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New to miniatures, starting with Greenleaf Travel Trailer, what do I need?


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I've had a lot of interest lately in miniatures and decided to try the Greenleaf Travel Trailer as my first project so as not to start something too big and see how I like it overall.

Is there anything you would recommend to have on hand, I'm at a total loss on what tools I may need as I have no prior experience in this sort of thing. I've been looking at posts that I've found with this particular kit and I noticed there were a good many that said this one required a lot of sanding and that most primed the wood before putting it together? I love any new learning experience and would love any insight on what you recommend is good for someone to start with that has no idea what they are doing. :ermm:

I'm really excited to see how my first miniature turns out like, especially this kit! So many talented people here too, can't wait to keep seeing all the things everyone creates!

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Hi Morgen, welcome to the forum. :) 

The basics are sandpaper, a utility knife, masking or painter's tape (for a dry fit and clamping) and wood glue (not hot glue). Paint (sample house paints or craft paints) and other finishing materials. 

My suggestion is to get an idea of what you want the finished project to look like and then go for it. Keep an open mind as you work, as the kit will have some suggestions of its own. Really. :D  Don't be afraid to experiment; any experiment that goes awry can be fixed. 

Ask questions. There's a wealth of experience here to draw from, as you have already noticed.

Take your time, do not rush. Above all, have fun.

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I had a blast building my Travel Trailer; we were on the verge of starting to look at replacing our first RV and I based my build on that one.  I modified the wheel wells to accommodate the wheels the way they were on our trailer and I replaced the kit's "wheels" with tire-shaped woodsies from one of the big box craft stores and used fancy shank buttons for the hub caps (the "screens" are bits of old nylon stocking):

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You will want a good sturdy knife; my personal weapon of choice is a Stanley box cutter with retractable blade.  Be sure to change your blades before they get dull, as a sharp blade will cut wood and a dull blade will cut YOU.  A cheap emery  board works for most sanding chores.  I like to use masking or painter's tape to hold things together whilst the glue dries, although for that thin wood veneer piece that covers the back & top and has to curve around the curved parts I found a couple of bar clamps helped in addition to the tape.  I also use the tape to do the dry fit, to see how it's going to look once I begin to glue (with a good carpenter's wood glue such as Titebond or Probond).  I you have any friends who have Type I diabetes mellitus get them to save you a couple of their empty Humulin bottles, as those painted gloss white make acceptable propane tanks.

For the absolutely most wonderful professional and realistic version of this kit I will refer you to Bill Brown's gorgeous rendition:  http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/?app=forums&module=forums&controller=topic&id=42973#comment-684883

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26 minutes ago, Mineejv said:

I now know why I saved some nylon stockings.......   Do they even make them anymore?

Pantyhose and knee highs are available everywhere, just because we no longer fool with them we don't notice.

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I love this kit!!  I did a 1:24 Chinese retro caravan kit and loved it!  I also did a Gypsy Vardo and that was a real labour of love.  There's something romantic I think about travel trailers/caravans/wagons.  They take us places we've never been and because they're not our homes we tend to be a little free-er in our decoration of them.  Some of my must have tools are: steel rule - I have a non-slip one with cork backing for cutting along and I have an Incra steel ruler that has holes at each measurement to help with exact measuring.  I have a fiskars craft knife for more intricit cutting and a stanley for heavy duty cutting. I have tweezers, different sorts of glue.  Glue is really important - don't use hot melt glue.  Good scissors, mechanical pencil, good paint brushes, masking tape, sand paper.  There are a few threads about tools - you'll probably find a far more detailed list if you search the forum.  Looking forward to seeing your progress!!

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2 hours ago, Shareb said:

There are a few threads about tools - you'll probably find a far more detailed list if you search the forum. 

I suggest instead of trying to lay in a whole lot of tools and supplies before beginning, take your time and add them as you need them. Can't tell you how many tools I have that I never pick up. A small nucleus of go-to tools feel good in my hands. 

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Thank you everyone! My kit was supposed to arrive today but I think due to weather it's been delayed, I can't wait to start!

Holly, I had run into your gallery as well as Brown's when I first did a forum search for this kit! I really liked your idea of the woodsie wheels and actually have seen them at our local craft store! I will definitely have to take a look at them again once I start sinking into this kit. I love the wiring that Brown did on his which is probably too ambitious for me to attempt but I did find some other ideas for cheap and beginner ideas to use before trying that later on down the road.

I've been looking at a lot of travel trailer decor ideas and I really love the remodeled trailers that have all wood paneling in them. Is there a wood that will bend easily or maybe craft sticks would do the trick to panel the inside of the rounded area's of the trailer? :dunno: This is a picture of kind of the idea I mean...

I also would love to put a large window in the very back of the trailer like I have seen a few others do with this kit, ant recommendations when it comes to that or what windows would be good to use?

Rebecca, I am just blown away by your caravan, I just went through your album and I love all your detail! I can only hope I can produce something that nice someday, truly beautiful work!

All in all this was a great place to start and suggestions, thank you so much! I agree I'll probably just buy a few basic supplies you all mentioned and then see what I need as I go for this project as suggested.

65-Boho-Style-Bedroom-Decorating-Ideas-for-2019-39.jpg

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Happy for you!  I want to do one soooo bad!! I just need to make some room .......ha........Have fun with it. You made a good choice! It is such an awesome trailer!!

I haven't ever done one, but it would be so fun. I don't know what comes with it but if I do one it will either be retro 50's or shabby chic like the photo you just put up above .........Please share photos! :) as your building! 

Cheryl 

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Morgen, I think that craft sticks would be awfully thick to bend the way you want.  I use a lot of the iron-on wood veneer cut into strips for various projects.  The siding strips that Greenleaf sells are also thin enough to adapt easily to curved surfaces, or you can get the wood patterned contact vinyl (for lining shelves) to simulate panelling.

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Holly I love looking at your trailer. The colors are awesome and that floor is so perfect!! Rebecca, your Caravan is so cool! Beautiful! I have one my X built but it is not near completion, I mean the decorating isn't done or the wheels attached. No paint job yet either. We never did get a good roof bent properly. I think I will just cut the roof ends and lay down card stock first, getting my curve, then lay slats or siding the long way if they are narrow enough might look ok. ? Dampening and bending wood has never worked for me. I just don't hat the patience I need.

I need to get off this computer and work on some of these things. I need to start a Caravan Album soon.  

I might just have to order that trailer soon that you are doing Morgen! I can add it to the stack........and who knows I might need to do it first! 

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You could always peel one flat side off a sheet of dampened corrugated cardboard (like the box the kit came in) and glue that onto you trailer's exterior and spray paint it with silver Rustoleum to look like one oof the RVs from the 1950s.  I finished mine to look like our first RV.  For that rear window I'd just insert a piece of clear flat acetate rather than simulating screen.

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11 hours ago, thatgirldownstairs said:

Is there a wood that will bend easily or maybe craft sticks would do the trick to panel the inside of the rounded area's of the trailer?

The photo calls to mind place mats made from bamboo, something like this from Amazon. I've seen similar at a dollar store or Big Lots or other discount store.

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You all have such lovely ideas! I actually have gotten around to starting mine, and I think this was a nice build for me to learn and start out on honestly. I'm pausing right now as I think I'd like to do my walls and flooring in the inside before I get too far ahead and I need to think what all I have in mind. Hobby lobby trip? :D

I am a little disappointed in the awning and the door, I'd like to find actual hinges for those or use a totally different window in place of the awning as I don't really care for the tape suggestion in the instructions.

Holly when you mentioned about the corrugated cardboard I remember seeing corrugated scrapbook paper at my local craft store! That might also give that effect of the retro look and give you the curve you might need for the roof, Cheryl!

And Kathie I hadn't even thought of those bamboo mats, I actually think I have an old placemat like it lying around I could experiment with. 

Here is my progress so far! So much more to do but I also need wood clamps before I improvise too much with my painter's tape of holding things together to dry.

 

 

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Edited by thatgirldownstairs
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4 hours ago, thatgirldownstairs said:

I am a little disappointed in the awning and the door, I'd like to find actual hinges for those or use a totally different window in place of the awning

You have permission to bash this (or any) kit to fit your own concept. Look what I did to my trailer:D 

 

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Morgen, I sandwiched a strip of chamois between the window & its surround and the awning and a strip of scrapwood to cover; I hinged the door in the same way.  I was unable to come up with an alternative for a working roll-out awning such as all our RL RVs have had (we're on our third unit).  When I build the kit I still have I may just make a non-working version, wither open or closed (the only time we open ours is when we're stuck inside and it's raining, or when we want to sit outside and there's no other shade).

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This is a fun kit to build. It actually took a little longer than I anticipated - I thought I would slap it together in no time - but it is very enjoyable. I did a Pinterest search for campers and found some great ideas there.

I'm looking forward to seeing your creation!

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I did my camper exactly 5 years ago this month. My adult daughter asked for it on Thanksgiving Day as a Christmas present - I somehow managed to get it done within 15 days. It was a fun build I almost bought another one the other day for $10 but it was sold already. Might still do another one!

 

AInterior1.JPG

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  • 5 months later...

Definitely don't paint everything before putting it together without using a wood sealant first.... The travel trailer is my first project as well and i'm learning a lot through trial and error haha. I'm not done yet.. but this is what I have so far XD 

95127106_244072160292932_1804987592718942208_n.jpg

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