Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Brummies Hollow Custom Dollhouse From Scratch

My new dollhouse is called Brummies Hollow.  I showed you my sketch in the last post.
So here is what I've done so far...
The house is 18" tall x 13" wide for now.  I used tempered hardboard for the walls. This is a material that doesn't warp. So you won't be struggling trying to straighten a sheet of wood for days.  It is super sturdy and holds up to most anything including moisture.
I cut the walls and windows and door with a scroll saw. I used to cut dollhouses with a craft knife or box cutter. It's possible! I did it for years. But you can find a scroll saw for under a $100.
Inside I did wood floors with Popsicle sticks. The ridged paper is cardboard from the scrapbook section at any craft store. You could also pull off the top paper layer on any cardboard box to reveal these types of ridges. The other walls are plaster sanded to a smooth finish. The trim is Popsicle sticks. Some of them cut lengthwise to get a thin strip.
Here you can see what the plaster looks like after it's applied without any sanding. The bare wall will get some decorative scrapbook paper. Scrapbook paper is a great option because it's usually a thicker quality paper.
To see links to products I use go to my Resources page.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How I Start a New Dollhouse Build

Getting started is often the hardest part of building a dollhouse. Where to begin? This is my #1 asked question.  I go through a certain process when I decide to build a new dollhouse.
First,  I gather ideas. Usually I look through Pinterest. Sometimes I get an email from a store with a photo that sparks my imagination. It doesn't mean I'm bound to these particular photos. It's just an overall feel the photos have. I will interpret these with my own style.
Then I draw my plan for the house. Nothing fancy. Just a little sketch with possible ideas written on there too. It also helps to make a list of everything you want to put in the dollhouse.

For this house, I'm using a product called tempered hardboard. It's very strong, doesn't warp and comes always as a perfectly straight sheet. We've all tried to straighten wood! It's nearly impossible. I used 2 sheets at $4.99 each.
I also gather things I want to use like a ready made door stairs, maybe a pre-made window. It all depends on my project.  For this house I saw a door on an email by Pottery Barn. I decided to replicate it.
You don't have to do things in any particular order. This time I did the front door first. Sometimes I make the chandelier or a piece of furniture. No rules in dollhouse building!

I draw out my house walls, floor and roof on the tempered hardboard. And cut them out.

I use a scroll saw. It seems to be the most stable saw to cut the straight lines. And you can also have very thin blades that won't rip the wood and make a big mess. The brand doesn't really matter. The cheapest will work. I have a Ryobi scroll saw. The only part I don't like is that the space where you turn the knob to change the blade is soooo small!  I have skinny fingers and it is very impractical. But it was under $100 and it has worked impeccably. So it's really a small inconvenience.

I put the walls together with hot glue. This keeps everything together without having to use clamps or tape. Cover each hot glue seam with a bead(line) of wood glue. Now everything is stuck together permanently. If you plan to wire the house with electricity, now is the time to run wires.But I use battery operated kits.

My next step is putting in the woodfloor downstairs. I use Popsicle sticks. I like to glue them from the front of the house to the back. I think it gives the space a more open look.
Next, you'll do your walls and ceiling. Before doing the upstairs floor you will want to run your wires for the battery operated kit. I have the links on my Resources page. Then you'll do your walls and ceiling upstairs.

My advice is Just Start! I promise building a dollhouse is very simple.  You don't have to make your first one complicated. Just a one room house to learn will be perfect. Once you see how therapeutic it is you will be hooked! 
I'll see you all in a week or two when I start a new project. Have a fantastic week! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Promenade Townhouse Dollhouse

This is Promenade Dollhouse. It's a custom dollhouse I made from scratch.
 This dollhouse is 20" tall x 13" across  x 13 1/2" deep.
 For this house, I went with a very sophisticated palette of grays accented with crisp white trims.
 The vines are from Hobby Lobby. Please check my "resources" page for links on products I use.
 The trellis is bass wood veneer I cut into thin strips.  The shutters came from the Primrose kit I used to use when I first started building dollhouses.

 I made the little garden with an iron fence, more vines, Heather sprays of flowers and roses I made myself.  I glued down sand(the kind used for candle fillers) using simple white glue.

There's a white wash on the pine Popsicle stick floow. That's just regular white paint thinned down with water.
 I decided to leave the interior completely white.

 I love the rustic look of the uneven floor boards. It gives the house so much character.
 I got the little birdcage from Hobby Lobby. It's a section with embellishments near the scrapbook isle. It was a brass color to begin. I dunked it in the white paint can and let it drip dry. This puts a thick coat of paint on the object.  Then I put a little light inside and covered it with vines and roses.

There's also a light above the front door.  I tried out a french door handle. I did this by sticking a piece of bent wire into a bead. Then I painted the "enamel" part with nail polish in layers to get a thick look.
I then painted the rest with black enamel paint and aged it with maroon acrylic paint.
I hope you are all having a wonderful Spring. And that all your mini projects are coming together with ease! Thanks for stopping by!
This house is available in my Etsy shop:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Sweet Life Custom Dollhouse

I wanted The Sweet Life dollhouse to be a super cozy place with lots of vintage charm. 
To welcome you home, I made a little front yard. This house is 18 1/2" tall x 15" wide x 14" deep.
I made little pavers out of concrete. Use water to dip your knife or spatula to shape your stone. It will help things not stick. Same principle as icing. You can find all the materials I use on the 'resources' page.

It's hard to see in the photo, but that's a crystal in the door knob.

I used real chalkboard.  This is a paper from the scrapbook section that has chalkboard finish. You can find the links to all the vines and other vegetation on my 'resources' page. I just cut everything into little bits to look to scale.
As always, I hide the battery and switch inside the chimney.

These shingles are from Hobby Lobby. They get dunked in a little bath of paint and water, glued on to the roof, and then white is applied for that extra bit of charm with a dry brush technique. I never use measurements or grids to put my shingles on. It's all done by eye. If you measure you will get a very sterile look.
Come on in!  I made the wreath with moss and the Heather flocked flowers.  The door has stained 'glass' done with a product called Gallery Glass(Hobby Lobby).
Inside, I made 2 crystal chandeliers, a lace armchair with matching footstool, a mantel, hutch, table, bed, bedside table, artwork, rugs and curtains.  The chairs are from Hobby Lobby. I painted and aged them and added lace cushions.  That little hutch is also from Hobby Lobby. With paint it looks wonderful. I added all the little accessories that I made myself.
I did the ceiling using my hot glue technique.
You draw a pattern on cardboard. Outline everything with hot glue. I use a professional glue gun because it gets hotter.  Then cover with a thick layer or two of paint and age with ink pads.
 I used stair spindles to make the legs of the table.  To age it, I used ink pads.
 I found the tiny sand dollar on the beach in Florida. I got the wallpaper off the internet. Just type in what you are looking for. For this one I typed purple floral wallpaper. Then find a site that shows enough of the pattern so you can easily match it up on the wall.
 I think the entry looks very vintage!  I used ridged corrugated paper used for scrapbooking.  This one was from Michael's craft store. All the curtains get sprayed with hairspray while pinned into position on a piece of cardboard. Allow to dry completely(or use a hairdrier). Then you can remove the pins and the little folds stay in place.
I found tiny little teal roses(they're beads) that I used as candleholders for my chandelier.

The loft is a little bedroom with oodles of pillows on the messy bed.

Thank you so much for coming by and taking the time to visit The sweet Life. I appreciate you!!
This cottage is available in my Etsy shop :