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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Grand Piano- part 1



First off I want to apologize for totally forgetting to take any photos along the way. I even went ahead and painted my piano before it even occurred to me that I should have been taking pictures. I think I just got so wrapped up in the project as I went that pictures were the last thing on my mind.

This project came about because one of you asked for it. I got a message on Facebook from Patricia asking me if it would be possible to do a tutorial on the creation of a Grand Piano. Her daughter really wants one for her Barbie but they had no idea where to begin. As soon as I read the message the ideas started to flow, I knew pretty much exactly what I wanted to do and how to do it. The biggest problem was getting it to look correct because I am not a music person and I think sitting in a piano bar in Las Vegas several years ago was the closest I have ever been to one of these beautiful musical instruments. I don't play piano either so I have no idea what the various parts are called.

My first job was then was to track down various photos and diagrams online of Grand Pianos, there are a lot out there so you should have no problems. I knew I needed some good shots of the piano from a couple of angles and most importantly from above (of the insides- more on this next week). This photo from above became my pattern to get the shape correct. I found some diagrams that listed the size of the pianos that different manufacturers have on the market and went from there for size. If you are creating a specific model then you will need to find a source for specific for that particular piano.

I found that for the most part full size pianos seem to be about 5 ½ to 6 feet in length (front to back) and about 4 ½ to 5 feet across the front. I chose to make mine 5 ¾” by 4 ¾” wide for 1/12th scale. For Barbie to make it the same proportions it would be 11 ½” by 9 ½”. I also found that most of the pianos online seemed to be around 40” tall so I made mine 3 3/8” (for Barbie make that 6 ¾”)


After I found that picture of the piano from the top down I re-sized it to print out at the size I wanted the piano to be. I was able to get a dollhouse size one on a regular sheet of paper, for Barbie you might need to use two sheets dividing your photo in parts.

I used my new favorite building material for stuff like this, a cereal box. (well a couple of cereal boxes by the time I got done) For legs I decided on some golf tees simply because they look nice and sleek. You could use dowels or whatever else catches your eye.

To make the piano sturdy all areas should b at least 2 layers of the cardboard thick, the bottom being 3 layers. This also allowed me to glue the layers with the printed sides together so I have a nice neutral gray cardboard to paint. Since the sides of the piano body need to be pieced be sure to stagger the ends so that the seams are not at the same place. This not only looks better but will be stronger. I cut the sides 1” wide by however long I could get from the side of the cereal box. You will need to piece it but you want to have as few seams as possible. For Barbie you will need to cut the sides 2” wide and you will probably need at least 3 maybe 4 strips.

I used Yes! Glue for all areas where I was gluing the thicknesses of cardboard together. If you don't have any Yes! Glue you could use Tacky glue spread out evenly with a brush. Be sure to use something to hold the glued areas flat as they dry to prevent distortion from the moisture of the glue. For gluing the sides on I used Tacky glue with a few drops of super glue. I also used a bit of regular tape to help hold the sides on. I want this to last a long time so I am trying to make it as sturdy as possible even though it is being made of cardboard. I am hoping when this is finished no one will be able to tell it is just made of cardboard.

I did use some of the nasty smelling Goop glue for attaching the legs to the bottom. I did this because of the shape of the top of the golf tee and also because of the shiny somewhat oily finish they always seem to have on them.

So that is pretty much what got done of this project this week. I think we will finish up next week. I am really happy and excited about how it is turning out so far.

Now the big question: do I make a bench to go with it? I guess that would make sense and could be the project the following week. Let me know in the comments either here, on Youtube or on Facebook.


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