Saturday, July 25, 2015

book printies of the two books from my last post

since you were so happy with the info on dpi, kind of paper etc I used with my minibooks, I suddenly thought that I could also share my pages and covers, I hadn't even thought of that! So you can make tiny doublesided printed books for yourself, without the hassle of figuring it all out!

the decal of the left book was a bit ruined (or actually it was the magic coating) by not doing something properly, but I will change that cover sometime, or not ;)

So here are the links to the pdf's* for the pages:
PDF Animal Farm A4
PDF Animal Farm LETTER
PDF De 100-jarige man die uit het raam klom en verdween A4
PDF De 100-jarige man die uit het raam klom en verdween LETTER

It's two pages per book (front and back pages) and as you can see in A4 as in Letter-format for whichever it is you're using. And it's no mistake part of the page on the left or right is so far on the edge of the page it 'falls' off. It's because they were double pages and the part that doesn't fit entirely just doesn't make the 'cut' :D.

To print doublesided** I print one page, then feed the printed page back in my printer to print the back (how you should do this is different for each printer), selecting the second page in the printingscreen. Makes sense?

Important: when feeding your pages, best to always have a stack of papers, so you can position this best, always make sure it can go through your printer as straight as possible. Printers are different of course, but if I'm not mistaken they should all have a way of assuring that, like this (as it's done in mine, but it will give you an idea how to do it in other types):
source: HP
For anyone who hasn't read my previous post: the paper I used is Clairefontaine Smart Print paper 50g/m2. Tip for feeding the printer: because it's so thin you can't just put a page in your printer as with regular kind. But I just put a page on top of a stack of regular paper and put the whole lot in the printerdrawer or -feeder, so it's easily solved!

And here are the covers***. I realise one of them is in Dutch, but I thought all of you who are not Dutch but like realistic mini-books, might think it's nice to have a foreign book in your collection :D

I'm not sure what happens with the size if you save my image and put it in a drawingprogramme to print. If it keeps my size or if it will resize for some reason. And if not: adjust in an image manipulation programm (like Coreldraw, Photoshop or Gimp) like mentioned in my mini-bookpost about dpi's not to loose quality. And then resize a bit if you want your book to be slightly bigger or smaller.

I've just guessed what it's measurements should be, not having access to the information on the real book, so you can also decide what size you want it to be if you think I'm way off ;). But if you think it's fine or for reference: 'my' Animal Farm cover is 2,38 cm wide and 1,65 cm high (0.94 inch wide and 0.65 inch high)

For this book it's the same principle, but then I've guessed it will probably be a bit bigger. I made it 2,7 cm wide en 1,9 cm high (1.063 inch wide and 0.75 inch high)

For the cutting of the pages you can see I've used helplines on one side of the pages. First I cut the vertical lines of all the pages and then the horizontal ones. For the simple reason that doing it the other way around would mean you wouldn't have the vertical lines anymore :D. I use a veneercutter with a raizorblade to get straight edges and you can use something similar, but you can cut with scissor too. Both ways are best done with magnifying glass(es), but if your eyes are okay, maybe you can do without.

Sorry I have no pictures, but books are fortunately fairly straigtforward to make. What I do is after stacking them as neatly as I can and holding them with officeclips (make sure to put firm cardboardpieces between them not to dent your pages!) is glue the spine. I used tacky glue, but because it needs two layers, it becomes too thick actually, so for a next book I think I'll try superglue. But then I should make sure the spine is held really tight, otherwise the glue will seep through into the pages too much.

And make sure you glue the right side! I had to cut open the other side of Animal Farm because I hadn't.. And after that's dry, keep it together tightly and carefully sand the edges so it gets as straight as possible. And then glue the book in the spine of the cover. And make sure you have everything the right side up too! Seems logical right? Although thinking about that I've managed to get that wrong one time too...

When you want to yellow the pages, you cut the whole strip of the page you printed on both sides. Then put some strong tea on a flat plate that has slightly sloped sides so fluids don't go over and let cool. Then only put the page in the tea for as long as needed to soak it (few seconds) and then carefully lay it on a flat surface until it's dry. And do the same thing once more (or as often as you like to get it the shade you like). Because it's so short and as long as you don't touch it, the ink will stay on. At least mine did and with a previous test I've had it in tea longer and my ink had dissolved, so I'm pretty sure it's okay as long as you keep the 'bathing'time short.

Well, if you're gonna make one or both books: ENJOY! And don't hesitate to ask me if you need to know something you don't get or have a problem with and I'll try to help you.

*The reason I only have bookpages on the top of the pages, is because further along a page it will shift slightly. So you can only print the top when printing doublesided pages (especially when it's for miniatures). You can cut that part off, after you've printed both sides and then just use the rest of the page for a next book, since the rest of the page is then like the whole page and will print the top of that etc.

**My printer can - in theory - print doublesided through a certain setting, so it prints, then takes the page back to print the other side etc, but that never works well. From what I can remember when I tried years ago it either doesn't do what it should (and still prints two pages) or it will always come out more shifted than feeding it again. 
***Keep in mind that monitors and printers have their own way with colours (my laptop makes everything much more yellow then I can see (haven't been able to correct it.. making prints ridiculously yellow too, and I always have to adjust coloring accordingly, very annoying), so it might be necessary to adjust them. You can print them on regular paper first to see how the colours turn out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

to read or not to read ...

.... well: not to read it is! I definitely like it that some miniaturebooks are readable (I have one or two saved in my files to make someday), I think it's great and fun. But realism eventually always wins 'in my book', pun intended :D

I made the Animal Farm book last week, with the one I made a little while ago this makes two complete (meaning with text inside) modern-mini-books, woehooe :) ! They have doublesided printed pages on very thin paper. I will also make more of the kind I used in my last scene (blank pages), 'cause it's not necessary at all to have all books like this, would be kind of crazy too right? ;)

The newer book has a funny title, it literally translates: "the 100-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared". The story is about a man who turns 100 and doesn't feel like all the celebrations and fuss, the Mayor etc, so he takes off and has all kinds of crazy adventures. Sounds like fun right? It's from a Swedish writer and it was the best selling book in Sweden in 2010, I'd like to read it myself sometime. The pages in my miniversion are from the real book, the first 10 pages that is. I found them on an online bookstore as a preview. I just repeated them another 2 or 2,5 times until I had enough pages.

Will mini-people actually read it and find out the story is kind of stuck in a loop? Guess I'll have to take the chance and be prepared for some namecalling ;)

and what's a book without a bookmark? this one is from a drawing I made in another lifetime ;)
Animal Farm is a repetition of a few pages, just pages 10, 11, 28 and 29, the only ones I could find and then I altered some to make a bit of sense in the (visual) chronology.

Obviously Animal Farm is a bit older than the other, so I made those pages yellow* and folded the book backwards and the edges and pages. It always feels strange to have to do something to anything new you made with great care, just to make it less new, don't you think? But it has to be done, besides it's all pretty minor in this case, I've seen way worse with some of you ;).
*I let the strip of pages bath in some tea for a few seconds until soaked and then let that dry flat on the countertop. After drying I repeated to get the right amount of yellowness. Then cut them

and another bookmark, this one is from an old RL-painting of mine
And then as that is so to be expected with an older book: a page comes loose (see collage above, the lower-rightcorner), how about - unintended - realism? ;) But some glue made it as 'good as new' again, haha. Getting the pages aligned both sides took a bit of time - and prints - to get right, but is very fulfilling once they do. What I discovered is you can only print the top side of a page, since a printer always pulls paper through slightly crooked, so the further you get the more off it is.

The covers are 800 and 940 dpi. Not to loose any quality I always resize a file by adjusting - read: increasing - the dpi until it's the right amount of cm's that go down by it. Meaning the final dpi-amount differs per file depending on how big it is to begin with. I know that might sound like jibberish, but I've explained this process before in Tutorial Imaged Metal Signs, I just insert it here again, just click on it to be able to read:

Luckily I can also set my printer to print high resolutions (up to 4800 dpi), I discovered after several years of never finding it before :D. In combination with special decalpaper that has a different surface than regular decalpaper that supports high res printing, this is the best quality I can achieve. Here's the comparison with something that's officially printed/pressed (often 600 dpi), I cut if from an inlaysheet that came with a RL-magazine once. That to the naked eye looks very crisp and perfect, but you can see the difference once you look closer. How cool is that?

The decalpaper I have and use is waterproof (Sunny Waterproof decal paper), so no varnishing necessary after printing and I also use magic coating paper, you need a laminating machine for (and technically is no paper but a superthin layer of plastic on paper, that you need to remove later). Which is a protective layer with a satin sheen (but is not protecting the seems, but for bookcovers that's not necessary, since real books don't have that either).

the right one is a book already and therefore raised a bit in comparison to the left one (which is still just a flat cover). But it's not the reason for the difference, I can assure you, it's even the right one that my camera focused on..
I'm also very happy with the paper for the pages: it's really thin. It's 50 grams (standard copying/printingpaper is 80 grams). And that's rare, at least in the Netherlands (because I have to do evertything online I don't know this might be different if you ask in copyshops). Paper of 70 grams is not so rare, 60 grams already a little harder to come by (online at least), but 50grams I only found after quite a search trying to find the thinnest paper out there - commercially. Paper used for bibles and such is thinner and would be amazing, but I don't have a clue how to get that. And hey, there's no need to exaggerate: 50 grams (although it's not to scale of course, it IS almost 50% off of the thickness of regular paper) is really great right? I am so happy with it!

For anyone interested to see if you can find it if you like to use this yourself: it's Clairefontaine Smart Print paper 50g/m2. Tip for feeding the printer: because it's so thin you can't just put a page in your printer as with regular kind. But I just put a page on top of a stack of regular paper and put the whole lot in the printerdrawer or -feeder, so it's easily solved!

UPDATE: because already some of you asked and I'm sure more would like to know: the printer I have is an
HP Officejet Pro 8500 A910, it's an all-in-one stand alone inkjet printer. It's an oldie, so I don't know wether it still being made (looking for the image it might now be the HP Officejet Pro 8500 plus e-A10 A910?), but maybe with that info you can figure out which is the newer comparable model? Is this okay by the way? I'm not affiliated with HP whatsover, we've just had this printer for years, it was for a very good price once and we've always loved it!

How much can you write about two tiny books? djeeezzz :D But just like to share what I used and stuff, cause I'm always happy with that kind of info from others myself. And anyone who doesn't need to know will just skip all the words and lettery-stuff I'm sure :D

I'd like to add a little preview of something. You probably won't expect this kind of miniature because it's 'huge' compared to what I usually do :D This is what I could do myself (very thin mdf that I could cut with scissors and veneer that's even easier). If everything goes as planned I can have someone visiting me soon saw some wooden paintstirrers for me so I can proceed with the assembling and such.
It's not hard to guess is it? The difference in veneers is not a style-choice by the way, I didn't have enough of the one to cover the entire piece of mdf, so I just added a piece of another kind. It's the back anyway and I think it doesn't even look too weird ;) I've also seen this kind of different woods on the backs of real-life pieces.

Friday, July 10, 2015

windowscene with a fun detail

Hi there again my dear minifriends, I hope you are doing well. I've got some positive news (I'm now confident it's not just an occasional-upswing): I'm doing better finally! Some treatments I started, one months ago, another one last week, are definitely kicking in. Meaning I've - mostly - got more (muscle)strength, air (!) and energy and I feel a little bit human again! And so I've put another little scene together the past week, just because I could :D. This time using my mdf-corner with the window in the windowopening it came with (I've always just stuck a 'wallpaper' and fireplace in front of it ;). Nope, unfortunately not my view (although mine is great too!), just a printed one, nice hey?

The dressings and floor are for the scene I've started last year - and mostly finished - and I wanted to show the blinds and floor already. The Roman blinds are easy to make and to get the look and thickness I wanted, I used a single layer of a tissue as 'fabric'. Although it's very fragile of course and I'm not even sure how - or if - it will hold in time.., but we'll see.

And I made a little video to show how the blinds pull up, how fun is that? I couldn't get the close up of putting the cord around the metal thingy in focus or the cord around the metal ends, but I was already very happy I managed to get the first part of the cord on there (after a few takes), I actually need tweezers for that ;). Or a pair of minihands, but the only ones I have at my disposal ere my cat's and they just don't suffice :D.


How about the anti-peekfoil on the windows? You might say it's redundant since this room is 'overlooking' a canal with the next buildings on the other side. And I would agree, buttt.... I always like how it looks AND what you don't see is that there's a(n imaginary) sidewalk directly under the window, where mini-people walk, always looking (way too) curiously inside, haha :) . I've used some of the scraps of the fullsize kind I've had on my windows in my previous house and it works just as well for a small scale.
the Houseworks window I used, it came with the mdf-corner it's in
The real fun part of this all I think is the tiny thingy to wrap the cord of the blind around. 'Cause hey, you can't leave that just hanging right? :D It's from a very thin sheet of brass I first made 2 tiny holes in and then cut a small strip using the holes as guides. Since I figured doing it the other way around, would just have been torture ;). Folded the ends at a slight angle, et voilá! I think real ones have slighty longer ends, but this is just a short-ended version. In the months I hadn't seen it I'd forgotten how small it is and I think it adds some real fun and realism to the window. I can get a bit squeeky about details like that ;) And that's saying something, not being a very 'squeeky' kind of girl :D haha. It's só small, that the nails - that are absolutely tiny - look a bit too big for it.

Something else I love how it turned out: the Arts & Crafts-chair-kit - another last year's birthdaygift - that I think fits well here. It's from mdf and just needed some paint. But how to get a realistic woodlook on mdf? The description on the kit's website is to mix a gel-medium (for adding transparency) with paint (50/50) and then: paint-sand-paint-sand-paint-sand and seal.

But as it turned out not necessary (in this case anyway): this cool wood-effect (if I may say so myself, I'm very pleased with it!) was the happy result of just ONE layer of gel-medium mixed with some lightbrownpaint, then very slightly sanded (hobby-sandingfile grid 240/320) not to loose the grainy relief that comes from the brushstrokes and the thickness of the gel-medium, added some darker brown paint I just 'smeared' with my finger in a not so orderly fashion to add depth to the colour.

These steps resulted in some unexpected, but surprisingly realistic, woodgraineffect that I really like! And my sandingfile happened to have some unidentified black on it, that accidentally rubbed some on my chair and gave it a perfect extra layer of usedness. Don't you just love happy accidents? I do, love them! The light sanding also unwantingly rubbed of small pieces of the paint that I wasn't too happy with at first (the gel-medium or maybe the acrilyc paint I used? makes the layer rubbery, which doesn't combine well with even the very light sanding I did), but those simply became wear and tearspots, and to disguise the exposed mdf in those places I just rubbed in some darker paint: PERFECT!

I discovered later that I've always put the backsupport upside down to what it's 'supposed to'. So I turned it again, but although I do like it the right way too, I actually prefer it the unintentionally 'wrong' way I had it. And apparently makes more sense to me :D. Below the picture how it was meant to be. I might be messing up (an important part of) the design, but hey, that's a bit of 'artistic' freedom the maker will probably forgive me ;).

Arts & Crafts stoel
source: Arjen Spinhoven Miniaturen

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


nothing new, just throwing together some old items in a new setting, in front of a printed brick wall. 'Cause I like that ;)

the desk I made in 2012 and was meant as a quick and simple 'prop' to show my laptop on once finished. You've seen it before in 'a mini partyscene for a big occassion', only this time with the drawers opened. It turned out pretty good I think and am very happy with the result, especially for how I had to make it. Which - also for not paying close enough attention I guess - isn't the best example of good craftmanship, just trust me :D !

I looked up where I got the chair from, that's Mary's Miniatures, if anyone would want their own. I believe there sold in other webstores too.

the 'magazines' are cut out of an promotional page that was in a magazine once, and they happen to be in the right scale, how lucky is that? I have a bunch of them (all kinds) for use in scenes, but these seemed most fitting for this one.