This week I’m going to focus on how I made this sink and faucet for the kitchen island. I had a general idea of how to draw out the design of the island, but I needed help for this one. I knew that I wanted the farmhouse sink with cabinets underneath that would open. For the bulk of this installation I will refer you to a fantastic tutorial by Lesley Shepherd. You can find it here how to make a sink cabinet. This is the best and most informative tutorial that I have been able to find. The great thing is that with this basic construction you can design your island to suit your taste. I also followed her instructions on how to make opening cabinet drawers. You can find that here as well, how to make cabinet drawers that open. I was so impressed with her work that I was truly saddened to learn of her passing back in August of 2015. So I’m dedicating this post in her honor of being such an influential miniaturist.
Here’s a list of materials that I used to make this island.
- 1/4″ plywood
- 1/8″ basswood
- Craft sticks/ Popsicle sticks
- 20 gauge brass wire
- Sequin pins
- Craft Smart white acrylic paint
- Craft Smart gloss acrylic paint in Navy
- Mod Podge gloss finish
- Craft glue
I didn’t take any photos of the cabinet in progress unfortunately, but I will provide an explanation with the finished ones. I had a lot of measure once, cut twice moments. Also the plywood that I used for the counter top had a slight warp in it that didn’t make itself known until the very end of construction.
First I had to make the sink so I knew what dimensions to use for the height of the cabinet itself. Here’s a list of materials that you will need for the sink:
- Polymer clay ( I used white Sculpey )
- Xacto knife
- Graph paper
- Wax paper
- Polymer clay sculpting tools
- Old tooth brush
- Americana Triple Thick gloss glaze
- 20 gauge silver craft wire
- Jewelry or small hammer
- Craft glue
- Pasta machine for use with polymer clay
- Polymer clay hand rolling pin
- Aluminum foil
- Baking powder
- Jewelry making pliers
- Clay cutter
Draw out the dimensions that you want for your sink on your graph paper. You’ll need the base and 4 sides. Now with clay we won’t be gluing the pieces together, but blending the edges with our tools. Make sure that you leave a small seam allowance for blending.
Now it’s time to condition your clay. I used to work part time at Jerry’s Artarama in Nashville for the art supplies alone before the kiddos came along. I would apply my whole paycheck to the supplies that I had put aside for the week. That was a sweet hookup! It was an artists version of supply heaven. One of my purchases was a polymer clay machine. I’m so glad that I bought it! If you have one it’s great, if not a good ole rolling pin works just fine. Slice off a small amount of clay to be conditioned. I also have a clay cutter and hand roller which is what I used here. You can also use your Xacto knife if you don’t have a cutter.
Roll out your clay to begin conditioning it before you put it into the machine. Once it no longer crumbles and starts to soften it’s ready for the machine. Start on the largest setting and then work your way down to the desired thickness.
Once your clay is warm and pliable you’re ready to cut. Place your clay on top of your graph paper with your measurements. Then use your clay cutter or Xacto knife and ruler to cut a straight line.
Once you have all of your pieces cut it’s now time to give the surface some texture. I wanted mine to look like concrete so I used a toothbrush to stipple the exposed front.
Now it’s time for the assembly. ( I should mention that I also wear latex gloves while I assemble so that my fingerprints won’t be transferred). I started with blending one corner at a time until I was satisfied with the construction. Then I used the eraser cap from my mechanical pencil to cut a hole in the base of the sink for the drain. Once assembled I placed the sink in a bed of baking powder on aluminum foil to reduce the chance of the clay turning color from the process. Bake for the appropriate time according to the manufacturing instructions and let cool before removing.
Using your wire tool, wrap your 20 gauge wire to the diameter of the hole you cut for the drain. Cut and shimmy it together until the circle closes. Then hammer flat very gently. Apply two coats of the gloss on the sink and let dry for a few hours. Then glue the ring over the drain opening. When completed it should look something like this:
Now you are ready to start construction of the cabinet. (Following the instructions from the link). I got stumped when trying to figure out what to use for the hinges. I wished that there were tiny nails that I could use. Then on my usual run to the craft store I stumbled upon the most awesome find in the sewing isle…sequin pins! Problem solved.
To make the hinge process a little easier, I used the balsa wood for the cabinet doors since it is much softer than the basswood or plywood. I have a jewelry hammer that I used for the “nails”. You can find a jewelry hammer in the beading section at Michaels, Joann Fabrics or support your local bead store for one. I love going to Village Beads in my neighborhood, they have such fun supplies there.
Instead of making just the sink cabinet as a single piece, I extended the base by the width of the drawers that I wanted to install next to it. On the other side of the sink cabinet I measured out the height of the cabinet sides and marked it starting from the bottom. I treated this side as the interior of the next cabinet when following Lesley’s tutorial. This is where I glued the craft stick to act as a drawer slide. It helps to keep the drawer from wiggling about just like in real life. This made a huge difference in their performance when open and shutting them.
From here you can follow the tutorial for cabinet drawers. Here’s how mine turned out…
Once your are ready for assembly, paint all exposed surfaces of each piece prior to gluing. I went back and forth on the counter top. At first I wanted a marble counter, but then opted for plain white in the end. This real life kitchen is what inspired me.
Apply two coats of Mod Podge to the counter and allow to dry overnight. I know that was a lot to cover in one post so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me or leave it in the comments. Join me for part two which will cover making the faucet! Hope this tutorial was helpful. Happy miniaturing!