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Building Bookshelves

One of the trickiest parts with assembling furniture, in miniature, is the gluing stage. Holding things together and getting everything to stick just as it should can be tricky.

The secret? Just like with stop motion, patience and taking things one step at a time really helps.

So where to begin? Well in my case here I was making some book shelves and due to the tricky nature of attaching multiple shelves evenly I took a slightly different approach. I cut my wooden shelf pieces a few millimetres too long, that way I could perfectly sand them down when it came to sticking them and make sure they had a snug fit. This is definitely not a requirement, I just chose to take this method on this occasion.

Have your ruler handy to measure things. I like to lay things out first. I placed all my shelves down to get the spacings even and made little pencil marks to ensure that they would all be stuck straight too.

When you are happy with your placement you want to prepare your pieces if they need shortening like mine. Any fine sandpaper will work well. Balsa wood is super soft so you don't need a lot of pressure either, be gentle.

Make sure to keep measuring the length too so you don't sand it down too short.

What glue is best? A lot of miniature makers will recommend using a super glue, and that is great but you can get away with a craft glue too providing you are patient enough to let it dry between pieces.

If you are restricted on time go with super glue. If you have more patience, and time, maybe consider a craft glue. I use one called Cosmic Shimmer and I love it, it is super strong and can be used on a whole range of materials including balsa wood.

Cosmic Shimmer Glue* - UK link, US link

When using Cosmic Shimmer glue a little goes a long way, but you will want to apply a generous amount for balsa wood. Once glued make sure to hold the joint with good pressure for a few minutes to ensure that the bond is strong.

I attached one end of each shelf to the right-hand-side upright first and then left those to dry overnight before sticking the other end of the shelves. This worked well.

Finishing things off: I chose not to apply a varnish to my piece on this occasion, but if you want a more sleek or shiny look to your wood then this is a great idea.

You can apply a slightly diluted polyurethane wood varnish with a brush or you can buy a spray varnish which might be easier. Make sure to always use these products in a well ventilated area and wear gloves - things can get a bit sticky.

To Conclude: When making anything little it is important to take care of the details and not rush the process. It will often take longer to make a miniature version of something than you might think and that is okay. Be patient with yourself and make sure to really observe the details in your reference images too.

*these are affiliate links, I earn a small commission if you use them.

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