In my last post I challenged myself to create a table design with DIY doll owners in mind (DIY = Do It Yourself). The idea is to make a fabulous design, not a dumbed down one. For the challenge, the design would first be used to make an oak table, for comparison. Then, the same pattern would be used to make the DIY version and tutorial without the need for power tools, just stuff you probably have around the house. The whole world would then get to see a side by side comparison of the two. I said GAME ON!!!
This isn’t one of my “how I made…..” something or other. This is an actual tutorial. That means details. The first section is on the design and drawing. If you’re looking for something ordinary…..search the internet. When you come to MyLittleBigChair, you get something special. It’s not as hard as it might look at first. This tutorial is best followed from a lap top or desk top computer. Photo’s are repositioned by smaller devices. Read through the whole tutorial and you’ll get the idea. And here they are….Ta Daaaaaaa!
THE DESIGN PHASE
First we have to design it and make a pattern. The design starts on paper, always. This is how everyone from furniture makers to architects to designers of any sort start the process.
I looked around the web for a table shape that was pleasing. We’ll be making an elegant round top table with a shelf for nicknacks (which stabilizes the legs). No down stream square table for this project. I’m determined to show you how to make something amazing. Rooms are usually squares or rectangles, flat and linear. It’s nice to have round or oval elements to provide contrast. After you do this once (or even just understand the instructions), you’ll be able to draw similar tables/coffee tables/desks/and who knows what, for any size doll including dollhouse size, very quickly.
I needed an end table for dolls in the 21”-24” range. Decide on the best height for you and your dolls needs. My Challenge tables are both 6 1/2” wide and 5 3/4” tall (6.5 x 5.75”).
First, you are simply going to draw a perfectly square rectangular box” that is the height and width of the finished project. Then we add the top, legs and shelf. Start with a square or rectangular piece of thick paper, not scraps with edges that aren’t square, and is at least 8 1/2 x 11”. We want to get our drawing as square and precise as possible so the pattern will fit together well and sit level. I use Strathmore Bristle Board, but anything with some stiffness/thickness will do.
Place your ruler in the bottom left hand corner and line it up with the bottom of the page and draw line (A). Leaving the ruler in place, make a pencil mark at the 2” point of the ruler and again at the 8 1/2” point.
Keeping the ruler as parallel to line (A) as you can, slide up the page about 4-5” and make another mark at 2” and again at 8 1/2”.
Place your ruler on line (A) and on both of the two marks at 6 1/2″ (on the right) and repeat the last step by drawing a vertical line, now referred to as (C). With the ruler still in that position, make a pencil mark on that line at 2 3/8”, 5 1/4” and at 5 3/4”, just like you did on the left side.
Draw horizontal lines between lines (B) & (C) at the 5 1/4” mark and at the 5 3/4” mark. These lines define the table top and are called lines (D) & (E).
Next, we’ll draw in the legs. I decided my table top would be 6 1/2” in diameter because that is approximately the size I wanted and it just happens to be the diameter of a standard gallon can of paint! If you want to make a smaller table just find a round template the size you want. It can be anything from a plastic food container lid, to a plate or glass, or use a Bow Pencil Drafting Compass if you have one to get exactly the size you want. Adjust the size of the “box” you draw, accordingly.
The legs will not extend all the way to the tables edge. They’ll be slightly “under” the table. We’ll mark where the “feet” sit on line (A) first. Place your ruler as shown in the photo to the right, exactly where line (B) hits line (A). Make pencil marks at 3/8”, 1 1/8”, 5 3/8” and 6 1/8”. Then, slide up to line (E) and repeat as shown in the photo to the left.
The paint can is also the curve used to make the legs. In the next photo, you’ll see the can of paint has been placed on the marks which are 3/8” from lines (A) & (E) and again on the next two, which are 1 1/8” from line (B). Repeat on the other side. You’ve got legs!
Last, but not least, is the shelf. Locate the two marks you made earlier on lines (B) & (C) at 2 5/8”. Draw a light line across, which will create a center line going through the middle of the arc of the legs.
Place the ruler on the center line as shown below and leaving the ruler in place, make a short vertical mark 1/4” inside of each leg. Place your ruler vertically on those two marks and make a small line. Since it’s so small, I just eyeball this line and make it as vertical as possible.
The shelf is created from two layers of foam board. Each layer is 1/8” thick, so two layers will be 1/4” thick. Place the ruler on the center line and make one mark 1/8” above the center line and another below. Repeat on the other side. Draw horizontal lines on those marks that extend to the little lines which are 1/4” inside the legs. That’s the shelf! If you’ve done all these steps correctly, the shelf should be
2 1/4” x 1/4”. Our drawing has revealed the width of the shelf, which is why it’s invaluable in the design process. See “Variations” at the end of the tutorial to further understand how this will help you design other items.
Continued in THE GREAT DIY DOLL TABLE CHALLENGE part 3