The Great DIY Doll Table Challenge part 4

Continued from part 3

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!

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.


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