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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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!

Dusty Pink Velvety Goodness

Once upon a time….I had just built a new deck and wanted some cool rattan chairs.  I went to Pier 1 and found these really curvy wonderful chairs, brought them home and have enjoyed them all these years.  One of them finally broke down, and the other one has been painted a couple of times, and the legs are strapped together with rope, but I still love it.

I recently decided to use it’s lines as a design for a new chair.  A dusty pink velvet, which I had in the past and recently found more of, is looking pretty cute.   It’s different!  I like it…. and hope you like it too.

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.

Steampunkify My Doll

Steampunk Angie

I’ve been attracted to Steampunk since I first heard about it a few years ago on the web.  I fell in love with science fiction in junior high school, about the same time I was sure not to miss an episode of The Wild Wild West on TV.  In 1990 when I purchased a copy of “The Difference Engine“, on the advice of a friend who also worked at the library, I had no idea that this genre had a name.  Apparently this work, co-authored by Austin writer Bruce Sterling and William Gibson, was instrumental in bringing the concept into the public’s greater awareness.  (All photos are flickable to enlarge.)

I will also happily confess that two of my favorite shows have been “The Adventures of Brisco County Junior” (Brisco and Bowler were just too damn glamorous) and, more recently, WareHouse 13.  So, I like to think of myself as sort of mildly keepin’ up with “the comin’ thing”, as Brisco would say…..except for sewing clothes.  Have not sewn clothes much since I was a kid.  Mom was an excellent seamstress and taught me, but I’m kind of a slob who just hangs out in her workshop, messes with furniture & dolls, and digs in the yard…… so who freakin’ cares?  I do on occasion clean up quite nicely, and living in a casual town like Austin has its benefits.  To say I was surprised by the finished product would be an understatement.  With so many amazing doll clothiers out there, intimidation was my biggest problem, but Angie’s jacket turned out quit well and I’m sure I’ll try again.

I used the edges of a piece of vintage ribbon to get the teeny tiny pink ruffle at the cuffs and up the front and collar.   Those pieces are also lined with the pink silk of the skirt.  No, the skirt is not real.  I didn’t have enough fabric to make a real skirt, so I faked it for the camera.  The little striped cummerbund is silk and taken from a sample book of silk plaids.

I’m quite pleased with myself, but will again express my undying respect and appreciation for all those who work on a very small scale.  Angie’s 22 inches tall, which feels pretty tiny when you’re trying to set those sleeves.  I’m consistently blown away by doll makers, doll clothes makers and miniaturists of all kinds.  I don’t really know how they do it.

Besides the Victorian-esque outfit, the top hat and goggles are quintessential Steampunk.  The leather is from a tiny sample of Ralph Lauren leathers, very thin and supple (only the best for my Angie).  Polymer clay lens holders, plastic lenses tinted with permanent marker (rose colored, of course), and tiny watch gears complete her sweet but punked up image.  So much fun!  Thanks for visiting and please feel free to comment!