June 13, 2020

Walls, Floor and Shop Front

Have I been lazy about working on the Tattoo Shop? Yes.
Have I changed my mind 1000 times since my last post? Yes.
Did I have to start from scratch because I forgot to open the hole for the staircase and was not able to make a clean cut on the MDF, just because I glued the MDF panels together before making the cut, so that the cutting tool won't fit anymore, causing me to mess it up? Yes.
So after all that drama, here comes my way overdue update for the Tattoo Shop...

As already mentioned, I made some adjustments to the basic cuts and decided to move the stairs from the left side to the right, adding as well a little toilet upstairs. The windows upstairs have been moved to the left.



In order to add some texture to the wall, I cut a very thin cork sheet into brick shape and glued them in a brick pattern onto the wall. I then painted the bricks and some parts of the walls in white. For the remainder I used the color "Palmtree".

Once the walls were ready, I started working on the floor. For this, I had bought two beautiful "Antique Dark Oak" floorboard prints from Susan Bembridge Designs. The floorboards are printed on high-quality photographic card, which makes them extremely detailed. As I did not want to risk the card getting waves with a wet glue, instead of gluing the flooring with a PVA glue as recommended in their guide, I decided that this time I'd use a very strong but thin double sided tape. This was a good idea - a very good idea! I started with adding a layer of tape to the ground.

Then, I placed the flooring on top and started to take off the protective film of the tape piece by piece. I first stuck the floor from the center to the right, then came back and finished the other half. This way I could advance step by step and could ensure that the flooring is sticking perfectly onto the tape, without any air bubbles or wrinkles. 

Once the flooring was fully attached, I trimmed the excess with a utility knife.

Then I started working on the flooring of the little toilet. I used left over tiles and painted them in white, then applied two coats of glaze.

 I also added a piece of polystyrene under the door and skirting boards on the walls.

Next a quick dry fit of the stairs and the counter...

I also started adding the beams on the ceiling, but more on this on another post...

In the meantime I got a bit distracted, as I had so many ideas for the store front. Therefore I decided that I would stop working on the rooms and first finish the front instead; that way it would be out of my mind and I could fully focus on the interior again.

I started with applying a self-adhesive textured plaster onto the MDF. It dries pretty fast and is very easy to apply. 

Once dry, I colored the plaster in black and did a first fitting of the laser cut windows and door frames, which I designed to perfectly fit the openings on the front MDF panel. 

To this, I added realistic looking acrylic windows, also laser cut at snijlab.nl.

Once all was set and glued, I started working on the front door. I first airbrushed the door with a semigloss black color and added hinges. Then pasted a self adhesive lead strip on the front side of the door. 

This all looked too clean to me, therefore I created a "rusty" look with some acrylic color. I also white washed the door in order to give it a weathered look. For the white wash, I just took a tiny bit of white acrylic paint and mixed it with lots of water, eventually adding some other colors for additional shades.

Then I painted some mesh wire in black for the window on top of the door, and cut some other pieces for the bottom of the larger windows.

I also white washed and weathered the entire front of the store with acrylics and weathering powders.

Next I created a little sign showing the opening hours. For this I just printed the opening hours on regular printing paper, then added a transparent thin PVC sheet on top to make it shiny, and glued all onto a metal sheet cut to size. I made the door handle out of a metal tube, bending it at both ends, and attached 1 and 2 size bigger tube slices at the ends, where the handle seems to be attached to the door. I also cut a round lock out of a metal sheet and added a keyhole, which I pierced with little hand drills.

I then made some research on store signs and chose a couple alternatives. I printed the sign that I chose onto normal printing paper with a laser printer in order to later on make a transfer onto wood. As you will have to glue the printed side on the wood, the text has to be reversed.


I used Mod Podge to glue the paper onto the wood for the transfer. I let the glue dry fully, this way it is less likely that you will lift some of the print from the wood. Then I dipped my finger in water and rubbed the paper off of the wood. The printed image / text stays on the wood.

Dark colors do not transfer very well, as you can't really get 100% of the paper off of it. You will get a better result if you would just transfer a black text on a white painted wood piece. For this sign I helped it a bit, by enhancing the gray areas with black acrylic paint (The paint is a thin airbrush mix with distilled water and glycerin).

Before I show you how this turned out, do you remember when I posted about the colored led stripes?

Well, I finally got to install them on the windows as well!

I hope you like this build so far. Here you also get a most recent view of the interior: Stairs and counter are finally placed in.

There are still some things to do with the basic build, then I'll start with the electricity.

I also wanted to share this picture from my walk the other day. The sky was so lovely, I thought you might like it!

Have a great weekend and keep safe my friends!


May 1, 2019

More steps...

Since my last post I've been working on another small project for the tattoo parlor: spiral stairs! These are my first spiral stairs ever, so there has been a lot of learning by doing for this one.

First I looked up standard spiral stair dimensions on the web and decided how wide and high every step should approximately be. I chose the radius of the stairs to be 7 cm, and using a pair of compasses drew a curve on the wooden pieces.

I used the end of the curve on the longer side of the triangle as a guide when sanding, to give each stair a round edge.

Next, I used a piece of the center column to mark the tips of the steps and used my Dremel tool to sand them down to exact shape. This way I wanted to ensure that the steps wrap the center column perfectly when gluing.

Then I used some leftover window frame pieces from older kits, cut them to the size of the shorter radius side of the triangles and glued them to the lower side of each step of the stairs to look like supports.

I marked each step at the same place on the outer border, to know where to place the supports when gluing them, which helped me achieving a standard look. I also marked the column for the placement of the steps.

I tried a couple of paints for the steps but was not really happy with the results. Finally, I mixed some dark varnish, transparent varnish and orange and red pastels to get a softer color. I only painted the upper side and the upper edges of the steps with this color, the lower parts got painted in acrylic black for a mat finish.

Once the varnish/paint was fully dry, I started gluing the steps one by one on the column, ensuring that each step keeps the same distance to the previous one. After each step I painted the column in acrylic black, which also helped covering any glue marks.

This felt a bit like building a house of cards to be honest...

And voila! Done. I must admit I'm pretty proud with myself at this point, because this felt like something impossible to do at the beginning, but turned out being pretty straight forward in the end.

I hope you like the stairs and hopefully this post will help you build your own spiral stairs. If you have any questions let me know, I'd be happy to help.

Good night!

March 10, 2019

Little by little!

Step by step I started to work on the tattoo parlor in these past weeks - thank you for all your comments on my last post, they gave me a great boost of motivation! 

I finally managed to Inkscape-draw the outlines of the tattoo parlor and to send it for laser cutting to snijlab.nl. This time I decided not to try adapting to a kit, but instead to create exactly what I wanted. The end result is better than I expected:

I made a lot of juts and openings in the walls and base of the building, so that there is an extra support when I glue them together. I added some pasteboard to the bottom of the base, first of all to make it smoother, so that I don't end up scratching all the surfaces I put the building on, but also to ensure that the pieces I will put on top don't slide past the openings.

Once this was done, I assembled the pieces and glued them together, except the front wall and the roof, which are going to be removable.

You can already see how the building will approximately look. Of course the door is missing, as well as the huge windows. I will also have to add the stairs that lead to the upper level.

In the meantime I was also working on a workstation for the tattoo supply. I started with a polystyrene sheet and marked the pieces I wanted to cut out. Sorry for the quality of the pictures - we still have to install all the lights in the house!


Once I cut all the pieces, I glued them together with some extra thin cement for polystyrene. It glues very fast so the workstation got assembled pretty quickly.

 Once I glued all parts together I sanded all sides to get rid of any misalignment.

Then I cut long strips for the front corner sides of the workstation and thinner strips for the drawers. (Sorry to disappoint, but this is going to be just a "fake" workstation, without functioning drawers.)

Once the fake drawers were in, I needed to choose the wheels and I remembered that I had bought some from the DHN Show in Arnhem in 2018, but when I found them I was pretty disappointed by the small size of them, compared to the workstation.

I looked some wheels up online, but they were either too expensive or not in the size that I needed them, so I ended up doing some on my own. I baked some back polymer clay, rolled it to the desired size of wheels.

Then I cut it into individual roller, sanded them, and hand drilled a little opening in the middle.

To attach them to the workstation, I cut some tin sheet into strips with a curve on each and, bent them over a wooden piece and drilled a hole on the middle of each of the curved ends. (I used the first hole on the wooden piece as a guide to where to drill the hole on the next piece.)

Once the tin pieces were ready, I combined them with the rollers, by putting a very thin nail through the holes and clipping off the excess on the other side. I first thought to secure the headless end of the nail with something, but the roller keeps in place surprisingly well and also turns surprisingly well I must say. I think the trick was to keep the drilled hole a bit smaller on the roller so that the nail is almost "attached" to it. And ta-daa! Here are the wheels.

The headed side of the nails are meant to face away from the workstation when attaching the wheels on the workstation for a better look.

Then of course I had to paint the polystyrene and I knew that normal paint wasn't going to do it. As a result, I forced myself to try something new and paint it with enamel, despite of all the "danger" messages that come with it. I opened all windows and doors and started painting in the cold. To be honest, at the time I had the first layer of color on the workstation, I understood why many people might want to go for spray painting instead of painting with a brush, in order to get a more equal distribution of the color. Some places ended up having a thicker layer than others and when I continued with the next layers (for which I had to wait at least a day), then you could still see some of the brush strokes, which I hoped not to have with enamel. There it is, another thing noted on the list: "Try spray painting" - anyone who can give me some tips on that?

Once the layers of color were all dry, I glued the wheels with some all purpose super glue on the workstation. This worked miracles. I always had a very bad experience when gluing tin to some other material and at this point, I had already thought for 4 days about how to attach the wheels on the workstation! But when gluing on polystyrene, there seems to be a different chemical reaction and to my surprise the tin of the wheels bonded really strongly with the enamel covered polystyrene. This was such a joy that even the coldness of the room did not bother.


Finally I enamel painted also the drawers to match the look of the workstation to the real deal. I'm pretty happy about how it turned out to be honest.

It has been over a year since I had chosen the color palette that I wanted to go with for this build. I realized that I actually want something more out of the ordinary. Here is what I initially had chosen:

But for some reason this feels a bit like a home decoration to me now, so I changed the greys and browns with black and orange - yes, orange! And to top it all, I thought why not green as well! Given that this is going to be a tattoo parlor, it has the right to be a bit more aggressive. Here is approximately the colors I will have, with the addition of some redder orange.

One of the next things I'll work on will be to create the tattoo table and a sofa for the waiting lounge. For this I ordered some leather from the USA (Etsy), and it turned out to be beautiful! It is very thin, approx. 1mm thick, which will allow me to easily wrap the pieces of the tattoo table (black) and sofa (green). It's always a bit tricky when ordering from afar, but the quality of this leather is really good and it smells really nice as well. Below the card from PeggySueAlso, in case you're looking for something similar.

The color in the following pictures is a bit off, seen that it was taken in the evening, again, I had insufficient lighting...

This is all for now folks. Will keep you updated.

Wishing you a wonderful Sunday! - Susi