couch and armchair

The living room just needed a cosy couch and easy chair. But I hesitated; would I make these pieces of furniture myself or would I just buy them....

I had made some furniture in the past using a helpful Dutch doll's house guide, named;
"Interieurs voor poppenkamers" (written by H. van Eck  and published by Cantecleer)

Unexpecxtedly,  I happened to find two lovely pieces of furniture in the shop of "Karweipost".
I very much liked the shape of it.  But colour and pattern of the fabric didn't match with the wallpaper of my miniature- livingroom.
I decided to buy them anyway and change their uphostery to my own taste, bearing in mind the handy tricks I had learned  from the small guide mentioned above.


 I started off with the yellow armchair and  then went on with the couch.  

First of all I carefully stripped the couch of all it's upholstery, making sure no to damage the pieces of foam, which later would be still useful beneath the new wrapping.

As you can see in the picture; I made paper templates of several wooden parts of the couch. I also added foam to the armpieces, to give the couch a real soft and cosy appearence.

 I wrapped the wooden parts, one after the other, with the cloth of my choise. I used Tacky Glue and a few nails to make sure the couch would not fall apart again.

I removed the original legs of the furniture. Instead I painted 4 pieces of nicely shaped wooden parts and split all 4 of them in half. In this way I ended up with 8 nice parts to use as legs. Doing so I could also adjust the height of the furniture to my liking. Using glue and nails I attached the small legs to the armchair and couch.

The finishing touch consisted of hiding small gaps by adding ribbon and piping, using Tacky Glue.

And how nicely they fit into the room!


From kit to house

In 2007 I bought a doll's house kit called "Cameleon" at a Dutch store "Karweipost". The house was named "Cameleon" because it came in 4 different versions. I needed to buy a  kit because I did not have a real sawing machine at my disposal and therefore couldn't easily construct a wooden doll's house from scratch myself.

With the "Cameleon" I saw enough opportunities to change aspects of the kit to make it better suit my ideas. My plan was to use the kit as the basis for a Dutch house of  the beginning of the twentieth century.

So I chose the "Victorian"-version of the kit and added typical Dutch features. I shifted the position of a few inner doors and the shape of some window spaces. I constructed all windows, outer doors, brickwork, rooftiles, a second chinmey, the fence of the balcony and porches by myself to be able to apply my own ideas to the kit.

That's me trying to recognize all the wooden pieces on the drawing


And this is the house after I put the kit together....
....and after I decorated the roof and outside walls


Roof of the house; making miniature roofslates

 The roof of the house is covered with pieces of cardboard and  painted  afterwards
 to make it resemble a grey slated one.

First of all, I made use of a book written by Jean Nisbett and called :  "A beginners Guide tot the Doll's House Hobby".  In this book the writer sets out several options of house exteriors. One of them is the "economy option" for supplying your house with  a slated roof using cardboard. I did some experiments with it to make it look as realistic as possible.  In this post I'll show you how I made the roof of my house.

I took a few large pieces of cardboard ( in dutch: "grijsboard") of 1 mm thickness. I made two "rulers"; one for dividing the cardboard in strips of 19 cm en one for dividing it in strips of 13 cm. Usings self-made rulers saves time,  for you don't have to measure every 19 or 13 cm apart. Besides; it helps working more precise so you won't end up with unequal parts.

Next, I cut the cardboard in horizontal strips of 19 cm, using the lines I set out with a pencil. This is done easily with  a metal ruler and a craft-knife.   Every 13 cm I made a cut halfway through the strip, following the pencil-line. I like to use a pair of scissors for this job.

The idea is to paste the strips of cardboard on the wooden roof of the house, making sure evere strip partly covers the one underneath.  Also mark that the vertical cuts in the strips of cardboard alternate.  Every cut is positioned in the middle of the slate direct below.

The wooden roof is horizontally marked with a pencil-line, again using the "13- cm- ruler". However there is one exeption:  always start at the bottom of the roof with a strip of 19 cm heigth.
Apply the first strip of cardboard at the edge of the roof and every next one on top of the one beneath.

I like tot use Wood Glue or White Glue ( my favorite glue comes  from the dutch shop of Peter van Ginkel; it's sold as PVG Mowilith  DM-2, een waterige kunstharsdispersie op basis van een vinylacetaat)
I applied  every layer upon layer, making sure the one underneath was stuck firmly before putting the next one above.
It's no problem when you cut a lare strip of cardboard in smaller pieces, al long as the slated pattern continues.  You can even cut one slate loose from the strip of cardboard and paste it like it's starting to fall from the roof; in need of repair!

After making sure the roof has dried thouroughly, I appplied an undercoat of a quick drying primer.

You can make your rooftiles even more realistic by damaging them on purpose
with very rough sanding paper.

Next, I needed acrylic paints in the colours white, ultramarine blue and burnt umbre.

First of all I mixed a real dark shade of grey, using the umbre and ultramine with just a little bit of white.
I covered the entire roof with this dark colour, making sure to fill all gaps with paint. This dark layer will later shine trough the upper layers of paint. In this way one achieves a feel of depth when looking at the roof slates.

Next, I apllied 2 or 3 layers of grey, each layer having a lighter shade. This was achieved  by using ever more white paint in the mixture of the three colours. I Made sure not to entirely cover the layer of paint underneath when I put on the next one.
Using a reasonably dry brush helps in this. You can also use the "dry brushing" technique to highlighten the damaged parts of the cardboard; giving it a real natural stone impression.

I finish with a layer of transparant, matt varnish, to protect the material.

So this is how I made my slated roof.
I thought grey slates would colour nicely with the warm red/brownish brickwall.