Thursday, 9 April 2015

Fire in the fireplace

Recently, at least one of my facebook groups has become obsessed with tea lights. Electrical, battery-powered tea lights that are apparently hugely useful in dollhouses. I have been far too busy with other projects, but yesterday I happened to be in a budget store, and they had these famous tea lights, so I grabbed a pack of three for £1. The batteries were included.

If you have been following my blog you know that I am coming closer to the perfect lighting solution, and I had some thoughts about flickering fires. Once again, there may be a way of putting all lights on the same system, but why not try something that everybody seems to be doing? So I tried.


When I shared this picture on FB yesterday, with a comment that I made the fire "the usual way", people kept asking me what the usual way was, and going through my blog I realised that I haven't ever told properly how I make fires, although I refer to them in many posts. So here is the secret, developed from Jean Nisbett's invaluable book.

Obviously, any background needs to be black, although you can also have brick or stone. What I discovered when I was making chimney breasts from foam is that foam crumbs make perfect coals for the fire. So I glued these crumbs on the back of the fireplace, and for the candle, on top of the candle (which I had painted black). Then I painted the crumbs black. If you want a log fire instead, take some real twigs and arrange them as you would with a fire. And of course you can take small pebbles instead of foam crumbs.

For the flames, I have used various materials that were at hand: coloured tissue paper, candy wrap, small pieces of shiny fabric or ribbon, all shredded into teeny tiny bits. Tip: orange is imperative! Just red and yellow will look unnatural. Nisbett recommends glitter, but I haven't tried that yet, just my usual useful rubbish. I spread some glue over the surface, sprinkled a mix of "flames" and added more glue.

This is what it looks like.


Or used to look like, because after I have tried the flickering tea light I will never again be satisfied with a static fire. Of course you cannot see the flicker, and I haven't yet learned how to add a video, but if you use imagination and trust me, the effect is amazing.

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