Wednesday, 29 February 2012

How to Make a Fire Screen for Your Dolls House

Firescreen made from card and paper
In the past I have used many things to make fire screens for my dolls houses - a belt buckle, an ivorine (synthetic ivory) brooch from the 1930s, a floral painting edged with wood, and a framed embroidery. But this one in the photograph is my favourite and was the easiest to make. It is in my Edwardian dolls house dining room.
 You will need:

  • matboard
  • a suitable picture or pictures
  • embroidery cotton in a toning shade
  • gold pen
  • pencil
  • craft knife
  • glue
  • ruler
To make the fire screen in 1:12 scale, here is what you need to do:

  1. Decide on the shape of your fire screen. Mine has the top edges of the three panels gently rounded but you might like to keep yours square.
  2. Measure the height of the fireplace opening.
  3. Measure the width of the fireplace opening and add half an inch. Divide this measurement by three.
  4. Mark with a pencil and then cut out three pieces of matboard. Each will be the height of the fireplace opening and 1/3rd of the width measurement.
  5. Glue the picture to one side of the matboard pieces to make the three separate panels. Make sure the edges are stuck down well.
  6. With the gold pen, ink round the cut edges of the panels.
  7. Using a small amount of glue, stick the embroidery cotton around three sides of each panel (not the bottom edge).
  8. Starting with one panel as the central piece, glue another panel to each side of it. Attach them on a slight angle so the fire screen looks realistic and will stand easily without support. 
  9. Leave to dry.
The picture I used for mine was from a large sheet of paper used for decoupage that I bought at a craft shop. It has a suitably olde-worlde appearance. You could use pictures cut from a magazine, a piece of wrapping paper, miniaturised photographs or even, if you are particularly artistic, a scene you have painted yourself.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Edwardian Dolls House: the Carpets and Floor Rugs

A variety of 1:12 scale dolls house carpets
I'm back from holiday now, so thought I would show you some of the examples of carpets and rugs in my Edwardian dolls house. Although I have embroidered most of them, in a few of the rooms I have used other things I have bought or made. You might get some ideas from these, especially if you don't like embroidery!
  The large green and cream rug is one manufactured as a 1:12 scale miniature and readily available from dolls house suppliers. I have it in the dining room. It's beautifully woven and the pattern and colours are traditional. I've also seen suitably scaled ones such as this, although usually smaller in size, as inserts in greeting cards in upmarket stationery and museum shops. Similarly, the woven bookmarks you see around can be used as hall runners or stair carpets.
  The plain blue rug I made for the night nursery. It's a rectangle of thin, soft felt, with borders of wide navy ribbon folded along the edges and glued on.
  In an antique shop, I found the cream and pink floral carpet, perfect for the governess' room. It is actually an example of a 'present' that was given as a freebie in cigarette packets in the 1930s. On the back is stamped 'Westminster Tobacco Co. Ltd. London'. Although it's a bit faded and spotted, I like it for its interesting history.
   Patterned with squares, the last rug started life as a money purse from Turkey. That is, it was a purse until I got hold of it! I unpicked each side, took out the zip and backed the two pieces with iron-on vilene so they wouldn't fray. For the fringes, I glued a wide piece of cream ribbon at each end so half of it overhung the end of the rug. Then when the glue had dried, I very carefully, with a pin, separated the strands into fringes.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Retro Caravan: the Curtains

A retro look for the curtains
I like this material I found for the curtains. I think it has a real 1950s retro look. Making them was easy. No stitching required, just thin lines of tacky glue to turn up the edges to hem them.
  To pleat the fabric rectangles into loose folds I used more tacky glue and folded and pressed them into shape with my fingers. Of course, I got more glue on me than on the curtains so needed to stop often to wipe my hands. And in the morning I found a toothpick glued to the fabric! I told you adhesives were my nemesis!
  For the pelmets I used off-cuts of banister railing. This has the groove along the underside so gluing the curtains into the slots was a breeze. They also make a handy shelf to put little bits and pieces on.
  At the moment the pelmets are just stuck in position temporarily with blu-tack. Once I have figured out how to make the windows I'll go back and fix the pelmets in properly, and coax the curtains into better folds so they don't stick out. This post is really to give you a sneak preview of the almost-finished interior.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Making Dolls' House Miniatures with Polymer Clay

This is one of the books in my library that I refer to the most for mini projects - Making Doll's House Miniatures with Polymer Clay by Sue Heaser. It's like a well-used recipe book. Some of the pages are a bit grubby and I've made pencil notations in the margins.
   The book is well set out. The first chapter talks about the different brands of polymer clay (my favourite for ease of use is Du-Kit, a New Zealand make) and the materials and tools you'll need for the projects which are all in 1:12 scale.
Fimo meat and sausages
   Chapter Two details the techniques you can practise to get all sorts of different effects from the clay.
   From there the chapters are set out by rooms e.g. kitchen miniatures, bedroom miniatures etc. But it is not just food and flowers that have step-by-step, illustrated instructions. All sorts of things are included such as making vases, picture frames, storage canisters, a Victorian sewing box, even a bath and a toilet!
A lamp made from polymer clay

   If you want to really want to take on a challenge, try making the coal range!  
   For the icebox in my Edwardian dollhouse        kitchen, I made the sausages and roast of beef from polymer clay. And in the gentleman's study my daughter made the Tiffany lamp from instructions in this book. We wired it in so it lights up. I think you'll agree - she did a great job!