Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dollhouse 1/12 Fireplace Mantel Tutorial Cottage Style

A great way to give your dollhouse charm is by making your own fireplace mantel. It's very easy to do. And you can make it any size you want.
You will need one thin wood veneer. I have 1/16 x 4 x 24" bass from Hobby Lobby.

For your tools you will need a glue gun, ruler, pencil, white glue, sand paper.
And a sharp utility knife. This one has a snap off blade so you always have a sharp edge. I bought it at Home Depot.
The first piece to cut out is the back of the mantel. Mine is 4 1/4" tall x 3 1/2 wide. ((If you would like to put a textured paper inside your mantel this would be the time to glue it on leaving an 1/8" to glue to wood onto this back piece.))
Next the walls of the mantel. Mine are 4 1/4" x 5/8". You will need 4 of them.
You need a top shelf and bottom for the mantel. I cut out 2 pieces each 1" x 3 7/8". I do sand these two pieces. I like worn rounded edges and corners. I like using a 1500 grit.
And finally the piece in the front of the fireplace, the frieze. Mine is 2 3/16" x 1 1/2". Mine needs a real old cottage look so I'm opting for a nice tall one.
That's all the pieces for the main structure.
Glue your walls to the back of the mantel with white glue. I use Aleene's.
Also glue the bottom and top. The trick here is to get everything to stay together and keep it straight. Let dry completely.
I usually let it dry against a straight flat wall. If needed I add a weight to make sure it stays flush to the straight wall. Otherwise you will have problems installing it in the dollhouse.
Next glue the frieze in place.
This is the basic structure I use for all my fireplace mantels. Some may be bigger, narrower, or smaller. But the process remains the same.
The next step is to add trims. This is where you give your piece the feel it needs. I'm doing this one for an English cottage. So cute and girly is the order of the day.
I'm layering trims. The first trim you need is for the top and bottom of the mantel walls. My first trim is 3/8" wide. Notice I do my side trim first then cover the rough edge with the front trim.
Your next layer of trim will have to be thinner. So I would use thin cardboard like cereal box weight or cardstock paper. This trim will be 1/8" to 1/4". You can also cut out a fun detail. Like dental moulding or swags. First I'm doing a simple second layer trim on the bottom. This one is 1/4".
My top trim is scalloped. I have a pair of scalloped edge scissors to do this.
And finally one more 1/8" trim on top of all of the trims. Perfect!
Now we need to trim the firebox. Two sides go on first. They are 1/8" wide.
Then I add a shelf at the top that is almost 1/4" wide.
And top it off with the remaining 1/8" trim. Done!
How about making some girly addition. I'm going to do a little 3D work on the frieze. First I draw a design freehand.
Next use your glue gun to apply 3 dot and the 2 swags. You can cut those annoying glue gun webs by releasing the trigger completely and then touching the hot nozzle on the string. It will cut the string. Any remaining strings can be taken care of with a hairdryer.
You may want to practice on paper first. The technique is like pulling sugar in candy making. Remember this is vintage style. So it doesn't need to be perfect! If you can't do it just use white glue. Make sure it's not runny.
Paint your entire mantel with acrylic paint. It can be craft paint or house paint. Makes no different. Lay it on there thick! If your paint is too new you may have to do 2 or 3 coats.
Let's add character!  I use ink pads to achieve a very old look. They are all browns. Stampabilities Brown, StazOn Saddle Brown, and Color-Box Putty. It makes no difference which order you apply them. Use a hard bristle brush to get the ink in tight corners. 

Now if you want to go all the way with this project you can add fire. I order my fire kit from I order the fire kit with the 1.8mm bulb and 3 volt battery with the switch. You can do the pico lights if you want undetectable bulbs. They put out a lot of light and work great too. 
Drill a hole at the back wall at the very bottom. You can use a drill, a screw driver, a nail to do this. Whatever you have on hand. The wood is very easy to poke a hole in. I used a little screw driver. I started the hole on the front and turned the fireplace over to continue the hole from the other side. You wouldn't want to risk ungluing the back of the mantel!
 I build a fire stack with real sticks from the garden to hide the bulbs. Start by building up the wood stack around the bulbs. Notice I did bend the wires 90 degrees ready to be pulled back through the hole. 
Continue building the stack until the bulbs are hidden.
Glue inside fire box with hot glue.
Now let's make it a wee bit more romantic with moss. 
Get the hot chocolate and S'Mores cause you are ready to snuggle up next to the fire!

Thanks for joining me and following along. I hope you give this a try.  I promise it's really easy. You know what I always tell you: one step at a time. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cotsworth Cottage Custom Dollhouse Commission 1/12 Scale

A new commission is underway. Kathie requested an English style fairytale cottage. I call it Cotsworth Cottage. I have no idea where the name came from. It just popped into my head out of nowhere! :)
 This house has a turret. I decided the turret would be with windows. The turret is a paper mache box from Hobby Lobby that I cut in half. You can use any box like an oatmeal box.

 For the interior Kathie wanted something light and not gloomy. I came across this gorgeous lavender paper with roses on it. Originally I was going to use it upstairs. But I loved it so much I decided on putting it on the longest wall in the house.
 It is so feminine and precious! I find these papers on Pinterest and print them out on cardstock to avoid all th bubble drama with the white glue.
 The rest of the house has aged plaster and ridged cardboard.

 The floors have 2 washes. One white and one caramel brown. It looks so shabby chic! Don't be afraid to add to your washes. The more colors you use the more complex your end product will be. And that's what you want to make it look like an old worn space!
No girly cottage is couple without crystal chandeliers! These two will go downstairs.
The next post will be a fireplace mantel tutorial. So keep an eye out for it!
Have a super week. And create something. No matter how small. Sometimes that is all it takes to spark new energy into a project!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Very Blessed Cottage Custom Dollhouse

Here she is! A Very Blessed Cottage for Tracy.
This dollhouse is 15 12" x 15 1/2" x 18 1/2" tall.
 All the vines have pink flowers.
There's a sweet garden and a porch light.
The porch has a "metal" roof.
 Tracy had requested shutters. Unfortunately, I made all the windows so big that there was no space for them. LOL! So I put a fake window here with shutters.  Sometimes you have to get creative!
 This plaster wall is aged cream with brown stones.
 The siding is very light gray. I get this siding from I also get my shingles there.
 On this wall I made a trellis using veneer I get at Hobby Lobby.
 You can find the little fences where they sell fairy garden supplies. But this one came from Hobby Lobby. They are located where all the wood rods, wood embellishments are.

 You can see the "fire" flickering in the fireplace mantel.

The house has a very open floorplan for maximum decorating possibilities.
In the entry area I did a tin ceiling. This demarks a separate space without having to take up room with a wall.
Also the walls are covered with ridged paper here which also makes it feel like a separate room.
 The ladder steps are removable.
 Tracy also ordered a basket, paintings, and a little clay house.

 The upstairs is very sweet and simple with a touch of pink in the wallpaper and also in the chandelier.

I hope you enjoyed your visit. Thank you Tracy for the commission order. This was a great house to work on.
Up next, a little more fairytale cottage outside with an English style and a turret. But with a light and airy interior. See you soon!