Second entry in the “Made” category – the Hello Kitty café. This is a long one, so grab a cup of something.
This project started with a blueprint at least a month before I purchased the Dremel 4000. Early on, while making rings and earrings, the café felt like it was still far away, too complicated of a thing for my skills. However, I started feeling a lot more confident after completing the pen rack and looked for a new challenge. And so, on Friday night, I used my new jigsaw to cut the plywood panels that would become the café’s floor and walls. While the initial plan called for the café’s footprint to be at least 60 × 40 cm, after seeing what that actually looked like in real life, I scaled it down to a more modest 40 × 30 cm. Still, the café came out to be grossly oversized for the two kitty figurines, as you’ll see later.
One thing I remembered immediately after starting to work with the jigsaw is that making nice straight long cuts is a lot more complicated than you’d think. The end result is that the café has many angles that are almost exactly but not quite 90°, and many edges that are not quite straight, even after trying to shape them with the Dremel. Gluing together 4mm sheets of plywood whose surfaces and edges don’t line up properly just wasn’t going to happen. The solution was to use fragments of 4.5-cm wooden corners: as shown at the top of the picture on the left, I cut the corners into 5-cm pieces and used them to hold together the floor and the walls, leaving the PVA adhesive to set overnight. Before gluing, the door and window openings were cut out of the front wall.
After the Saturday breakfast, it was time to begin in earnest. My original intention was to complete the whole café and then unveil it to Des. I’m not sure how exactly I had thought this would work, but with us living in an apartment, and with her being a curious and intelligent kid, it was not long before she saw my work and figured out that I was making some kind of a house for her. I came clean, my plan was received with excitement and approved, and from this point on I worked under close supervision from my client.
It was decided that the kitchen’s furniture would be 10cm high and 10 cm deep. It ended up being made up out of three parts: a 10cm-wide counter, a 20cm-wide stove and sink combo, and a 10cm-wide fridge, which was ~5cm taller than the rest. I continued making all long cuts with the jigsaw, then finishing them with the 408 sanding band and rounding off the edges with the 932 grinding stone.
When attaching the shelf to the serving window and assembling the furniture, I made extensive use of supporting corners, shown in the bottom half of the picture above. These were simply small triangles, cut out with the fret saw and finished with the Dremel, that helped to keep surfaces at 90° angles and supported them while the glue was setting.
By Saturday night, we were here:
Sunday morning, I emerged from the bedroom to be greeted with a pancake picnic. Apparently, the two café owners were overjoyed with their new digs and prepared for us a wonderful meal in their new kitchen. Or so said Des. (You can see the two figurines on the windowsill, surveying the picnic they’ve just laid out. I suspect they had some outside help 🙂 ). Once the breakfast was over, the kitties indicated, again through Des, that they were anxious to see their kitchen finished, so it was back to work.
Sunday was a shorter day. I cut out the oven’s window and the refrigerator’s “glass” doors by drilling corner holes, joining them with the fret saw, then finishing everything with the sanding band and the grinding stone. The new wood drill bit with a brad point worked terrifically. Since the furniture was already assembled, it was very fortunate that I had spiral fret saw blades, as several cuts had to be made sideways due to cramped space.
As my job neared completion, Des went to work with her pencils, colouring the floor and adding details like stove knobs and a cutting board with some veggies. The last additions to the café kitchen were the two wall shelves, once again supported by small right-angle triangles. And I finally signed off the job. For now…
For the time being, all the furniture is free-standing. There is a good chance that I’ll try to make some functional doors and internal shelves, and add some detail to the outside if/when I get some cutter or engraver accessories. As indicated in the original blueprint, I also would like to add a swinging double door and maybe a cash register. So, this might turn into an ongoing project. Also, Des has mentioned that the kitties might like a house, a school, a car…