Settees, Chairs, Tables & Accessories Oh My!

New doll furniture will be posted to my Etsy shop on Wednesday, September 14th (most likely in the AM).   Hope you enjoy them.  Here’s a preview of a few of the items.  As usual, like nothing you will find anywhere.

angierocks2

beachchicdollsettee1

bluediamondwingchair3

needlepointsettee1

pinkstripearmchair4

This will be my last batch of furniture.  I’m retiring.  Thanks to all of you who’ve appreciated my work.  Your dolls have inspired me and your kindness has made the effort possible and pleasurable.

Much love to all,

Melanie

p.s. Thanks to MayBeMia for this preciously posed shot.  Simply perfect!

MayBeMia

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Doll Furniture At Etsy

I’ll be adding a few new items to my shop in two days.  That’s Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 3:00 Central Time.  Here’s another new Borne Settee, very similar to the one in my previous post which was purchased as a jewelry display piece for a really big fancy closet.  Clever idea.  This one is in the same fabric, slightly shorter and with different accents.  Hope you have time to take a peek at the other new items.  Thanks to all!  (click photo to enlarge)

Borne Sette For Dolls

Borne Settee for Dolls

Borne Settee for 18

Borne Settee for 18″ Dolls

The Borne Settee has captivated my attention since….like forever.  If you don’t know what they look like check out this link to Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=borne+settee&term_meta%5B%5D=settee|.

The idea of a doll sized Borne Settee in the lobby of a grand hotel has long been a fantasy of mine.  You can see them in photos of castles and mansions and lately they’ve been appearing in the foyers of private homes.

I envision them in the homes of doll collectors.  Lots of dolls of various sizes sitting together, but with a bit of privacy provided by the center column.  This one is in a neutral grey/green cotton linen.  The column was kept slim to minimize the total size.  My doll is 21″ and a bit large for it, but she likes to use it when she’s in the library looking for a good read.

18inchlinenbornesettee1These settees come in an unending variety of shapes and sizes.  As many of you know, I don’t tend to create furniture for dolls less than 17″-18″ tall.  But, I was asked about seating for Blythe’s by a collector and decided to make my first effort in this style much smaller than usual.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Linen & Lace Borne Settee for 14

Linen & Lace
Borne Settee for 14″ Dolls and Smaller

On second thought, only two or three Blythes could sit on it.  Any more than that and their little big heads would be bumping.  Oh well.  It was fun trying to figure out how to make them and I hope images of dolls playing all over them will inspire some fun photography.   I hope to get some of my new pieces posted at Etsy by November.  Thanks for reading and have a lovely Fall!

The Great DIY Doll Table Challenge part 4

Continued from part 3

ASSEMBLING THE TABLE
Try inserting the legs into the shelf to see how they fit.  If they’re too snug to go in, carefully trim just a hair from the notch.  If they are too loose, perhaps add a little bit of Dap to tighten them up.  You can now glue the legs into the shelf.  Make sure that the prettiest “feet” are  all eyeballing1pointed in the same direction.  Put some glue into one of the notches and let is sit for a few minutes to firm up a bit.  If you’re using hot glue you have to work very fast.  The Elmer’s didn’t take as long as I thought it might.    Now set a leg into that notch, making sure to match up the marks you make on the leg to the notch.

eyeballing2This photo is very important!!!  While you’re waiting for the glue to firm and you can still adjust it, hold the piece out in front of you and “eye ball” it from this perspective.  You’re looking to see if it’s level in the notch.  You don’t want one end tipping down (which causes the other to tip up).  You want the legs to be very level.  When you see that it looks as perfect as you can get it, let it dry without moving it.  You’ll eyeball each leg in this way.  When you glue in the third leg, have a flat surface near you, like a table top.  At the point where it’s almost dry, but you could still move it if you needed to, set the table base (yes, it’s now a real table base) on the flat surface and check if all three legs are touching the “floor”.  If they’re not really stable and flat on the “floor”, adjust the third one and then let it dry without moving out of position.

The table base can now sit on those three legs without assistance.  Glue in the fourth leg and once again, before it completely sets, put it on a flat surface and adjust it so that all of the feet are solidly on the floor.  Keep eyeballing it from several angles to see how level it sits and if all the legs look like they’re in appropriate positions, mirroring each other.  Let it dry.  Remember: don’t attach the table top yet!

PAINTING THE TABLE
The first coats were in Ecru vinyl paint (available at any craft store).  Then I spent a bit of time practiced my dry painting1brush technique on the bottom of the table top and the legs in an off-white.  Photographing it showed me that I really painting2didn’t want that light a table.  You can see that my legs aren’t perfect….yet.

Finally, I went for a golden brown wood tone effect with Gold Metallic craft paint and Raw Sienna vinyl paint.  Using the dry brush technique, first a paintslayer of Gold and then Raw Sienna, then Gold, then Raw Sienna.  Another photo told me it was too Gold.  You can see that it looks really ruff and awful.  Fear not.  I’ve fallen in love paint3with clear mixing glaze and have been using it on my furniture legs.  It creates lots of depth instead of the flat looking surface that a single color makes.  I got some at Lowe’s.  Many company’s make glaze.  There are YouTube videos showing how artist use it in painting to create depth.

I made a mixture of about half and half Gold Metallic and Raw Sienna, with just a touch of glaze1Red to warm it up and a touch of Ecru to lighten it.  I mix in enough glaze to double that amount.  So that’s half mixed color and half glaze.  This is done in small batches because each layer of glaze has to dry.  I set it outside in the heat to dry and it didn’t take too long.  In this series of photos you can see the gradual change as it smoothed out the glaze3roughness of my amateur dry brushing job, without loosing all the texture.  You want to be able to see what’s underneath through the glaze with each layer.  It slowly builds up a beautiful finish with depth and dimension.

glaze3glaze4

If you decided to cut out that top layer of the table top, here’s what I did with it.  There are several options.  The first is a piece of potealinsert2ster board (to help raise it to the level of the table edge)  with a piece of teal leather glued to it.  The leather came DIY Doll Tablefrom an old purse that was badly faded on one side.  It looks like an expensive piece of leather inlay on a fine table…..well…. I thought so.  Be sure to paint the inside rim at least a little bit of the way down……unlike I did.  ;o)

wallpaperinsert2The second insert is a piece of wallpaper attached to a round wallpaperinsert3piece of poster board.  I used the center, which was cut out earlier, as my template for the inserts.                                    

VARIATIONS:  It may have dawned on you by now that you can just as easily put a 6.5”x 6.5” square top on this base.  It would make a nice dining table or perhaps a card table, if your dolls are inclined to gamble.  You can change the proportions of the table variationshelfto be shorter and wider on the top or very tall and smaller on the top, like a pedestal for a vase of flower or a fern to sit.

Here’s a version of the drawing where I’ve added a new shape to the legs by using a larger template (table top is the same).  A dinner plate made the legs less curved and increased the size of the shelf for a different look.  And of course, once you get really good at this, you can draw legs with different kinds of curves and feet.

COFFEE TABLE & PEDESTAL  You could make a coffee table by simply making the legs shorter.

DOLLHOUSE SIZE FURNITURE:  The same design process works for doll house size, but you’ll only be using a single layer of foam board for the legs and shelf, and perhaps 2 for the top.  Adjust the drawing accordingly.

Always feel free to contact me here or through my Etsy shop if you have further questions…..or fabulous ideas to share!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and had fun!  I feel that I successfully proved that DIY can be as special as a professional wood product.  The richness of the painted surface has already influenced my furniture pieces.  Please let me know what you think and I’d love to see any of your efforts!

I love accessories and what they bring to doll photography…….BUT…….here are a couple of photos, taken by one of my wonderful buyers, which use nothing but what she found at hand for the set decoration.  The richness of the rugs and fabrics used as floor and background worked beautifully in shots of her incredibly artistic Doll Chateau dolls.  The accessories these girls are workin’ would be the fabulous knits and shoes!!!, and of course, my furniture.  The subtle lighting created intimacy and allure.  Great work L.T.!!!  Thanks for sharing these shots.

Ball Jointed Doll Furniture Artist Handmade Doll Furniture

The Great DIY Doll Table Challenge part 3

Continued from Part 2

MAKING THE PATTERNS
The pattern for the legs is cut directly from the drawing.  You only have to cut out one.  Cut as precisely as possible.  **Do not cut out the notch created by the shelf, only the leg.**  The shelf is the part that gets the notches.  (Note: Technically, this is not correct.  In woodworking the legs would be notched to support the shelf, but it made the finish work on the legs more difficult.  If your design has a larger shelf that will need more support, consider notching the legs instead and leave the shelf as a circle with no notches…..or use a lot of really good glue or hot glue.)

Our drawing revealed the width of the shelf, which is wouldn’t have been know without the drawing .  We need to make a pattern that’s a circle with a 2 1/4” diameter.  Look around the house for another template that’s as close to that diameter as possible.  I found a little Design5juice glass that was almost perfect.  After marking the circle, it was a little bit small.  In the photo you can see that I cut just outside the line to make it the correct size.  Get as close to a 2 1/4” diameter as possible without making yourself crazy.

Cut out the circle and then fold it in half.  Crease the fold line and then make a mark on that line at the edge of the circle. Bring those two marks together as you fold in the opposite direction.    Crease that fold line and mark it.  Lay it out flat and draw lines on the fold marks.  The four points on the circle will be where the notches where the legs are attached.

 

Our legs are 1/4” wide (that 2 layers of 1/8″ foam board).  So, our notches need to be 1/4” wide.  Better tDesign6o make it too small and have to trim a bit more, than too large.  If they fit snugly, it’s easier to glue the legs in. Design7

Like you did on the shelf drawing, make marks 1/8” away from the crease lines.  Draw lines through those marks.

 

Mark a 1/4Design9” depth on each of the four points where they meet the circle to define the notches.  Cut outDesign10 the notches.  You’ve finished the pattern and are ready to use them to cut the foam board.

 

Finalcutpatterns

 

Here are the final pattern pieces. Cut 4 table pieces.  Use the “shelf” pattern to trace 2 shelf pieces.  Cut the circle first, then cut the notches.

The table top is marked directly on foam board using the paint can as the template.

This is the safest and easiest way to cut the legs.  Trust me on this!!  Mark aLegcut1 line that’s 5 /14” from the bottom edge of the board.  Lay the pattern at the right hand corner and mark all 8 pieces with no separation, as shown in the photo to the right.  If you’re left handed consider reversing this to start in the left corner of the board.

Place your hand above the work to hold it as you cut downward on each curve.  This keeps your fingers away Legcut2from the blade.  Cut all the curves without separating them from the board .  THEN, cut all of them off at one time.  I use a metal ruler to cut the the straight line.  (Or a wood ruler with that little metal edge on it, but you can carefully do it freehand.  Keep your free hand behind the blade for safety.) It usually takes me two or three times to get through the board.  Be sure to have something under it to prevent damage to tables, etc.

You now have 4 tops, 2 shelves & 8 legs.  Use Elmers GluePrep1 or Hot glue to bond the four tops, the 2 shelves, and 4 legs together.  You can leave your table Prep4top plain OR you can get crazy like me and cut another hole in the top one for a decorative element.  I left a 3/4” rim on the top piece.Prep2

SPACKLING THE EDGES
Next, we want to hide the ruff edges of the cut foam board.  I wore gloves because working with Dap vinyl spackling can be a bit of a mess to get off your hands, but not too bad.  Try to wash it off before it dries too much.    You want it to fill the inconsistencies in the surface.  Don’t put it on the paper part of the board, only on the foam part.  If a little bit gets on the paper, wipe most of it off and you can easily sand off the rest after it dries, with 220 grit sand paper. Spread it on like icing a cupcake.

spakeling1You can see how gloppy it looked.  Dap is not hard to sand off.  I use 80 grit to get the big glop’s off and finish it with 220 grit.  Do it over a trash can or outside!  Let it dry for at least half an hour before sanding.  After my first layer it still had a few gaps, so I applied a little more, let it dry and used the 220 grit again.  It looked pretty good.  The paper can start to fuzz a little, but can be snipped with scissors if necessary.  Don’t try to sand all the way down to the foam and paper.  You’re trying to “float” the surface out, so leave a little bit to fill out the groove where the foam is.   ***Do not put Dap inside the notches of the shelf ***  I did put spackling on the “feet”, but not on the top of the legs that will glue to the table top.

On the edge of the table top, I intentionally left enough spackling to give it a slight curve.  You can see that it was cracking and separating slightly after drying.  I squirted Elmer’s spakling3down into the crack to seal it.  I also used the Elmer’s glue to further refine all the spackled surfaces by smearing a nice layer over the edges of all the pieces (not so tspakling4hick it drips, you can always add more layers after it dries).  It helped to float out the paper ridges even more.  Work on the pieces until you’re satisfied with the finish.  Let it dry for a few hours or over night.

Now is a good time to mark the center point of the legs.  Take each of the four legs and lay your pattern on them.   Use a pencil to mark where the notch for the shelf is located.  The markleg3photo shows it on the oak table legs, but it’s all the same process.  You’re marking on the flat side.  I make sure that I can see the marks from the curved side also (the outer part of the curve).  Then use a ruler to mark all of them together.markleg4  You might have to put small rubber bands around the ends to keep them even with each other while you mark them precisely on the middle of the curve of the leg.  Now you can see exactly where the leg goes into the shelf when you glue them.

Continued in Part 4 of The Challenge