Frequently Asked Questions

A: The power tools I use most often are a miniature table saw with a four-inch blade, and a Dremel scroll saw. I also use a manual miter box and saw for all trim, and for cutting angles. For repeat cuts when making roof shingles or bricks, I use a small chopper. I also have a full-size table saw with a 10-inch blade, and a regular band saw.

A: Mat board is a thin cardboard that is used as a border around artwork and photographs. It has enough body that miniature furniture can be made out of it. I use it to line walls that are not smooth. It can be painted and papered over. I also use it to make roof shingles and floor tiles. Gatorfoam Board is two thin sheets of smooth wood veneer with a thin foam core. It is more substantial than mat board.

A: I mask off the area of the floor. Then I use a mixture of inexpensive white craft or school glue and cornstarch. It should be the constancy of a thick icing, but less than peanut butter. I slather it on the masked off area. It will smooth out as it dries. Color could be added while mixing it, but I like to paint it after it has dried. If I want a less than smooth finish, I will put an uneven layer of thick craft glue on it before I apply the layer of paint.

A: I use mat board for tiles and shingles. I will take a sheet of mat board, using at least twice as much as the area I want to cover. I then paint it the main color I want. After that, I will dribble different shades of paint all over, and smear it with my fingers, but not blending the colors too much. This gives a nice variegated color. I will cut out the tiles with a chopper or a heavy-duty punch. This works especially well for slate roof tiles. I finish the tiles or shingles with several coats of watered-down craft glue.

A: I’ve found a full-size bandsaw works best. Make sure you wear a mask. Cutting the paper pages makes a huge amount of dust.

A: I use the Internet, ads from magazines, and my printer. You can scan anything and reduce it in size before you print it. I have an inkjet printer, so I seal my prints on both sides with a clear spray-on sealer or fixative so the ink won’t bleed. You can use this method with photos too.