Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dollhouse dust door

My latest challenge was to come up with a way to keep the dust out of the Kinfeld. I didn’t want to make doors with hinges because I was having a hard time finding the right make and size hinge.
Plus I have done this before and the door would sometimes move while I was trying to work on the house.
After a back-and-forth with my good friend Hubert Lengdorfer we came up with a solution. I can’t stress enough how important some brain tennis with a friend is when you are both stumped.
We were pretty proud of ourselves!

So here is what I did. I cut thin strips of basswood and glued thicker strips (a bit thicker than my plexiglass) inside of them to make tracks for the plexiglass.

When I glued the tracks to the house I laid a thick piece of wood (the height I wanted the track to come up over the floor) and held the track flush to it. I used a hot glue gun to get a quick hold.

Then I measured the height for each floor inside the tracks and cut my plexiglass glass. I cut my plexiglass with an X-acto knife a few times and then snapped it apart.

I was going to drill a small hole and put in a knob to help slide the glass but it wasn’t necessary. 

The top floor took some more thinking. I was going to use magnets but I could’t find metal strips so I used small strips of velcro. So the glass sits in the track and the tops have velcro tabs.

I have to say I really like this method. I can still see into the house with no obstacles, the dust stays out and I can get inside easily. If I really need to get in there I can remove the glass completely and set it to the side. Otherwise I can slide it enough to do what I need to do and then close it.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Porch trim details for dollhouse

I am sharing this just incase someone out there needs lots of circles with some depth to them. I came up with a fairly easy way to make custom ones from paper.

After I determined the width I needed my circles to be as well as the inside circumference I wrapped/glued paper around a wooden dowel. This paper is called quilling paper and you can get it at craft stores in many colors.

I cut a square piece of mat board and then cut a hole in the center of a piece of wax paper. Then put the wax paper on top of the mat board and super glued the dowel to the mat board through the hole.
Then I used tape to secure the mat board to the cutting board, plus any parts of the wax paper that had curled up.

I did a few tests to determine how many pieces of quilling paper I needed to get the thickness I desired. Then glued them together as needed with wood glue.

Shown above is the start of making my first circle. Run the paper over your nail between your fingers to get a slight curl. Lay the end flat on the table and put a tiny bit of glue at the end on that one side.

To start, use a toothpick to help keep the paper flat to the wrapping template (The dowel glued to mat board) and then wrap the paper around it so it sticks to itself. DO NOT glue the strip to the wrapping template. The glue you put at the end of the paper will be on the outside when wrapped.

As you are wrapping, put tiny dots of glue along the inside of the strip of paper and wrap and push all around to be sure it is staying flat to the wax paper. This will go faster once you get the hang of it.
I put my wood glue into an empty Elmer's glue bottle to get the better nozzle, Keep your glue nozzle barely open to get small dots.

Keep wrapping and pressing then add more dots and wrap and press. Once you get to the end put glue at the end of the strip and wrap and press all around the sides of the circle to secure. Immediately slip your nails under the circle and wiggle it off the wrapping template.

Lay flat and press under a piece of mat board. If it looks like it lost the circle shape then slip your knife or needle tool handle inside and press while rolling it.
Whip of the wax paper and wrapping template to be sure no wet glue is there and make another. I found it best to only make 3 at a time and give any stray glue on the template time to dry. Otherwise your circle will get stuck and be ripped apart when you try to remove it.

Once dry, sand it on both sides with fine sandpaper.

I built my rails upside down. Not shown, but I braced the bottom rail (shown as the top in the above photo) against a long flat surface (sharpening stone shown above) and glued each circle to it with a strip of mat board in between. Then added the corner posts and the top rail which is wider than the bottom.

I made the smaller one shown above first and hand-painted it. Very difficult to get in all the crevasses. So for the longer one I used white spray pant and only hand-painted the top rail.

This is a great way to make circles for anything you need around the dollhouse!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dollhouse corbels

I needed to make lots of corbels for the Kinfeld.

I decided to try to make clay corbels using a mold.

To see how I made the initial corbel for pressing in the mold click HERE and scroll down.

 Scoop the white and the purple in the same amounts.

Knead in your hand until they are mixed.

Once they are dry, sand and paint them. I discovered if they dried in the clay they tended to curve. So I immediately took them out and patted them on the table to keep them flat.

For the very small ones I cut a long piece of molding into small sections (shown below). My blade teeth were not fine enough so I had to spackle and sand the sides. I would recommend putting a better blade on your band saw so you won't have to do this step!

Still have some touching up to do, but there they are!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Upholstering a couch and fringe carpet for a dollhouse

I originally was going to make a chair with this fabric for a different room in the dollhouse.
I temporarily placed the fabric in this room while I was moving something else and WOW! I loved it there!
This was great because the original fabric I had my heart set on showed glue staines so I couldn't use it. ALWAYS test your fabric first to be sure it takes the glue well. I did a small test on a 2" square.

I am always on the look-out for this specific couch. It is the right scale and very well made. I sold my last one after reupholstering it years ago and was so happy when I spotted this one on eBay.

My squirrels were visiting my studio window for their peanuts while I worked, so I got distracted feeding them and didn’t take step-by-step photos for the couch. But I have listed the order below.

Always start gluing the fabric from what will be in the back to the front.
1. the horizontal panel just above the front skirt.
2. the face of the arms-wrap over no hem
3. the front skirt
4. over the arms and on the sides. Hem around the front, wrap around the back of the couch no hem.
5 side skirts and so on...

The rug is a piece of really soft, thick fabric. It needed some fringe so here's how I did it.

Pull your strands out with a needle tool. Oh gosh my needle tool has dried clay on it. I have had it since art college when I took sculpting 25 years ago! :)

I flipped it over so the green spots would be more faded. (The back of the patterned fabric is white) Surprised that it matched the blue carpet great when I flipped it over. Glue it onto the back of your rug!

In-between each snore..."Grandpa, Grandpa, Grandpa...."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dollhouse kitchen cabinets

I decided to make my own cabinets for the Kinfeld because the ones I had from another dollhouse that I sold didn't fit correctly.

I used balsa wood for this because I could cut it with my craft knife instead of going to the basement to use my skill saw (I don't always cut a straight line on that thing.)

First I researched features I would like in my design. Then I decided what to twist and compromise on to work in my space and to work within my skill set. One thing I have learned over the years is to not torture myself to try and make something I am not capable of. At the same time I do try and push myself to learn and get better with each project.

So I sketched some plans and worked with 1/8" thick balsa wood. I made a few corrections along the way, but here is my chaos!

So first I cut my large piece of balsa for the front of this cabinet section and covered it with card stock. Initially I painted Mod Podge on the balsa and it warped so I painted the other side and it flattened again and stayed under a book, then I used wood glue to adhere the card and flattened under a book again. This was when I was thinking of painting right on the wood. I thought Mod Podge would help fill in the wood pores. So I switched and used card instead.

I drew my cabinets on an even thicker card and cut out the frame and the drawer/cabinets holes where it would sink in. I popped the cabinet drawer/door frames back in the main frame and traced that (piece on bottom left).

Then I glued the layers on a piece of foam board because I wanted it to come out from the front for the sink area to give some dimension.

Then I glued that to the center of the full front piece.

I experimented here so I will only share what I will be doing for the next sections now that I figured it out. I painted all of it with Mod Podge to seal the paper. Then painted with a white gloss paint. Then used Elmer's glue along all the inset edges to make them curve in. I put the glue in the edges and wiped away with my finger and the glue stayed in the edges. I did this a few times all over in between other projects. Then, once the glue was dry, I painted white and sealed with matt varnish. In between any coat of anything that was painted I ran a needle tool in the crevasses where the drawers and cabinets would open to get any paint out.

I put small silver beads that I had for knobs and slid it into place.
The side cabinets will butt up against this piece.

I can't get into how I did the actual construction because I don't even know myself! I just drew, measured, cut and tried to think ahead with each step.

I decided not to make anything open because I have never gone in and opened any cabinets I have had in the past. Plus a few uppers will have glass doors and there will be one very important drawer that opens, but I will save that surprise! Oh it's going to be so cool!

I finished the right side.

I didn't have room for a refrigerator so I decided to make some modern refrigerator drawers!

Got the other side finished!
Dishwasher is in the back left and trash cabinet is on the left next to it. Love that these items are designed into the cabinets these days. Makes my job easier!

I printed a granite texture but didn't have my fixative spray before I varnished it so it changed the color. I went in with paints and restored it then sealed it again.

The "dishwasher" is behind the back left panel as well as the "trash bin". There will be a flat top stove on the counter above the oven. Making a modern kitchen in some ways is much easier!

 I forgot the crown molding space and had to rip all my work off and start over.

There we go. Much better!

Created my backsplash in Photoshop using a square sample. Had to slowly piece it together. Sprayed with fixative. Then touched up "glass tile" with a high gloss varnish twice.

I used Yes! Paste to put the backsplash up.

Stove top was dowloaded, enhanced in Adobe Indesign, printed - White "buttons" were enhanced with a white gel pen, then varnished, glued to card, edges were colored with black marker, and glued to counter.

All done!