8 IDEAL HOME LIFE
creaminess. There should be a good deal of size so that the whitewash does not come off on everything.
The red boxes can be painted to match red bricks, or color-washed (whitewash as before, but red ochre for color).
Stone color is not a very satisfactory tint and too much of it makes for gloom. But if you desire stone color you can make it by putting a pinch of raw umber in the whitewash. Or you can paint your boxes with this uninteresting tint— resembling the doors of back kitchens. With these paints of color-washes you can make your odd, many-shaped boxes into smooth-surfaced blocks to match your bricks; and not only wooden but cardboard boxes can be treated in this way. All these colors can be bought at the paint-shop.
When your wood is all smooth you mix your stain. And here I make a present to all housewives of the best floor-stain in the world. Get a tin of Brunswick black—the kind you put on stoves—and some turpentine. Mix a little of black and a little turpentine, and try it on the wood with a smooth brush—a flat brush is the best—till you have the color you want, always remembering that it will be a little lighter when it is dry. When you have decided on the color, paint your bricks and boxes on five out of their six sides lightly and smoothly, keeping to the grain of the wood, and not going over the same surface twice.
A flat brush is the best; it will go right down the side of a brick and color it at one sweep. Then stand each brick up on end to dry. When it is dry you can paint the under bit on which it has been standing. While you have stains and colors going it is well to color some of your arches, and also such things as cotton-spools, and the little wooden pill-boxes that you get at the druggist's. Before coloring these boxes fill them with sand or stones and stick the lids on with glue. Otherwise they will not be heavy enough to build with happily.
This painting or coloring should be done out of doors, or in an out-house, if possible. If you have to do it in the house spread several thicknesses of newspaper before you begin, and make a calm resting-place for your painted things where they can dry at leisure.