I love my barn. This is the Breyer Deluxe Wood Barn with Cupola. This barn is a classic backdrop familiar to many equestrians, as horses and barns go hand-in-hand! This Breyer barn had an upgrade from a basic stain to being weathered, and this article will explain how I did it.
If you are just getting started on your barn and would like to see how I began the process, please check out the first article in this series: Raising the Bar(n).
This whole idea began when I was doing a photo shoot with one of the potted trees from the Breyer Show Stable Accessories set, and found that the weathering on the plant pot was what gave the entire picture a feel of realism. This got me thinking: What if I weathered the whole barn to make it look more real? And how would I go about doing that?
It turns out that I had everything I needed and it was super-easy - with a little time and determination.
That’s it! And a little bit of time and patience, of couse.
I had a couple things I wanted to accomplish on this barn upgrade. I had found a lovely vinyl brick layout that I wanted to lay for flooring. I also decided that this barn needed window trim and windows, as well as weathering.
I had some wood strips that I had picked up from a hobby shop that I was planning to use for fencing, but it was perfect for trimming the windows. Hobby wood is very soft, and can be easily cut with scissors. If you feel comfortable using a razor blade, that works even better and makes a slightly cleaner cut, as the wood can "smoosh" where you cut it. I used wood glue to fix the boards in place, and then pasteled over them. This is what the process looked like, and the end result!
This is what I started with: a bright, new-looking barn!
This barn had been stained prior to the weathering. Before you begin, make sure you lay down something (such as newspaper) to protect your floor or table before you paint. Pastels are super messy!
You might be surprised at how many colors are in wood.
I decided to pick a palette of many different colored pastel chalks and powders, including grays, browns and even green and blue to create the effect of aged wood.
What a difference!
One thing I have noticed is that there is almost always a darkening around the base of a barn where water drips. I made sure to paint that in with the pastels as I went.
I'll admit I had two helpers...
Even my daughter got in on the fun.
One of the ways we made the weathering look natural was to rub off some of the pastels using a rag and fine (0000) steel wool. This softens any sharp lines you might have made and helps blend in the colors. My daughter had never done this before either, and did a fantastic job.
Framing a front window.
I also decided the barn's windows needed to be framed, and I wanted to put in actual windows. Here I am just trying the pieces of hobby wood on for size before I glue it. I used tacky wax to hold them in place so I could get a visual. When I actually glued the pieces in, I was very careful to make sure everything was square and framed properly.
Window frames are almost done!
The frames have been glued to the barn with wood glue, and I used pastels to color them to match the rest of the barn. The pastel goes on with a weathered look, and I shaded it a bit to help with that effect. I had to wait for the initial window frames to dry before I started adding crossbeams to them.
Laying the "brick" vinyl flooring.
While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I installed the new floor. I figured it would be easier to remove the stalls and lay the vinyl in one piece rather than try to cut it to fit around the stall walls inside. I think it looks rather sharp!
We're getting there!
I still need to pastel a couple places, and after doing so I will take the barn into a well-ventilated area (garage or another place sheltered from wind) and spray it with a matte fixative. This will keep the pastels from smudging in the future.
The window for a Breyer box can become the window for a Breyer barn!
Using what I had on hand, I decided the plastic from a Breyer box would make a perfect window for a Breyer barn! I cut pieces of the plastic to size and put them aside. I only put in the windows after I was done with using fixative on the barn, since I didn’t want them to get hazy from the spray.
Putting in the sides.
I built a little windowsill for the stall area. Eventually I may make bars for the window, but for now I do like giving the horses the ability to look outside.
Creating window panes at the top of the barn.
As you continue to create your window panes, take the time to go slowly in steps. I cut all my hobby wood pieces and make sure they fit correctly before gluing them in.
Now I will pastel the new pieces of wood and seal them with the fixative before I add the plastic to the windows. I am planning to add plastic only to the front windows, since I carry the barn by the high side ones. (You don’t generally see these windows much, anyway.) I also added additional dark shading to the side on the bottom of the barn.
All done with windows installed!
Now for the fun part: decorating! Since I love plants and this is my dream barn, I ordered miniature hanging baskets online, pus window planters for the new windows, of course!
The last modification I made to the barn was to replace the door handles - the old wooden ones popped off with a little finagling. Now to put everything together and see how it looks all set up, with horses!
Ah, a fully finished barn. My riding instructor enjoys a quiet moment waiting for her student.
Details. The footing is scattered sand over a cobblestone vinyl mat.
Not a detail was spared when creating this real, working barn in miniature!
Even from this angle, the barn looks authentically weathered.
I hope you have fun playing with your barn! The sky is truly the limit with what you can do.
With a little time and patience, and a bit of creativity, you can create your barn in whatever way you want. I truly enjoyed the process of bringing this barn to life, and love having a home for my horses. I am looking forward to seeing what you can come up with for your dream barn! Happy painting!
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Since I have been asked many times where I source my barn supplies, I will also provide my answer! Breyer creates many of the essential props for stables, and I would recommend checking out their line of accessories for all the basics you would need to get started in outfitting your barn. Their stable sets, such as the Stable Cleaning Set and the Stable Feed Set, are the first place I would go.
For all the other non-Breyer items, I find almost all of my props online or in arts and crafts stores. It does take time to do some digging to find the things that match the vision, but they are out there! Dollhouse items and some train scale accessories are generally suitable for use within your stable.
There are also many individuals and small businesses that cater directly to the needs of outfitting model horses, from horseshoes to halters and everything in between. I’m excited for you to discover the horse world in miniature scale, and for you to bring your vision to life!