The Great DIY Doll Table Challenge part 2

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… 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 Oak VersionDIY Doll Table

On the left is my oak version.  On the right is the DIY version made from foam board.  Click on any photo to enlarge. Click on each name to get the tools and materials list.  OAK  DIY

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 bodrawing1ttom of tdrawing2he 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”.

drawing5Place your ruler on line (A) and on both of the marks at 2″. drawing6 Draw vertical line (B).  Leaving the ruler in place, make a pencil mark on that line at 2 5/8”,       5 1/4” and at 5 3/4”.


drawing11Place 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. drawing13 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  drawing14  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 drawing15paint has been placeddrawing16 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.drawing17

Place the ruler on the center line as shown below and leaving the ruler in place, make a short verticaldrawing18 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.                                littlemarks


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    drawing21center 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.












The Great DIY Doll Table Challenge! part 1

I’ve been making end tables lately.  That’s doll sized end tables.  They make great accessories for doll photography.  Today you’ll see the first one I created.  After finishing, it occurred to me that it was fairly complex and required quite a few tools to accomplish.  This created THE GREAT DIY DOLL TABLE CHALLENGE!  I decided to make two tables out of the same pattern – one out of oak – and one out of foam board.

Yep.  Foam board.  You know, the big box craft store kind of foam board.  I challenged myself to make a simple but totally cool table that the average DIY doll owner could accomplish without a workshop full of tools and expensive materials.  That’s what you have to look forward to next week since they still need a few final touches.  I think you’ll be surprised with their look and ease of construction.  Today, you’ll see how the first table turned out.

Classic Doll Furniture by My Little Big Chair

Doll Furniture by My Little Big Chair

Pretty cool, huh?!  I love to decorate the table with personal items of my own and the personal items of my dolls. That’s me and my Dad in the photo.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

The whole process starts with a pattern.  Searching the web for designs is fun with tons of creative ideas.  Feel free to combine elements from different pieces that you love.  The legs on my final choice are made from two parts.  I know I know, more complex than was necessary, but that’s just the way I am.  The style of THE GREAT DIY DOLL TABLE CHALLENGE! tables will be sleek and simple.  (Love to write that in all caps and hear a booming baritone voice saying it.)

Drawing the design so that it fits the size of your dolls is important.  I use heavy drawing paper which is sturdy enough to cut out and use as the pattern.  Here you can see the pattern pieces and the finished cutouts.

DIY Doll Furniture The bottom leg sections have been glued together and the table top cut out.

BJD furnitureYou can see what the table will look like at this point in the process.  However, don’t actually attach the top to the bottom, because painting or staining is much easier with the top and bottom still separate.

Classic Handmade Doll FurnitureI liked the table top but remembered my old router, which was gathering dust on a shelf in the garage, would enable me to add some detail to the edge of the top.  With dolls…..more is always better.

My Little Big Chair Handmade Doll FurnitureA bit of extra shaping was added to the bottom.  Then a coat of primer and some vinyl spackling is applied and sanded to cover the joints.

DIY doll tableOn top of the primer, a couple of coats of black went on first.  Then a couple of a teal, both of which were water based wall paints.  I like the small jars of “test” paint you can purchase for $3.00 at Lowe’s.  You have to be careful to keep the paint off the rim of the lid, or they can be almost impossible to re-open.  Once you know to be careful with that, these inexpensive little pots of color will last a long time over many projects and can be combined with other colors to get beautiful blends.

You can see the last of the black being covered in the photo below.  My intention was to paint the bottom since I had to cover the joints of the plywood legs. The top was intended to be stained and left natural.  Cutting on curves is cutting against the grain at some point and that area will take stain at different rates, usually much darker.  The edge was dark and uneven and more importantly didn’t photograph well.  So, masking tape was applied top and bottom to protect the stain on my beautiful routed edges and a coat of primer applied to seal the stain before being painted to match the bottom.

Most sophisticated handmade bjd furnitureHere’s the finished product.  If you look closely (click to enlarge first photo in post for even closer view) you’ll see the black paint has been exposed along the edges of the legs and at the “toes” by very lightly sanding away the teal color.  Tiny little dots of black paint were “spattered” all over the for a vintage look.

DIY Doll Furniture

Of course, this idea is intended to inspire DIY doll owners from 24 inches plus all the way down to dollhouse size.  Use these ideas to make coffee tables, dining tables, desks, etc.   I hope my process will stimulate your thinking and creativity around the possibilities for your photography & accessories for your dolls.  It’s a lot of fun!


Posing Angie

How many ball jointed doll owners reading this pose/re-pose their doll(s) once a week?  How about every day?  Ahhhhh…. another junkie after my own heart.  It is addictive.  Of course proximity helps a lot.   I have a  “cubbie” in my staircase in which I place recently finished furniture pieces along with my doll Angie, providing the perfect opportunity to mess with her.  Occasionally, she gets into such a charming pose it simply must be retained for some time, but it’s a fun exercise in her best trait…..that would be being more limber than I am.

Ball Jointed DollsHere’s some new furniture, not yet ready for posting to my Etsy shop, but perfect for highlighting Angie “the poser” and some other new accessories which might interest the DIY’er in you.

BJD FurnituireShe looks a bit lost on this settee for 24″-26″ dolls, but finds it extremely comfortable.  She loves to relax in style.  I confess, playing with her and all the accessories, and then the big photo shoot, is more fun than I can say.  If you’ve followed me for a while you might notice the new end table and lamp. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

Exquisite doll furnitureI’m working on a post to show how I made it and will also provide information to DIY’ers, who might not have my workshop of tools, to create end tables that perfectly fit their dolls.  The lamp is one of two new ones and I’ll bet no one can guess what the base is.  Come on.  Give me your best guess!  It’s very heavy and about 50 years old.  I found it at a local antique shop and with a pre-made shade, it’s just about perfect for dolls.

Of course, end tables and lamps, backdrops and carpets are only rivaled by fashionable seating like nothing else you can find in the known Universe (well that’s what I heard).  Everyone knows that when Voyager sent back a message from deep Space after finding highly intelligent life deep in the galaxy, the message read “Send more Chuck Berry and Little Big Chairs!!!”.  What more can I say?  Photography and dolls are popular everywhere and accessories make it more fun!

Here are a few of the poses Angie came up with this time.

Doll ChairsBJD Furniture     Tufted Doll Chair

Posing1Best Doll FurnitureFine Doll Furniture




SD Doll FurnitureDoll Furniture





Happy Holidays from My Little Big Chair

A new furniture design, a classic side chair, will be available on Sunday, December 7th. This is a simple chair with a nice little curve in the back to cradle your doll.  White linen, charcoal velvet & lace, and an animal print will be ready, and maybe a few more.  They all have handmade oak legs sanded to a smooth natural finish.  I’ll have a few for larger dolls uploaded at 3:00 Central time.  Wishing everyone a very lovely holiday season and very Happy New Year.

Happy Holidays!


Classic Side Chair for 24" Dolls

Dolls Love the Holidays


New doll furniture from MyLittleBigChair!

New items will be added to my Etsy shop this Saturday, November 1st, at approximately 2:00 Central time.  Hope you have a moment in this beautiful Fall to check them out.  I will be adding more at the end of the month if you miss this batch.  Have fun!  Here’s a little peek.

Angie in doll chaise

Velvet Channeled Wing Chair for Dolls

Club chair for dolls