Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Scratch Wood Floors Part 1

There are many types of wood flooring for miniatures on the market. I looked at many and decided, while it is the hard way, to make all my floors from scratch for several reasons.

1- I have specific patterns in mind
2- Larger flooring sheets are 11 inches x 17 inches. The smallest rooms in my house are 14" x 17" and the largest is 36 inches by 20 inches. this would mean having to match up the patterns and there would be a lot of waste.
3- Each 11" x 17" sheet covers 187 square inches. My house has a total of about 8500 square inches of flooring on 3 levels, most of it wood...It's a big investment.

My technique, and I hope it works, is as follows:

I purchased iron-on real wood strip rolls. I chose Maple and Pine because they had a grain that works best in 1/12 scale and I like the way they look together

The first step was to cut the strips to about 1 and a half inches in length. Next, I took each of those and cut them lengthwise into 3 strips, 2 identical and one slightly larger. I did this with an mdf spacer I had that was the right size. I calculate I'll need about 1600 strips for the music room.

Next, I took a piece of thin black cardboard and attached the individual wood strips all at a 30 degree angle with the top left corner touching the edge of the cardboard ( it makes more sens in the next picture). The best way was to put the hot iron on the cardboard for 8 second, then quickly put 2 or 3 pieces in place. If you put the strips down first and then iron over they had a tendency to move and the glue went everywhere. When I completed the first row, I put a metal ruler over the center and cut off the sides

This gave me one flooring strip for the room. The next one will have the different wood and the 30 degree angle will be reversed, creating the chevron pattern. I only have one finished flooring strip at this time because it took me all of Sunday to cut the individual wood strips. I should finish the rest this coming weekend...I hope!

The last preparation I saw to was the finish. I want to finish all the floors with Shellac as is used for french polishing. This meant I had to dissolve shellac flakes in 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol (isopropanol). It's been 4 days and the flakes are almost finished dissolving. I'll talk about this more next post...if it works the way I want it to.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I had a realization this morning while on the treadmill at the gym.
Next time, instead of cutting the wood strip roll into 1 and a half inch pieces, just long enough to make one flooring strip, I will cut them long enough to make 5 or 6 rows. that way, I will iron on the strips faster, then just place my ruler and cut nice straight flooring strips. I'll show a picture in a futur post for the flooring in another room...Naturally I could not have thought about this before I cut the 1500 individual and learn!


  1. I am so happy I discovered your blog! Everything I have seen is just wonderful. It is going to be such fun to watch you work on this huge project. You are very talented!!!

  2. You might like to look around here. I am not planning to have such a big house. So I think I will order samples from this site. I want some real stone for the foundation. Flag stone floors for the kitchen.
    It all looks good to me.

  3. ça m'intéresse ta technique pour le plancher , je suis avec attention ! n'as-tu pas peur que cela gondole ? le bois me paraît très très fin .

  4. Bonjour Catherine,
    Oui en effet le bois est tres fin. Je vais prendre un carton epais (Illustration Board)que je vais coupe aux dimensions exact de la piece et par la suite je vais couvrir les deux cotes du carton d'une couche d'appret. Par la suite, je vais colle les rangees de bois avec de la colle contact. Ensuite je vais applique le vernis (Shellac)et je vais colle le plancher fini dans la piece avec de la colle contact. Je me croise les doigts et j'espere que ca fonctionnera...Merci beaucoup pour tes commentaires, c'est fort apprecie.

  5. This post is so funny to me, as I did more or less the same thing you did: I cut all the individual pieces for the chevron floor and laid them in the pattern I wanted. Only to realize -after completion of the floor of course- that it is far easier and more precise to glue down long strips of wood, then cut the whole thing at the right angle and the width you want, then glue those sections down one by one at reversed angles.
    But as you said, live and learn. And it is part of the fun, don't you think?