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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dollhouse Wallpaper 101

This week I got another message asking about how I had created the painted walls in my Harrison. The viewer had watched the video photo tour of my dollhouse and liked the look of painted walls. She had tried just painting her walls but they didn't give her the look she was after. So she asked me what I had used. Since this is a question I get on a fairly regular basis I thought it would make a good topic for a video.

Dining Room in my Harrison

The papers I show you today are from the only choices. There are many more papers you can use. I am only showing/sharing with you my favorites.

For the look of painted drywall I like to use a paper from the manufacturer Canson. They make lots of papers that artists use and are well known and well thought of in that area. The particular paper I like for my dollhouses is called Mi-Teintes it comes in large 19” by 25” sheets. I can find a limited number of colors at my local Michael's but online I found over 50 colors available from one art supply store (Dick Blick) The paper is made for use with a variety of artist medias including: pastels, oil pastels, chalk, pencils, water color and acrylic paint. Because of this it is able to handle the process of gluing it to the walls very well. It is heavy (98 lb) so it is durable. It also has different textures on the two sides so you can get slightly different looks from it (just remember which side you are using on the particular project LOL) I usually find this priced somewhere from $1.25 to $3 per sheet so it is not bad especially when you consider how large the sheets are.

I also like this paper for covering the ceilings in my dollhouses again because of both the texture and the size of the sheet. For this I normally go with a white.

In the video I also talk about two different choices if you want to have the look of wallpaper. The first is regular dollhouse wallpaper. Again it comes in a largish sheet, usually 12 (or so) by 18 (or so) this will vary depending on the manufacturer. Again it is made to stand up to the moisture of gluing. It comes in designs specifically for dollhouses so the scale should be correct. However because of the fact there are only so many manufacturers the selection can be limited. If you don't have a dollhouse store near by you might have to order it online. Also it can get very expensive, very quickly.

The other choice I discuss is scrapbook paper. The sheets are smaller 12” by 12” is common so you might have to piece to get longer walls covered. You may run into trouble matching the design where you have to piece it since this was not what it was designed for. It is usually made of a lighter weight paper so it is a little bit harder to paste without getting wrinkles.

In my Harrison I used a mix of all three of these papers. I love all of the ones I chose to use and was able to base the decor of each room around the papers I used. In that house I decided to go with a plain “painted” wall in the living room and dining room. I used real dollhouse wallpaper in both kitchen, nursery, bathroom and study. And if I remember correctly the rest is all scrapbook paper. It is not convenient to go look right now so I am relying on my memory for what is actually in there.....

I also talked a bit about Yes! Paste since that is what I always use to glue paper wall coverings or floor coverings in my dollhouses.

There are so many other types of wall coverings so maybe we can cover some of those in future videos.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Dollhouse Miniature End Table

Yes, we are making another end table today, I know I did one a while back but this one is even simpler to do. 


As some of you already know I do a lot of sewing so I go through a lot of thread. Depending on the brand of thread you can usually make something with the empty spool if you think about the possibilities. This particular spool is from the company Guterman and I love the shape. I happened to run out of my large spool of white thread so that is what I am using today. This spool was actually in with my mom's sewing stuff since that was the brand she almost always bought. They make a few different sizes of spools and most of the ones I have are smaller in diameter than the one I used today I think this one was the 540 meter size. I will try to post a picture at the end of this blog of some of the sizes I have. All of my spools are 2 1/8” tall. The large one I used today was 1 ¼” in diameter, the middle sized one (green in the picture) 1” in diameter, and the smaller one is ¾” in diameter.

I did try a couple of ways to clean the lettering off the rim of the spool. I found that 99% Isopropyl alcohol from the pharmacy worked the best for me. Try what you have on hand. If you are going to paint your spool you might even be able to get away without cleaning the letters off, I would still wipe it down with some alcohol to remove any grease from your fingers that the plastic may have picked up, remember it usually takes a while to use up a spool of thread so it has probably been handled and stored for a while.

Now at this point you can stay really simple like I did or you can go all out and paint your table base with whatever technique you want to. I think this would look great in a 60's room if you painted the base with a chrome finish. But any color that you like should work.

Now for the top. I pulled some samples out of my stash of wood pieces but you are not limited to wood for this. A lid from a jelly jar (you know the ones that have the gingham print) would look really cute. Or you could find a similar lid and paint it. Use your imagination and look for possibilities. Remember you don't have to stick to round or square either, how about an octagon shaped table top??? Or a star shaped one???

I used hot glue- I know I seldom use the stuff. I really don't like hot glue but for a project like this it is fine. It does have the advantage of being able to set up almost immediately and it will bond the plastic to the wood or just about anything else you want to use. Also it was an excuse to check out the new glue gun to make sure it works. My daughter had asked my yesterday if I had gotten to try it out yet, so now I can tell it works just fine. It really is handy to have a daughter that works at the craft store. LOL

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature (Polymer clay) Ice Cream

This week I am going to show you how I learned to make ice cream from Polymer clay. This technique was popular years ago when I first learned and it is still how I make mine. I find the addition of the sand just makes getting the texture so much faster and easier. You can form the ice cream into any shape/size you need for the project you are doing.

I know this works really well in 1/6th scale (Barbie, etc) just like in the 1/12th scale (dollhouse) I see no reason it would not work for larger dolls too. I am going to be doing some experimenting and if all goes well I will post some ice cream projects on my 18” doll blog in the near future.

I do promise to get back to the crib project also as soon as I can. I am still stuck for finding fabric that I like for the crib. I actually have never had this much trouble picking out a piece of fabric.

Now back to the ice cream. The only real trick is to use a sand that is close to the color of your clay. So for strawberry use a pink clay and either a red or pink sand (craft sand) for chocolate- brown clay and brown sand (again a craft sand) Or whatever color you desire. I used to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream by the gallon so for that I would need a light green clay with a green sand and work in small bits of dark brown.

Now for some clay color suggestions- keep in mind these are only suggestions and you may find other colors that work as well or better. Before you buy new clay look at what you have and see if you either use what you have or mix the colors you have to get the colors you want.

Vanilla ice cream: Fimo Vanilla
white clay mixed with a touch of a pale yellow.

Chocolate ice cream: Fimo Chocolate- mix with white
Sculpey III Hazelnut- mix with white
Premo Sienna- mix with white

Strawberry Ice Cream: Sculpey III Ballarina
Sculpey III Dusty Rose
Fimo Light Pink

Orange Sherbet: Fimo Mandarin

So go pick out your doll's favorite flavor of ice cream find some clay to match and get busy having some fun.

Don't forget to check out my other blogs- the links are at the top of the page.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Let's Talk

See I didn't actually disappear, since it has been so hot here I decided I needed a vacation so I took one. I am feeling very energized by it too. There should be a new video and blog up tomorrow like normal (I am about halfway through filming it right now)

While I was on time off I actually did a lot of projects. I got the new lighting stand made (that was posted here in case you missed it) Hopefully there will be better lighting on the videos now. I do need to adjust the light placement over the next few (maybe several) weeks to get the best lighting from it. I can already tell it is giving lots more light for working though. Also it is not as hot to work under as I was afraid it would be. There are 4 rather powerful lights all fairly close to me but I think they give off about as much light as the two original lights used to. Being fluorescent is probably the reason for that. I do love them so far.

I also decided to clear out our storage room and turn it into a kind of photo-studio area so I can leave my lighting set up in there for photos too. Since I write a handful of blogs and they all require a lot of photography this will make my life easier. So this last week my youngest son and I (well, one day I drafted my older son's girlfriend instead) have been moving loads of boxes to the newly rented storage unit in town. I was hoping to have that task done by this weekend but now I am shooting for next weekend. I have several more loads to take. We are only doing one load per day so it is taking longer but we have so much other stuff going on and so I am trying to minimize the amount of daily interference this takes up.

When we get that room emptied I will try to do a video on making some more of the light stands like I made for my video area.

I also spent a lot of time planning out ideas for all my blogs. Kind of mapping out some short and long term goals for each blog. I also added links to all my blogs to the top of the page on the blogs so you can find all of them easily.

I have also spent a lot of time playing around with other crafts and sewing and I am really enjoying these too. So much so that I started a new blog (remember all the links to all my blogs are at the top of the page) that is dedicated to my other crafts. There isn't much there yet but I hope to use that blog to show some of my sewing and card making and just other general crafting I do. I just got a new sewing machine over the summer that also does embroidery so I have been busy learning to use it too.

Now I have one more point I want to cover before I close this little note. That is I have gotten some comments on some of my videos criticizing the fact that I am chatty. I read one to my daughter and she had a wonderful laugh over it. Sorry folks if you don't like chatty you are probably in the wrong place. That is me, it is who I am and I won't change that. There are plenty of other videos out there if you want someone that just sticks to the topic and doesn't say much. My vision for this blog and the YouTube channel is that I am bringing you, the viewer to my craft table. You are joining me as my guest. You get me the way I am.

So as long as you are ready to chat and do some crafting come back tomorrow and see what we make then. Be sure to check out the rest of my blogs if you haven't already.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My New Lighting Stand

I really have no idea what to call this fixture I built to hold my lights. So for now we will just call it a lighting stand.

I have gotten several questions about how I made this so I am going to try to give you a basic how-to here. I didn't actually measure anything I just put it together as I went. I had a basic idea of what I wanted but until it was finished I really didn't know what it would look like.

Before we start talking about the how let's talk about why I made this. When I set up my craft table I used some of those clamp on lights that have long necks with hinges so I could place the light where I wanted it. I had two of them, one on each side of me. Over time I decided that not only did they not give enough light (they were only rated to take 40 watt bulbs) to do videos by they really didn't give me enough light and they were constantly in my way. I had added some additional lighting a while back in the form of shop lights from the hardware store. You know the kind, the ones guys put in their shops with the metal reflector on the back and they have a clamp so you can clamp them conveniently where you need them. The only place that I could figure out to clamp them was on my bookcase that is next to my main work table. So I got one of those and although I really liked the added light but it really wasn't where I needed it. I brought home a second of these lights but like I said I only had the bookcase to clamp it to. I spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out something I could put on the wall (between the windows) in front of my table to clamp the second one too. In the meantime I just had both of the lights clamped to the bookcase. It gave lots of light but all from one side so not the best for either working or filming.

Then one day I got to thinking about PVC pipe and all the different things I have seen made out of it over the years. Yeah, I am talking that white pipe that carries water through your house. I thought there must be a way to use PVC pipe for this project. I do love using this pipe since it is cheap and easy to work with.

I did check out some similar projects people had done on YouTube but no one was making exactly what I needed. 

please ignore the mess in my craftroom/office


I went to Home Depot last Friday with a vague idea of what I wanted to do and what I would probably need to get. I spent some time on the plumbing aisle looking mostly at the fittings. Since plumbers need lots of this stuff to do the plumbing in construction most of the parts are really cheap. I did end up buying a lot of extra parts but I am planning to make more lighting equipment for doing photography (for my various blogs) in the next couple of months so I will use it all up by the time I am done I am sure.

I did purchase a PVC pipe cutting tool for $11.98, I already had one at home but I had forgotten to check if I knew where it was before I left the house so I figured it was better to get another one rather than not have it. That being said you can cut this stuff with a hack saw, the cutting tool is just way easier to use and it gives you a smooth straight cut (not one of my better talents with a hack saw)

cutting tool, well worth the money

Other than the cutting tool the parts I bought and used in this project were:

2 pieces of ½” PVC pipe that were each 10' long. (keep in mind that pipe like this is sized by the inside measurement not the outside)
1 bag of 90 degree slip x slip elbows – bag contains 10 of these and I used all 10

90 degree slip x slip elbow

2 individual slip x slip x slip tee joints

slip x slip tee

The slip part of the description means that the parts slip over the pipe and don't have threads (I think that's how to explain it)

The costs for these items were as follows:
pipe ( $1.89 each) $3.78
elbows (bag of 10) $ 1.78
tees ( $ .35) $ .70

So for a total of $6.26 I had the parts for my project. Even adding in the cost of the cutting tool this project was really inexpensive.

I also picked up 2 more of the shop lights while I was at Home Depot and they were $8.47 each. 
You might notice there is no kind of glue in the list above, that's because I didn't use any. I just slipped these together so I can take this down completely in a matter of minutes. That means if I need to move it for any reason I can put it all back together with ease. Also I can change the configuration if I want to in the future.

Now for the adventure of making the light stand. I knew about how tall I wanted the bar to be so I cut two lengths of pipe about that long. Since these were the longest pieces I knew I needed to cut them first. I used just over half of each pipe for these pieces. I didn't actually measure but they are just a bit over 5' tall. Just be sure that you cut both of them the same length. A mistake I made but it was easy to trim the longer of the two the length of the other one.

Next piece to cut was the top cross bar, it needed to be just a bit longer than my table is wide (the long way- wide as I sit facing it) The table is about 38” long so this piece was cut a bit longer than that.

Next I constructed the two bases, this was a place that I messed up the first time and had to go back and cut some off. I forgot to measure how far apart the legs are on the ends of my table. So do yourself a favor and check this if you are making one of these and want the base to go under the table.

Basically what I did though was to first cut the longest piece of the shape, then I cut a piece about half that size added the tee and cut a piece of pipe to make a side the same length as the first side. (hopefully that makes sense- hopefully it will when you look at the photo) The short side of this part was just cut from the remaining pipe to be all the same size. 


base another view

When all the parts were cut and the bases assembled to fit the area between the legs. I simply uprights into the third side of the tees then put the top cross piece on using 90 degree elbows. 

90 degree elbow where the upright joins the top

The only problem I am having is keeping the lights on the sides where I want them. They want to slip so I wrapped some silver duct tape around the area where I want them to stay. I might look for some kind of clamp to help hold them or I might see about picking up a couple of parts called “slip x slip” couplers and cut the upright pieces where I want the lights to go and add the couplers. That would give a wider area for the light to be clamped above. If I do I will post some pictures of what ever I decide to do. 

duct tape is a temporary solution

As far as light bulbs I have daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs that are 23 watt, they say they are the equivalent of the old 100 watt bulbs. I find they give a huge amount of light to work by.

As soon as it cools off a bit I will get back to recording and we can see how this new set-up works.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Too Hot to Work

This summer has been incredibly hot where I live. You have to understand Oregon usually has pretty mild summers, most years we don't hit really hot weather until August or September and even then only for a few days in a row. This year seems to be the exception. We have had temps in the 90's for what seems like forever right now. Unfortunately most of us that have lived here for very long just don't have AC, so we make due with fans and trying to stay cool.

My craftroom/office has a wonderful south facing window that normally is great but currently it is just making the room hot. I decided the other day to turn on 2 of the lights I use to tape with and in less than 5 minutes the thermometer I had laid on my work table was reading above 90 and that was only half the lights I use. So I have been doing other types of crafting instead of minis. I have been planning though and I am still on the hunt for fabric for the crib.

In the meantime I thought I would show you some of what has been keeping me busy. I don't know if I mentioned I have gotten really into card making in addition to all the other crafts I do so I decided to start a blog dedicated to all the non-mini, non-doll things I do. Here is the link if you want to check it out (the link is also at the top of the page on this blog now as well as the links to all my blogs)

I also spent some time making new lighting stands so I can hopefully get better results in my lighting for videos. I had the idea of using PVC pipe so I went off to Youtube in search of videos and found lots of ideas. Here are some photos of the new light stand with my lights all attached. I was able to get rid of the light I had on my table to free up space and I hope with some adjusting these lights will work much better.

Also this weekend I got absolutely tired of looking at the art work I have over my desk in here. So what do you suppose I did? I took the painting I had done a few years ago down and painted over it and then created this:

I really love how it turned out- by the way it really looks much straighter in person than the photo. I really should have taken a better picture but it is way too hot in here to move away from the fan.