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FINISHING TOUCHES

Trying to decide what finishing touches to put on your little library? If you are building a "mini-me" of your home, watch for our upcoming article Customizing the Basic Box into the Pefect Mini-me, but if you are just looking for ideas, here are some of our favorites:

House Numbers

Put your house numbers on your library and then add "1/2" after:

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The house numbers in the left image are adhesive clock numbers purchased at Hobby Lobby and the numbers in the right image are wood cutouts also found at Hobby Lobby.

Vase

The beauty of this is that you can change your arrangement to fit the seasons or your mood. 

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The vase in the left image was cut out from a piece of leftover 1/4"x3/4" PVC composite screen molding and then the pieces were glued (using E6000 adhesive) and nailed to two pieces of painted 1/2"x3/4" wood molding. The vase in the other two images was pieced together from leftover scrap wood and then sealed with multiple coats of exterior paint (and then re-sealed five years later).

Wind Chimes

Break out your old jewelry and craft materials and get creative making tiny wind chimes. The wind chime in the photo was made out of an old earring piece and cut up metal tubes purchased at the craft store.

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Polymer Clay Creations

Looking for a specific shape or item in miniature? Polymer clay molds are available in a variety of shapes. When we couldn't find an appropriate miniature sunface I was thrilled to find a sunface mold on Ebay. And even though we only needed one, I had so much fun making these I ended up cooking about a dozen in the oven and painting them different colors to make into a mobile. Before baking the piece shown in the right photo, I inserted a screw head into the back and pulled upwards to bore a hole in the shape of a keyhole that would fit the screw I intended to use to attach it to the library. For extra grip, I added some E6000 adhesive to the back before hanging it on the screw.

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Weathervanes and Figurines

Dollhouse weathervanes add a nice touch to any library roof and they are super easy to install. You can find them in your local hobby store or a store that specializes in miniatures. Personally, I prefer to look for vintage dollhouse weathervanes on Ebay because the older ones tend to be better quality than the cheaply-made ones you find today.  To install, simply drill a hole slightly larger than the your weathervane's post into your roof to the depth you need (be sure to not drill all the way through), add a few drops of superglue into the hole and insert your weathervane. Be sure to properly align the N S E W directions. 

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Small figurines attached to strategic places can be very endearing. If they are intended to be permanent, use a dab of E6000 adhesive to attach them to overhangs, roof or other surfaces. If the are temporary, such as for a holiday, use a dab of hot glue which can be easily removed.

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Wood Cutouts and Metal Decor

Both can be found in abundance at any hobby store or ordered online in pretty much any shape you can imagine. For wood cutouts, thick solid shapes will last longer than something with layers or veneer and the ones you paint yourself will typically outlast something that comes already painted. The trick is to thoroughly seal the wood with multiple coats of exterior paint or a clear exterior finish such as marine spar varnish. Be sure to check them regularly and recoat as needed. Metal decor, even something purchased at the dollar store, will usually last for years and can be used to decorate your library or your post.

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Flags

Whether you want to display your flag year round or just on patriotic holidays, they are extremely simple to attach to your library. Fasten a small plastic electrical wire clip (left photo) towards the front of the underside of your roof at the gable with a small screw. Push your flag post through and bend the clip until it sits right. Although most 4"x6" flags are made from paper, you can find cloth flags at most specialty flag stores. Here in the Spokane area we have Uncle Sam's Flags in the Valley on Sprague just east of Evergreen Road.

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Solar Lighting

Want to brighten up your library? Solar lighting might be just what you are looking for! Simple solar spotlights can be staked nearby and adjusted so that they shine up onto your library. Most solar lights turn on automatically at dusk and off at dawn (or earlier, depending on how much sun they got that particular day). Solar lights that are attached to a solar panel with a cord can be mounted on the ceiling inside the library with the cord running to the solar panel through a hole in the bottom back of the library; then mounting the solar panel either onto whichever side of the post gets the most sun (typically south-facing) or staked into the ground in a sunny location nearby.

 

Occasionally, a solar panel will come mounted to a bracket that can be screwed directly into your post, but most clip on to a round tube which then attaches to a stake (left image). To attach this latter type to your post, remove the stake and slip the tube through a copper tube strap (right image).  

To attach the style of light shown in the left image to your library's ceiling, slip a piece of plastic pipe strap about 8" long between the light and the base and then attach both ends to the ceiling with two #6 1/2" slotted hex screws. (If you built your library following one of our tutorials, these are the same screws you used to attach the plexiglass to your door.)  Tip: These hex screws can typically be attached using a standard magnetic bit holder with the bit removed.

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To attach the flower solar light string shown in the image below, we tucked the wires between lights up under the roofing and secured them in place with Poster Putty. Although the flower lights faded rather quickly, they are still adorable. Notice that this particular library also has large solar lights mounted to each side.

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Although we always order our solar lights off Amazon Prime, we are hard-pressed to recommend any particular brand since we have yet to find a source that continues selling the same brand for more than a few years. A word of warning, however, even though solar lighting keeps improving, be prepared to replace your light after only two or three years.

For tips on adding solar lights for the holidays see our tutorial Decorating Your Library for the Holidays!

Landscaping and Seating

A little creative landscaping can make your library even more inviting. Add seating and make it doubly so!

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Siding

Little Free Library Brick 814 W 17th Spo

Overlapping wood slats makes an excellent siding and can also be an effective way to revive an old library by covering up deteriorating plywood.

When attempting to match the siding on your home, our favorite is Precision Products 15"x15" 3D embossed plastic sheets. These come in a wide variety of patterns and can be purchased in a 1" scale through the manufacturer Ozark Miniatures or through their distributor, Oakridge Stores

The sheets come in white and you then paint them to match.

Watch for our upcoming tutorials on how to apply plastic siding.

Creative Decorating

This category covers a lot of ground but the title says it all---break out your artist brushes and get creative!

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Be sure to use paints suitable for outdoor use and protect your masterpieces with a clear sealant. The hollyhocks in the above photo were painted by local artist Ellen Evans.