Dollhouse #1: Helpful First-Hand Info for Dollhouse Furniture

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Blog entry by CoffeePatchouliWood posted 01-12-2017 03:15 PM 654 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Hello there.

Viewing some of the questions I have seen, I wanted to offer some information that may be helpful before you start making your dollhouse/furniture. Included here are links to determine what size and ratio of house you’d like to make, some first-hand info of dollies and furniture sizes, some tips of what kids prefer (at least in my neck of the woods), and lastly some assistance for non-sewers that would like to put some finishing touches on the house and furniture.

Size. Some general examples are American Dolls are 18” or 1:3, Barbies/Monster High/some Disney Princesses are 12” or 1:6. 4-5” or 1:12 are extremely popular now. Examples are such: My little ponies, Calico Critters, animals sold at Farm & Fleet, some Polly Pockets, Disney is now going berserk in this size with miniature Princesses including the classics as well as from Brave, and Frozen, Strawberry Shortcake characters, generics at Walmart, and half a dozen companies that produce wooden doll, and doll pegs to paint.

Sites that have more in depth info:

Things you may not know going into this:

Dolly cribs don’t accommodate most baby dolls as they range in size. There are also multiple babies in every little girl’s collection so you should make more than one and make a bit larger.

Tables need to be LARGE so that many characters of these blended dolly families can sit down together for supper. Plates and food are a must. Silverware are a mom’s worst nightmare so save us the trouble of vacuuming them up (and yourself the trouble of sanding your woodchips).

Chairs that are made for the characters are often not large enough for the character to sit in without falling out of. Barbie usually needs another body point for stability other than her caboose in the seat. Low enough to the floor so she doesn’t topple forward should be enough. Calico Critters have stubby legs that move up and into a 45degree V shape in front of them. Their chair needs to accommodate their caboose, stub tail, and wide legs in the seated position.

Preference from daughter, friends, and daycare children

Less is More and More is Just Annoying Ha! – Let’s start with the annoying! Many Barbie and Calico Critter furniture is cute but ultimately flimsy and the characters do not stay placed in their furniture. The overly feminine designs leave nothing to the imagination. Heck, who can imagine when the child sets the doll in the furniture piece for the 3rd time and screams in frustration. Also, there are sophisticated rooms printed on the back of these doll houses/rooms. Pink vanities, long draperies etc all make it a busy area a child cares nothing either about nor for. My 4 year old told me she liked the solid colors and simple patterns on the walls of the large cardboard doll house I made for her. Without prompting she and her 8 yr old friend told me they liked this better than the scenes on the manufactured house.

On to the Less Is More! (This is where all your skill comes to shine) Beautiful basics are sturdy and leave all the imagining to your beautiful baby. Either white, solid color, or very simple neutral colored prints suggested for interior walls. 3 or so simple chunky/ slightly rounded pieces are all that’s needed per room. I’m sure you want to go above and beyond because your kid/ grandkid/niece/ or yes nephews deserve the best. You’d be surprised at the imagination these kids have! Kitchen: refrigerator with 2 little doors that a finger can pull open, a cabinet with routed sink and 2 doors on bottom. A stove that opens and has painted circles on top where a little wood pan can fit. Masterbd: larger bed, 2 end tables, Kids bdrm: bunk beds, dresser with a small wooden lamp. You get the picture. My daughter prefers the simple wooden pieces that have minimal paint vs super-detailed plastic or wooden with no paint. For example: the body of the refrigerator is plain wood, but door is white. Stove hood is orange and oven door is yellow with gray painted window, black circles for 2 burners, and 4 smaller ones for knobs.

Details make it come to life such as things that move and can be manipulated! Shutters on the window, a door that opens, the toilet lid, bedding, curtains..

Rugs and Curtains for non-sewers..
They make it look like a little home! Here are some ways to add some textiles to your home for those who don’t have the option or gumshun to bust out the sewing machine.
Window or shower curtain that does NOT SLIDE: take a main color and a piece of lace. Cut 2 rectangles of main color as long as you’d like curtain to hang. Glue one strip of main color on each side with hot glue. Glue lace on top of this above window.
For a sliding window curtain attach a small screw eye on each side of top of window, use shortened barbecue skewer as rod, whatever you have for decorative ends on rod so fabric doesn’t fall off, wrap fabric around skewer (before securing in screw eyes with finials) and use hot glue or fabric glue to secure a pocket so fabric loosely slides. a scrap of fabric in an oval for a rug, a large rectangle for a blanket.
Yet another option is rivets at top of curtain and using “pinking shears” on bottom to deter fraying. Pinking shears are scissors that have little zigzag teeth instead of straight cutting blades. They leave a pretty little pattern as well as being useful.

Materials and tools:
Look at your shirt. At the end of the sleeves, collar, and by belt it has little stitching that tucks the end of the fabric under so it doesn’t fray. To avoid sewing you can do a couple of the things I suggested above, glue the edge over the other side, use a pinking shears, or you can also use a fabric that doesn’t unravel. Felt is a soft slightly thicker fabric that is perfect for a tiny bedspread, a rug, take a small piece and fold it 3 times and glue the end of the strip to what you have folded. Tadaa: a pillow. Stick something heavy on top so it glues nicely.
Acquiring bits of fabric..
If you can’t get a few scraps from a friend or colleague’s wife, hop over to JoAnn Fabrics or possibly Hobby Lobby. They’d be delighted to give you a few scraps (if they have them) if you share why. You may also opt for 2 or 3 ‘fat quarters’ in these stores. These are inexpensive quarter yards often sold in packs of 5 fabrics in coordinating colors for around $5.

My next post will include suggested dimensions and humble patterns for EXTREMELY basic furniture. If requested I can show a couple of quick videos of a pinking shear so you know what to look for and a very basic hand sewing to finish a curtain edge. You share what you know and I’ll share what I know :)

I encourage all comments. I know NOTHING compared to all of you out there and I would LOVE to be corrected and informed. Thank you for reading and will chat with you in a bit ‘doncha know’


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