This week, I actually had some time to do some miniature crafting. The photo below is the start of a pair of evaporating pans, used in the maple sugaring industry prior to mechanization. As the diorama for which these items are being made is static, i.e., the items will be a sealed room box and safely glued down, I'm using some simple materials and paint to mimic metal, etc.
The pans were made of cardboard from the back of a writing tablet, scored, folded, glued and reinforced with finer cardboard tabs. The handles for the pans were made from the wire end of a pair of eye pins, of which I have a lot, shaped around a thin piece of wood, held on with recipe card tabs. The edges of the pans were rounded with some crochet cotton.
And this is what they look like after many coats of paint, reinforced with sealer, and then varnished:
I sealed the cardboard first with a multipurpose sealer, then painted it in hippo grey. This was then dry-brushed with lighter grey, a bit of red iron oxide, pewter metallic, and the bases (which sit over the fire) darkened with black. Once all the paint is dry, the pans were given a coat of satin varnish. They now look convincingly like tin pans that have seen a lot of hard use! (I'm looking for amber acetate film, to mimic the maple sap in them.) Did you know it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup? Hours and hours of evaporating slowly over a wood fire, while being stirred and skimmed....
The two small items in front are a hydrometer, made of an extra-long bugle bead with a blue glass bead glued and pinned into the end, and its case, made of an off-cut of brass tubing with a handle made from an earring back.
The pans are sitting on a sledge, which is glued, pinned and ready to paint and age. This would have been used by one or two men pulling it, to bring buckets of fresh maple sap from the trees to the maple syruping fireplace. As maple syrup is harvested in these northern climates around the end of March, the woods are usually still very much covered in snow. Larger sugar bush businesses would have used a dray horse to pull a much larger sled, but this operation is the kind a farmer and his family would likely have had, for producing syrup primarily for their own use.
I'm off for a visit to my children out west. Marilyn hopes to have the diorama room box done by the time I get back the first week in October, and has found the perfect photo of a maple sugar forest, complete with snow, for the backdrop to our joint diorama project. There are lots more tiny items to be made....
Now, if I can only figure out how to create a new label for this project, to make the process easier to find!