An inside look at building the matrix for a 1/144 fireplace

As LEDs become smaller and smaller, it becomes more fun—and feasible—to add fireplace lights to a dollhouse-for-dollhouse roombox or vignettes. Even unlighted, fireplaces are a staple in living rooms of all time periods. While a few metal minis, laser cut wood fireplace mantels, and cast resin pieces are available, not a lot of choice exists. What I wanted was a way to make fireplaces for roomboxes in different styles—traditional, art deco, ornate, and so on.

This was my first foray into molding and casting–and began back in January of 2013.  As I learned in a wonderful course taught by Judy Andraka (Acorns by Oak) at Philadelphia Miniaturia a few years ago, molding and casting allows you build a “matrix” or object to be reproduced using a variety of materials. Molding and casting is the great equalizer; whether you use paper, styrene, metal, fabric, or braid, ultimately everything looks like plastic when it comes out—and has the same level of permanence. And if one happily spends 10 hours designing a single fireplace, all that work ends up embodied in not only one roombox—but can be used again and again.

Of course designing, building, molding, and casting is not an easy task, and getting from here—an idea—to there—a fireplace in 1/144 scale–took time.

How to Build a Miniature Fireplace is a look at the process of building free standing fireplaces—and getting them ready for casting.

Be sure to keep an eye on my website this summer, to see the fireplaces painted and in use in vignettes.  Hopefully, a few unpainted mantels and free-standing fireplaces will be offered for sale.

Here’s a look at the finished and painted free-standing fireplaces. The tallest is about 5 feet in real life.

Tile

Tile fireplace with copper highlights

Marble

Faux marble

Painted black and white

Painted black and white

 

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Making 1/144 scale fireplaces

Here are some of the first fireplace mantels that I built.   They illustrate how different fireplace “Matrices” can be built from a variety of materials, and how they look once molded and cast.

The next post includes a “how to” for how to build the matrix for a fireplace, and what it looks like once molded, cast, and painted.

Later in 2014, my website will feature a series of 1/144 scale vignettes featuring these and other fireplaces.

Examples of the matrix for two fireplace mantels are below–along with the completed (but unpainted) fireplaces.

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