Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Quick barn raising tips

I love Facebook groups for their immediacy and sense of community, but I hate how difficult it can be to find information shared on that platform. Because of this I have bundled up some of the best barn building tips and techniques from the Bridle Tree Barn Raising Challenge page and am reposting them here. Thank you to everyone who allowed me to share their words and photos!
First up, here's an easy painting tip from Christie Richardson. She writes: I found a great technique for creating a painted but weathered barn! I wanted a green barn, but I wasn't able to find a green wood stain. Instead, I found a tutorial on painting wood with a baby wipe, and it worked perfectly! All you do is fold the baby wipe over a few times, dab some acrylic paint on and streak it up the side of the barn. Two dabs was all it took for this entire side. I didn't even put newspaper down on my table, just wiped up the slight green streak with a clean corner of the wipe.
Christie also solved the "how to easily create metal bars" conundrum. Brilliant!
Moving from simple to complex, here's how Christine Sutcliffe created a stablemate scale indoor arena backdrop.
The bricks are hand cut from a sheet of textured wallpaper. 
I primed with brush on gesso...
and painted with acrylics. 
I taped the paper down and using a scalpel and ruler, cut parallel lines 5mm apart.
Each of the four hundred sixty bricks were glued to the board by hand. 
In hindsight, I really should have been more careful with my measuring. A few of the bricks are wonky and make everything fall out of order, but overall it’s not too noticeable. 
The wall was made from a sheet of mountboard. I cut slanted supports and glued them to the wall with tacky glue.
I shored up the joins with multiple coats of hot glue to give it a little weight.
I cheated a little with the front of the fence and used a sheet of scrapbook paper that had planks exactly the right size!
Here's the finished backdrop. I hope the weather improves soon because I really want to roll out the kinetic sand and finally take some decent photos of my stablemates! 
On to the next! Here's how event founder, Kenzie Williamson, created handles for her barn doors: I was struggling to find 1:9 scale door handles, so I sculpted my own! This is the start of a handle! A small piece of bent armature wire and Magic Sculpt epoxy on a piece of foam core.
Sculpting in progress.
The finished handle sculpted on foam core ready for casting
I made a mold of the handle.
And boom! A resin handle
I sanded it and primed with black Krylon flat prior to painting.
The handles were painted with a glossy black acrylic, sealed and mounted with super glue.
Here's another easy one from Lisa Smalley: An easy way to create model hay is to use green baling twine (sisal baling twine, not the plastic/polypropylene stuff). It even smells like the hay bale it came off of, not that my allergies appreciate that part! I filled a traditional sized hay bag by taking a 12" length of baling twine and cutting it into 1.5" and 2" pieces, then "unwinding" them to make a pile of individual strands.
Lesli Kathman is also fixing up a barn. She writes: So it's Stephanie Blaylock's fault that I got the red Breyer SM barn. I wanted to make it look like our old barn at the real Blackberry Lane (our home in Alabama when Alan and I were first married.) Originally, I intended to print a wood pattern and glue that to the pieces to simulate old siding. Then I got the idea that I could just re-side the barn with actual wood. The "siding" is made from coffee stirrers that were stained dark. After the stain dried, they were painted bright blue acrylic and then sanded. 
The white boards that I've started to add around the trim were done the same way, but with white. The stirring sticks are great because they are imperfect, so they give the siding a weathered look.
We've covered walls, bars, bricks, fences, door handles, hay and siding. Now it's onto footing, specifically pavers. Both Kenzie and Melanie Miller had the idea of making pavers for their barn aisles. Kenzie used her Cricut cutting machine to cut the pavers out of a sheet of adhesive cork.
A whole sheet of pavers.
She gently separately them...
and fit them together.
Here they are after a spritzing with red primer. So cool!
Mel's approach was just as innovative. She writes: I wanted a rock facing for my building, but couldn't find any satisfactory off the shelf options. What's a girl to do? Sculpt rocks of various sizes and arch pieces built to custom specs, of course! The arch stones just came off the printer and look great, the bricks will go on tonight! I will make molds for these and cast in resin with a rock filler, I think they'll look great.
The arch stones just came off the printer and look great, the bricks will go on tonight! I will make molds for these and cast in resin with a rock filler, I think they'll look great.
Here's one of Mel's pavers.
Another beautiful section of model horse footing!
Thank you again to Christie, Christine, Kenzie, Lisa, Lesli and Mel. Because of you, a lot of barns are going to be a whole lot more fabulous!


  1. I love all these great customizing ideas for barns! When our old treadmill died I saved the belt and used it to make rubber stall mats for my Breyer barn.

  2. This whole post is amazing. Sandpaper for asphalt isn't too bad.

  3. The pavers!! So nice. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Now *that’s* dedication! Wow!