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.


DIY Damask Wallpaper

After picking this big bold WordPress theme to show off my photography, I had to come up with a picture for the header.  I’d just done my first photo shoot with the library and was so excited.  Trying to get the dolls, the furniture, the walls, the art, and god forbid don’t forget the floor, into the shot……was just tiring.  But, once I’d created a Steampunk outfit, hat, and goggles for Angie, I decided less was more.  She looks really cute in her new outfit and I like the humor and playfulness that Steampunk can add (when you’re not fighting giant squids , of course).  There’s plenty of time to do complex shots with lots of stuff to take in………but not there……not at the top of the page… least not for now.  A nice vintage looking damask wallpaper would be perfect.

The wallpaper behind Angie in the header photo I made myself with a rubber stamp I’d had for a couple of years.  It’s a nice little damask pattern by A Muse Artstamps, so I thought why not play a little and see what happens.  Using a sponge and watered-down paint in browns, pinks, greens and ecru, I pressed and dragged color it all over my paper to make it look as old as possible.  Don’t worry if it gets messy, especially if you want a really old look.  The more water you use, the thicker the  grade of paper you’ll want.  Since your first effort with the stamping might not turn out exactly the way you expect, if you can, cut up the base you’ve created and photocopy it so you don’t have to repeat this step again.  Each segment can be glued together before stamping.  Using a piece of wood as a guideline I brushed more watered-down paint onto the stamp and went after it.

The first version was done using a color that, in hindsight, was too dark…to much the color of her hat, which was visually lost.   I wanted a really old faded look.  Here’s the photo I took to check how it looked.  Although interesting, it was just too much.


Trying again with a really really watered down lighter version, I got a wallpaper that would stay in the background and not compete with all the other stuff in the shot.  Be sure to mix enough of the color you want to work with so you don’t run out midway through and have to remix.  Or, be a smarty pants and take notes on the recipe so you can reproduce it if necessary.  As you can see, from the uncropped version, I only created enough of it to get the shot, so it was a pretty quick process.

Steampunk Angie in the Library

I think she’s a young Victorian woman, waiting in the library, for her beau to pick her up in his new steam powered motor car….no…no wait….she’s a young Victorian woman waiting in the library for her new steam powered motor car to be delivered by the cute salesman.     Ciao!

My Architectural Prints Photo Wall

Walls full of photos have always been a favorite decorating device.  The first time I did it was for my guy at his house in the late 70’s.  I bought inexpensive frames and used a book of black and white photos from the Mexican Revolution, which he loved, called The Wind That Swept Mexico.  The tiny living room had a wide arched opening into the dining room and I spread them all over the wall.  It really classed up the joint.

Photo walls are fun and give your doll photography a lot of depth…..if that’s your desire.  The space between my bookcases was perfect for a whole bunch of public domain architectural drawings, and I offer much thanks to Wikipedia Commons.  It brings tons of drama without adding color to the shot.  This won’t be the last one I try, even though it did take a little work, because I love this kind of project.  Click on all the photos to enlarge.

I purchased 1/4 inch balsa wood.  I thought, “Oh!  Balsa is so soft and will be so easy to cut!.”  Not.  Well, it does cut easily with the grain of the wood, but is a little tougher when cutting crosswise.  Nonetheless, first I designed the layout on paper, covering virtually the whole space, then cut the shapes.  Finding small pre-made frames that will work perfectly together is difficult, and can get expensive when you’re using this many.  I’m a DYI’er to the core, in case you haven’t noticed yet.

Then comes cutting out the centers and sizing the photos.  Two of them were cut out first, which allowed me to use that wood to make smaller ones.  This saved a lot on wood and all of the cutouts can be used to make smaller frames for other projects…..if I can only remember where I stashed them…..

Spray painting got fairly close to the desired look and lightly glueing the prints to the back of the frames to finish was easy.  You can see a small piece of fabric in the lower left corner under the frames, which was used for this photo to let me see how I liked the contrast of the fabric for the wall upholstery on which they might hang.  The white background of my design board created too much contrast against the black frames for the desired look.

This was my first big photo shoot with the library and tickled silly would be an understatement as I viewed the finished products.  Of course, after you start editing the ones that aren’t quite right there aren’t so many left over, but did I have fun?  Can’t wait to do another.  Always feel free to write me for help or with new ideas.  Ciao for now!