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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Garlands

This week we are continuing our series of dollhouse holiday d├ęcor items with two simple garlands.

The first is a simple glitter garland for the tree (or anywhere you want to use it) made with just a few simple materials you probably already have on hand. The string you use can be anything of about the same weight as the one I used. I like the Cro-Sheen string/thread because it is easy to find, cheap, comes in a ton of colors and comes in a fairly large quantity. I have several colors, I just used the first one I grabbed since the color doesn't really matter since you are covering it up with the glitter.

Pick a fairly thin glue for this project since you need to cover the string thoroughly and you only have one shot at it. Also just like any other other glitter project you are going to have glitter everywhere.

After the glue dries the garland will be stiff just gently move it around to soften it just be careful you don't knock off too much glitter.

For the paper chain I like to use quilling paper, it is already cut to 1/8” wide so I only have to cut it into ¾” lengths. This part of the video took me all day to film because gluing all those little rings of paper takes a lot of time and you really need to let the glue at least set up a bit between steps. In the end the chain is shorter than I wanted but I ran out of time. I think it is still really cute and I am happy with it.

So these are just two options for garlands, what can you come up with??

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Ornament Decorating part 2

This week we are continuing to decorate some of the ornaments we made in an earlier tutorial. This time my medium of choice is some simple glitter glue, the stuff from the kid's crafts area of the store. I love this stuff for things like this. It adds some glitz and it a really inexpensive medium.

I am sorry there aren't any more photos this week I had a horrid problem getting the glitter glue to dry because of how cold my house is today. By the time it was dry enough to handle there simply wasn't enough light to get a decent photo. Since I didn't get around to filming this until Saturday afternoon I am just out of time if I want to get this tutorial posted on Sunday morning. I was going to film on Friday but my thumb was too sore to hold onto anything at that point. (it is much better today, don't worry)

I hope to get back to some more ornament ideas I have but I want to also do the tree topper and some garland so I am not sure. If we don't get to all the ornaments this year there is always next year too.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I apologize for how short this blog post is but I need to get this posted.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Ornament Decorating part 1

Watch the video here.

This week we are going to start decorating some of the ornaments we made last week. I am trying to keep this simple an d still have some really cool looking ornaments. You really only need to do a few decorated ones to sprinkle around the tree. Then fill in with plain ones.

I am using the Art Deco polish from LA Colors, I think it is slightly thicker than regular polish and it works really well for this project. That long, thin brush is really handy too. I got all of mine at the Dollar Tree over a period of several years.

For the first ornament I decided to use a blue base and make flower/snowflake design on it. This is super simple to do with dotting tools.

The second ornament is a take on one my mom used to hang on our tree when I was growing up. I loved the bright red ornaments with their simple white line in the middle and a touch of silver glitter. I think the dolls will love this one too.

For our third ornament I simply used some pre-made gem flowers that are meant to go on nails. Again this was a Dollar Store purchase so it is a really economical way to decorate.

I hope you are having as much fun as I am with this series. Next week I will come up with a few more designs for you.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Tree Ornaments

This week we are going to make some ornaments for our trees. This is a slightly different method than I have shown before. Here is a link to the video I did previously that uses a head pin with the beads. This time we are using eye-pins with the beads. I like both methods and it depends on what your beads are like which will work best.

If you have beads that are decorative and/or have small holes (that the ends of the head pin won't slip through) then use the method in the other video. If on the other hand you have beads with larger openings this method will work better.

I am not sure if these are going to be as durable as the other ones.

The biggest advantage I see to these are that we don't have the head pin showing on the bottom of every ornament.

The fabric paint seems to hold the pin in well under normal use and these are especially pretty if you are going to display a box of ornaments in your scene.

Next week I plan to start showing you how to decorate some of these ornaments so if you want to jump in on that project right away do some prep this week.

One of the biggest advantages of this project is that we can use whatever beads are the correct size to make our ornaments. The color doesn't matter at all since it will be covered. I was even able to use pony beads to make some of the ornaments and they seem to work just fine. (I am not sure how sturdy they will be though)

On the disadvantage side I am not sure how well the paint will hold the eye-pin if they are handled roughly and they are much slower to make than the other style.

My suggestion would be do some of each.

Now onto some hints for getting your ornaments to turn out their best.

Work clean, keep a wet wipe handy and clean up any fabric paint that squirts out.

Make sure that your hooks are straight as they dry. I didn't come back and check on mine and some of the hooks leaned to the side as they were drying.

If your fabric paint sinks down as it dries fill in with a bit more and check it when dry.

As you paint the ornaments with the nail polish again work clean and clean up any drips. I found that the faceted bead did drip a lot more than the other ones.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Tree Skirt

The first step in making our tree skirts is to pick a suitable fabric. You need a fairly small design so that it won't look out of scale. You also want a design that doesn't have direction to it, in other words you don't want to pick something that would look odd from the side. I love this red background with the gold stars. It is very Christmassy without taking over the scene. The design is very subtle so it will blend into the scene but still leave the bottom of the tree looking dressed.

The next big decision is how large do you want to make the skirt for your tree? I like mine to just peek out from under the bottom branches. Just enough to show but not so much as to look like it is taking up too much floor space. The tape roll that I used was between 4 ¾” and 5” in diameter. I'm sure you will find something in your house to trace around for yours.

Speaking of tracing. I used a Sharpie pen so you could see the line in the video, I really recommend you use a pencil. In the end mine doesn't show anyway though.

To stop the fabric from fraying I like to use Fray Check but you have other options. Any thin white glue that dries clear would work so would clear nail polish. It just needs to be a fairly thin product so that it doesn't make the edge too stiff. I like to do this step before I cut out the tree skirt because I can make sure my line of Fray Check (or whatever) is very thin but still soaked through the fabric. When you cut the skirt out you are cutting off part of the line of Fray Check.

Be sure to cut the slit up the back and a spot in the center for the tree. Then treat these edges so they won't fray also.

Once this is dry we can decorate! I like to use the glitter fabric paint but feel free to do anything that you want. I have seen this same skirt with a layer of lace glued around it and it was beautiful.

So that's all there is to making the tree skirt. I told you at the beginning of the video it was an easy project.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Tree

A while back over on my Facebook group I asked for some ideas for future tutorials. One of the ideas that a lot of people were really passionate about was that they wanted me to show how to make a Christmas tree and then how to decorate it. So we are beginning that set of tutorial now. I know it isn't even Halloween yet but I wanted to give everyone plenty of time to get their trees completed before the holiday season.

I am showing you how to use simple easy to find materials to create a tree, all you need are some green chenille stems, a wooden wheel, a short piece of ¼” dowel, some glue and some green paint. Oh, and something to measure with.

The most time consuming part of this project really is the cutting of the pieces of chenille stem. You need a lot of them.

Here is the cutting list:

1 piece of ¼” dowel cut 5 ½” long

Chenille stems

for the branches:

15 cut 6”
20 cut 5”
10 cut 4”
5 cut 3”

Then for the tips:

90 cut 2 ½”
10 cut 1 ½”

I had planned to show the entire process of getting the tree base assembled but there was an issue with my bottle of paint. Well, it was more like an explosion of paint. By the time I had that cleaned up I had managed to cut my finger a bleed all over everything in addition to having paint all over. So I felt it was best to just skip that portion of the process and bring you on in at a point when things were more under control.

You could probably get by without painting the tree base but I find it is just so much easier to hide it if it is painted green. The shade of green doesn't matter just any green that is handy.

There is really no trick to doing this project other than to keep the branches going in in a random fashion. You don't want them lined up that makes for holes in the look of the tree.

So what if you want a different shape of tree? This project is really adaptable, you make it taller, you could make it shorter. You will just need to play around with the lengths of the branch pieces.

I have seen this same type of tree done in metallic chenille stems and they are gorgeous.

So put your thinking cap on and play around with the project. If you make one of these trees be sure to show me a picture I would love to see how yours turns out. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Stone Fireplace

This week has been interesting for sure. I am still getting used to a new schedule (youngest son needs a ride into town and back twice a week) and I seem to be running late on everything.

Then to top it off the weather guessers predicted a huge windstorm for the weekend. We got a storm but not nearly as bad as they predicted. Since this is early for big storms here I had to do a lot of prep work to make sure we were ready for the storm. So that took some of my time too.

We did get a lot of wind and a lot of rain but thankfully no damage to anything and the lights stayed on. They did flicker a lot on Saturday so I didn't get much done that day. When the wind did kick up I turned off my computer, shut off my lights in my craft room and curled up under an afghan with a warm drink, a stack of magazines and a cat. That was the perfect way to spend a really stormy afternoon.

The high moisture and the low temperatures did a toll on my project in that I couldn't finish as quickly as I would normally have. If you have crafted for very long you know how fast the thin coats of acrylic craft paint we use in minis dries on a normal day. My paint took about 3 hours to actually dry the last several days. And that coat of Mod Podge you saw me apply to the fireplace in the video, it was 6 hours before it totally dried. My glue was just as bad so it is no wonder that the project took a lot of extra time.

So lets talk about the project.

I used some foam insulation, commonly referred to by miniaturists as “builder's foam” here is a link to the Home Depot site so you will know what to look for/ ask for if you aren't familiar with the product.
I purchased a 4' by 8' sheet of this stuff years ago and I am just now getting to end of it. I was happy to see that Home Depot has smaller “project panels” available now. I plan to get a fresh sheet soon.

So measuring was not my strong suit this week, I had really planned to make my fireplace 3” tall by 4” wide. I somehow cut it 5” wide. I think in the end it was a better size for this fireplace style but feel free to make yours any size that fits in your dollhouse. For the opening for the firebox, cut out an area leaving about 1” on the three sides, or the size that works best for your project.

The next step was to map out and carve your “stones” this gets really messy but is fun and didn't take as long as I thought it would. In the end I did find it was easier to draw out my stones with a sharpie marker before cutting but it is optional.

I like to paint the entire piece with one of the gray paints I will be using at this point. I find it easier to see what needs to be adjusted and cut away once the pink is gone.

For the paint colors just use an assortment of colors that make you think “stone or rock” grays, browns, a few greens, what ever the stones where you live look like. If you need inspiration look online for pictures of real fireplaces.

After you are happy with the look of the stones you have carved add a piece of paperboard to the back. It is important to paint this before you add the “bricks” to it because you don't want the color of the cardboard to sneak through your paint. After this paint is dry I glued on some “bricks” made of paper egg carton. I cut strips that ¼ “ wide then cut them into ¾” lengths for my bricks. Glue them into the back of your fireplaces and allow the glue to dry.

Paint the area black again to cover the bricks.

Take some amounts of your chosen paints and start painting your individual stones. I like to use cotton swabs for this for several reasons. First and possibly my favorite- no clean up- just toss them when you are done. I also like the texture they give the paint, it looks more like stone.

While all this is drying get your hearth and mantle ready (if you haven't already)

For the hearth I used foam core cut the same width as my fireplaces (5”) by 1 ½” deep. This makes it ½” deeper than the fireplaces. I covered this with more egg carton on the top and the edges then painted with some of the same gray paints.

For the mantle I like to use balsa wood. Since this is a rustic fireplace style it is easy to rough up the surface of the balsa. I like ¼” balsa for this and it is cut 5” by 1 ¼” When you have it the way you want it wipe on a coat of dark brown paint.

Now you get to glue everything together, just line up the back side and the ends and all should be good.

Let the glue dry, hopefully you will have better luck with that whole drying thing than I did. LOL

Once the glue is dry give your fireplace a coat of matte mod podge to seal it and allow to dry.

Now we need to make the inside of our fireplace look like it has been used. Take some more of the black craft paint and paint the area that would be inside the firebox to give it a nice “sooty” look.

Once that is dry you are done, unless you want to add a flickering bulb set. I don't have one so I can't walk you through that part on this one. Maybe in a future fireplace.