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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Clothes Hangers

This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I show how to turn a simple paper clip into a clothes hanger.

This is a super simple project and really cheap to do. I did have a lot of trouble with the paint coating the paper clips I had because it kept splitting on me. The only paper clips I could find in the house this week were from Dollar Tree and I know that was the problem. I did like that the wire they were made from is a lot thinner so it was easier to both bend them and to cut them. On the down side the paint that covers them is also a lot thinner so it was a battle to get the hangers done and have them look good. In the past when I have done these I have used better quality paper clips and although the wire itself was harder to work with the paint covering was more cooperative. I think these would be nice made with the plain paper clips (the not coated ones) too and then the paint would not be an issue.

This is an easy project to size up to Barbie size (1/6th scale) simply look for the larger the paper clips. I know these will be made of a much heavier wire so they will be a bit harder to work with but they should turn out very nice.

To figure out how big of a paper clip you need just hold it up to the back of the doll at the top of the shoulders. The paper clip should be just a bit wider than the doll's shoulders.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cotton Swabs

This week for Tools of the Trade Tuesday I thought I would feature cotton swabs. I think we are all familiar with them but do you know some of the uses for them in crafting?

One of the most obvious is of course to do quick painting jobs. For a lot of painting tasks when I don't need the control of a paint brush I pull out the cotton swabs. The best part (besides that they are really cheap) no clean up, just toss them out when you are done.

And for making dots there are few tools that work as well.

Are you familiar with the different shapes that they come in?

We have the standard issue cotton swab that we have all known most of our lives, easy to buy almost everywhere you happen to be. Great for all around general use. If you buy the kind with the plastic handle part you can even use that in crafting (think back to my T2T
toilet bowl brush project, they would have worked just as well as a cocktail straw) I love these for quick painting projects. I also use them to apply chalks when I don't want to deal with brush cleaning. 


Now how about the Safety Swabs, I used those not too long ago in my T2T project to make cotton candy. I also like these to add a wash of either “dirty water” (water with a drop of dark color paint to age things) or a hint of color. Just fluff them like I did to make the cotton candy and use them with the very watery paint mixtures to flood the area with a wash or hint of the color. 


Have you seen the cosmetic applicator version? These have one end that is more of a paddle shape.  I love these for applying chalks just like with a brush but they tend to give a heavier application.

And sometimes I can get pointed swabs, either as one end of the cosmetic ones or on their own. These are great for applying paint into small areas or for cleaning up wet paint that has gotten a bit away from me. 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature End Table

Okay so I will admit I have a slight obsession with nail polish and that is actually how this product came about. I was walking through the store I normally shop at and they had rearranged some of the aisles in the cosmetics area. Because of this I happened to see a display for a nail polish line that I had never seen before. I am not sure if it is new or if I had just missed it. Anyway it is from the people at Maybelline and it is called Color Show, specifically the Polka Dots segment of this line. I went back to the store and found it actually come in 5 colors not just the 3 I had seen the first time. The green one we used (
Drops of Jade) and also one that is black/gray, a purple-pink one, a blue one and one that is an orange-brown. I think any of them would be fantastic for a project like we are making today.

I decided to make my table as an end table but it is super easy to make a dining table with the same method. Just make the stand with 4 of the little wooden spools and use the larger (3”) wooden disk for the top. With an even taller stand it would also make an adorable Bistro table (you know the ones, that you sit on a bar stool type chair) especially with the black-gray color polish.

The table really couldn't be easier, we are just assembling wooden parts and painting them. All the really hard work is done for us and these pieces are relatively inexpensive.

So I hope you have fun with this project. If you make one be sure to post a photo on the Joanne's Minis Facebook page. I love to see what you are making!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Planter

This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I decided to show you how to take a plastic top off of a container (mine came off either a tube of some kind or a can of shaving gel) and make a planter for the landscaping of your dollhouse.

I got the inspiration for this project actually while I was sitting in traffic a while back. I was on my way to Walmart and near by is a garden center of sorts. I say of sorts because I don't think they have plants except in their displays. They specialize in decorative items for the landscape. Things like fountains, benches, statues, and these large planters. This particular day as I was sitting waiting for the traffic light to change I was watching them unload a truck in the front parking lot. There was a bunch of these huge planters all lined up that had already been unloading. As I drove along I got to thinking how easy it would be to take one of these lids I have been saving and turn it into a very similar planter.

I have shown you this technique, used slightly differently in the past. If you go back a couple of years in my videos to the Toy Store series you will find I did the stucco on the exterior of that building with this general method. It really is a fun and cheap way to change the texture on many things.

For the video I simply added a rim with several turns of some yarn that was handy. You could also use some heavy lace (like I showed you on the “antique” frames) or you could also add some lace medallions to the sides of the pot.

Another option would be to add an additional coating of the glue/water mixture and roll the planter in some sand. Make sure it is thoroughly coated (it might take a couple of coats for complete coverage) then follow up with the paint.

I do like to use a combination of three colors of gray paint for these but feel free to use whatever you would like.

The important thing with these projects is to have fun!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Cotton Candy

This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I show you my method of making some fun cotton candy. I know there are other videos out there on how to do this, just like with a lot of the Trash to Treasure projects. I do show you my twist on the coloring of the project which I don't remember seeing used this way before.

I actually recorded this video 3 times before I was able to put the final video together and because of that it is a bit shorter than normal. I hope you don't feel cheated by that. I am still struggling with both the new camera and the new versions of the editing software I use so please be patient with me. I will get this figured out, it just might take a bit longer than I expected.

Now onto the project. This is super easy and the reason I decided to do it this week was because of a family outing last week. You see last week I took my youngest son, oldest son and oldest son's girlfriend to the Scandinavian Festival in Junction City Oregon. We had a wonderful time and one of the first things my son's girlfriend did was to buy a huge pink cotton candy. When I was contemplating what project I should do this week I thought of that cotton candy and decided it was time to show you this fun project.

If you look at the Safety Swabs as they are made you can almost see the cotton candy there. They really just need to be fluffed up a bit. Use whatever method you are comfortable with for this. Then they need to be colored because cotton candy comes in such pretty colors. My favorite method is to use the pastel Sharpie markers and then a quick dip into some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. The alcohol dissolves the ink from the markers making it run and become a wonderful soft color. I am not sure if this would work with any other markers or not. I think a similar effect could be gotten by using the “washable” markers and dipping them in water. Experiment and see what works for you.

The cotton candy will need to dry in some kind of rack, either a wooden one like I showed how to make a while ago or in some foam. They need to stand up so they can dry with air on all sides to get a good color.

Have fun! Be sure to post pictures of your projects on our Facebook page, I love to see what you are making.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Fire-pit

This week we continue our summer series by making a fire-pit complete with a fire for roasting the marshmallows for the s'mores we made a few weeks ago. This was such a fun project and I am so pleased with the end result. I hope you will make one and please share your results on the Facebook page I would love to see how yours turns out.

I decided to use some of my pink builders foam simply because I am trying to use up the last of it. I would like to get a new sheet of it but I promised myself I have to use up the old on first. If you don't have any of this you can use just about anything in its place. I had also thought of using foam core, just cut the rings out of the foam core and then glue them together to make the correct height. I am sure regular Styrofoam would also work well. Just about anything that can be cut to the correct shape and size.

I did paint the outside edge with gray paint to help it hide, I didn't want the pink to show through between my stone blocks. You will have to decide what color yours will need to be painted based on what you cover the outside with.

Another option with the builder's foam would be to carve your stones or bricks right in the surface. I showed you that technique a few years ago in the toy store series. Miniature Building Construction step 9 (

The patterns I cut to make the fire-pit were as follows:
Fire-pit: outside dimension 3 ¼”
inside dimension 2 7/8”

Top: outside dimension: 3 ½”
inside dimension 2 ¼”

Now for the what would I do differently if I were to make this again. I might think about using black sandpaper in place of the black cardstock to build the fire on top of, or to sprinkle some black sand over the glue as I placed the wood. The glue is a bit shiny but you have to actually look at it to notice. In a normal display no one will ever notice.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Tissue Box

First I want to say I am sorry I cut myself off in the video, I had to get a new camera and it works differently than my old one. I didn't realize that I had cut myself off at the beginning until I started the editing process for the video and then it was too late to go back and fix it. I will learn to use the new camera soon (I hope)

Anyway, on to the project. This week for Trash to Treasure Thursday I thought I would show you how to make a super simple tissue box (or Kleenex box depending on where you live)

The base for the box is just a little square bead that is ¼” on all sides, it needs to have a good size opening in it. The opening is about the same as the ones in the cylinder shaped pony beads.

The only other things you will need are a small piece of facial tissue, some glue and some kind of tool to poke the tissue into the bead.

That really is all there is to it.

Now if you can find a larger bead, about ½” in size this can certainly be made for Barbie and her friends. I just haven't had time to go look to see if they make beads like this in that size. If they do it would certainly scale up that far very easily. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chalk Brushes

I use chalks to color a lot of the projects I make, everything from clay projects to paper projects. I know a lot of people use regular paint brushes for their chalks, I used to use them too. Then I had a blinding flash of the obvious, paint brushes are really meant to use with liquids, chalks are powder. So I got to thinking about powders and what tools are meant to use with them. I knew there had to be a better answer, something better than a brush made for liquid paint. Then on my next trip to the dollar store as I was walking through the aisles just to see what was there I came to the beauty department. There hanging on the wall were a bunch of eyeshadow brushes, of course, eye shadow is a powder just like chalk. I got a few to test out. When I got home I dug out my clay and did a little test, I rolled out a bit of scrap clay and used both the regular paint brush and the eyeshadow brush to apply some chalk. The difference in the amount of control I had with the eyeshadow brush was amazing. I was able to apply a very light blush of chalk all the way up to a heavy coloring with the chalk. I was convinced, the eyeshadow brush is so much easier to use. I now have a bunch of eyeshadow brushes that I use exclusively with my chalks all purchased very cheaply and in a couple of different sizes.

On a side note, I do recommend that you do wash your chalk brushes out regularly. You don't have to do it every time you use them but at least from time to time. Your brushes will last longer and you will get much better results as far as the color of the chalk you are applying. Dirty brushes will give muddy results while clean brushes will give more true colors.