Sunday, 28 July 2013

How to Make Items For the Dolls House Laundry

Hand- made items in 1:12 scale for a dolls house laundry
If you have room for a laundry in your dolls house, you can really get cracking on making lots of bits and pieces for it. This photo shows some of the items I made for my Edwardian dolls house laundry/scullery. All these things would suit dolls houses from the Victorian era right up to the 1950s. And the best part is that I made them from scraps of wood & lengths of wire so they didn't cost a cent!

  • Carpet beater: this is made from 1 length of wire. Starting at the centre of the wire, form the heart shape then twist the ends round and round each other. Pliers came in handy here for getting the wires tight. At the handle end, finish off the wires into a loop so the carpet beater can hang on a hook on the laundry wall.
  • Fly swat: another piece of wire, of a finer gauge this time. Start in the middle of the wire, at the handle with a loop, twist up the shaft then fan the ends out into a square. Bind the end with a piece of cotton then glue a square of fine tulle or mesh onto the square. If you make the material larger than the square, it is easier and you can trim the excess off when dry.
  • Laundry basket and pegs: the basket was a fridge magnet I adapted and filled with squares of cotton folded to look like linen. The pegs I made from the ends of toothpicks, the ones that have the fancy turnings.
  • Feather dusters: again, the fancy ends of toothpicks, with little feathers (donated by my bantam hens!) glued onto each toothpick and bound with black cotton thread.
  • Brush and shovel: the brush is a piece of balsa wood whittled into a brush shape, then stained brown, with black paint for the bristled edge. The shovel is made from a piece of cardboard folded and glued to shape then painted with chrome nail polish. I had my real size one in front of me when I made this so I could measure it and get the look and sizing right for 1:12 scale.
  • Scrubbing board: balsa wood for the 'body', fine square stripwood offcuts for the edges and corrugated cardboard, painted silver with the chrome nail polish, for the scrubbing insert.
  • Duckboard: this is what the poor washer woman would have stood on to keep her shoes off the wet floor. It's made from wood offcuts 2 1/2 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide, glued onto 3 lengths of matchsticks on the underside to raise it from the floor.
  • Laundry tub: this is the thin metal surround that a tealight candle came in with the 'eyes' of hooks and eyes used in sewing as the handles.
  • Housemaid's box: more scraps of thin wood made into a box shape, the edges bound with black paper strips and a handle made of a toothpick painted black and glued between the 2 long sides. In it I've put a brush (made as the other brush was), dusting cloths, a tin of Brasso and a feather duster.
Even if you don't have a whole room for a laundry in your dolls house, you could make some of these things for your mini kitchen. 
Have fun!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

How to Make a Screen for your Dolls House

A decorative screen in a dolls house
In real life, people used screens in their houses as decorative features, or as draught excluders in reception rooms, and as modesty screens in bedrooms for privacy when dressing or undressing. They also look great scaled down to 1:12 scale in a dolls house.
   I made the screen in the room above to match the chaise longue I had made for my Edwardian dolls house morning room.
  The fabric and edging trim are in shades of pale blue and I covered the back of the screen with a darker blue paper. As you can see, the tops of the three panels are curved: the tallest is 5 1/2 inches, the middle piece is 5 inches and the smallest is 4 inches tall. Each panel is the same width - 1 1/2 inches. 
Items needed to make a dolls house screen
You will need:

  • pattern for screen
  • matboard
  • fabric
  • fabric glue
  • thin cord or stranded embroidery cotton or fine bunka
  • paper for back 
What to do:
  1. Cut out the screen pieces in matboard, using a sharp craft knife.
  2. Cover the matboard pieces with a fine layer of glue.  
  3. DO NOT CUT THE FABRIC. Leaving the fabric in one piece and right side up, smooth it over the screen pieces. Cover with a sheet of plastic or baking paper and weigh all down with something heavy. I used cans of tomatoes! Leave to dry overnight. The weights will stop the matboard from warping as it dries.
  4. Now take very sharp scissors and cut out each fabric-covered screen piece, trimming the edges neatly.
  5. Glue decorative paper over the back of the pieces in the same way as you did the fabric. Trim when dry, again keeping the side edges neat.
  6. Doing one piece at a time, run a fine line of glue along 3 sides (not the bottom edge). This will stop the fabric fraying and will glue down the edging. Use a toothpick to position the edging. I use a fine cord but stranded embroidery thread and fine bunka work just as well.
  7. If you like you can make hinges with masking tape or ribbon. I didn't. I just glued the pieces into place, holding them at the angles I wanted till the glue dried. 
A screen for a 1:12 scale nursery
Here's another screen I made. Each piece has a rounded top and they are all the same height. I didn't use fabric, just black paper with 'scraps' glued on with a layer of mod-podge.
  I hope you will have a go at making a screen for your dolls house or miniature room setting. Play around with shapes and colours to custom make one just for you.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Finding Minis in Unexpected Places

Very cute!
I was visiting Pompei recently and saw this miniature scene in one of the shops that are clustered round the entrance to the ruins. I had wandered through the store, looking at the cameos and red coral jewellery, the carved statuettes and the art works when suddenly I spotted this unusual display. Of course I had to take a photo to share with you!