Celestial Theme Hutch
The arched opening of this inexpensive hutch reminded me of a puppet theatre, so it made the perfect display for my little puppets and other toys. The rich colors stand up well to the bright colors of the toys, but might overpower a collection of delicate glassware or pastel objets d'art.
Bare wooden hutch with arched top shelf opening
Charms: Two 1-1/2" suns with rays and faces, two 1/2" moon charms (I used one full moon and one crescent moon. If using two crescent moons, try to get one facing left and one facing right.)
Four 1/2" wooden beads
Golden yellow bunka
Acrylic paint: Cobalt Blue, White, Golden Yellow, Brown
Tacky white glue
Fine sand paper
If using metal or plastic charms: dish soap, white vinegar, hot water
Use a flat screwdriver or similar tool to remove any "accessories" glued to the shelves. Keep them for another project.
Use pliers to remove the second shelf and the crest, if any, on top of the hutch.
Re-cut the arched opening:
Draw a smooth curve from one base mark to the top mark. Fold the paper in half at the center line, and cut through both layers of paper along the curve. Open the paper and lay it against the hutch to see if you like it. If you don't, then start at a) again. If you do, then use the paper pattern to draw the new curve onto the hutch.
Cut the new curve with the Xacto knife. Several shallow cuts are easier than trying to make one perfect cut. Sand the curve, top, shelves, and any other rough spots.
Brush plain water over all outside surfaces of the hutch, including the top, sides, back, bottom, outside of the doors, front edges and fronts of the shelves.
Thin some of the blue paint with water. Brush this over the wet hutch, allowing the paint to soak into the wood, staining it an even dark blue with the wood grain showing through. Don't worry too much about getting paint on the inside, you'll use an opaque technique there. Paint the four wooden beads to match, sanding first if they have a shiny finish. Paint the door knobs with straight blue paint. Let everything dry; touch up if necessary and dry again.
Mix a few drops of blue paint into about a tablespoon of white paint. Mix well; add more white or blue to create a pretty sky blue. Squeeze out a blob of plain white paint so it's handy.
Paint the shelf and insides of arched shelf opening sky blue, keeping paint off the dark blue exterior. While the sky blue paint is still wet, lay the hutch on its back and use a clean brush and a little white paint to create fluffy clouds on the back wall. If you haven't done this before, practice first on paper; use just a little white paint on the brush, and dab straight down into the blue. Make three or four dabs together for each cloud. Paint the second shelf opening and inside the cabinet (including the insides of the doors) the same way, but paint the shelves dark blue. (It just looked better that way.)
Wash plastic or metal charms in hot soapy water and rinse well. Soak them for a few minutes in vinegar. Rinse with plain water and pat dry. This gets any oils off the charms and makes the paint stick better.
Mix two drops of tacky glue (also makes paint stick better) with about a teaspoon of yellow paint. Paint the front and sides of all charms with a thin coat of this mixture, making sure it doesn't clog up the design. Let dry; touch up if necessary and dry again.
Thin a bit of the brown paint with water. Apply to each charm, allowing the color to run into the design. Use a bit of paper towel to remove the brown from the high points of the design (nose, brow, sun rays). Let dry.
Lay the hutch on its back. Glue a small moon charm in each upper corner of the arched front. If using crescent moons, have them face each other. Glue a sun charm on each cupboard door. Let glue dry.
Sand one end of each bead flat. Glue the flat side of one bead to each corner of the bottom of the hutch, making little round feet (those hutches are always a little short for my taste). Stand hutch up on legs. Let glue dry; if feet aren't level, rub all four feet at once against a sheet of sandpaper on a flat surface. Rub a couple of times, then check for level, rub again if needed. When satisfied, touch up paint on feet and let dry.
Glue a line of bunka inside the arch and around each cupboard door. Wrap and glue bunka around sides and front of hutch 1) just below the wide top piece, 2) along the top shelf, and 3) just above the wide piece that forms the second shelf. Glue a short piece of bunka along each side just above the wide base piece that forms the bottom shelf of the cupboard.
Fill cabinet with a tiny collection. I use mine to display brightly-colored toys, propping the cupboard doors open to reveal a castle and toy soldiers.
Michael's Crafts (and other) stores carry this and other styles of unpainted hutches for a dollar or two. I think I got this particular one at a discount store.
Minikitz.com offers two sizes of suns nearly identical to the ones I used on the cupboard doors in their "outdoors" section.
Bunka is also known as chainette, and is used to make fringe and tassels. I recycled a graduation tassel for this project.
These moon charms are available
wholesale only from Rings &
Things. You must have a resale
license to order.
The witch and Pinocchio puppets are taught on a video, I'll try to find out whose.
The 3/8" tall soldiers drilling inside the cabinet are made from the tops of fancy turned toothpicks. I wouldn't want to make these myself (too much tiny detail), but if you want to try, I'd advise painting the soldiers on a whole toothpick, then cutting off the excess. They have a bit of black on top for hair or hats, bare wood faces, red coats with white "crossed belts" painted on the front, and blue trousers. They even have tiny black dots for eyes. I really admire the ingenuity, patience and eyesight of whoever made these!
The jester stick has a Sculpey head, felt hat, bead collar, toothpick handle, and bunka streamers.
The tiny fairy atop the hutch is an itsy-bitsy scale figure from a railroad hobby shop. Painted flesh and clothing, a tiny bit of feather for hair, and acetate wings.
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