and carefully exactly where you need your rectangle to be. Check and double check important things like remembering to account for the thickness of your backsplash, the overhang on the front of your cabinets, the width and depth of your sink and any recess allowance. Make sure you have enough room for the faucet to mount behind the sink while still leaving knuckle room to your backsplash. If you have a Cricut, take these measurements and transfer them into Design Space to make a template. Cut and overlay the template securing with more masking tape. If you are working by hand carefully mark your measurements on top of the masking tape.
Using an Xacto knife, carefully cut away the masking tape from your rectangle to expose the surface.
Using a Laminate Cutter score each of the four sides of the rectangle 20 times.
Note: This material is 1/8" thick so you have to be really dedicated and patient if you plan to cut it all the way through by hand. Or, just do what I did - finish the cut with your scroll saw.
Using your rotary tool, drill two or three connecting holes into your rectangle, slightly away from the corner. Make it large enough to pass your scroll saw blade through.
Disconnect your scroll saw blade and reinstall it after you have passed the blade through your access hole.
Using the scored lines as your guidelines, cut the rectangle, then remove/reinstall the blade once again.
And that's how you cut a hole in the middle of something! Not too shabby for my first time! The material is sand-able, so you can perfect the edge once the major cutting is completed.
Now for the sink. I had purchased an Elf Miniatures Underslung Sink Kit that comes with a monobloc tap. I found it to be a good size for a second sink, such as one for washing vegetables or in a wet bar, or in a compact kitchen. But, for a real working kitchen, it's a little small and very shallow (1/2" deep or 6" in real life). So instead of using the kit, I took my experimental 3D printed sink, which was wider and deeper (the equivalent of 9" in real life), and cut aluminum panels to glue to the inside. You'll need to use contact cement for the aluminum to adhere to anything. I used Aleene's The Ultimate glue.
For the faucet, to make the monobloc tap look a little more gourmet~kitchen~y, I took a silver earring back, a small spacer bead and a spring from a ball point pen to beef it up. I recommend using 5 minute epoxy for this, as most other adhesives will fail over time. Where the base goes into the countertop, I added a silver washer. It's the same as the one I used for the sink drain, 1/4" round with a 1/16" hole.
During my next "Mini Time Opportunity", I'll begin to fabricate some kind of stovetop using components from the Elf Gas Hob Top Kit that I have on hand or I'll see about using my 3D printer to make one. It's been so much fun getting to try new challenges and to learn a few things this week, I'll try to keep the momentum going!
Thanks for making it to the end of another long post with me! I hope you are inspired to try new challenges and to make good things better, too!
xo xo, Jodi
P.S. I finally dusted off the 3D printer to have a try at a gas cooktop. I posted a sneak peek on Instagram with a mention that details would be here for this post. I got carried away trying to make improvements and have printed six attempts now! The design is getting a little better each time. I do have the one for Tasha's kitchen completed, but wanted to present the whole process in one post in the hope that it would be helpful for anyone trying to make a gas cooktop. Please forgive my misleading you - I will have the goods in next week's post!