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Tea House - DT for Faith Pocock Craft Studio

ScrapFX | Tuesday, 23 February 2021


Okay so I'm just going to come out and say it...

I hate coffee.

Well not completely. I just hate the taste of it and the smell of it. I only like it for dying and distressing papers.

I'm not really a fan of hot drinks at all. Only if I'm really, really cold will I usually have soup, hot chocolate or tea.

Which brings me in a really roundabout way to my latest project for the Faith Pocock Craft Studio Design Team.

With this month's projects, Faith sent several of us Tea House kits. 

As I always do with any new kits I receive, I did a dry run. By this I mean I put the kit together but without using any glue.

This serves several purposes.

  1. It checks I have all the pieces of the kits. Now let me clarify, this is not usually a problem with Faith’s kits. It's just that as a DT member, we often get the kit prototype or first cut, so it’s a precautionary step I always do.
  2. It helps me determine the best way to put the kit together. For a simple kit, this is usually an easy process and the order of putting the kit together is relatively straight forward. However, for a larger kit, the order that you put the kit together can be critical. And this is something you do not want to find out after you have started gluing bits together.
  3. Seeing the kit put together (even if I’m holding it together with my hands and it’s precariously balanced on the edge of becoming a pile of bits of wood again) helps start the design process.

The first inspiration I thought of as I held the mock up of the tea house was the old blue and white Dutch Delft Pottery with the windmills. My maternal Nana had plates like this, so it was a throw back to my childhood. I loved the simplicity of the colour scheme as well as the warmth of those family memories, so I decided that I wanted to create something inspired by this, but maybe a more modern take of it.

Before it was decorated, the kit started life looking like this...

Ssssshhhh don't tell anyone, but this isn't actually fully glued together. The houses are glued together, but are just sitting on the base; the front window additions are glued together but not glued to the fronts of the houses and neither roof is glued in place. They are sitting there and behind the camera I'm hoping I don't do anything to knock them down.

After I’d put the kit together, with glue this time, I decided to keep the colour scheme simple – just two colours – but instead of blue and white, I would go with black and white.

I decided to leave the inside of the project as raw wood and just paint the outside. The main colour would be white and I wanted to use the black as the accent colour, sparse but impactful. Simple but impactful was what I was going for.

First layer was an all-over thin coat of white gesso to prepare the surface for the acrylic paint. Once this had been done, it was then several coats of white acrylic paint to get a clean, even, white final surface.

Before I starting the white acrylic layer, I had decided what pieces I wanted to paint black, so those I gessoed with a single thin layer of white gesso. I then used several thin layers of black acrylic paint to achieve a clean, even, black final surface.

For the central decorative elements in the bridge between the two buildings, I masked off the area around where I wanted to paint black paint. I then painted the individual struts of the bridge with a detail brush to try to keep the painting as clean as I could.

It was about this stage that I realised I become Miss Perfection as I then VERY carefully painted all the window edges and frames with the black paint so they would all appear crisp and clean without ending up with black paint all over my nice clean white paint. (YES, I also kept a wet wipe in close proximity for all those fails when I bumped myself and paint went where it wasn’t supposed to be.

Once all the painting was finally done and dried (which took way longer than I had planned it would take), I then decided whether or not some additional decoration would be needed. Here’s a hint, the answer was YES!

As I pondered what decoration I should add to this project over a nice, cold glass of iced tea, that I can drink all day, every day, I suddenly clicked upon the perfect answer. Black and white images of tea pots and / or tea cups.

I googled vintage tea pots and cups and stumbled across a wonderful selection of free images on “The Graphics Fairy” website (https://thegraphicsfairy.com/).

I downloaded a heap of them and picked my favourites then printed them onto recycled tissue paper than I had tacked to copier paper using washi tape.

As the tissue paper had creases still in it, the printing wasn’t 100% perfect, but I picked the four best images that I liked and trimmed them out. The rest went into my stash for use on other projects, even the imperfect ones.

I adhered the tissue paper images of tea cups onto the outer side and back of the two houses in place with Matte Medium, then coated them with a protective layer as well.

Once everything had completely dried, I filled up my tea house with a selection of my tea bags in sachets… okay so maybe I have a little bit of an iced tea habit!

Front on - showing arches where you select the tea bags from.

Three-quarter front on - Here you can see the roof which lifts up so you can add more tea bags through. Both sides of the roof of each house lift up so it doesn't matter if you are left or right handed.

Back - The hidden decoration to break up the plain expanse of the back wall.

I really love the simplicity of both the graphic colour scheme and simple decoration.

Even close-up, I'm pleased that you can't see the edges of the tissue the image was printed onto. (Just a few wrinkles and some smudged ink if you look really closely - so don't look closely!!)

This makes me happy. I was lucky to have inherited several "tea sets" from both my maternal and paternal grandmothers. These images remind me of those tea sets and both of my Nanas.

Showing the detail of the decoration on both the front and back of the bridge between the tea houses. I only painted the external and sides parts of the decorative parts of the bridge, but not the inner side, as can be seen on the far wall of the bridge. In reality the height of each zig-zag is only 1 inch, so trying to paint these was a nightmare!

I wanted to accent the window frame, even though they were "inside" and can't easily be seen. I actually painted the houses before I adhered the window structures in place... but that secret is just between us! (So in the before photos, they weren't actually glued in place, just sitting there defying gravity.)

 

Close up of the bannisters, but what I really wanted to show was the painted detail of the window edges that that I painted black, in direct contrast to the white outer walls. I did this on all the window edges on both the inner and outer windows, though you probably wouldn't notice until you were really inspecting it close-up.

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