Friday, 23 May 2014

How to Decorate Tudor Dolls House Ceilings in 1:12 Scale

A beamed and plastered ceiling in a Tudor dolls house
 In Tudor times, ceilings had hand-adzed oak beams exposed. These were sometimes stencilled or painted with the area between the beams plastered. Grander houses may have had decorative plastered ceilings in the main hall.
  I used several different types of ceiling decoration in my Tudor dolls house.

How to Make Plaster and Oak Beams in this bedroom and the kitchen.

  • Make the beams from balsa wood or squared wood. Roughen the edges or attack them with a craft knife to make knicks and cuts to give the effect of hand adzing. Stain with oak coloured stain.
  • Mark with a pencil on the ceiling where the beams will go.
  • Undercoat the ceiling with white paint then plaster it with a fine mix of tacky glue, artists sand and white paint, leaving the spaces clear where the beams will go.
  • When dry, glue on the beams with wood glue and dabs of super glue. Hold the beams up till the glue dries with strips of masking tape.
  • If you are building the dolls house, you can do all this in the early stages by turning it upside down to make it a lot easier to work with.

'Painted' beams in a Tudor dolls house

How to Make Decorative Beams: in the parlour.
  • I had used scrap booking paper in a faded pattern to cover one wall of the Tudor parlour and had enough of the paper over to do the beams as well. 
  • I made and stained the beams then carefully cut strips of the paper and glued them on the sides of the beams. Once completely dry I trimmed them up.
  • This gave the effect of hand painted decoration. If you are a better painter than me, you could paint them or even stencil them to your own patterns.
Using embossed wallpaper
How to Make Plastered Ceilings: in the Great Hall.
  • Source some embossed wallpaper from home decorating stores. They often have free samples or left over rolls from ends of runs or out of date pattern books you could use. I've found that once I explain about making a dolls house, the shop people are very interested and happy to give me wallpaper pieces.
  • Carefully measure the ceiling of the dolls house in the room that will be a little 'grander' than the rest of the house.
  • Now you can go two ways here: 
  • a) choose a suitable section of the paper so that the pattern is centred on the ceiling and glue the paper to the ceiling, covering it completely.           b) cut out shapes from the embossed paper, plaster the ceiling and then stick the shapes on. This is what I did.
  • Once the paper has dried, spread a very fine layer of plaster over the paper. This makes it merge in so it doesn't look like 'bits and pieces just stuck on'!
Creating a ceiling
How to Make a Rush Ceiling: for the top storey of my Tudor dolls House.
  • The top floor of a Tudor house was where the servants slept or supplies were stored. It wasn't a place that would be seen by visitors so there was no need to have a grand ceiling to impress others.
  • Slats of wood or rush matting would be laid under the tiles or shingles. In theory this would keep out the worst of the weather and the worst of the vermin. I'm thinking rats here!
  • To simulate this in 1:12 scale I used place mats like this one, made of very thin strips of bamboo. Be careful when cutting them to size so they don't unravel before you have a chance to glue them on.
I hope these ideas will be useful when you are making your own Tudor dolls house or room box.

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