DIY Doll House Floor

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You can easily make this pink and white marble floor for your doll photography or for a dollhouse floor.  I’ve pick a pattern I saw in a magazine, but you can google marble floors and find ultra fabulous patterns that can make you crazy looking at them.  They’re not that hard to figure out and since there are no rules…..you can’t go far wrong.

Start with your materials.  I’ve chosen a large piece of pink poster board which will serve as the base for the tiles and will show through as my “grout”.  Honestly, it’s a pink grout floor, but that didn’t have the zing that “pink marble floor” has, and I was going for subtle pink.  Also shown below (click on any photo to enlarge), are a couple of pieces of white poster board and some darker pink wall paper which will be used as accent tiles for this floor.  Some of the white poster board has already been cut into small rectangles which will be my white slate/marble tiles.

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I started by drawing a very very very light pencil line on a diagonal across the pink board as a guide line to get started.  All you have to do is start placing the white marble tiles on the pink board with a touch of glue.  You don’t have to be perfect.  I only made the one guideline and eyeballed it from there, but do whatever you have to do to keep things in line and fairly square.

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Keep adding more of the white tiles.  Below, you can also see that I’ve cut up the piece of wallpaper into small accent tiles.  You will have to figure out the scale of your floor to suit your needs at the start of the project.  I wanted pink “grout” to also show around the little accent tiles, so they were cut with that in mind.  Paste them in just like the big tiles.

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Here’s a close look at the finished product and then a photo of the whole scene.  You might notice that the accent tiles are made from the same wallpaper as the wall.  These kinds of touches are fun to make and can add so much visual appeal to your doll photography or dollhouse.  The garden door in the last photo is fun to make and you can learn how here.   Hope you like it.  Thanks for looking.  Ask questions if you have any.  Best Wishes, Melanie

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Doll Accessories, My Garden Door View

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Dolls can only look at walls for so long before they go bonkers.  Yes, they like art & books, but a great view is a lovely thing.  Creating a door or window will add a lot of depth and ambiance to your doll photography.  It also just makes it more fun to appreciate them when you see them in a space as lovely as they are.

Making a door or window with a view is easy.  I’ve used wood in this case….because I can.  I’m a tool girl and playing with my bandsaw is just too much fun to pass up, but you can simply substitute poster board or foam board.

First I decided on the scale, which in this case is 1/3 so it will go with my bookcase.  The first photo below (click on any photo to enlarge) shows my pattern, which was cut from heavy paper.  You can see that I’ve planned for the door and the surrounding moulding.

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Next, I mark the pattern onto my wood.  Even if you’re doing a version using poster board or foam board, play it safe and make a pattern first.  It might save you a trip to the store to purchase more materials when you realize you’d really like it a bit bigger or smaller or wider or whatever.

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Here’s my finished cuts ready for spray paint.  Just in case you’re wondering, I cut my trim parts in two pieces because it’s less wasteful of my wood.  If you’re doing the poster board version you can do it in one nice sweeping arch.  Of course you can make a rectangular garden door also, but I just love the elegance of an arch.

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This next photo shows the painted door and trim in off-white satin finish spray paint.  The beauty of using poster board is that you can simply pick the color you want and skip the painting step.  We’re looking at the back side of the door and you can see my staples holding everything in place.  You’re also looking at the back side of the photo of my garden, which was enlarged in photoshop (in sections) and taped together to get it that large.  Remember I mentioned that this is 1/3 scale (SD or 24″ size dolls), so the total height of the door is 27 inches.  The photo is 22″ tall, which is just enough to cover the needed area.  I simply taped the photo to the door from the back side and when you turn it over, voila!, you have a fabulous view.

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The last part is putting the hardware on to give it authenticity.  What you’re seeing below is a piece of green poster board which I used to hold my door hardware before I spray painted it with an old can of gold paint in a hammered metal look.  Love using up old cans of paint.  You can see four little pieces of wood that will make my door hinges.  They are  little wooden skewers bought at the grocery store and cut into one inch pieces.  You know, the kind you put veggies or meat on so they don’t fall through the grill as you BB-Que them.  Place them on a piece of masking tape, with the sticky side up.  This holds them in place while sprayed them.  Otherwise they’d have flow off from the power of the spray can.  The two brown circle looking items are the door knobs, which are large decorative nails I use in my upholstery business.  They worked fantastic, but you could just cut circles and add several small layers of poster board behind them to lift them off the surface and create the illusion of depth.  You could also make nice door knobs out of polymer clay. The little white paper shapes are my door knob plates, which are just poster board cut to a decorative shape and painted.  Pretty cute, huh?

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Here’s one of the many photos I’ve taken of this door.  The finished product is so easy.  You can make it in any size you want.  You could take a picture of yourself (or one of your dolls) looking in the window just for fun…..or your cat peering in….or aliens.  Whatever you like.  This is my garden just outside my dining room doors and the path I laid out of local antique brick and all the plants I planted…..cause I’m a DIY girl and don’t know when to stop.  ;o}    I think the wall looks better with more contrast between the door trim and the wall, but…..

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As an added bonus, here’s my latest view for my new modern furniture.  I wanted city girls to have appropriate views of their world.  It’s using the same techniques.  You can instantly create a fun space for your dolls or your stuff.  If you have smaller dolls you could set this up on the shelf of a bookcase, adding depth and interest.  See how I did the brick wall for these photos here.

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Please feel free to ask questions and thank you for looking.  Hope you liked it.

My Books

As much as I really like electronic media, I also love books.  The books on my library shelves are just props.  You can certainly find amazing tiny books on the internet to use with your dolls, but since I frequently have scraps of leather, fabric and wood from my upholstery business, the best way I’ve found to recycle or upcycle is to turn them into stuff to fill my bookcases.  My intention was to create the illusion of books.  Plywood is my favorite, since it has layers that looks more like pages than regular wood, but I use both.  Here’s a edge view of one.  All photos can be clicked to enlarge

Sometimes I paint the edges white or gold, which is common in the book binding industry.  Also adding images, lettering or decoration to the spines is a lot of fun.  You can see my collection of BJD Encyclopedias made out of teal leather in many, if not most, of my photos.   Linen-like fabric makes nice books and you can write on the spine with permanent markers.

Working with wood is easy for me, but because most doll owners don’t have the tools I have, I thought I’d show another option.  Using foam board scraps from my black and white floor, doll sized books are very easy.  Scale your books to fit your dolls.  I have two sizes, depending on the size of the furniture I’m photographing.

For the purposes of this post, I cut out four 1/8th inch pieces of foam board and glued them into two pairs.  Cutting the foam board is done with an exacto knife and a metal straight edge ruler.

Next, a piece of leather, cut to fit, is glued with hot glue to one side. I let the cover be ever so slightly larger than the “pages”, just like real books.

Here you see me holding the leather on the spine while the glue cools. You want the glue to bond well to the entire length of the spine.

Now I finish the other side and then trim it.  It’s easy to trim after glueing, but I frequently cut everything out before starting a batch of books.

You could also leave all four sections loose and have a book that opens in three places, but the glue does tend to separate at the spine as you open the book.  A fun way to cover the unattractive separation at the spine (if that’s important to you) is to add paper pages…..or you could make a whole book of paper pages….but that’s a lot of work for a prop.

I told Tracie I’d written her biography, which she just loved…..she’s had a most interesting life…and you can see how pleased she is with it.  She keeps it with her when she’s not modeling.

If you look closely you can see personal items on my bookshelf.  Here’s a couple of close ups which include a little distressed frame with a butterfly print and a photo of myself as an infant in my great Aunts arms, with my brother on the left.  To the right of that photo (second one below) you’ll see books covered in rattan I took from a small rattan sample book one of my designers gave me.

The books with printed titles are the name of that particular color of leather which was stamped on these particular samples.   The names can be pretty funny so I cut them out and glued them to the spine.  From a distance they just look like titles. Enlarge either photo above, especially the top one, and you’ll see what I mean.

Since most people don’t have access to sample books, try Tandy Leather if there’s one in your area.  They frequently have small bits of leftovers for sale, or instead of getting rid of that old leather purse that’s so worn out you’re embarrassed to use it, upcycle it into vintage doll books.  Making some books to stack around as props in your photos can be a lot of fun, and who knows, perhaps your dolls will take up reading like mine.  Oh no!  Then you’d have to make them a lamp so they don’t strain their beautiful eyes.  ;o)

My Pink Brick Wall Background

One of my most useful backgrounds has been the brick wall.  I generally use it to do real “product” type shots of the furniture for my Etsy shop.  There’s a great Italian restaurant a few blocks from my house on Congress Ave. in So. Austin.  It’s actually two restaurants, Vesapio and Enoteca, which operate from a joint kitchen and they’re both very good.

On the North side of the building is a vacant lot, used for parking or vendors, and it has a nice grungy brick wall.  I snapped it one morning before the vendors set up their tents and the light was just right.  I crop it to reflect the parts I want, copy it several times, and then cut and paste (literally) it together.  You can see the difference between the actual wall, the photoshopped version and the photographed version.  It’s pays to take a photo of the first copy of the one you think you might like before you do lots of copies and cut and paste.  It’s not perfect, but I like it!  Hey!, I’m a DIY kinda girl.

Brick walls as an feature in houses and lofts are quite popular.  They give a nice architectural element to the look of the place and can be found in a wide range of colors to suit your needs.  You can find brick computer wallpaper on the internet, but it’s a lot more fun to get your own from a local source.  Fun is GOOD.