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.

Art Nouveau Inspired Doll Screen

The fabrics were actually the first inspiration.  I love these colors together, but only had a very small amount of each.  Art Nouveau art and architecture inspired the shape of this screen for 18 inch dolls.  It’s sized so that a ball jointed doll can stand behind it with head and shoulders, and calves and feet showing.  Of course, it’s also great as a room decoration or vanity table adornment.

First, that Art Nouveau shape had to be imagined and then drawn on heavy paper to use as a pattern.  In the next photo you can see the paper patterns and the finished shapes cut from plywood.  You can also see the smaller crescent shaped pattern pieces for the fabric adornments (the orangy fabric with the dots) which is attached at the top and bottom of the screen.   All of the crescent shapes for the adornments were cut from poster board.

Next, I applied a very thin layer of dacron batting to the “back” side and stretched the silk over it, attaching it to the edge with hot glue.  In this photo, you’re looking at the “front” side, but you can see the cuts in the silk which were necessary for the fabric to pull smoothly over the curves at the bottom of the screen.

Applying silk fabric to one side

Then, the main fabric was applied to the front of each of the three pieces. I didn’t bother to take it over the edge at the top and bottom because the adornment fabric will cover that.   You can see that I attached this fabric around the edge on the straight side of the two very outside edges (on the small side panels), but only about half way across the 1/2 inch width of the wood.   Trim will cover the raw edges of the fabric.  The exception to this is along the sides where the hinges are applied.  I carefully turned the fabric under and glued it into place.  You don’t want too much fabric or trim under the hinges because the screws won’t reach through a thick layer.

Now is the time to add the adornments to the top and bottom.  Remember those extra crescent shaped pieces in the second photo?  In this shot, you’re looking at the back side (the side which will touch the wood) of the one that goes across the top.  I make more of the little slits which allow the fabric to move through the curve and then hot glued them to the cardboard pattern across the bottom edge.

Unfortunately ;o(  I don’t have a picture of the next step, but you can figure it out.  Simply flip it over and line up the top edge of the cardboard pattern with the wood.  Lay the fabric back and staple the cardboard to the wood.  Be sure to staple down close the the bottom of the curve where the hot glue is holding the fabric on.  OR if you don’t have a stapler, you can put hot glue along the bottom edge and carefully place it to aline with the top of the wood and press until the glue dries.  This gives you a nice finished edge on the adornments where they meet the main fabric.

Do this same process on the bottom curved adornment, attaching enough fabric to also cover the legs.   Then, add a little bit of padding to the cardboard surface (and legs) and stretch the fabric over it and around the  edge of the screen.  Make sure to trim it closely and carefully so the raw edges can be covered  with decorative trim at the end.  You can see that I’ve hot glued a pretty decorative trim around to cover the raw edges, stopping at the edge of the adornment fabric.  This is where the hinges are applied, and if you remember, we turned the fabric under here so it’s already finished.   

I added a tiny ornate metal picture frame to the back and put a photo of my three dolls in it.

There you have it.  Not a project for a beginner, but you should be able to pull ideas and techniques from this to apply to simpler projects with simpler shapes. I hope you enjoyed getting an look at how I do this kind of stuff.  Please comment if you have questions and I’m happy to help.  This item will be posted for sale in my Etsy shop.  Cheers!

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.

Welcome to Dolls, Doll Stuff, and Fun

I was just an upholsterer minding my own business when I collided with the world of dolls. Ouch! This world is really really big and leaves a big impression when you slam into it.  I continue to be amazed at the broad range of dolls and doll makers found on the web and love watching the creativity of all the individual artists continue to evolve.  Witnessing my own work change and grow is an amazing process and I’m happy to find a niche in this rich and creative environment.

Preparing my stuff for public viewing has taken me on a fun journey of doll accessories, props, & photography.  I’m having the creative time of my life.  Now, there are people out there who might be saying, “Just make more stuff for cryin’ out loud!”, but I confess, I’m loving all the details and all the groovy little extras that make showing off my stuff so much fun.  The fun part is paramount to my process.  Inspiration is essential.

This blog is for sharing photos that won’t fit on Etsy, previewing doll furniture projects that were of special interest to me, appreciating the doll makers who inspire my designs, and trying to give back to this community as much as I’ve received.  Thanks so much!