This 3D Model and print was made for Ebony’s birthday gift last month. Ebony and I had conversations about toys and things we always wanted or liked when we were younger, but never really owned. She brought up that she had never had a dollhouse before, which made me note it down, because someday I would love to build one for her. I decided months ago for her 30th birthday that I wanted to design something on the lines of a dollhouse, but a bit more compact so it could easily fit in an apartment. I was thinking of designs like Polly pocket or a music box style, but I still wanted to keep it a bit simpler for a first time test. I then thought of a shadow box idea, which was perfect! A tiny house that could fit up on a wall, and double as an art piece. I had a lot of fun designing ideas on how the doll of her would look, the size and shape of the house, what would be in it, and the color schemes. I also wanted to incorporate customizable accessories for the fun of it, as if it was a real toy.
Throughout the month of May I was trying to be secretly nosey to get answers from Ebony about type of styles and decor that she liked within a house. I specifically gather information about colors and the mid century model appeal. I also took many sneaky pictures of her to get her hair styles down as well. :)
The first thing I started with was creating the character in 3D, so I could send it off to print through a friend to get it in time. This way I could build the house around it in the mean time. The model and print took about a week. I worked off of some simple sketches that allowed me to nail down the shape and parts that I would like to make. I base modeled it out in Maya and did more of the organic details in Zbrush. After getting it to a good point, I popped in keys, hollowed out the model sent it off to print by a good friend Aiman Akhtar. Check out his company's website if you are interested in high res printing services.
After receiving the prints, I was ecstatic to see how it came out. I absolutely love the quality of the form 2. And it was even more exciting to see that the prints came out so clean and all the pieces fit! I sanded the pieces down, primed them and got them ready to paint.
Next thing I did was stain the wooden frame to prep for painting. It was the first time ever staining wood, and it came out quite beautiful, but man… they were not kidding about the fumes. I had the AC Fans and windows opened for nights. After staining I just painted a clean border of gold and grey and white interior just for a little accent. The blinds which I created using bristol board cut into thin strips and threading the string through each strip to hold it together. Why blinds? It is because of her adorable doggy Emmy, the Dachshund mix, she who spends most of her days staring out to the world through the window blinds. It was something iconic and silly that I wanted to put in. Same goes with her other dog Joni, the little Maltese, who spends most of her days either siting on your lap or on her comfy chair in the house.
Both dogs were made by hand out of this reusable plastic material called instamorph. I wanted to try some new material, but I didn’t really like it for this project because there wasn't really a lot of control with it. I also ended up buying the miniature table and chair to save time, and just painted it the same way I did everything else. The painting on the wall is a print of the first puzzle we did together, which was a super fun, where's waldo style, cat and dog house called "Sweet Home"
For painting the pieces, I found out that these acrylic paints I have used are quite thick, which caused some issues of fitting the pieces together. Something I noted for future prints. I am not really skilled with painting, so I still have a lot of research and practice that needs to be done to get it just right. I still like how these pieces came out, but will work on the techniques the next time around. They were then coated with Modge Podge to protect the models from wear over time.
A lot of what I did for this project ended up being a big learning process. I had so much fun and I couldn't keep in my excitement to give this present to Ebony. Happy birthday love! I am happy you liked it. :D
Credits to Aiman for 3D printing the model
Software: Maya and Zbrush
Printing: Formlabs Form 2