Thursday, January 17, 2013

Petit Paint Pans and Questioning my Sanity

Hope you are all keeping well

I sat down tuesday evening (in preparation for the livestream of the evening of awesome with Hank and John Green) with some crafting supplies to experiment.

I can't make a box for the watercolours until I see how big the pans will be, so that is the first thing to do. Full size pans are 30mm x 19mm x 10mm which seems fine until you start to divide by 12.

To give me a form to work around I cut a matchstick in half to give me the closest measurement I could get (Image 1 below). This was 1.35mm x 2.25mm when measured with a digital caliper which is quite possibly one of the most essential tools in my still limited experience. Mine are a cheap set from ebay, I'm sure they aren't 100% perfect but they are 1000 times better than me squinting with a ruler and guessing.

This is a few pans from my collection, two whole and one half pan. These got calipered (that is a word right?) which led to the decision that Belinda will be using whole pans, I'm crazy but not that crazy.

My technique was to wrap a 10mm strip of paper (thin, like tracing paper) around the thinned end of the matchstick like quilling, using white glue to form a slightly squashed tube. Remove from the matchstick and allow to dry. (2-5)

Take slices approx 1mm from this tube (chopping off any uneven ends) and squeeze into a rectangular shape. (6+7)

Take a little square of paper 5x5mm or so. Dip one end of the squared off slice (from the tube) into the white glue and press down onto the little paper scrap, allow to dry. Once dry the excess will be snipped off. (8&9)

Giving you pans which may not be quite 1/12th of my original pans but are freaking tiny and will leave your family questioning wether your medication dose needs increasing.

To fill, you could put in some polymer clay or a dab of acrylic paint. For accuracy however I took a scalpel and dug out a little pea of semi-solid paint and poked it in with a toothpick. If you have a brush small enough then you could make tiny little watercolour with this set.

I may try again and see if I can get a better result with polymer clay but I suspect the wall thickness may be an issue. Unless I make them all as one large block, experimenting will continue.

SO. This has been my first tutorial, let me know what you think and whether I should do more in the future. If so, what items would any self respecting witch have that I can experiment in making?

Thanks to all for visiting my fledgling mini-blog, please leave me some love below.

Two little notes.
1. Metric Measurements.....I am in the UK so whilst I am quite familiar with imperial measurement and will use them for quilting and baking, when it comes to dividing by twelve, and getting down to 32ths of an inch it only makes sense (to me) to use metric.

2. Photography. I like cameras, but until I have my new desk set up, all images will be on a light or dark background whichever is most appropriate (the black above is my planner). Also my digital camera is about 7 or 8 years old and just 3.2MP. It does good macro but so far I have been using my phone which has an 8MP camera (Samsung Galaxy S2). Later this year I hope to replace my olympus camera and will set up a little "studio" on my desk, a little foam core roombox with soft light from both sides which should improve my shots. My images are edited in GIMP, a free graphics program which I use to scale the images down and convert to jpg, this means photos with 1/10th the file size so my picasa allowance goes further.


  1. Hello Kim! Thanks for your comment on my bathroom post. I agree that a blue wallpaper would look better with my tile. Since my project is still in its planning stage I can change anything I want. :D

    Have you seen Jim's Dollhouse Pages? He has provided an online calculator that is very easy to use. One click and you have the measurements you need in the scale you want. No math required!

    Hope you have a wonderful day!

    1. Thank you Kathi for joining me here at minimalarkey.

      I am familiar with Jim's dollhouse pages, I try to make my own printies where I can using GIMP so that they are more original, I like being a bit different. Once I get around to those items I intend to make a few printies available as free gifts.

      And under an inch, millimeters make sense. I have no trouble with the math, I have a chemistry degree so /12 is simple.

  2. It is Amazing the length miniaturists will go to achieve their objectives. No one else would know if that was real paint, but YOU would, and knowing that gives you a deep sense of satisfaction. It is like stuffing things into a mini chest of drawers that will remain closed; it is your own little 'secret pleasure!' Such are your tiny paint pots. Nice work, Kim!

    1. They will know, when I lick the tiny paintbrush and actually transfer colour from the pans to the paper. Followed by their stunned expressions!