Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sew a Jersey/Sweater for Ken or Barbie

This striped sock sweater/jersey includes a turtleneck collar and ribbing on both the sleeves and around the waist.
This sock sweater requires two socks in order to include the stripes and ribbing on the sleeves.
 This jersey (above) is sewn from a pair of socks. Sewing with sock can be tricky but the results are very pleasing. Some tips to remember:
  • Sew with very small stitches and sew over your stitches several times to prevent unraveling.
  • The clothes only look as good as the socks, so, use either new or like-new socks to begin with.
  • Choose interesting patterns and colors that suite the age your doll represents.
  • Try to avoid stretching the socks while you work with them. This will prevent oddly shaped garments.
  • Use very strong thread for sock crafts such as these. Sometimes I will even use dental floss to sew with knit materials for dolls.
  • Use a sticky craft glue or no-fray fabric glue when working with the knit socks to prevent unraveling. 
  • Whether you use one sock or two to sew a doll's sweater will depend upon the pattern, design or size of your doll. Continuing the design of the sweater across the chest and onto the sleeve is a matter of design preference.
The candy stripped sock sweater above includes ribbing
around the waist only; plus a tiny knit belt. See directions
for her sweater skirt here.

       For this particular version of a doll sock sweater, (right) the cuff of the sock becomes the finished edge of the doll's sweater waist. The cuff provides a natural elasticity for the sweater so that the garment possess some durability when a child dresses and undresses her doll.
      There is also a tiny knit belt, cut from the former sweater. If your recycled sweater does not have a detail like this one, simply cut a bit of knit twine or decorative yarn to tie about the doll's waist instead.

Supply List:
  • a pair of clean larger socks for Ken's sweater, one child's sock for Barbie's sweater version
  • needle and strong thread (Use dental floss, unwaxed if you have it.)
  • matching pale pink, cotton thread
  • tiny sharp scissors
  • a doll to measure by (I used a ken doll, made by Mattel and a lovely dark skinned Barbie.)

Step-by-Step Directions:
       Cut the child's sock into three separate pieces, two identical sleeves for the arms (from the foot of the sock) and one continuous piece for the torso of the doll, cut from the leg of the sock. (see photo below) Then thread your needle with the dental floss and sew both a straight seam and then a blanket stitch up the sides of each sleeve leaving a opening for the shoulder at the top of each sleeve and an opening at the bottom of each sleeve for the doll's hands to stick through. Sew a straight seam and a blanket stitch across the top of the neck line leaving a hole for the doll's head to fit through. The cuff of the former sock becomes the waistline opening and it is left open all the way across.
       Observe in the pictures below how the heal part of the sock (gusset) is left to shape the shoulders of the sweater. It is easy to notice this here because the heal of the sock is solid pink along with the waistline area. You can also observe from the close up shots that I have turned the collar back and stitched a tiny blanket seam around the neck opening.  This stitch prevents fraying, allows for elasticity, and makes an attractive, finished edge.

       To sew on the sleeves you must take a tiny pair of sharp scissors and cut out a small arm whole on either side of the sweater just below the shoulders. Be careful not to cut these openings too wide. As you sew the arm seams these openings may be stretched a bit.

       Turn the sleeves inside out so that the right sides are facing together as you sew around the arm whole seams. See the photo below on the far right. In the Center photo, you can see that the sweater when turned inside out, it should have all muted colors and when the sweater is turned outside in, the colors are all brilliant.
       I finished the bottoms of each sleeve on this pattern by gently rolling them up and tacking them down with a bit of cotton thread and a blanket stitch.

 Above is a no-sew process for making a sweater for Barbie. 
This process uses a hot glue gun. Only older children should
be allowed to use hot glue guns and even then, they should
 be watched by an adult.

How To Sew a Straight Knit Skirt for a Fashion Doll

Barbie Doll dressed in knit top, skirt and faux leather boots.
Click here to see how to sew the sweater.
       Knit doll clothes cut from recycled sweaters and socks can be finished in such a way as to prevent future unraveling to some extent. However, you must treat the clipped ends of the knitted stitches with a fabric glue or tacky glue!
       These clipped ends must also be sewed securely, making sure to pass a fine needle back through each row of the knit and firmly sewing shut any stitched seams with several tight lines of straight stitches.

Supply List:
  • sleeve from a knit sweater (recycled clothing)
  • needle and thread to match
  • tacky, white craft glue or no-sew fabric glue
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Cut a clean, laundered sleeve from a knit garment. You can cut two knit skirts from an adult woman's size sweater for one 11 1/2 inch doll.
  2. Lay the sleeve out on a clean flat surface to cut. Lay your fashion doll on top of the sleeve to measure the length you would like to cut for her skirt. This measurement will vary given the size of your doll.
  3. I cut the top of the skirt from the finished bottom of my sweater's sleeve. That way, the doll's waist will be finished and less likely to unravel over time.
  4. Sew a straight stitch down the side seam of the skirt. Repeat this again, layering several seams on top of each other.
  5. For the unfinished, clipped end of the skirt, insert a tube or a group of pens to hold the tube of knit open temporarily while tipping the edge of the garment with glue. Let the glue dry this way and then pull the pens or tube out.
  6. I used a blanket finishing stitch around the bottom of the skirt on top of the glued edges to ensure the skirt would not unravel for some time.
Left, the sleeve of a knit sweater is cut off the main body of the garment in order to make the measuring and cutting
of my doll's skirt easier. Center, here is a photo of pens inserted inside the raw end of a cut sock. This is how I hold
open the clipped edges of a knit garment in order to apply a fabric glue to each end. You don't want the fabric to sit
on top of anything that it might adhere to during the drying time of the glue. Pull these pens out after the glue
has dried. Right, the bottom finished edge of the skirt has an additional seam sewn through its edge on top of the glue. 
Left, here you can see the top edge of the doll skirt is actually the finished portion of the former knit sleeve that
it was cut from. Center, the bottom edge of the skirt is hand-stitched over with a tiny, tight blanket stitch using
 matching thread. Right, this knit skirt will last considerably longer than most, given the attention paid to finishing
 it's edges.
How to apply a fabric glue to the ends of your 
clipped knitting in order to prevent fraying.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Collage a Baby Swimming Pool for Your Dolls

First, apply the stickers to the inside walls of
the transparent container.
       It's fun to make this simple craft with containers you can recycle from your own kitchen. Cover it with fishy stickers and just a bit of paint and your ready to have a splashing good time with your dolls.

Supply List:
  • a recycled food dish (plastic)
  • fish stickers
  • blue paint
  • Mod Podge
  • decorative paper (mine had printed tiles)
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Clean the discarded, transparent food container with warm soap and water. Let it dry.
  2. Adhere stickers on the inside of the container.
  3. Apply Mod Podge to the inside of the container over the stickers. Let the glue dry between several applications.
  4. Paint the outside of the container with blue paint and let this dry.
  5. Decoupage clippings from a decorative sheet of paper on the exterior of the container if you want even more detail on the baby doll pool.
  6. Layer Mod Podge on top of the outside walls as well.
Both Above and Below, you can see our Mary Kate doll baby sitting and having fun with the baby doll pool.

Craft a Sunny Little Ball Pit

The tiny doll inside our homemade doll pit seen from three angles.

One cherry tomato container clean and ready to use.
        You can make a sunny little ball pit from a cherry tomato container for your doll's nursery.         
       I chose to use this recycled container because of it's transparent walls and dome shape. Doll mamas can keep a close watch on their little ones through it's walls while they play!

Supply List:
  • cherry tomato container
  • Styrofoam balls
  • one yellow felt square 
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • masking tape 
  • light weight cardboard
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Clean the container with warm soap and water after the tomatoes have been eaten.
  2. Remove the top part of the container to work on the bottom first.
  3. With a small pair of sharp scissors, cut out the large bulbous dome from the bottom half of the container. This is very easy to remove and has a tacky lip on it that will stick easily to the top of the transparent lid. Just add a bit more glue to the lip and position this firmly onto the top of the container.
  4. Now cut a round piece of cardboard to fill the space at the bottom of the container neatly with glue. Don't forget to cover this surface completely with masking tape.
  5. Cut circle felt pieces to cover both inside and outside of the lower half of the container. the felt pieces should be slightly larger than the cardboard bottom.
  6. Cut a long piece of felt to also cover the sides of the lower part of the container.
  7. Hot glue on this long narrow, felt strip first. 
  8. Clip the excess felt and turn this under the bottom of the container gluing it neatly as you work your way around the bottom.
  9. Glue on one of the felt circles to cover this edge.
  10. Glue the other felt circle to the inside of the container to cover the masked cardboard bottom.
  11. Now cut an entry into one side of the transparent tomato top. 
  12. Cut a thin strip of felt to line the edge of your opening.
  13. Use the hot glue to firmly attach this felt to the outside opening of the doll's ball pit.
  14. Fill the container with a doll and Styrofoam balls.
Left, You can see the masked cardboard bottom of the cherry tomato container here. Right, Clip the excess felt and turn this under the bottom of the container gluing it neatly as you work your way around the bottom.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Mid-Century Faux Fiberglass Chairs for Barbie

Fashion dolls ranging from eleven inches to fourteen can sit comfortably in these faux Mid-Century Modern chairs.
On the far left are two Brat dolls and on the far right is a 14 inch Mattel Barbie and a Lisa Frank doll seated together
in the same set of Mid-Century modern, doll chairs.
       These faux fiberglass chairs are made from paper mache of course! I painted them bright orange and covered their lower halves in faux wood grain shelf paper that I purchased from a local dollar store.
       This project was indeed made simpler because of the shoe forms. Some shoes are sold with these cardboard inserts included in their box. These paper mache forms keep the shoes looking new and prevent the crushing of shoe tops in transportation and storage.
       In this post I will demonstrate how I transformed the orange, faux fiberglass, chair designs. I used the bottom halves of each shoe form for these designs.   
Photo by Schlaier, Read more about the Eames Fiberglass Armchair
Visit the Eames Office at YouTube and watch films.

Supply List:
  • spray paint
  • faux wood grain shelf paper
  • cardboard shoe forms
  • wood putty
  • sandpaper
  • light weight cardboard
  • Gorilla wood glue 
  • masking tape
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. I cut each shoe form in half to make four separate chairs for our fashion dolls.
  2. Next I shaped the bottoms of each chair to their unique curves separately, because not a single one of my faux fiberglass chairs is identical to the others. Place the chair, seated side up, on top of a piece of cardboard and trace around it with a pencil. Now I had a template to work the bottom half of the chair with.
  3. I then taped and glued a piece of three inch wide cardboard around the circumference of the cardboard template, overlapping one end onto the other approx. 1/2 ". Then I glued this in place.
  4. Tracing a template around the extended template on top of an additional piece of cardboard, I cut a closed end for the chair's bottom side. After gluing this chair piece on the bottom, I let it dry overnight. 
  5. Using the Gorilla wood glue, I firmly glued the top half of the chair to the lower and let the entire chair dry again overnight.
  6. I smoothed on the first coat of wood putty on the upper half of the doll chairs and also used masking tape to cover the lower half of the chairs, keeping these clean and free from paint. It is necessary to keep cardboard clean and free of paint so that shelf paper will adhere to surfaces properly.
  7. At last I sanded the tops of each chair smooth and spray painted these surfaces with a bright orange color. I had to repeat these steps several times before achieving the smooth faux fiberglass surface I wanted.
  8. Then I removed the masking tape and cut the faux wood grain shelf papers to cover each chair's bottom halves.
Left, paper mache shoe forms come with some shoe purchases in the U. S.
Center, the lower cut chairs with attached bottoms.
Right, the tops of each chair are covered with wood putty. and then sanded.
Left, the first spray paint layer. Center, I have smoothed more putty over the painted surfaces to repeat
 the sanding and painting. Not only does this give the surfaces a more finished, glass-like look,
 it also strengthens each chair. Right, all kinds of dolls may sit comfortably in my Mid-Century
furniture: Brat dolls, Barbie dolls, Lisa Franks dolls etc...
Multiple angles showing the shapes of these plascale Mid-Century Modern chairs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Transform a Curio Cabinet for Barbie

       The curio cabinet is a miniature duplicate of a much larger version that once hung in my girl's bedroom. This doll sized curio measures 8"x7" and will be a perfect place for our fashion doll's to display their porcelain collections in the future. I'm going to hang this cupboard in the bedroom of our doll's house but it would look just as nice in a dining room or kitchen if you's like to display your own somewhere else.
       Our family doll's prefer a much less sombre decor, however. So I have decided to liven this curio cabinet up a bit with some paint and decorative scrap papers. 
       As you can see, I also need to replace a finial knob on the top of this little cabinet. I found a wooden bead inside my button collection that suited this purpose and painted it lavender after gluing it in place.
Left, Before this small curio cabinet was stained and it's formerly displayed miniatures.
Right, After it has been painted and papered to display Barbie's miniature porcelains in a lavender bedroom.

Supply List:
  • a doll size curio cabinet 
  • lavender and white acrylic paints
  • lavender papers: figures, patterns and flowers
  • Mod Podge
  • sandpaper
  • tiny paint brush
Step-by-Step Instructions: 
  1. Dust and sand down the surfaces of the curio so that it may be easily painted and papered.
  2. Paint the outside shelving lavender and the inside shelving behind the glass door white.
  3. Measure and cut papers to fit neatly into the inside wall of the curio shelves. I used a purple and white chevron patterned paper for the outside shelf walls. Then I cut and pasted a water lily printed paper with the same color combination behind the shelves inside the cabinet.
  4. After pasting these in place, I then applied a second coat of Mod Podge onto the paper surfaces for a durable finish.
More Interesting Curio Cabinets Displays: 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Refinish A Doll's Rocking Chair

Left, this fashion doll mamma rocks her small baby to sleep in a coordinating cradle. (see how it was upcycled here)
 Right, the finished rocking chair with an upholstered cushion neatly glued to it's seat is ready for play.
       I found a very strange, decorative faux planter at resale. However strange it's parts, it will be charming in our family's doll house! The rocker fits the Barbie dolls perfectly. I gave it a modern paint application, two-toned, and glued together a tiny upholstered cushion to replace the potted plant. Now it looks like something our dolls need in their nursery!

The finished, painted rocker is ready
for a new upholstered cushion.
Supply List:
  • a rocking chair, playscale size
  • acrylic paints, multiple colors
  • sandpaper
  • cotton batting or similar materials
  • fabric for the seat cushion
  • hot glue and hot glue gun 
  • clear acrylic varnish
  • light weight cardboard
  • pencil and paper for tracing
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Thoroughly sand the surfaces of the rocking chair so that new paint will adhere to the parts.
  2. Using a small paint brush, color select parts of the rocker in different bright colors. I chose to paint mine in turquoise, hot pink, Kelly green and black.
  3. Seal these surfaces with clear acrylic varnish and let the rocker cure/dry over night.
  4. Trace the hole shape in the middle of the seat using a pencil and paper.
  5. Cut out the circular shape and trace around this on top of the cardboard. Draw a second line around this traced circle 1/4" larger than the first. Cut along this outside line.
  6. Take this cardboard circle and fit it to the opening in the rocker's seat. It should be a bit larger and cover the hole sufficiently.
  7. Now trace around this cardboard seat onto the decorative fabric that you have chosen to upholster it with. While cutting this fabric out, cut approximately 1/2" larger than the size of the cardboard seat. You will need the excess fabric to stretch around the edges of the cardboard as you go.
  8. Take a small bit of cotton and glue this to the center of the cardboard seat.
  9. Center the decorative fabric on top of this cotton and gently pull it around the underside of the cardboard seat. You can use a bit of masking tape to secure the fabric while you pull it around all of the seat.
  10. Now take a hot glue gun and secure the fabric to the underside of the seat cushion neatly. Trim the excess fabric as you proceed.
  11. After you are satisfied with this cushion, hot glue it to the seat of your rocking chair.
Left, the hole where a artificial plant once was inserted will need to be covered with an upholstered cushion.
Right, the surface areas are in excellent condition. All these need is a bit of sanding before I paint them.
Above you can see how this little rocker was once used as a strange, decorative planter.
More About Rocking Chairs:

Decoupage A Llama Dresser

A recycled child jewelry box, saved from the dump.
       Broken jewelry boxes make excellent doll furnishings when they have been upcycled with a bit of sandpaper, fabric and glue. I purchased this one from a local Goodwill for $3.00. Then I took a trip to a sewing shop down the street to select a fabric to use for both decoupage and sewing our doll's bedding. Repeating the prints and colors of the same items within your doll house rooms will help these spaces look professionally designed.

Supply List:
  • recycled child jewelry box
  • sandpaper
  • Mod Podge
  • coordinating paint, fabric and paper
  • beads for knobs
  • spray paint in the color of your choice
  • ruler and paper for making simple patterns
  • hot glue gun and glue
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Scrub the jewelry box with soap and water. 
  2. Use sandpaper to smooth out the finishes and prep these for new applications.
  3. Spray paint the new doll dresser in the color of your choice. Use plenty of newspapers or cardboard boxes to spray paint with so that the working surfaces don't get paint on them. It is best to spray paint outdoors so that you don't breath in so many fumes!
  4. Measure carefully the sides and drawer fronts of each part of the former jewelry box that you intend to cover with fabric or paper.
  5. Cut out the papers and fabric for the decoupage process. 
  6. Brush Mod Podge directly onto the surfaces that you have cut coordinating fabrics and papers for. Stick on the papers or fabrics, positioning these carefully. 
  7. Now Coat that applied layer of fabric and or paper with a finishing coat of more Mod Podge.
  8. Hot glue small beads to the dresser drawers and swinging cupboard door if these need new handles.
  9. After everything dries, your doll will have a lovely dresser to store her clothing in.
I chose to decoupage my doll's dresser with blue llama fabric and plaid paper.
I used a orange spray paint to contrast with the blue fabrics and paper.
This feisty llama is a "watchdog" for a Missouri farmer. My great grandfather actually had a few of these on his farm back in 1910!  He also had an ostrich and prize winning burros that he took to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. Visit the website celebrating St. Louis past and present surrounding the World's Fair history and people.

More About Upcycling Boxes:

Apartment Dollhouse Modernized with Elevator

      The four-story, step-back construction of this pressed-wood or plywood dollhouse gives it more room than the average dollhouse, without taking as much floor space. One side of each room is open and only one wall of each room is provided with windows. The elevator shaft is incorporated with the chimney and has a door on each floor. A crank projecting from the basement wall operates the elevator by the braking action of a clothespin on the axle. A balustrade around the terrace and a tin awning add to the appearance.
Vintage doll apartment plans.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sew Groovy Textile Art for A Doll House

I chose to layer square patterns on top of the circles
 in this modern version of a doll tapestry.
       Anyone can use a doll house craft like this one to show off a few of their own needlework skills. 
       The fancy trim work on this miniature tapestry is much easier to make than it looks. All you need are some unusual yarns to tack around the shapes, to give it texture and pizzazz!
       Parents could supply their young ones with fabric glue and make this project a no-sew application if they need to.
       I made this modern tapestry for our doll house using the following supplies:

Supply List:
  • three or four interesting, fuzzy yarn scraps
  • a fabric scrap, modern dot pattern
  • embroidery floss
  • beads for the hanger
  • a long wooden skewer or dowel
  • hot glue
  • fabric glue (optional)
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Cut and layer shapes with yarn trims onto one piece of select fabric for this tapestry.
  2. Use either threads and a needle for the craft or fabric glue if you do not know how to sew yet.
  3. You can choose to use any sewing stitch or color combinations to make an abstract version of this craft similar to my own example.
  4. After you have finished your design, fold over a piece of fabric measuring approximately 1/2 inch at the top of your tapestry and sew it to the backside with a whip stitch or glue it in place if you prefer. This will create a long, narrow pocket for you to insert the dowel rod or wooden skewer.
  5. Hot glue beads at either end to hold the wooden dowel in place. Now you can tie a yarn at either end to hang the doll sized tapestry on any wall in your own doll house.
Left, Hot glue beads at either end to hold the wooden dowel in place. Center, Cut and layer shapes with yarn
 trims onto one piece of select fabric for this tapestry. Right, Use either threads and a needle for the
craft or fabric glue if you do not know how to sew yet.
See more of my textile process for teens:

Assembling A Plant Stand

Three different views of the same tiny plant stand.
       Our doll house needs some faux plants to brighten up the corners! I will show you how to cut your own plants from paper in the future, but for now, you can make a few select things with artificial plant picks. Plant picks are sold in hobby stores, flower shops and craft outlets in the United States. You can also find them at dollar stores. Try to select the smallest plants so that the arrangements you craft are to scale.

Supply List:
  • fern pick
  • votive candle holder
  • small decorative rocks
  • white school glue
  • paper mache pulp
  • brown acrylic paint
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Clean the votive candle holder with warm water and soap. Be sure to remove all wax residue before continuing.
  2. Fill the bottom of the glass votive holder with small decorative rocks and then pour a layer of white school glue on top of these. Let this layer dry for several days.
  3. Mix a small amount of paper mache pulp according to the directions on the label of the package. Add a bit of brown acrylic paint to the pulp to color it to look like dirt.
  4. Layer this brown pulp on top of the decorative rocks.
  5. Take the fern pick and separate the leaves so that you have multiple fronds, each with their own wire, to stick into this sticky pulp "dirt."
  6. Arrange the wired fronds into a pleasing plant formation inside the votive candle holder.
  7. This plant arrangement will take about a week to dry. Put it in the sunshine if possible.
Left, votive candle holder and glass insert. Center, the artificial fern fronds separated from the pick.
Right, the decorative rock bits help to hold the wire fronds in place and also look attractive.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Shelving for A Car Themed Bedroom

These motor trend, racing champions came with silver packaging that is perfect for displaying tiny cars on inside
 of our doll's playroom or bedroom. You don't always need to make something new for a doll house. Try recycling
something that you have found instead. All this shelf needs is a back made of cardboard and a few attachments
 for hanging.
       Here is an easy way to decorate the walls of a car themed bedroom inside a doll's house.    
       Our small boy doll just loves cars and old hot rods! So I decided to make his bedroom shelves by gluing cardboard to the backside of the packaging our tiny cars came with. Then I attached a tiny hook to the doll house walls and a small wire to the backside of the shelving unit. Now Barbie's toddler can display his tiny car collection on the walls of the doll house.

Convert a Convertible For A Doll

In the U. S., beds that are bigger than cribs and cradles, but have a mattress smaller than a twin sized mattress,
are called toddler beds. Most car themed headboards are designed as toddler beds,
 however there are a few that will accommodate a twin mattress.
       I recycled an old VCR rewinder shaped like a sports car for this next project. Although it was missing a few parts, I thought it would be a very nice car bed for a small doll. All it needed was a bit of cleaning, bedding and a place inside a doll's bedroom in order to serve a new purpose.
       Do not over stuff the mattress in this case, the heads bump up the padding and make sure that the cording is safely removed. 
       I sewed a simple blanket using a car novelty print for this little bed. Now the finished bed looks as though it were made for a child's room in a doll house. Little car beds are not as popular as they once were during the 1980s but the children still love to play pretend with miniature versions of these.

See Life Size Versions of Car Beds:

Knot A Felt No-Sew Throw for Your Doll

Like fleece, felt does not either unravel when you cut it
or fray while you are handling it.
       Here is a doll sized version of a popular no-sew fleece throw blanket.
       The primary difference between the two crafts is the material used and way in which the two materials are tied together.
       Felt is substituted for the fleece because it is easier for a young person to tie it, when it is cut so small, and the tying method used is the same overhand knot children practice while learning to tie their shoes.

Supply List:
  • two 9"x12" felt rectangles (22.9 cm x 30.5 cm ) any color you choose
  • scissors
  1. Cut a 2"x 2" square from each end of the rectangle.
  2. Cut fringe around the outside edges of both rectangles measuring approximately 1/4".
  3. Layer the fringed rectangles on top of each other.
  4. Now tie corresponding fringe from front to back, in an overhand knot, twice, working your way around the entire circumference of both layered rectangles, until you run out of fringe to knot.
Detail photos of the felt fringe both loose and tied.

Here is an alternative fleece version
of the same craft method.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Painting and Upholstering A Doll's Bedroom Bench

       What a big difference a little paint and fabric can make. It's was so easy to transform this little wooden bench into something bright and cheerful for a doll's bedroom. 
       I chose to cover my doll's bench in blue and orange. Blue and orange are complimentary colors. This means they are opposite of each other on the color wheel. Decorating your doll's rooms according to particular color wheel combinations will ensure that your color choices are tasteful combinations. Many interior decorators use color wheel combinations to design aesthetically pleasing rooms.
Supply List:
  • cardboard
  • paint for the bench
  • a small wooden bench (from resale)
  • hot glue gun and hot glue
  • just a bit of fabric 
  • felt scraps
  • clear acrylic sealer
  • typing paper (for pattern)
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Clean the bench with a mild dish soap and set it in the sunshine to dry.
  2. Sand the surfaces of the bench lightly so that an additional paint will adhere to it's surface.
  3. Dust the bench before painting it with any color you prefer. I chose to paint mine with a pale blue color.
  4. After the paint dries you could rub down that sides with a bit of clear acrylic sealer. However, do not put any of this where you intend to glue upholstered pieces. 
  5. Cut a paper pattern of both the seat and the interior back where there will be upholstering. You can do this by measuring these areas. If you have a fancier rounded cut bench like mine, simply press the typing paper along the edges of your bench in order to transfer the shape onto the paper.
  6. Now cut out the transferred design where the creases are. Fit these paper patterns to the frame of the bench exactly before cutting out the cardboard template to match.
  7. Cut identical felt pieces to glue directly on top of the cardboard templates. Glue these onto the cardboard and let them dry.
  8. Now turn the fabric with it's right side down on top of a table. (The finished side of any fabric is called it's 'right side.') Place your cardboard pieces with their felt sides facing down on top of this fabric. Cut around the templates leaving 1/2 inch of excess fabric to all sides so that this may be folded over the edges of the cardboard and glued in place.
  9. Use hot glue to firmly fold the upholstered fabrics around the edges. Try to work as neatly as possible. Although, no one will see the backsides of either cardboard pad, too much excess fabric will make you project a bit lumpy when done.
  10. Trim away excess fabric on the backsides of the upholstered cardboard templates.
  11. Now hot glue the cardboard templates onto the wooden bench.

How to decorate using a color wheel.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Walking Toddler Doll

Description of Coloring Page: pin curls, balancing hands, toddler doll, frilly dress

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

The Reading Dolly

Description of Coloring Page: book, reading, stripped stockings, lace collar, china doll, school girl doll

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Color Three Rolling Horses

Description of Coloring Page: wheels, pull toys, horses, ponies, antique horses, mane, saddles

Don't forget to drag the png. or jpg into a Word Document and enlarge the image as much as possible before printing it folks. If you have a question about this coloring page, just type into the comment box located directly below this post and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Glue Together & Paint Two Night Stands

Try stacking all kinds of shapes in order to configure a contemporary night stand.
Use spray paint to achieve slick, crisp surfaces that look professional.
       I glued together two modern looking night stands using two bottle caps, two spools and two empty tin cans that once held bee's wax. You could use a hot glue gun to stick these items together. I used a sticky wood glue. 
       In order for this glue to work on plastic and metal surfaces, it must be adhered to masking tape. So between each surface, I applied the tape. 
       Then I cleaned the tin cans thoroughly before masking them completely and spray painting the bottom halves of my night stands with blue paint.
       Remove the tape from the masked areas to reveal clean, crisp metal finishes and evenly painted surfaces on bottom!

Watch and see how to make more modern looking night stands.

Sew A Set of Towels For A Doll House Bathroom

A new set of towels for Barbie's friends.
       I think that our family's dolls will agree that there is nothing nicer than a new, fresh set of towels! I chose a couple of brilliant azure blue, terry cloth, hand towels from a local dollar store to cut apart for this simple craft.

Supply List:
  • terry cloth
  • trims for hand towels
  • needle and threads to match 
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1.  You may wish to straight stitch the sides of your doll's towels on a machine or by hand. I turned and straight stitched every side for both the bath towels and hand towels. However, I didn't bother with the tiny wash cloths. 
  2. Add a little extra trim to the ends of the hand towels. I decorated each of my solid color hand towels with a white floral embroidered lace. 
  3. The bath towels measure 4 1/2" x 11". The hand towels measure 2 1/2" x 5 " and the wash cloths are 2 1/2" x 3" each.
 Sew more towels for your doll:
I purchased the terry cloth for this set of towels from a dollar store; it was far less expensive than the terry cloth
 sold off of a bolt in a fabric store.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Refinish Wicker Doll Furnishings

The finished result after a couple hours of spray painting.
       In the 1970s and 1980s, it was popular to furnish doll houses with small wicker furniture; the alternative to plastic inflatables. Because wicker is not very strong, much of it did not survive the playtime I suppose.
       I picked the stool, side table and one chair on the first day and then I returned the following day to retrieve the second chair. When visiting resale in the city, I always return the day after I have purchased something in order to see if it is a part of a larger set. Doll furniture in specific, was and still is sold in sets from high end toy stores. By the time these little furnishings are donated by former owners, many pieces may be lost or shifted into multiple bags or boxes.
       I have also discovered that employees in my local resale shops, do not always put sets of doll furniture out on display all at once and they don't always bag these items together. So it is best to keep a close watch for matching items once you have discovered one piece that you want.

Old wicker doll furniture tossed out as trash. These items
will look great once they are repaired and repainted.

Supply List:
  • old wicker doll furniture for upcycling
  • your choice of spray paint 
  • terry cloth towel
  • dark green acrylic paint (for metal leaf design)
  • fabric print to compliment the paint color
  • two buttons
  • needle and thread
  • hot glue gun and hot glue (repair work)
  • cotton or polyester stuffing
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Wipe down the old wicker with a clean terry cloth towel; try to remove as much dust and dirt as you can before painting these.
  2. You may need to use a bit of hot glue to reweave some of the old wicker back around the arms or chair legs and tack it into place.
  3. Prepare to spray paint this furniture in an outdoor space. I use large old cardboard boxes to spray paint items in. The clean up of these is easier; all I need to do is toss the used cardboard into recycling after the painting is done. The sides of the cardboard box help prevent the paint from coming into contact with anything beyond the object I am spray painting.
  4. When spray painting wicker, it is best to do so very slowly, all the while turning the doll furniture from side to side, upside down and right side up as the wicker dries. It take many light coats of paint and spraying between the gaps takes time. But the results are like new!
  5. After coating the wicker entirely and letting the paint dry, I then used a small paint brush to apply some darker green acrylic paint to the decorative metal leaves at the foot of the stool. This step highlighted the raised areas in the stamped metal.
  6. To make the two tiny pillows, simply draw a circle pattern for the seats and trace it out onto a fabric four times. Make a seam allowance of 1/4 inch around all four circles before cutting the fabric. 
  7. Cut and sew a straight stitch around the circles with their right sides facing in. Leave an opening for each pillow of about 1 inch wide.
  8. Now clip around each pillow's edge to help turn them inside out properly. Be careful not to clip through the straight seam!
  9. Turn the fabric pillows inside out and stuff them with a little bit of cotton or polyester stuffing.
  10. Use a whip stitch to sew shut the opening.
  11. Thread the needle again with a matching thread and sew a button each into the middle of both pillows.
Left, I use large old cardboard boxes to spray paint items in. The clean up of these is easier;
all I need to do is toss the used cardboard into recycling after the painting is done.
Center, It take many light coats of paint and spraying between the gaps takes time.
Right, the results are like new!
Left, I used a small paint brush to apply some darker green acrylic paint to the decorative metal
 leaves at the foot of the stool. This step highlighted the raised areas in the stamped metal.
Center, I chose to sew tiny pillows for each chair as well. Right, Each pillow has a decorative
 button sewn in the middle.
This is the same exact furniture that I have restored above. 
However, these pieces are in excellent condition.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

DIY Feather Dusters for Your Doll's House

Above are the doll's yellow and lavender feather dusters. These are stored
in the utility cabinet when they are not being used. See them hanging on
the cabinet's hooks here.
       These feather dusters sure come in handy after the dust settles in our doll's house! So much construction going on this month.
       Why not make a few for your collection today? They are easy to make and cost less than a penny to manufacture.
      Feather dusters can be made any size, miniature or playscale. It all depends on the length you make the toothpick.

Supply List:
  • craft feathers
  • toothpicks
  • Sculpey, oven bake clay
  • white school glue
  • white twine
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Shape a simple little handle onto the end of a toothpick. Make sure that it encompasses at least 1/2 inch of the toothpick. This will make your feather duster durable.
  2. Use the tip of a toothpick to poke a tiny hole into the end of the handle so that you can tie a small bit of twine on the end for hanging.
  3. Bake these tiny handles in the oven at 270 degrees for 10 minutes. You do not need to remove the toothpicks from the sculpted handles. If these come out with ease, glue them back into the handles after the baking using school glue.
  4. After the handles have cooled, attach feathers to the opposite end of the toothpicks with a little glue and twine. 
  5. Using white school glue and twine, cover the remaining parts of the exposed wooden toothpicks. (see photo above)

Update A Wooden Doll's Cradle

       I picked this small wooden cradle for our fashion doll's house not only because I thought it charming but also because it rocks well without tipping. It is an excellent size, 8"x4"x4", for a Barbie doll's baby. All this piece needed was a bit of updating!

Above, I painted this little cradle using two colors, green and teal, and left a few of it's surfaces stained.
This style of furniture is comely referred to as "two-toned." Although, technically my cradle has three
 colors on it. The word combination "two-toned" refers to the leaving of some surfaces stained
and others painted.
Detail of bumper pad tacked in place.
Supply List:
  • acrylic paints
  • cardboard
  • felt for lining, any color
  • scraps of fabric for the bumper pad
  • fleece for mattress cover, coordinating color
  • needle and thread
  • clear acrylic sealer 
  • sand paper 
  • small paint brush
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Lightly sand the cradle's surfaces to remove dirt, grime and any other sticky or oily residue from the crib. This light sanding will also scratch the surface of the stained crib just enough to help the acrylic paints adhere to it.
  2. Using a small paint brush, carefully coat the different surfaces of the crib with the colors you have selected. It should take three to four coats of paint to cover each surface sufficiently. Remember to apply the paint evenly to avoid messy lumps and drips. 
  3. I painted this little cradle using two colors, green and teal, and left a few of it's surfaces stained. This style of furniture is comely referred to as "two-toned." Although, technically my cradle has three colors on it. The word combination "two-toned" refers to the leaving of some surfaces stained and others painted.
  4. Now you may wish to use a clear acrylic sealer to protect your paint application. Let it dry before continuing.
  5. Measure and fit a piece of cardboard to fit inside the cradle, if your cradle has a bottom made from small wooden slats like mine.
  6. Cut a felt cover for this cardboard mattress the exact same dimensions. Glue it to the top of the cardboard.
  7. Now cut a piece of fleece, slightly larger to cover both the top and bottom of the cardboard. This will provide the doll with a bit of cushion. 
  8. Tuck and whip stitch the edges of the fleece to cover the cardboard mattress. Fit this into the cradle.
  9. To make the cradle's bumper pad, measure the length of four interior sides. Add up these measurements and cut a piece of felt for the stuffing of the bumper pad.
  10. It's up to you to decide how wide the bumper pad will be.
  11. Place the felt piece on top of the decorative fabric you are going to use for the outside of the bumper pad. Cut around this felt piece leaving 1/4 inches for a seam. Do this twice.
  12. Remove the felt for measuring, Turn the two pieces of fabric with right sides together. Sew a straight seam around the two bumper pads, leaving a opening of approximately three inches.
  13. Insert the felt lining and whip stitch the opening shut.
  14. Stitch the ends together if you like.
  15. Now fit the bumper into the little cradle and use a needle and thread to tack it in place.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Frugal, Fashionable, Furniture Picks...

       You don't always need to alter, refinish, upcycle etc... every object you pick from a resale, an estate sale or flee market. Sometimes I have picked items that fit right into doll house interiors that look like they were designed for that exact purpose. These items do share one thing in common, however, I did not pay more than $2.00 for each piece and in some cases, I paid much less.

This small, stained, wooden box was perhaps once used for jewelry? It looks like a set of stair-step dresser drawers
 for a doll house. The brass handles and inlaid brass oak leaf design are in perfect condition! I won't be
 altering this piece.
Printed on the inside lid, "Lane Presented by Carol House Furniture St. Louis, Missouri." A cedar box, perfectly preserved with key to lock. This cedar box reminds me of a lovely cedar trunk that my grandmother had at the foot of her bed. Inside, she stored a wedding gown, wedding cake topper and fur cape. It was customary to keep cedar trunks as hope chests prior to marriage many years ago. Then after marriage, a young wife would fill this kind of trunk with her most valuable linens, quilts and fine clothing.  Read about the hope chests young girls kept for their wedding day here.
This dated, wire card or paper file will make a nice storage unit for doll sized paintings.
A delicate wooden park bench sized for fashion dolls will look charming in a park setting or on the doll's back porch.
I can transform this stainless steal, votive candle
 holder into a Mid-Century Modern plant stand
 without changing it's appearance. The base is a bit
 exaggerated but I think it will look fine in the
 Barbie doll house.
Above is a former tissue box cover with detailed fretwork.
I will leave this white but use for the base of a doll's bed.
This wooden container will make a nice storage bin for
the doll's patio gear and athletic equipment.