Friday, November 9, 2018

Simple Chenille Stem Christmas Wreaths

       Nothing says welcome to our home like a cheerful, festive wreath wired to the front door of your dollhouse! Wreaths are so simple to make, you'll want to make more than one.
       Take time and care to attach a tiny hook permanently to your dollhouse door so that you can change out the decorations according to the season or holiday.

Supply List:
  • furry chenille stems in green or red
  • Mardi-Gras beads or any beads
  • ribbon 
  • wire for a hook attachment
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Twist the chenille stem into a wreath shape. Hold the initial shape up to the door or wall that you would like to decorate it with. Then you can reshape the wreath larger or smaller if need be.
  2. Twist the Mardi-Gras beads around the wreaths and hot glue these to the chenille stems as needed.
  3. Shape the ribbons into bows and hot glue these onto the top of each wreath.
  4. Shape and hook a small wire to the back of the ribbon for hanging.
More Ways To Craft Christmas Wreaths for Your Doll's House:

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Upcycle A Box Into A Doll Bookcase

Left, shelves for books and a small vase and toy. Center, our
babysitter doll is taking good care of Barbie's son. He loves
 several bedtime stories before settling down for the night.
 Right, included on our bookshelf is a flat screen T.V.
       The simplest way to make a bookcase for a doll, is to upcycle a small box. If you choose to use a box without compartments, the work is a bit more detailed and I will include a project later with the instructions for that method.
       However, if you are lucky enough to find just the right box to use for a bookcase, you may not need to add the shelves on your own. Below is a prime example of a project such as this one. 
Adding cupboard doors to your bookcase is optional here. Simply cut rectangles from cardboard that
 fit neatly over the shelf openings. Cover them with decorative paper and hot glue on two beads for handles.
 Tape these in place with a durable duct tape and then cover the exposed areas with more decorative paper.
Supply List For The Bookcase:
  • cardboard box
  • cardboard box with compartments (optional)
  • Mod Podge
  • scissors
  • decorative papers
  • ruler
  • white school glue
  • a soft, clean paint brush for applying Mod Podge
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Clean off any dust or dirt that may have attached itself to the box.
  2. Carefully measure and cut out decorative shapes that fit neatly into the compartments of the box.
  3. Use a soft brush to cover each shelf with Mod Podge and then stick the papers down to the surfaces. 
  4. Be careful to rub the surfaces with your clean, dry fingertips. Smoothing out the air bubbles that get trapped beneath the paper.
  5. Then layer with the paint brush, another coat of Mod Podge on top of the new decorative papers.
  6. Repeat this process for the outside of the box as well. 
  7. I left the edges and some of the walls of my doll's bookcase their original color. You do not need to cover every surface of the bookcase if you don't want to change all of it. I found the original fuchsia appealing, so I chose a different set of papers to compliment some of the original color.
       You will probably need to fill your doll's bookcase with a few books and there are many ways to craft small volumes. I will demonstrate with photos below just one way to make miniature doll books for now...
Glue additional titles and decorations
to the outside of the doll book.

Supply List for Miniature Books:
  • corrugated cardboard
  • scrap magazine pages
  • glue stick
  • scissors
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Cut the cardboard into the size pieces you wish your books to be. You can estimate this by putting a few different sizes of cut cardboard squares into the hands of your dolls to determine the scale you want the books to be. Also make sure that the books are not too large for the doll's bookcase.
  2. For this particular method of making a miniature book, you will only need to collect scrap magazine paper to cover the volumes with. 
  3. Glue like sized cardboard squares side by side, leaving only a small gab so that the book will shut neatly on the shelf after it is finished. 
  4. Now cut around both cardboard shapes leaving approximately 1/4 inch of paper around all four sides. 
  5. Smear a bit of glue to each end and fold the magazine paper over the edges on top of the glue. Repeat this step around every side.
  6. Now cut paper having words printed on it and glue it to the inside covers of the miniature book. The dolls will be able to open these small volumes and pretend to read the text. 
  7. Glue additional titles and decorations to the outside of the doll book. Now you have a few books for the doll bookcase!
Left, glue like sized cardboard squares side by side, leaving only a small gab so that the book will shut
neatly on the shelf after it is finished. Center, Smear a bit of glue to each end and fold the magazine
 paper over the edges on top of the glue. Right, The dolls will be able to open these small volumes
and pretend to read the text.
More Ways To Make Tiny Books:

Make a Foam Flat Screen T. V.

        The television depicted on the left below, has a picture pasted directly to the monitor and is much easier to craft. The television shown on the right includes an additional cardboard covered frame so that you can replace the picture by sliding it between the layers of cardboard. 
       Both flat screen T. V.s are weighted down with washers, carefully glued into each television's base.

Two versions of a foam covered flat screen T.V. One includes an optional
dowel rod attached to the base, the other is attached with a small foam
covered rectangle. 
Supply List:
  • thin cardboard (from cereal boxes)
  • corrugated cardboard
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • washers
  • masking tape
  • sheets of craft foam (black)
  • pictures cut from magazines 
  • black acrylic paint
  • ruler
  • white school glue
  • dowel rod for larger flat screen
Step-by-Step Directions:
       Cut three rectangles from cardboard, two from the corrugated cardboard and one flatter piece from the cereal box. All rectangles should be identical in size.
       Glue the two corrugated pieces together and paint one side with black acrylic paint. Let this side dry before continuing.
       Take the third rectangle cut from a cereal box, and measure approx. 1/4" from the outside of each edge. Use a ruler to draw the lines marking the measurement. Now cut out the inside of the flat screen T.V. monitor.
Left, washers are for the television's base. Center, cut rectangles any size you like for your doll's screen.
Right, I've measured 1/4 inch from outside edge of my third layer of cardboard in order to cut a narrow frame.
This third layer is glued on top of the bottom two after these are painted, creating a kind of pocket.
       Only glue three edges of the third rectangle to the other corrugated rectangular pieces, leaving the top edge of the flat screen T. V. open (see photo below). Leaving a gap at the top of your doll's television will allow you to slip pictures in and out of the screen to change what the doll's are watching. All of these should be neatly stacked on top of each other when you are finished. (see photo)
Left the painted cardboard and the top cardboard frame. Center, now the three are stacked and glued,
 however, the top edge is left without glue. Right, here you can see, I've left the opening at the top
 part of my screen, so that I can slip in an alternative picture when I want to change out the screen for the dolls.
       Cut a long narrow base for your T. V. from the corrugated cardboard. This base rectangle should be slightly shorter in length than the actual screen. 
       Trace around a washer at each end of the stand and then carefully poke around the tracing with the tip of your scissors or get an adult to cut away this top circular layer with an Exacto knife. 
       Crush down the center cardboard filler with the washers and glue so that these metal pieces are level with the top layer of cardboard. Layer masking tape across the washers to keep them firmly in place. (see photo below.) Set aside the stand to continue with later, while it dries.
When you glue washers into the base of your television stand, you give the stand a heavier weight.
This allows the little toy to stand upright without any support.
      Now trace around the flat screen television screen on top of the black craft foam twice. Cut out the tracing and hot glue these foam pieces to the front and backs of the toy T. V.s. If you have the kind of flat screen television where you can change out the pictures. You will need to repeat measuring and cutting out the frame 1/4" from the edges before gluing this piece of craft foam on top of the screen. If you have a simpler flat screen without the frame, like the one shown just below, you will only need to cover the front and back of the screen before pasting on the television's picture.
Left, Cover the screen with a picture. You can find something nice in a magazine that your parents intend
to recycle. When you get tired of this picture, glue another on top if you have the simpler version of the
 flat screen T. V. Center, Cover the stand's base the same way that you covered the screen by layering the
top and bottom between craft foam. Far right, Cut an additional strip of cardboard to glue between the
 screen and base.
       Now you are ready to attach the stand to the flat screen monitor. Cover the stand's base the same way that you covered the screen by layering the top and bottom between craft foam. Cut an additional strip of cardboard to glue between the screen and base. 
       Carefully attach this small piece with hot glue at each end. For a larger flat screen, you may wish to attach these two elements together with a cut dowel rod.
       Now cover any remaining cardboard with the same black craft foam.

More Doll T. V. Crafts:

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cut and Paste Doily Rugs

This rug craft is so simple, even a very young child can produce marvelous results.
However, an adult should do the spray painting.
         Above you can see that I have produced two examples. One of them has brown lace and the other white. You can make so many color combinations depending upon the paint you have on hand. These examples have floral motifs at the center of each but you can use plaids, paisleys, stripes etc... to create an infinite variety of combinations!

Supply List:
  • paper doilies
  • decorative scrap papers
  • spray paint (optional)
  • Mod Podge or white school glue
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. If you desire color on the lacy edge of these doily rugs, you can spray paint them in a outdoor work area. Use a cardboard box or newspapers to cover an area large enough to keep the paint from spreading on to other surfaces. Let the doilies dry.
  2. Find an object with the same or close to the circumference of your doily's center part. You can leave however much of the lacy cut-away showing as you wish.
  3. Trace around this object on the backside of a piece of decorative scrap paper.
  4. Cut out the tracing and then glue the scrap circle on to the center of your paper doily.
  5. Layer Mod Podge to the top of the rug to protect it from some wear. Let the rug dry. 
More Doily Crafts:

Sunday, October 28, 2018

DIY Big Rig Toy Box

Our dolls need a toy chest to help keep the nursery free of clutter! But a toy trunk doesn't need to be just an
 ordinary box shape; you can use your imagination to come up with something different. Our family dolls fill
 this truck chest with all kinds of plastic toys that have been collected over the past twenty years.

       Barbie's little boy loves cars and trucks, so I decided to replace a missing trailer from a small replica of a John Deere big rig with a toy chest. Now our doll can pretend to haul the toys away after an exhausting fun filled day!

Supply List:
  • front end of a toy truck (big rig)
  • foam sheet (any color)
  • recycled plastic container 
  • stiff wire
  • masking tape
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • white school glue
  • scrap fabric for lining interior
  • snaps, button, small parts (for wheels)
  • toothpick or wooden skewer (wheel axle)
  • black tape (optional)
  • light weight cardboard (to hold the wheel axle)
Step-by-Step Instructions:
       In order to make this playscale toy box, you will need to first acquire the front end of a semi-trailer truck. If you have small children this will not be difficult. If not, take a trip to your local Goodwill or resale and you will surely find one of these in no time at all.
       Next, you will need to recycle a bit of plastic trash or a small box for the back end of the big rig toy chest. Choose something that looks in the correct proportion to your truck parts.
       Fortunately my semi-trailer truck has a hole between it's wheels where I can easily fit a small wire to attach the toy chest. You can see this hole through the plastic recycled box above.
        After covering my toy chest with masking tape, I simply poked a small, stiff wire through the bottom of the box and bent it into place so that the chest would attach to the back end of the truck. The bent end of the wire is held in place with glue and tape. 
       Then I lined the inside of the toy box with scrap fabric and white school glue. The out side of the truck trailer is wrapped with blue foam attached with hot glue and the bottom with black tape.
       I made a set of back wheels for the trailer by hot gluing two buttons to the ends of a wooden skewer through a small cardboard tube. Then I hot glued a metal snap to the white buttons to mimic tiny hubcaps.

Craft a Rainbow Yarn Rug for A Dollhouse

A spiral patterned rug made with rainbow colored variegated yarn, close-ups of color and finished edge.

The clean side of the finished rug that was protected by the
sticky side of the masking tape.
        Here is a simple way to make a rug for a doll house. It requires no weaving or braiding. The design made from this process reminds me of natural patterns found in agate stones.

Supply List:
  • masking tape
  • cardboard
  • variegated yarn
  • white school glue
  • embroidery floss and needle
  • felt for backing
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. First you will need to decide how big you want your doll's rug to be. Then make a cardboard template in the shape of the rug to use as a guide. I traced around a large circular plate on top of my cardboard to make my own template.
  2. Next, you will need to cover the top surface of the cardboard with masking tape, sticky side up. This can be a little tricky at first. Lay the tacky part of the masking tape face up and wrap it around the edges of the cardboard using a small bit of tape to secure it on the backside of the cardboard template.
  3. Now start laying your yarn down on top of the surface template at it's center point, butting the yarn up next to it's sides as you create a swirl pattern. The masking tape will hold the yarn strands in place while you press the yarn into a simple rug design. It is very important that you leave no gaps between the application of the yarn rows. Every yarn strand needs to have it's sides touching a yarn strand. (see photo)
  4. When you have reached the edges of your cardboard template, the rug design is finished! 
  5. Smooth a generous amount of white glue on top of your rug design with your finger tips and let the yarn rug dry overnight.
  6. Carefully pull the dried yarn rug from the sticky cardboard. Hopefully it can be removed in one piece. However, you may need to apply a bit more glue to the back side of the rug again, in order to get the entire rug to stick together.
  7. I backed my rug with additional glue and a piece of felt cut to the same size as my rug. But this step is optional.
  8. Then you can finish the edge of your rug with a blanket stitch using a variegated embroidery floss.
  9. I also reinforced my finished rug with additional stitching across the design.
Left, cover the top surface of the cardboard with masking tape, sticky side up.
Center, lay your yarn down on top of the surface template at it's center point.
Right,  Smooth a generous amount of white glue on top of your rug design with
your finger tips and let the yarn rug dry overnight.
More Yarn Crafts:

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Young Pretender

       Child's play is a kind of creation of a make-believe but half-real world. As such, it has its primal source in the impulse to act out and embody in sensible form some interesting idea; in which respect, as we shall see by-and-by, it has a close kinship to what we call art. The image, say of the wood, of the chivalrous highwayman, or what not, holds the child's brain, and everything has to accommodate itself to the mastering force.
       Now since play is the acting out of some interesting and exciting fancy, it comes at once into collision with the child's actual surroundings. Here, however, he finds his opportunity. The floor of the room is magically transformed into a prairie, a sea, or other locality, the hidden space under the table becomes a robber's cave, a chair serves as horse, ship, or other vehicle, to suit the exigencies of the particular play. 
       The passion for play is essentially active; it is the wild longing to act a part; it is thus in a way dramatic. The child-adventurer as he impersonates Robinson Crusoe or other hero becomes another being. And in stepping, so to say, out of his everyday self he has to step out of his every-day world. Hence the transformation of his surroundings by what has been called the "alchemy of imagination". Even a sick child confined to his bed will, as Mr. Stevenson tells us in his pretty child's song, "The Land of Counterpane," make these transformations of his surroundings:

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets,
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

       The impulse to act a part, which is the very life-breath of play, meets us in a crude form very early. Even an infant will, if there is a cup at hand, seem to go through something like a pretense of drinking. A little boy of about eighteen months who was digging in the garden began suddenly to play at having a bath. He got into the big bucket he was using for digging, took a handful of earth and dribbled it over him, saying, " 'Ponge, 'ponge," and then stepped out and asked for " Tow'l, tow'l ", Another boy less than two would spend a whole wet afternoon enjoying his make-believe "painting" of the furniture with the dry end of a bit of rope.
       There is no need to suppose that in this simple kind of imitative make-believe children know that they are acting a part. It is surely to misunderstand the essence of play to speak of it as a kind of conscious performance, like that of the stage-actor. A child is I one creature when he is truly at play, another when he is bent on astonishing or amusing you. When absorbed in play the last thing he is thinking of is a spectator. As we know, the intrusion of a grown-up is very apt to mar children's play, by calling them back to the dull world of every-day.
       This impulse to get away from his common and tiresome self into a new part will often carry a child rather far. Not only does he want to be a prince, or a fairy, he will even make an attempt to become an animal. He will greatly enjoy going on all fours and making dreadful noises if only he has a play-companion to be frightened; and possibly he does get some way towards feeling like the bloodthirsty lion whom he fancies himself.
       It is worth noting that such passing out of one's ordinary self and assuming a foreign existence is confined to the child-player. A cat or a dog will be quite ready to go through a kind of make-believe game, yet even in its play the cat remains the cat, and the dog the dog.
       Such play-like transmutation of the self is sometimes carried over longer periods. A child will play at being something for a whole day. For example, a boy of three and a half years would one day lead the life of a coal-heaver, another day that of a soldier, and so forth, and was rather particular in expecting his mother to remember which of his favorite characters he was adopting on this or that day.
       In a good deal of this play-action there is scarcely any adjustment of scene : the child of vigorous fancy plays out his part with imaginary surroundings. Children in their second year will act out a scene purely by means of pantomimic movements. Thus one little fellow not quite two years old would, when taken out in his perambulator, amuse himself by putting out his hand and pretending to catch "little micies" (mice), which make-believe little rodents he proceeded to cuddle and to stroke, winding up his play by throwing them away, or handing them over to his mother. In like manner he would pretend to feed chickens, taking imaginary food with one hand out of the other, and scattering it with an accompaniment of "Chuck! chuck! chuck!"
       This tendency of the little player to conjure up new surroundings, and to bring to his side desirable companions, is, I suspect, common among lonely children. One little fellow of four passed much of his time in journeyings to Edinburgh, "London town," China and so forth in quest of his two little boys who roved about with their "mamsey," a "Mrs. Cock". They paid him visits when he was alone, always contriving to depart "just two tiny minutes" before any one came in. (1) Mr. Canton's little heroine took to nursing an invisible " iccle gaal " (little girl), of whose presence she seemed perfectly assured. (2)
       If only the young imagination is strong enough there may be more of sweet illusion, of a warm grasp of living reality in this solitary play, where fictitious companions, perfectly obedient to the little player's will, take the place of less controllable ones. Yet this kind of play, which derives no support from the surroundings, makes heavy demands on the imagination, and would not, one suspects, satisfy most children.
       The character of the little player's actual surroundings is, for the most part, a matter of small concern to him. If only he has a dark corner and a piece of furniture or two he can build his play-scene.
       What he does want is some semblance of a living companion. Whatever his play he needs somebody, if only as listener to his make-believe; and when his imagination cannot rise to an invisible auditor, he will talk to such unpromising things as a sponge in the bath, a fire-shovel, or a clothes-prop in the garden. In more active sorts of play, where something has to be done, he will commonly want a living companion.
       In this making of play-companions we see again the transforming power of a child's fancy. Mr. Ruskin speaks somewhere of "the perfection of child-like imagination, the power of making everything out of nothing". This delightful secret of childhood is illustrated in its fondness for toys and its way of behaving towards them. 
       Later on, I think, children are apt to grow more sophisticated, to pay more attention to their surroundings, and to require more realistic accessories for their play actions. This, at least Dr. Stanley Hall tells us, is true of doll-plays.

(1) From a paper by Mrs. Robert Jardine.
(2) The Invisible Playmate, p. 33 ff.

Watch how imagination is better in real life from Action Movie Kid.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Turn A Bookcase Into a Changing Table

       I discovered a doll sized bookcase at resale. It was a bit too wide and heavy for a fashion doll bookcase and too small for an American Girl Doll's bookcase. So, I decided to convert it into a changing table for our Barbie's nursery.

A bookcase for a doll may be transformed into a
very nice diaper changing table.
Supply List:
  • corrugated cardboard
  • toothpicks
  • acrylic paints
  • clear acrylic varnish
  • Mod Podge
  • tacky white glue
  • felt square 
  • printed fabric
  • sandpaper (light weight)
  • typing paper
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • masking tape
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Clean your resale item with soap and water and set it in the sunshine to dry thoroughly.
  2. Lightly sand the surfaces so that the paint will adhere to the item. 
  3. I choose to paint my changing table with four colors: black, yellow, blue and green. These colors match flowers in the fabric print I selected for decoupage portion of the project. I first painted the top shelf yellow, then the middle shelf a turquoise blue, and the bottom shelf a hunter's green.
  4. Then using a tiny brush, I painted the changing table's decorative trim black. You may find that you need to repeat these steps several times to get good coverage.
  5. I used a ruler and typing paper to make patterns of the changing table sides and back pieces. Then I traced around these patterns on top of my fabric with a white piece of chalk.
  6. Cut the pieces out of the fabric and hold them up to the parts of the furniture you wish to decoupage to see if these are the correct size and shape.
  7. Brush on the Mod Podge and firmly press the fabric cuttings onto the sides and back of the changing table. Layer more Mod Podge on top of the fabric and then let the changing table dry overnight.
  8. Now measure the length of the shelves and cut two pieces of corrugated cardboard to fit the length that measure approximately 1/2 inch wide.
  9. Cut toothpicks down to half inch pieces. Make sure these are all the same length before assembling the railing for the top of the changing table.
  10. Using a tacky glue, squeeze a dot of glue on the end of each cut toothpick and nestle these inside every other hole of the corrugated cardboard interior. Let the glue harden before fitting the second piece of cut cardboard on top of the railing. This is tedious work but simple once you get used to it.
  11. Now let this small railing harden prior to painting it a color of your own choosing. I painted my railing bright yellow to match the top shelf.
  12. Glue the dry railing into place using a hot glue gun.
  13. Measure the inside of the top shelf to make a cardboard cut out for the changing pad.
  14. Cover the top of this cardboard with a piece of felt of the same size. Glue the felt into place with a small amount of tacky glue.
  15. Now lay this cardboard shelf on top of the decorative fabric and cut around the cardboard, leaving enough fabric to wrap it around the corners and a bit of the bottom. Secure the wrap with masking tape. (see photo below)
  16. Hot glue the upholstered changing pad onto the top of the changing table.
  17. Now you can fill the shelves with all kinds of items your Barbie's baby may need: diapers, wipes, toys, a bathtub etc...
Left, the safety railing made from toothpicks and corrugated cardboard and the changing pad/mattress.
Center, the finished table. Right, the backside of the changing table's pad. You can see the masking tape
used to secure the wrapped ends of the fabric prior to gluing the pad down to the top of the changing table.
Different views of my finished doll changing table. See the matching cradle for our Barbie's nursery.
More Diaper Changing Tables:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Quick and Easy Skeleton Costume for a Doll

How to make this doll's costume from recycled plush and plastic.
       This is a good idea for reusing some of your old holiday plush. Why not unstuff it and make quick doll costumes for a doll's party? It takes so little effort and the results are inspirational. Before you know it, you can create an entire cast of characters for a doll play, parade, or trick-or-treat adventure.
Above is the skeleton novelty plush and skull
with plastic arms that I used to make a quick,
simple doll costume for Barbie and Ken's son.

Supply List:
  • small sharp scissors
  • snap or Velcro
  • black ribbon or seam binding tape
  • stuffed novelty plush
  • plastic skeleton parts
  • threads to match
  • No-Fray (optional)
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. First measure the length and width of a doll that you wish to make this costume for. Compare these measurements to the length and the width of the stuffed novelty plush. Are the two similar? If so, you will be able to un-stuff the plush and use it for your doll.
  2. Next, you will need to use small sharp scissors to clip off the end pieces of the arms and legs. Try to remove very little of these and tack their edges under using a threaded needle, if possible.
  3. Clip off the head of the skeleton as well so that your doll may be fitted properly to the costume. You will also need to clip a 1'' seam down the backside of the plush in order to work the doll in and out of the body suit.
  4. Remove all of the cotton filling from the plush.
  5. I folded a small black ribbon around the edge of the opening in back and ran this up along the neck and back down the other half of this cut, sewing it in place with a black thread and needle so that the raw edge would be covered. Raw edges can tear and run after just a small amount of use, so these must not be ignored. You could use a No-Fray or No-Sew glue around these raw edges if you finishing such tiny seams is too difficult or time consuming for you.
  6. Attach a snap or a piece of Velcro at the back to hold the costume closed while your doll is wearing it.
  7. I cut the arm bones from the plastic skeleton, (above right), with a sharp pair of scissors.
  8. Then I threaded a sharp needle with twine and attached a piece of it to either side of the skeleton's mask so that I could tie it at the back of my doll's head with a simple knot and bow. Now this boy Barbie doll is ready to go trick-or-treating with his doll parents or perhaps he can wear the costume to a party or march in a Mardi Gras parade!
In this video, learn how to make: a skeleton, ladybug 
and pumpkin doll costumes for your 18" American Girl dolls.

More Trick-Or-Treat Fun:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Decoupage A Doll's Storage Trunk

Every little girl should own a doll trunk and at the very least, a few nice dolls with clothing to dress and redress
their dolls with. These kinds of toys promote opportunity for both dramatic play and creative sewing/craft projects.
Doll trunks may cost as much as 100 dollars
or as little as 5 dollars.

       Two 11 1/2 inch dolls will fit comfortably inside this little wooden doll trunk. Soon I will fill it with handmade doll clothes and accessories. The drawer is for shoes, the rack for clothing and I will add a shelf for hats later.

Supply List:
  • a doll trunk to decoupage
  • Mod Podge
  • soft brush
  • decorative, acid free paper
  • wooden dowel
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • ruler or tape measure
  • sharp scissors
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Acquire a Doll trunk for this project. I picked this one up at resale for five dollars. It was in excellent condition but cried out for an update. 
  2. Make sure the surfaces of your doll trunk are clean and free of dust and dirt before beginning.
  3. I decided to leave the slats of my trunk stained on the outside. So I measured and cut decorative paper to fit between these and applied Mod Podge to paste the paper down and then layered several coats of this glue on top of the paper to protect it. You will need to proceed slowly with this process in order to keep your work clean and free from tears. Let each side dry completely before covering the next.
  4. Then I measured, cut and pasted the interior of the doll trunk with coordinating papers. 
  5. I did not have enough of my paper to cover all of this interior so I decided to use a third coordinating paper on the drawer. 
  6. The last step is to glue in a dowel rod for hanging clothing if one is not already in place. Measure the interior carefully, cut the dowel and then use a hot glue gun to position it between the two walls above the drawer. Leave a couple of inches at the top interior of the trunk above the dowel so that there is plenty of room for clothing, hangers etc... to fit in. I chose to be generous with this space because I intend to eventually add an additional shelf for hats.
Left, here you can see that I had to glue in a dowel for hanging the doll clothing. This is not unusual,
many doll trunks are sold with only the bare essentials. For centuries, people altered doll trunks and even
life-sized steamer trunks to accommodate their own needs and tastes. Center, doll trunks are sold with a small
 drawer located at the bottom of one half of the trunk. Right, this trunk has a clasp, but no lock.

Watch the FairyChic Emporium cover her steamer trunk
 using a decoupage patchwork effect. Visit her YouTube
 account for more creative ideas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

DIY Clamshell Laptop for Your Favorite Doll

Left, Cut and trim the pattern for a doll laptop below. Draw around it on top of scrap pieces of cardboard
 or cardstock. (laptop is 2 1/2" x 1 3/4") Center, the laptops shut. Right, the laptops open with monitors on display.
       The "clamshell" shape of this pretend, laptop computer is made by layering and pressing corrugated cardboard pieces together. Don't let the finished product intimidate you! The process is a simple one and a child as young as 10 can do it.
       It is also important to use wood putty and a light weight sandpaper for the process, so make sure that you have all of the supplies on hand before beginning. I have linked to similar crafts below for those of you who are looking to craft something a bit simpler; all of these options are very good as well.

Supply List:
  • scrap corrugated cardboard
  • masking tape
  • scissors 
  • wood putty 
  • sandpaper
  • Mod Podge (optional)
  • white school glue
  • spray paint or acrylic liquid paint or nail polish
  • metallic adhesive tape (alternative)
  • tiny stickers for your laptop logo icon and the monitor screen
  • free printable keyboards at printable360
  • picture for monitor (screen saver)
  • black tape or paper for touchpad
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Cut and trim the pattern for a doll laptop below. Draw around it on top of scrap pieces of cardboard or cardstock. (laptop is 2 1/2" x 1 3/4")
  2. Glue together two pieces of cardboard for both the top and bottom of the laptop, so that you will have four cardboard cutouts in total to make the computer.
  3. Use masking tape then to cover all of the surfaces neatly. Trimming excess tape around the corners as you go.
  4. Apply a very thin layer of wood putty to the outside surfaces of both the top and bottom of the laptop. This application will fill the cracks and help to create a subtle dome-like surface (clamshell) for both the top and bottom pieces of your play laptop computer.
  5. After the laptop pieces have dried overnight, lightly sand the top, bottom and edges of the surfaces where you have applied the wood putty.
  6. You may wish to repeat step 4 and 5 in order to achieve a perfected looking surface. Remember, this is a learning process. Do not become overly anxious about your first efforts. It takes perseverance and practice to achieve the best results.
  7. With the metallic adhesive tape, hinge the top and bottom laptop pieces together from the inside of the laptop only. If you tape this hinge from both sides the laptop may not close properly. If you haven't any metallic adhesive tape you can use the masking tape. I suggest the metallic adhesive because it can take more wear, tear and play.
  8. Open the laptop and lay it face down to either spray paint it or to apply any liquid acrylic paint of your own choosing.
  9. Paint these surfaces with several even coats and let them dry.
  10. Print and cut keyboard clipart (above link). Apply these with Mod Podge or white glue if that is all you have on hand.
  11. Cut and stick a smaller square from the black tape and apply this for the touchpad.
  12. Cut a screen saver from a picture you like in a magazine and apply this with glue to the inside of your tiny laptop. 
  13. Don't forget to glue a tiny sticker for your laptop's logo icon on the topside of your doll's computer.
  14. Let the glue and paint cure for a day before handling the tiny laptop.
The finished doll laptops.
Craft More Laptops or Home Computers: Playscale or Miniature

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Tissue Box Cover Bed

Left, the tissue box cover made from stamped metal (fretwork). Center, Sew a simple mattress and
 pillow to match the tissue box cover. Right, Now your doll has a lovely place to sleep at night.
       I found a tissue box cover at resale that I thought would make a very nice doll bed. I chose to leave it white so that someone small could use multiple color combinations to blend in with this item in the future.

Supply List:
  • one tissue box cover of any style of color
  • cardboard
  • fabric to cover the cardboard
  • simple cotton fabric for the doll's mattress and pillow
  • needle and thread to match
  • fiber filler or a foam mattress pad
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Depending upon the weight of the doll you wish to use this tissue box cover with, you may need to cut a piece of cardboard out to fit on the under side of the cover to support the doll and her mattress. If you do this, paint the cardboard support a color that blends in with the fretwork of the cover.
  2. Wash and iron the white cotton fabric before cutting and sewing the linens.
  3. Sew a simple doll mattress by cutting out two identical rectangles the same width and length of the tissue box cover. Don't forget to add a seam allowance to these rectangles of 1/4 inch before cutting them out. 
  4. Sew a straight seam around the two stacked rectangles minus a two inch gap. 
  5. Turn the mattress right-sides-out and stuff the cotton filler through the two inch opening. Be careful not to stuff the mattress too much! I think I will need to remove some cotton from my own example. If the mattress gets to thick, the doll will roll out of bed too easily! Wew, how exhausting!
  6. Cut, sew and stuff a small pillow for the bed in the same way. 
  7. Now all your little bed needs is a blanket and perhaps a comforter. I will cover these lessons in future posts.
This little Forever Best Friends doll is tucked in for the night with a proper set of bed linens and a cozy pillow.
 She is wearing comfortable pajamas too.
More Doll Bed Crafts:

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Craft a Car Shaped Ball Pit for Your Dolls

A tiny baby doll plays in his car shaped ball pit. Soon it will become a part of his bedroom in our dollhouse.
       Ball pits don't need to be round, standard shaped enclosures. These playful additions may be shaped like almost anything when you use your imagination. Just think about what you would like in your own bedroom and turn it into a ball pit for fun! After all a doll's bedroom can become any kind of a fun space, if you are willing to craft it yourself.
This ball pit, photo by Fredriksson, is
life size and inside of a pretend ship in-
stead of a car! Read more about ball 
pits at Wikipedia.

Supply List:
  • a front end of a toy car
  • Styrofoam balls
  • papier mache pulp
  • paper egg cartoon
  • black tape
  • black, white and orange acrylic paint
  • red glitter glue
  • masking tape
  • cardboard
  • white school glue
  • two identical buttons for tail lights
Step-by-Step Directions:
        First you will need to acquire the front end of a toy car at resale for this project or if you have a small boy living at home, one of these may be easy to find. A project like this one allows for a bit of imagination because the ball pit could be made out of any size or shape of a broken toy vehicle. I purchased my broken car on purpose at resale. As you may well imagine, I got many strange looks from the cashier.
      Next, comes the most difficult part, shaping the wagon attached to the backside of the car from cardboard. This shape is made up of basic elements: a square, three sided wagon, wheel wells, wheel shapes, (cut from an egg carton) and the lip of the wagon that attached with a small hook onto the inside of the broken car.
You will need just the right broken toy for this project, but your version will look different from mine,
 depending upon the toy car that you find.
       Cover the entire wagon attachment with masking tape before adding the paper mache pulp to it's outside walls. This protects the cardboard surface, strengthens it and makes it mostly water proof. Well you can't dump the toy in a tub, but, you will be able to wipe it down with a damp cloth if need be...
       I left the inside of the wagon and the bottom side of the wagon free of paper mache pulp and opted to cover these with a black duct tape instead.
Masking the cardboard wagon before applying paper mache pulp.
       Below, you can see that I hot glued a couple of buttons on the back bumper to act as tail lights. Later, I then squeezed some red glitter glue onto the button surfaces to make these even more convincing. 
       I also left a part of the back bumper free from paper pulp so that I could paint a flat, smooth surfaced license plate.
Covering the cardboard wagon with paper mache pulp.
       Next, I painted the paper mache surface with orange acrylic paint. Then the license plate with the text "BAL-PIT" I used a bit of white black and white paint to make my egg carton wheels look similar to those original wheels of the car itself.
       Spray paint the little paper mach wagon with a acrylic sealer and add the Styrofoam balls for your dolls to romp around in.
Above is the finished car ball-pit for my playscale fashion doll's children. This looks great in their bedroom!

How to DIY a Doll Playpen

Left, Ashley doll is baby sitting. Center, someone small peeks through the sides of our playpen.
Right, peek-a-boo is easy to play from inside a playpen.
       You don't have to create a doll play pen with an ordinary round shaped bottle. Try something unique by recycling an eight sided hydrogen peroxide bottle. Below are the following supplies you will need for this baby doll furniture.

Supply List:
  • recycled hydrogen peroxide bottle
  • sharp cutting tool like an X-ACTO knife
  • masking tape
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • a recycled soft mesh liner or bag (potato bag)
  • felt  or fleece and scrap fabric (your choice of color combinations)
  • waxed dental floss
  • white cotton
  • long, large sewing needle
  • cardboard 
  • metal or quilter's thimble made from leather
Step-by-Step Directions:
       First, cut out the doll playpen from your choice of recycled plastic bottle using an X-ACTO knife. If you are younger than 13 or 14 years of age, you will need to ask a responsible adult to do this first step in the craft process.
       As you can see from the photos below, I wrapped a piece of masking tape around my bottle to mark where I should make my cut using the text on the labels to measure a height appropriate for a playscale doll playpen. (approximately 3 inches)
       Cut away the side panels for the baby doll to see through, leaving the corner walls and floor intact. Reserve a top panel that encloses the entire surround of the playpen. (approximately 1/2 inch in width.

Above, you can see that I chose a bottle with an interesting shape. If you can not find a bottle like this one,
 do not worry. You can make a playpen out of any shaped bottle and it will look just as nice in
 your own dollhouse!
        I reinforced the corners of my bottle with extra cardboard strips and glued these in place. Then I cut the soft plastic mesh to fit the openings where the baby doll may peer through while he or she plays safely inside.
       Use the masking tape to cover all of the remaining brown plastic of the bottle. This step is necessary in order to ensure the fabrics will adhere to all sides during the upholstering of the playpen.
Every surface is eventually masked off so that the hot glue will adhere the fabrics to the plastic properly.
       I glued a hot pink felt layer beneath my kitty cat fabric to serve as a soft liner. Felt is frequently used in upholstered doll furnishings instead of foam or cotton batting. Whether you chose to use this substitute depends entirely on your own preference. I think felt lining makes upholstered surfaces look neat and trim.
The doll playpen has been lined with a matching hot pink felt. On the far right, you can see that I used
 a very long needle to turn under the edges of my decorative fabric with. I also recommend that you use a
thimble to protect your fingers while you work at upholstering doll furniture for the first time. If you feel
unable to work with a metal thimble, a quilter's thimble that is made from leather, may be easier
for you to wear.
       Next, you will need to cover the playpen with your decorative fabric. Turning under the edges as you proceed with a long needle and an invisible stitch. I used waxed dental floss for this process instead of ordinary cotton thread. The floss will hold my sewn surfaces firmly in place through much rough play over time.
      Cut your strips of fabric a bit larger than the felt liner in order to hide seams properly. Sew the thread from back to front and then back again through the soft mesh plastic.
       I left the felt showing on the lower parts of the inside of my playpen, knowing that most of this would be concealed by the thick mattress.
The doll playpen is almost finished.
       Last, you will need to measure the bottom of your doll's playpen and add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to two square pieces of fleece that you will cut out stuff for a pillow.
      Sew around the stacked fleece squares with a straight stitch; leave a 1 inch hole to turn your pillow right-sides-in and stuff it with a small amount of cotton. Close the opening with an invisible or whip stitch. 
       Hot glue the small mattress into the bottom of the doll playpen.

Picking tiny baby dolls from resale...

       I will keep an ongoing record of the miniature dolls that I have discovered in resale, flee markets, Goodwill etc... for those of you who are interested in our doll collections here.
MGA Quints 5-sies 3" tall with rocking horses, high chairs, baby bottles, sippy cups, rattles, blocks,
 bowls and teddy bears. Originally the toys, high chairs and dolls were sold separately for $20.00. I
purchased all of the above in one bag plus much more for $3.00. These three inch dolls are the perfect
size for Barbie's family and friends.
Slightly smaller than the Quints dolls and so life-like, these babies are by TOOB.
 Our fashion dolls will love parenting this group! These dolls are still currently sold.
These two inch porcelain dolls dressing lacy Victorian styled clothing are the kind of dolls little girls love to collect.

Craft Doll Tennis Rackets

Left, two finished tennis rackets for our fashion dolls. Center, one of our dolls (a curvy Fashionista)
 is dressed and ready to play. I've included a pattern of her tank T-shirt below.
 Right, tennis racket covers made from felt will protect the racket from wear and tear.

       A tennis match between doll friends may be something you will need to craft on your own. So I have included here the first part of this DIY crafty sport, the rackets. Soon there will be an additional post showing how I made the tennis court and net.

Supply List:
  • black tape (color preference)
  • wire
  • masking tape
  • green acrylic paint (or a different color of your own choosing)
  • fine mesh netting (plastic, may be purchased from a hardware store)
  • tacky craft glue
  • white felt (a small amount)
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Download and print out the tennis racket pattern below.
  2. Shape wires into tennis rackets up against the pattern for twisting the wire. 
  3. Wrap the racket in masking tape until it is stiff.
  4. Paint the upper half of the rackets, see picture below.
  5. Cut out the center of the racket's pattern and hold this on top of the netting while cutting out the shapes for the inside of your tennis rackets. Cut these a little larger than you need so that they can be slightly adjusted with scissors as you fit them to your doll rackets.
  6. Glue the mesh netting shapes in place with a tacky craft glue.
  7. Let the glue dry and harden before proceeding with the next step.
  8. Cut long thin strips of black tape to wrap the racket handles.
  9. Wrap these handles overlapping the tape just a little as you work your way up the handles.
  10. Now you can trace around the rackets including 1/4 an inch felt for a better fit for the tennis racket covers. You will need four pieces like this for two rackets.
  11. The cover should not cover the racket entirely see pattern below and picture above.
  12. Sew a straight seam around each set of felt covers.
  13. Turn them inside out and fit them to the rackets when they are in storage.
Left, Shape wires into tennis rackets up against the pattern for twisting the wire. Center, Paint the upper half
 of the rackets. Right, Glue the mesh netting shapes in place with a tacky craft glue.
Free guide for doll tennis racket and a free pattern for a doll tank T-shirt.