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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature- Dressing the Bed

This week we are finishing up our little bed project. I asked you all if you wanted to see me dress this bed and the overwhelming response was a huge YES!! So this week we dress our bed.

So the first and probably the most important part of this part of the project actually didn't take place on camera, it was the shopping for the fabric. So I am going to start the blog with that very important step.

I went to the fabric store with a couple of things in mind but I was fairly open to getting what I could find. The things I knew I wanted were:
  1. a fabric that was lightweight so I could get it to drape correctly.
  2. I knew I wanted a muted color scheme, preferably in a brown, green, type of color.
  3. I wanted the design to be subtle and not frilly. I was actually hoping for either a stripe or a plaid.
  4. Whatever the design it had to be in scale

One thing I probably should say right here is that I have been sewing for over half a century, (yikes when did that happen??) My mom and grandmas taught me to sew by hand long before I started school. And my mom taught me to use her sewing machine when I was about 8 years old. So for me a fabric store is someplace I am very at home.

Other than those points I really didn't care what the fabric was. So I started my hunt as I always do in the remnant bins. I love the deals that can be found there but sadly nothing that would work for this project was on hand.

My next stop was the aisle with the “special purchase” fabrics. I love this area because I never know what I will find. And believe me when I say I have found some real treasures in this area sometimes. And this is where I struck gold so to speak. The piece of fabric I got was actually the second one I found, the first was almost right but the design was just a hair too large for my taste.

So how does this fabric fit into my requirements I listed above? Well, although it was labeled as a taffeta, it is very thin and lightweight. The only problem with that part is being a taffeta it is a bit stiffer than I was hoping for. The color is exactly what I was mentally picturing as I created the bed. It is a stripe, which is what I was hoping for, And as for scale, this stripe is soooo tiny. I absolutely love this fabric and I have a feeling it will use all of it over the next couple of years. I can picture it on a mini couch too.

So the only real drawback to the fabric for this project was that I knew going in it would be stiff. How stiff I wasn't sure of until I got home and played with it a bit. Since I have been sewing for so long I do have few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to handling fabric.

So the first thing I tried to decrease the stiffness of the fabric was to simply get it wet and dry it. Many times this step will do the trick because the manufacturers put a finish on some fabric to make them appear more polished in the store. Once you remove this finish you can see what you are working with. With our fabric today this did help a lot.

Another challenge with any woven fabric is that the edges will fray if you don't seal them in some way. I really was hoping to not have to add a hem because that would have made the cover a bit more difficult to work with. I was lucky in that Fray Check was able to seal the edge and not leave too much of an obvious line. This product is always the first thing I try. If it hadn't worked I would have probably just sewn a narrow hem on my sewing machine.

Since I didn't need a hem I was able to cut my fabric to the exact size I wanted it to be. If you have to add a hem to your fabric you need to cut your fabric big enough to allow for this.

Since the bed it made of foam I was able to pin the cover onto the bed. I always try to make just a spritz of water work to make the fabric lay down. With many fabrics it will work. Our taffeta was just a bit too stiff still for that to work.

You have several options when water alone doesn't hold the fabric. Hair spray and spray starch are both good choices and I did use them often. This time I just had a feeling the taffeta was a bit too unruly for either of them to work so I went the the other option and used glue. Since I already had my hot glue gun ready for attaching the headboard to the bed that was what I used. The big advantage to hot glue is not drying time, once it cools you are good to go. The drawback to any glue is it makes it harder to change the bedding later. Also you need to be very careful not to get glue where it will show or allow it to soak through the fabric.

So there is the how and the why of our bed.

Now as I promised here is a link to the bed I dressed in a previous video. This one is much more frilly with lots of pillows.

Be sure to send me pictures if you make a bed, I love to see what you make from my tutorials.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Bed

This week we are finally getting the bed made to go with the headboard I made last time. Sorry for not getting this done last week, but real life took over.

I like to keep this part really simple and I like to use what is on hand. We aren't going to see most of this when we are done so keep that in mind. The basic shape is made of a layer of foam core and a layer of builder's foam. Builder's foam is a sturdy foam insulation that can be found at home improvement stores. I got my 8' by 4' sheet of it several years ago. I have made a ton of projects from it and I am trying really hard to use up the last of it. I have also made beds using regular Styrofoam and the softer foam that is sold in fabric stores for real furniture. As long as you have the sturdy foam core on the bottom any of those will work. I personally like the builder's foam a bit more than the other options but use what you have (or have access to)

I cut both the foam core and the builder's foam to 3 ¾” by 6 ½” and then glued them together. This glue needs to dry completely before we go on to the next step.

After our layers are glued together we need to cover the “mattress” I like to use white craft felt squares for this. The weight is really good for covering, it will give us a neutral base under whatever material we decide to dress our bed with, the edges won't fray, and it gives a fantastic surface to work on because the fabrics we layer over it won't slide around while we are working on the dressing step.

I used 2 felt squares (they measured 9” by 12”)

I cut one into 2 pieces 9” by 6” and the other one I cut off two pieces 1 ¼” by 12”

Then we just need to glue the felt on. I started out with my normal white glue but it was taking way too long so I switched to the dreaded hot glue gun to finish up. I really prefer to use liquid glue.

For feet I like to use 4 regular push pins like you would use in a bulletin board. I thought for sure I had some white ones but couldn't find them so I used 4 clear ones. You can use whatever color will go with the finished bed you are making. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Headboard

This week's project is not the one I thought I would be posting today. It is not the one I had been working on last week, it isn't even one I had planned to work on. I thought I was going to be finishing up the project I was working on last week. That project unfortunately is now at the bottom of my trash can. I haven't decided if I will be leaving it there, if I will pull it out and try to fix it, if I will attempt to re-do it or if that one is just a total wash. I think all of us have those projects from time to time.

So after I threw what I had been working on for over a week in the trash I had to come up with something else. I thumbed through one of my many mini-related books for some inspiration and saw several really nice beds. I do love to dress beds, they are a lot of fun to do, and I have done at least a couple of videos on them in the past. Then I got to thinking as much fun as beds are to dress, the beds themselves, especially the headboards are even more fun.

I sat down with a very loose idea of what I was going to do. I knew a few things I wanted to make this headboard with items that are inexpensive and easy to get. I didn't go out of my house to get anything to make this. So look around your craft room (and through the recycling bin) and see what you can come up with.

The headboard we are making today would fit a twin/single size bed. If you want to make a larger size just make it wider. You might have to use something other than the craft sticks in that case.

Start by cutting two layers of paperboard (cereal box) to about the size you want your headboard to be. Then glue the two layers together with the plain side out.

Now just build your design on this base. I used the craft sticks because I have a bunch of them. You can use what you have. I decided to use the wall patch fabric because I love the texture of it. I use in a lot in my card-making and in art journaling for the same reason. As a bonus it takes paint really well.

I used the skinny sticks to frame the texture piece both to help anchor it down and to add another decorative element.

The only thing needed at this point was to finish off the side and top edges for a more finished look.

At this point you could go in many directions as far as painting. I wanted a rustic, shabby chic type of look but you could go more polished at this point too.

If you don't have the materials I used look at what you have and make something with those things. That is the fun of projects like this.

Next week we will add a bed to the headboard. And I will show you a simple way to dress the bed.