Produce a classic interior room style

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Here at Miniature Mansions we believe that there is no right or wrong way to decorate a room. You should do whatever you think is best or find the easiest. In this guide, I take you through the method I find suits me. 

For this article, I’ve decorated the back wall of a room. When starting any project, I like to build an idea of it in my mind’s eye (unless I’m working on a commission, in which case I work to the client’s preferences). I do this by reading magazines and books to gain inspiration and start to create a mental picture of what I want to achieve before I start. However, this doesn’t mean things don’t change as I move along! 

Once I have dreamt up my initial designs, I start to think about which materials (including mouldings from our range of 1:12 scale products) I will need to create the finished product. I do this by drawing a plan of the room on paper. 

  • Step One:

    I start by drawing the basic outline of the room and add in details such as pilasters, plinths, cornices and skirting boards. This way, I can change my mind as I go along, erasing and replacing elements as I see fit. I’ve included a copy of my drawing (Pic 1). Yours doesn’t have to be this detailed but accuracy is key. 

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    By taking this approach, I can make sure that the spacing and positioning of the mouldings looks correct and from there, calculate how many mouldings I will need. I always use our robust resin mouldings as they’re remarkably easy to work with and, most importantly, won’t break if you accidentally drop them! 

    They’re easy to cut and sand and couldn’t be simpler to prepare for painting. They’re not porous so they don’t need sealing and once they’re in place, they won’t chip as you move things around.

    When I reach this point, I always check my mouldings over and sand off any mould lines if necessary (Pic 2) 

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  • Step Two:

    Now, using my drawing as a reference, I cut the skirting board and cornice to size. Each of these will need mitre joints so that the mouldings will line up evenly (plinths already have mitre moulded in).

    First I cut the skirting boards. My drawing shows the centre line of each pilaster so I mark the centre line and the end of each mitre on the bottom of each plinth (Pic 3). Next, I place the plinth on the drawing and line up the centre lines (Pic 4) so that I can mark the drawing on the end of the mitre (Pic 5)

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    I then use the distance between these two marks to judge the length of the skirting boards (Pic 6)

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    To get a precise cut, I then use a razor saw and a mitre block to cut the skirting to length (Pic 7)

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    Once the skirting boards and plinths are cut and ready (Pic 8), check that they fit into the room (Pic 9). When you’re happy with the fit, move onto the cornice. The cornice I’ve used for this demonstration has brackets (Pic 10)

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    It’s important that the brackets at each end are equally spaced from the wall. As the cornice I’m using here is quite deep, I have used a larger mitre block (resin mouldings can be cut with any saw but the coarser the saw, the rougher the cut, which will mean more sanding). 

    Because this cornice is a large moulding, I mark the mitre on using a mitre square to give me a better guide in the mitre block (Pic 11). Once I have cut both ends, I check the fit (Pic 12)

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    I always start by cutting the back wall cornice first. Once they’re cut, I trim out any small pieces of bracket in each corner with a scalpel. I then move on to the side cornices, cutting them slightly too long just in case the joint needs to be adjusted (Pic 13)

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  • Step Three:

    Now that all of the mouldings are ready, I check once more that they fit (Pic 14).

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    Now the mouldings are ready to be primed. I start by fixing them onto sticks with double-sided tape (Pic 15). This way I can spray them with car primer, getting complete coverage. I spray several light coats and wait for the primer to dry. On large areas I use spray paint and on more detailed jobs I use emulsion (paint finishes should always be in matt). My top tip for finding small quantities of paint is match pots and colour samplers. 

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    On this project, I’ve completed the detail freehand in a gold tone. I start by masking the straight runs of cornice (Pic 16). But before I apply the masking tape, I run my fingers along the sticky surface several times to make it less sticky and ensure it won’t remove the paint when it’s taken off again.  

    Once the cornices are masked, mount them onto the sticks and give a light spray of the colour being masked. This is done so paint can run under the tape and make a seal. 

    Once the base colour has dried, remove them from the sticks and paint on the gold. This part is relatively straightforward but requires time and care. I use a “00” brush and a piece of plastic as a palate to thin the paint out. This makes it easier to apply the paint in two coats (Pic 17 & 18). When the gold paint has dried, I move onto painting the skirting boards dark green (Pic 19)

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  • Step Four:

    At this stage, I put colour on the walls. I prefer to use thin card fixed in place with spray adhesive. First I paper the ceiling, cutting out a piece of white card that is taped onto a board and sprayed with white primer from an aerosol can (Pic 20).

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    White and grey primer is available from car accessory shops. This kind of white primer is in fact off white: pure white shouldn’t be used on models. Spray the card with adhesive then press it into place, smoothing its surface with a clean cloth.

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    A word about spray adhesives: I use a 3M display mount because it gives a permanent fixing. 3M also produce a photo mount and spray mount but these aren’t designed to give a permanent fix and if used, the card will probably peel off in time.

    For the back, I am using a cream-coloured card to really bring out the mouldings. The card needs to be cut about ¼” wider than the back of the box. I lay the card into the back of the box and fold up the sides to cover the corners (Pic 21).

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    Next, I remove the card and spray it with adhesive. I line up one folded side into the corner of the box and then smooth the rest of the card down gently across the back, using that aligned side to ensure that it’s stuck down evenly (Pic 22).

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    Next, I cut the sides, check that they fit and apply adhesive. I tuck the card right into the corners to cover up the folded sides of the back wall card. This overlapping of cream card will ensure that there is no thin, dark line where the two pieces of card meet (Pic 23).

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    Now that the inside of the box has been lined with card, it will be slightly smaller so it’s wise to check the fittings of the mouldings once more and trim where necessary. 

  • Step Five:

    Now I can move onto to fixing the mouldings into place. I start with the back cornice applying UHU to the back and carefully fixing it into place (Pic 24), then moving onto the two side pieces (Pic 25).

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    I leave this for around 15 minutes to allow the glue to dry before I move onto the skirting boards and plinths (Pic 26).

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    When I glue the plinths into place, I first place the pilasters and capitals into the room to make sure the spacing is right. Then I move onto gluing the pilasters into place. While doing this, I use two spacers (cut to represent the right width between wall and pilaster) to make sure the spacing is absolutely correct without having to mark the wall (Pic 27).

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    Next, the capitals can be glued into place, positioned by eye (Pic 28).

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    Finally, I place in the decorative frame. I use three spacers here: one for each side and one for the bottom. These spacers help me make sure the frame is parallel to the pilasters and skirting boards (Pic 29).

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    Now everything is in place, I finish the job by painting the edge of the room (Pic 30).

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