Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dolls House Reveal

This project rocked my world, it was so much fun that for a while I'm ashamed to admit, I teetered on the murky edges of crazy Victorian doll house lady. To date I still have 4 others in varying states of repair awaiting loveliness.

Ok so 5 sounds a bit much? but they kept finding me and they were in need of tlc I just couldn't resist, like this gorgeous 1960's style open sided house. Can you believe this was just $1.50? craziness!

One thing that I learnt, is that these miniature bits and bobs may be small but the prices are anything but and since my little lady is somewhat of a Tasmanian Devil, (seriously, her Indian name would be "Raised-by-Wolves")I knew I had to make everything easily replaceable should they be stamped on/swallowed/flushed away! That's where I decided to make as much as I could from items I already have and keep everything else low cost.

Aside from the wood furniture, all flooring and home furnishings were made by me. Original plans to make everything proved way too time consuming, yep the bitter reality sank in that everything would indeed be shoved in baby G's mouth or nostril or a mixed combo of the two.

So here is the starting point, a very blah looking unloved but sturdy Wooden Dolls house, rubber cemented down Carpet sample? check, 80's paint job? check? time to get to work.

Top one is the poor unloved shell pre-makeover.

I played around with the design of the rooms and the style, first opting for something bright and modern. Check out the knitted Ottoman and cushion, knitted using toothpicks (yes I am ridiculous but it was fun) and Embroidery floss.

In the end I decided on a mix of old and new, some gorgeous Vintage fabric and a small remnant of Contact paper gave me some inspiration for colour schemes. Now to start the demolition!

I ripped out the carpet, the single kitchen tile floor and cut new floors to make it easier to change them away from the dollshouse itself.

Would you believe that all the flooring was not only FREE but RECYCLED too? double points!

Bedroom Hardwood looking flooring is actually an old Bamboo blind.
White flooring is made from popsicle sticks, which took me hours, lesson learnt, Bamboo blinds all the way baby! so quick and easy and the indentations from the blind cords made it looks like planks of wood.

Kitchen flooring is real Composite tiles sourced from Freecycle, a sample pack of 2x2 tiles cut down, glued then grouted, so pleased with the finished look of this and the fact that it's not only rainbow but real kitchen tiles made me smile.

The curtain rods were small wooden dowels I had in my stash and worked perfectly with cup hooks to keep them in place. It took my little lady at least an hour to pull the rods out but they were popped back in easily, crisis averted.

After searching in vain for some scalloped wooden trim to add to the sides of the under roof area I ended up using some cereal box card and a Dollar and tracing my own, a couple of licks of pink paint and we were on to a winner.
The vintage looking roof was created using Dollar store drawer liner, I loved how this turned out, and it smelt like Roses the whole time I was papering it. It was pretty lumpy on first application so I sanded it once it had dried and the lumps disappeared and a gorgeous aged, worn in look came about, and all for $3? score!
Ok ready for the Royal tour?

First the Living room, wall colour not yet decided so some colourful accessories brightened up the room,

The Sofa I made from scratch, stitched from real Leather, a block of wood, card and some stuffing, my first try at mini furniture and it's pretty realistic non?
Faux Acrylic Coffee Table is from the base of a Palmolive washing up liquid bottle, Patchwork rug is chopped up from small carpet samples. Ottoman is a mini Playdo tub covered in recycled shoe leather. Table lamp is a dollar store bubble solution bottle, and lamp shade is scrap fabric covered piece of plastic canvas folded and stitched together.

Downstairs bathroom or Kitchen as it will be when we add more furniture to the house. Brings back memories of our Portsmouth Victorian terrace with the (only) Bathroom off the kitchen! 
Furniture is by Hape, the blue backsplash is a scrap of contact paper stuck to a piece of cereal box and the bin is a $1 toy we had kicking around. Check out the wooden duck and the mini towel, and erm if you look really closely, doesn't the shower look like a teeny weeny pair of mens dangly parts? ok just me then?



I added a menu board for when the Kitchen furniture is in place, just some corrugated card covered with painted popsicle sticks and sanded for a rustic look, and the best bit? it is actually a chalk board painted with chalkboard paint, can't find and miniature chalk mind you, but it's the crazy, up all night, should be asleep thought that counts right?!

Moving up the imaginary staircase to the bedrooms, here we arrive in the Master bedroom

Bamboo blind flooring, vintage fabric glued to the walls and a faux chair rail and baseboards/skirting boards were bamboo blind pieces again, such a great source of wood that didn't need staining.

A vintage eyelet doily for a rug, two Hexagonal Brass drawer knobs as bedside tables and some more miniature sewing.

I hated the way that bedding never sat flat when I was little, so I just sewed a tiny pintuck down each side of the bedspread, it did the trick and looks a bit more realistic. The pink cushion is knitted again with Embroidery floss and toothpicks.

The Dresser was given to me and the 'fabric' inside is bias tape or lace seam binding glued and folded around a small piece of cardboard.
Saving the best to last, here is the childrens room. The furniture again is Hape, so cute and fun, every detail is thought of.

The rug is some bakers twine looking cotton yarn I had, I just twisted it around a piece of cereal box card and glued as I went, love the rag rug look it has.

Faux cow hide rug is some minky fabric scrap simply cut in a erm, dead cow shape. Check out the amazing vintage contact paper, I love this design and the fact it has England, Canada, France, Germany and Greece on it and the illustrations are so cute. 

The flooring is popsicle sticks sanded cut and painted once stuck down, long time in the making but I do love how it turned out.

The curtains I made and added ribbon tie backs then draped a small piece of pompom trim over the top.

The whole shebang.
 Soooo still with me? still awake? understand why this project was a year in the making?... and just remember I have FOUR more of the suckers to finish lol.

Coming up? some actual real life not teeny tiny at all Sewing!


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Ruby Murray said...

Wow! That's so fun! I love it!

Ruby Murray said...

This is so inspiring - 'refurbish daughters' dolls house' is on my Project 52 list for this year - it is in a box in the loft over the garage. Your post has prompted me to get it down and work out how to give it a makeover, I specially like your twine rug, bubble-bottle table lamp and miniature knitted cushion! My Dad built our dolls' house for Liz in 1984 - so it is 30 years old
blessings xx

Ruby Murray said...

Angela, thank you so much. Don't wait, dust off that dollhouse today! Give yourself plenty of time and experiment with things you have around your house. It really is a fun project, any home decorating wishes you have can be played out!

Ruby Murray said...

Thanks Jessi, I loved working on this it was a totally self indulgent project. So much fun x

Ruby Murray said...


Ruby Murray said...

Someday I hope to make a mid-century house for Barbie using all repurposed and recycled material. Your house is an inspiration. I hope I remember the bamboo shade trick for flooring.

Ruby Murray said...

Thanks so much Diana xoxo

Ruby Murray said...

Claudia that sounds like a fun project to look forward to, remember that if you make a false (removable floor) it will save you some headache when you lay the Bamboo floors. x

Ruby Murray said...

I just found this by following some random links. I love this! I've been making some mini-dioramas in small boxes, so I'm very limited on size. I'm going to try to make my own mini pieces instead of buying dollhouse stuff. I can't believe you knitted with toothpicks - that's real dedication! Or OCD. But I understand it completely!

If you're curious about my creations, there are some on my blog here:

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