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





Lampshade Adornment

A ten inch strip of tape with crystals hanging from it had occupied space in my workshop for a couple of decades.  It was one of those items you’re certain would come in really handy a few weeks after you threw it away…..ten measly little inches of bling.

Then came the world of dolls and ten inches of sparkle suddenly seemed like a wealth of adornment for…..something?   If you’ve read my posts on lamp making, you know that the shades rest on a circle of clear plastic.  I glued the strip of crystals to a 1/2 inch wide circular piece of cardboard.

Of course, I could have permanently glued it to the bottom edge of a lampshade.  That’s the way it’s usually done in the Big World, but that would be so unalterable, so singularly useful, instead of a multitasking light catching eye grabbing delectably gaudy adornment!  I can see that you can see where this is going.

Versatility is a good thing.  No telling where it will show up next.  Hummm…a hat for Angie?

How I Made My Tiffany Style Standing Lamp For SD Dolls

Lamps are very nice accessories for doll photography and I am a standing lamp junkie, so….. After making a few, I decided to try a Tiffany style standing lamp. ( All photos are clickable to enlarge.) They have been made, and continue to be made, in a wide variety of shapes and colors.  This is a great DIY project and is really not difficult.  This particular post is about a electric lamp, but this same style can be created with LED lights. Having never done anything like this with polymer clay, starting with the shade itself seemed like a good idea.

Scouring my house and shop to find just the right shape for a mold took a while.  Finally, I decided to use a brass container (minus the lid) because the size was close to what I had imagined and would work best with my bookcase for photography.  First, I covered it with  a layer of translucent polymer clay and baked at the prescribed temperature.  I made a drawing of the design and started applying clay.

The first translucent layer was a little bit fragile and developed some minor cracks (click on the above photo and the cracks will be obvious), especially after I cut a scalloped edge around the top.  Well…. it was the top when I started.  It was intended to be more of a torchiere.  That’s where the light is reflected up.  Below, you can see the hole I cut for the pole and light bulb to fit into, but plans change.  Concerned that the bulb would stick up too tall and show in photos, the scalloped edge became the bottom part of the shade.  You’ll see in a minute what I did with that hole.

Tiffany lamps are “leaded glass”.  Copper polymer clay was used for the “lead” on this lamp and slightly different shades of translucent polymer were used for most of the panels. A google search of Tiffany lamps will reveal that most use pale colors to allow the light from the lamp to show through, but not all.  There are very dramatic shades that use darker colors and have very ornate designs.  I noticed that most of the translucent panels varied slightly from almost white to subtle shades of pale orange or tan.  I mixed some variations, including some areas that appear a little blotchy and not mixed completely, which was a common look in the vintage pieces I studied.

You can see I’ve been cutting away my pattern as I progress around the piece and using it as a pattern to lay on the clay and cut each piece as accurately as possible.   Everything went well for a couple of turns around the shape, but after adding the next level, I realized I’d have to make some changes.  No problem!  I’m adaptable, and you can still see that hole in what is now the top of the shade.

Now you can start to see more variation in the translucent clay and the addition of a bit of color in the accents.  The copper “lead” spirals slightly around the globe as I’d planned, but the details on the lower section were created “on the fly”, if you know what I mean.  Stuff happens.

This work took two to three hours.  Perfection is not necessary unless you’re making a very geometric style shade.  Even then, don’t drive yourself crazy because the finished shade will look just fine….especially in photos.  I smoothed out as many fingerprints as possible and used a lucite rod to finish.  Remember, it’s supposed to be lead and separate from the “glass” panels, so don’t drag the clays into each other.

In the finished photo above, you can see little swirls of color in the translucent panel next to the blue accent…..very Tiffany lamp like.  You can also see the cap and finial I created for the top to cover that hole!  Now we get to create a pole and base.  You can see a closeup of my base here.  I decided to use a piece of copper pipe for my pole.  Using an ammonia compound created from the many recipes available on the web, I gave it that fabulous funky bluegreen aged look of copper.  After numerous photo shoots, it has started falling off a bit with too much touching, but I still like it and can touch it up when needed.

In the above photo, you can see the sequence for stringing it all together.  The electrical cord, socket and bulbs can be purchased in the lighting department of any major hardware store.  Click on the photo to enlarge and see my circle of plexiglass already installed between the socket and the bulb and on which the shade sits.  The small piece of copper clay at the top of the poll is a transition piece between the copper pipe and the socket.  For lamps using LED lights a dowel is used exactly like shown in my other posts.

Voila!  The finished lamp plugged in and ready to go.  Please feel free to ask any questions and I would love to see your work.  Thanks very much for visiting.

Lamp Shades For Dolls

Anyone can make a doll sized lampshade.  You just have to know what size and what shape works for your doll. First, fold paper into an appealing shape, not too cone shaped, but not too straight.  I use a stapler to hold it while working because it can be easily removed, but paper clips or tape Doll furniturehave their advantages and disadvantages also.  In the second photo I’ve held the cone vertically and tried to mark a horizontal line as well as possible.  It’s a little difficult, but you can refine that line in the next few steps.  Remember, we’re making a pattern, so don’t use you’re best paper.  In the third photo I’m marking a line that will allow me to put it back in exactly the same position, with a small overlap of approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch inch depending on the size of the shade. The last photo in this group shows putting it back together after cutting the top and bottom to the length I want and refining the edges with scissors.  Look at full sized shades to get an idea of how you want yours to look.  Set it on a table to see if it appears level.

If you read DIY Doll Table Lamps, you saw how the shade sits on a clear or translucent platform.  So, a shade that had sides that were straight up and down doesn’t work with this method of lamp building.   It would slide right off.  You also saw in the last photo of that post that the shade only sat down about 1/2 – 3/4 inch onto the platform to leave room for the little lights.  If you’re not using LED lights, it doesn’t matter where the shade meets the plexiglass, as long as it gives you the look and shape you desire  You have several elements to juggle in your design and execution of the base and shade; the total height, the height of the base, the height of the shade, and how much of the pole (dowel) will show.   But the nice part is….there’s no right or wrong.  Lamps and shades come in every conceivable shape and size.

This photo shows three shades.  The bottom one (laid flat) is wallpaper, and ready to be put together.  The pinkish one is a pattern for a more angled shade , and the small finished shade at the top is wallpaper with a small scale pattern.  Your finished shade should be out of paper that can hold it’s shape, not too lightweight, but not too stiff and heavy.  The photo on the right is of a finished shade in white paper and a fabric cover made from the same pattern.  The fabric part uses all of the pattern right up to the line plus 1/2 inch seam allowances on each end…..or you could just hot glue it!  The last photo in this group  is showing the fabric sleeve on the shade.  Fabric doesn’t have enough body and needs the shade under it, which is great because then you can use pretty sheer fabrics that let the light shine through.

I have two ways to finish the shade using fabric in this way.  The first is to add a piece of matching trim to finish the shade.  This picture shows how that’s created. Click to enlarge.

If your shade is not too angular you can cut a strip of fabric on the straight of the grain (as shown), but if you have a really flared shade, it’s best to cut it on the bias of the fabric (on the diagonal) which allows it to bend.   Here’s the trim being glued onto the shade with a hot glue gun.  Start and stop the trim at the fabric seam.  The seams are always turned to the wall so they aren’t noticeable.  In this photo I was using a sheer white fabric, with a little pattern in it, on top of a white paper shade and simply cut the fabric about 1/4 inch longer at the top and bottom.  The old glue gun did the rest.  Very easy and effective if the fabric is the same color as the shade.

Last and most important, now that you’re completely pooped, is to have a couple of margaritas with you dolls and relax.  Here’s what that eventually leads to…..if your dolls are anything like mine.

More Lamp Bases

My first post on lamp bases talked about a type that have a rounded body with a dowel coming out of the top.  This post is about a different style of lamp base, which could be used as a table or standing lamp.  It’s just a matter of the length of the pole.  This base is like the base of a microphone stand.  It gives the lamp stability, but doesn’t have a large profile, with an exposed length of pole going up to the shade.  Here’s a shot of the base I made for my Tiffany style lampshade.

Many of the lamps I make are electrified, so some of the examples will have elements to reflect that fact.  One of my first standing lamps, was designed for an ornate leaf pattern on the base.  I use a wood core to save polymer, but it can just as easily be solid clay.  The little cut out in the shape is for my electric cord to exit the lamp.

First, came a leaf cane in olive, gold and copper.  Then, the base was covered in copper and baked.  The last photo shows a short piece of PVC pipe used to support the “neck” of the base while baking.  You can also see my finished PVC lamp pole painted gold in the left bottom corner.

I used this PVC pipe because it perfectly holds the proper electrical part at the top (which the bulb screws into) and the cord is hidden inside.  It’s only drawback is it’s circumference is a bit large proportionally, and somewhat limited to SD sizes.  If you’re using LED lights, then you only have to decide on the size of the dowel that works with your design.  Your local hardware store will care a wide assortment of wood dowel sizes.  Click photos to enlarge.

I have three standing lamps in my house, so it was only natural that I would create some for my doll photography.   Don’t forget, this style can be perfect for table or standing lamps.  Questions or comments are appreciated.  Share a photo of your lamp with me at my Etsy shop or by emailing dollchairs.rr.com.  Here’s the final product (with books hiding the cord).