~Mini Tips and Hints~

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August 1999

Well, here it is August once again, also known as the dog days as summer. So here are some dog projects to keep you busy until fall!

The dog house

Dog houses are fairly easy to make because most of the cuts are straight. You will need some 1/16" basswood (or suitable substitute), an exacto knife and some patience. Start with measuring a doghouse (dogs come in all sizes, so do their houses!). Cut out two square or rectangle pieces both the same. One will be for the front and the other will be for the back. Measure and mark out the center point on one end of the board. Figure out how high your walls will be and mark that point on two of the sides. Join the side points to the top point and you have your cutting lines. With an exacto knife, ruler, patience and care cut away waste triangles. I find that I sometimes have problems getting things the same size, so what I have been known to do is tape matching pieces together and saw through both at the same time. Make sure your knife is upright and not slanted, or your wood cut will be very unsquare! On the front piece mark out a rectangle for a door, the center line being the center of the door. Cut out rectangle carefully (cut across the grain first. This will help to avoid splitting!).

Cut two rectangles for the sides. These will be set inbetween the front and back, so to hide those ugly end bits from showing in the front. We must be neat (eyes rolling here...;)).

Cut a rectangle/square for the floor. It will be inset into the box, and ideally the dimensions will be (X-R) + (Y - R) where X is the length, Y is the width, R is the thickness of the wood (aka 1/16th or whatever). For those of you who fainted when I started using those old algebra abbreviations, you can make up the box and try to retrofit the floor, or forgo the insert all together and make the length and width the same as the box so it will be a base for the box to sit on.

OK, now that I have thoroughly confused you, I will carry on. You now need to make roof rectangles. These will be the length of the box plus a bit of overhang on either side. The other measurement for one side will be the roofline plus overhang, the other side will be that plus the measurement of one thickness of the wood. Confused? Look at the drawing. One side will be a little longer in order to overlap the second piece, so to make a roof line that doesn't have a gap in it. Very simple!

Assemble doghouse, paint and don't forget to add Rover's name to the front!

Now you need signs (you know the type, "beware of dog", "never mind dog, beware of husband" kind of things...;)). Either cut out scraps from wood or buy some woodsies (precut and finished so all you have to do is paint. The only downside of some of these pieces is they come warped so pick and choose). You can either paint your sign, or find a picture to reduce and paste.

he dog dishes. Fimo is always a good choice. Make a small ball and flatten to the height of the bowl. Stick your finger or a small marble into the bowl and round out the interior. Bake and paint. You can do the same thing with most airdry clays as well. If this doesn't appeal, to to your local craft store and see what they have in the way of turnings. I have found some that make excellent bowls once painted. Don't forget to seek out the kiddie toys. Sometimes they will have dog items for those pocket puppies that will work. You can make kibble by twisting florist tape really tightly and cutting off bits, or make a fimo log that you can cut into chunks. Treat boxes can be made from cardstock with an advertisement adhered to one side.

Toys. Dogs just love toys! Fimo balls are good, as are fimo bones and fimo fat chew toys. The former can be made by making a stylized gingerbread man (no detail) and when it is cool flock it. One toy that I made is a tennis ball pull toy. This is an interesting little thing that has a stick with a tennis ball on either end. Just take two beads, add some fimo around and roll to make a ball. Cut a short piece of bamboo skewer and cover with fimo. Assemble, bake and paint. Also, rope toys are great just pieces of cording with the ends tied. A fabric toy can be made very easily with felt. Merely make your own pattern or follow roughly what I drew. This picture is NOT in scale, but it will give you a fair example of just the kind of doodle I mean:).

I just drew a picture of a bone, very simple doodle even if you are not the picasso of the block. Cut out two pattern pieces from the felt and sew together with a blanket stitch. This is an easy stitch, just a whipstitch (overhand stitch) but before you pull the loop taut you pass the needle through to catch it. If you have trouble, just find a quilting book and somewhere there should be a more detailed description and picture. Don't worry if things aren't as neat as they should be in places. Just say your dog loves the toy and chews on it alot! ;D Again, look for the kiddy toys. You never know what you will find. Also when I was in the craft store I found a few christmas toy decorations that would work as well.

The dog seems amazed that his toys float, doesn't he?;) In the picture you can see a tennis ball bone (very hip), a chewbone, a red ball, a rope pull toy and a small doodle chew toy. The hardest thing to make was the tennis ball bone, but that was because I had to paint it. If you have a picture of a tennis ball in front of you it makes it a whole lot easier!

Ok, you are ready for a dog, but what about rover himself? Look for little resin figurines, sometimes you can find a good scaled dog in card shops, gift shops, and toy shops (in pocket puppies packaging, or some disney package. If the store has those cool bins full of stuff and junk that little kids can't resist, take a boo into them yourself. Occasionally I am amazed with the quality of some cheap animals. If it isn't painted right, you know what to do...) You an also make a dog out of fimo if you are brave. My dog was purchased from a catalog years ago, but he is a resin figure. If I recall, he wasn't very expensive, maybe $6 at the time and there were dozens of dogs to choose from.

Have fun with your dog days!

...And that is it. If you have an idea for a tips and hints section, please write to me. So far I have done a few reader's ideas, perhaps you can be next! Please also check the archives , as there could be an old theme that might jive with one of your own current projects!:) Also, if you have a good tip hint that you would like to share, don't hesitate to give me a note about it, You could become famous...

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