01 of 09
Make Miniature Scale Bristle Brooms and Brushes
Bristle brooms for scale miniature dollhouses, garages, stables, warehouses and boats are easy to make. The same technique can be used to make wooden or plastic-backed hairbrushes and dandy brushes for the model horse stable. The brooms and brushes are made from paintbrush bristles, so choose an inexpensive paintbrush in a suitable color to make your brush.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
Materials You'll Need
To make scale miniature bristle brooms or stable brooms and brushes you will need:
Continue to 3 of 9 below.
- Inexpensive bristle paintbrush: Choose one with bristles with the correct color for your project.
- Craft stick or 1/8 inch thick craft wood: You can use a piece of an ice cream bar stick as the wood is harder than most craft basswood. Basswood and jelutong work well, but balsa wood is too soft to use for this project. If you want to make scale hairbrushes using this technique, use scraps of mahogany, pear, or other hardwoods. You can also use cured polymer clay or sheet plastic (plexiglass or colored plastic).
- Dowel or skewer: This will be for the broom handle.
- Miniature drill: Use a miniature drill or a pin vise to drill holes for the handle and bristles.
- PVA (white) glue
- Craft knife
- Fine bent nosed tweezers
- Sharp scissors
- Fine tip pencil
- Fine pin: You will use this to apply glue to the bristle holes.
03 of 09
Cut the Broom or Brush Top and Mark the Grid for the Bristle Holes
Continue to 4 of 9 below.
- Cut the top for the scale broom or brush: Cut a piece of a craft stick, basswood or jelutong to the right size for a scale broom. Most stable brooms are 16 or 24 inches wide, so we cut a piece of craft stick 1 1/4 inches long for our broom. For a dandy brush for a model horse, cut the wood to 3/4 of an inch long and shape it similar to a peanut (groundnut). For the broom, the wood was a bit less than 1/2 inch wide, and we sanded the corners to round them a bit.
- Mark the grid for the bristle groups: Use a ruler and a fine pencil to mark an even grid across the bottom of your wooden broom or brush top. Space your lines roughly 1/16 of an inch apart in both directions for a 1:12 scale brush.
04 of 09
Mark and Drill the Hole for the Broom Handle
Turn your broom top over to the top side and mark the hole for the broom handle in at least 1/8 inch from the outer edge and lined up with the center (wide) of the broom top. Hold your drill at an angle close to 40 degrees (or the angle you want your handle to come off of the top of the broom) and use a drill bit just a bit smaller than your broom handle dowel or skewer, to drill through the top of the broom at an angle. You can see the angle the hole comes through the broom top in the photo above. Drill the hole completely through the top of the broom.
Your broom top should be securely braced on your work desk when you drill it, not held against the drill as you see in the photo. The photo is just to show you the angle the drill comes through the broom top.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Drill the Holes for the Groups of Bristles
Continue to 6 of 9 below.
- Choose a drill bit: Flip your broom or brush top over so you can see the grid you drew in the previous step. Fit a fine bit to your miniature drill (sized equal to 8 to ten of your brush bristles held in a group, or small enough to drill on the cross lines of your grid yet leave space between the holes as shown in the photo above. We used a bit slightly smaller than 1mm.
- Mark your drilling depth on the drill bit or make a drill depth stop: You must be careful not to drill through your broom or brush top, but only halfway into the top. You can mark your drill bit with a line of acrylic paint to show you how far in you can drill without going too far, or you can make a drill depth stop, by drilling a hole through a bit of scrap wood which is the same depth as the length of your exposed drill bit, except for the depth you want to drill into your broom top. If your drill bit is 1 inch long out of the top of the drill chuck, you would need a drill depth stop piece 15/16 long, which would allow your drill bit to drill 1/16 of an inch into your 1/8 thick broom or brush top.
- Drill the holes for the bristles: Drill neat rows of holes centering your drill bit on the crossed lines on your grid. Make sure you only drill halfway through the top of your broom or brush.
- Clear the holes: Use a fine pin or a brush to clear the holes you have drilled of sawdust. Sand the bottom of your broom top if necessary to expose a neat and clean grid of holes, similar to the one in the photo above.
06 of 09
Cut and Apply The Bristles to The Scale Broom or Brush
There are several ways you can cut and apply the bristles to your miniature broom or brush. First, you need to trim the soft tips off the brush you will be using to supply your bristles. You want the top of your brush to be stiff and even. Now use a pin to place a drop of glue in one or two holes along a line with the front edge of your brush or broom.
To create groups of bristles for the broom or brush you can:
- Hold a section of trimmed bristles tightly with your tweezers and use your scissors to trim them to roughly 1/2 inch/1cm in length, then transfer the small tuft of 8 to ten bristle hairs to the glue filled hole on your brush/broom top.
- Cut a large group of bristles to the same length and pick up small groups of them, pressing them down on a table to set them all to the same length at the bottom end, then insert them into the glue filled hole.
- Cut a large group of bristles to the same length by cutting across your brush, trimming a group of 1/2 inch/1 cm bristles free. Use your tweezers to pick up one or two bristles at a time and insert them into the holes on the base of your brush, adding extra glue if necessary to later sections of bristles as you fill in each hole before moving on to the next.
The method that works for you will depend to some extent on the type of inexpensive paintbrush you are using for a bristle supply, and the type of tweezers you are using. If your brush has a wide range of bristle thicknesses, you may be better off choosing one or two bristles at a time to insert into a hole so that you can keep your brush fairly even. Stiff bristles are easier to insert than soft ones.
Set each bristle group using your tweezers to create neat clumps as shown, before you move on to the next hole.Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
Finish Each Line of Bristles Before You Begin the Next
Use your tweezers to group each set of bristles tightly into the glue filled hole. Use the tweezers to line each cluster up so that the ends form a fairly neat row across the brush. Finish one edge row before you start the next row in, and make sure all the bristles are set so they line up straight to the edge of the brush or broom top. If you are not careful your bristles will go off in all kinds of directions and your brush will look very worn and old. If you want a brush or broom with bristle clusters that face in particular directions, use tweezers to group and line up each group of bristles as you finish placing them in the hole.Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
Trim the Bristles in Your Broom or Brush to Length
When you have finished inserting groups of bristles into the head of your broom or brush, set the brush aside to dry. When you are sure the bristle clusters are firmly in place, use sharp scissors to trim the outside row on one edge to length, then work back through the brush or broom trimming each row to match the previous one. When your brush is roughly even, turn it bristle side down to see if it will stand square. If not, trim the problem bristles to length. When the brush stands roughly square on its bristles, turn it over and give it a final neat shaving with your sharp scissors, this time cutting across all the rows at once, going over the brush in several directions to make sure everything is trimmed as close to a single length as possible. If you want your brush or broom to look well used, trim the outer edges slightly shorter than the center of the brush.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Add the Handle and Finish Your Bristle Broom
To finish your broom, add the handle to the hole you drilled earlier. Sand the piece of dowel or skewer until at least 1/16 of an inch of it will fit neatly into the drilled hole. Mark the length you want the handle to be, and cut it off to the correct length, rounding the free end of the handle with sandpaper.
Apply a bit of glue to the end that fits in the hole on the top of the broom and glue it in place at the correct angle. Set it aside to dry.
If you wish you can finish the wood with a clear coat acrylic finish or use a wash of suitable acrylic paints to age the wood to make the broom look well used. You can use the vinegar and steel wool wood aging solution to weather the wood to an aged finish if you wish.