How to wallpaper a dollhouse and how to lay self-adhesive dollhouse flooring

The 1:12 scale Sid Cooke Edwardian shop that I am building is the first dollhouse kit that I have ever put together. So when it got to this part, I Googled ‘How to wallpaper a dollhouse’ for some help, but to be honest, there wasn’t much. ‘How to lay self-adhesive flooring’ turned up even less….. so I worked out my own version!

I did get rather carried away with what I was doing, though, so I don’t have ‘process photos’ for this blog post – but I do have some rather nice ‘finished’ ones  🙂

This is the point where I started – the interior of the doll’s house shop had been painted with white emulsion, to give a better key for the wallpaper paste (otherwise, the paste would just seep into the plywood/MDF walls really fast).

I chose to paint the ceiling with two coats of white emulsion, and cut and fit the coving as well, before wallpapering.

Sid Cooke dollhouse shop interior painted

For the downstairs of my shop, I wanted a pinkish/feminine look, as the shop will feature mainly dolls downstairs. I found a lovely 1:12 scale wallpaper from Les Chinoiseries in Spain with a frieze of Victorian dolls around the top. I bought three sheets, as the lift-off frontage will be painted, not papered, so three is enough. Each sheet is about 18 inches wide, and my miniature shop is 17.5 inches wide on the outside, so that was plenty.

I cut test wallpaper pieces out of plain paper first, to make sure everything fitted, then I measured again and cut the pieces from the real stuff! I cut the side wall pieces with a half inch overlap to wrap around onto the back wall, which I pasted in first, and then the back wall piece I cut exactly to size, and fitted that in last. My pasting technique is to paste the wall lightly, and then paste the paper as well, and then slide the paper about on the wall until it’s in place properly. I used a soft make-up sponge to smooth out the air bubbles in the paper. This brand of paper is quite robust, but sometimes you’d need to be careful at  this point, or the paper can rip while it’s damp. I used ‘normal’ wallpaper paste (for real houses!), diluted a bit more than was recommended on the packet, and applied it using a one inch wide brush.

Then I left everything to dry – testing it occasionally with the sponge to make sure any small bubbles were squished out to the edges.

This is the downstairs of the shop:

How to wallpaper a dollhouse tutorial

For the upstairs of the shop, I haven’t quite decided yet what I will display there, so I wanted to make the wallpaper design sort of ‘flexible’ – it might end up being a second shop room, but it might also be living accommodation – so I chose a beige floral wallpaper for this room. I applied it in the same way as for the downstairs room. It was easier to do, as the wall height is lower in the upstairs room, so the floppy pieces of wet wallpaper were easier to handle!

How to wallpaper a doll's house

So far, I have just painted the reverse of the lower lift-off front a light green emulsion, as it’s such a complicated panel, with all those window cut-outs, that I’m not sure how I will decorate that – but as it’s on the inside of that panel, I don’t think it’ll be seen much, anyway.

I intend to make little removable shelves for the two bay windows later, too, and maybe add some bunting.

Tutorial on how to wallpaper a dollhouse and paint the interior

The next little job was to hang the upper wall panel onto the body of the dollhouse. The Sid Cooke kit came with hinges to do this part – but they were enormous, and I don’t like realistic scale models being ruined with chunky hinges. So, my husband designed this snazzy method to hang the panel – he drilled a hole in the side walls near the top, then filed down a nail that would fit tightly in the hole, then added glue to the drilled hole and bashed in the nail. On the front panel itself, he marked where the nails touched, then drilled a hole for the nails to fit into (after I’d wallpapered the panel ). The nails are deliberately at a slight angle, pointing upwards, so that you kind of slide the panel down onto the nails, so that it’s held in place with gravity. The nails stick out about 3/8 of an inch. Neat, eh?

How to attach the removable front on a dollhouse

For the floor in each room, I bought a sheet of real wood flooring from Jaspers Miniatures – this is great stuff to use. It comes as a sheet of strips all glued onto one piece of paper, and you just cut it to size with a craft knife, peel off the backing and lay it in place. Be warned, though, that the glue is really strong, and once it’s touched something, you won’t get it off easily! Once I’d cut the pieces to size and peeled off the backing, I started by lining them up with the front edge of the room, and then kind of rolled them back towards the back wall. Any little gaps around the edges are then covered when you stick the skirting boards in place. I bought walnut coloured floor boards, and then varnished whitewood skirtings with walnut varnish, so the two items matched very well when I’d finished.

How to lay self adhesive wood flooring in a dollhouse

What do you think of it?

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 38: the orange tree side of the box

This week I’ve been stitching the ‘orange tree side’ of the Home Sweet Home workbox, by Carolyn Pearce.

First, I stitched the tree trunk and branches in Stem stitch, using five close shades of Appleton’s crewel wool.

Orange 1

The oranges are outlined in Split stitch, using one strand of Anchor stranded cotton.

Orange 2

Then, to pad the shape, I worked Satin stitch within the outline.

Orange 3

Then I added the top layer of Satin stitch, in the crosswise direction to the first layer. You can see, on the left hand orange, the two layers, as the top layer is being completed.

Orange 4

Finally, I worked the leaves in Fly stitch, using a variegated thread with lots of colour changes in it, which gave a lovely look to the leaves. The tiny end of each each orange was worked by adding a very small Cross stitch in dark brown Anchor stranded cotton. This picture looks very ‘William Morris-y’ to me!

Orange 5

I was pleased with how the bee in this panel came out. The one that I stitched on the emery block came out looking more vine weevil-like than bee-like. I like this one a lot better!

Orange 6

The basket of oranges on the ground is made by first padding the shape with a small piece of felt.

Orange 7

Then Appleton’s crewel wool is woven across the shape in the same way that I did for the beehive on the thread cutter cover.

Orange 8

The oranges in the basket are little orange seed beads. The organised part of me has trouble reconciling the fact that perspective has gone out of the window here – the oranges on the tree are huge compared with the oranges in the basket!

Orange 9

Lastly, I stitched the meadow flowers at the base of the tree, in a similar way to the other panels and smalls.

Orange 10

Pretty, isn’t it? But those two sizes of orange still bug me……

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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 10: finishing the side panels and practicing Knotted Pearl Stitch

Now that the Gingerbread Stitching House is finished, I’m back to working on the spoolholder again.

Here is the side wall of the spoolholder from Carolyn Pearce’s Home Sweet Home Workbox book, with my embroidery completed. I found some tiny brass bee charms on Ebay (12 for ÂŁ1.99), which were smaller than the ones suggested in the book, but more in scale for such a small item, I think, so I am very pleased with those.

Spoolholder 17

Having finished the side wall, and having previously stitched the top and base, I now needed to assemble the whole thing. The instructions Carolyn Pearce gives in her book call for a decorative edging stitch around the top and bottom of the cylindrical spoolholder, called Knotted Pearl Stitch. I hadn’t come across this stitch before, so I practiced it first.

I worked the stitch much larger than I would use it on the spoolholder itself, to get the rhythm correct, and the spacing – then it would be easy to just ‘close up’ the distances between the stitches when I did it ‘for real’.

Coming up in the middle between two pencilled lines, I took a stitch from the top line to the bottom one, vertically.

 

Spoolholder 18

Then, without piercing the fabric, I slipped the needle under the first small stitch, from right to left, making sure the end of the thread was under the needle.

Spoolholder 19

Then I made that movement again, still making sure that the thread was under the needle.

Spoolholder 20

When the thread was pulled snugly taut, it made a knot in the centre between the two pencilled lines. I then moved an eighth of an inch to the left, and took a stitch from the top pencilled line to the bottom one.

Spoolholder 21jpg

The small stitch just made became the starting point for the two wrapped loops to be made around it, constructing the second knot. Here is the first loop stitch:

Spoolholder 22

And here is the second one:

Spoolholder 23

Once you get a rhythm going, it is quite simple to do, and makes a nice raised band of knotted stitches.

Spoolholder 24

On the spoolholder itself, I won’t need to draw two pencilled lines – I will just make sure that the top end of the vertical stitch is on one panel (e.g. the top round part) and the bottom end of the stitch is on the side wall each time, covering the seam. The ‘legs’ of the stitches will be made much shorter, so that really it will just look like a row of knots, more like Palestrina stitch.

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Celtic Autumn in alternative colours – 1

This past weekend, I made a start on the Lavender and Lace Celtic Autumn design, in the alternative colours. I stitched all the hours I had available, and, including a couple of weekday evenings, I’ve managed 10 hours of stitching so far, and it now looks like this:

This is the Celtic Autumn design after 10 hours of stitching

I’m stitching it on Zweigart ‘Platinum’ 28 count linen evenweave from Sew and So, with DMC stranded cotton (two strands). There are 35 shades in this design altogether, so the shading is really subtle in places, plus gold thread (I’m using Petite Treasure Braid PB03), plus five shades of Mill Hill seed beads. It’s very tempting to add some beads now, ‘just to see how they’ll look’, but I mustn’t get tempted too much, as I’m stitching this with the fabric on a rectangular rotating frame, and adding beads now will mean that I can’t roll the fabric up properly later. When I get to the stage of adding all the beads, I’ll put the fabric onto a Q-Snap frame, which is gentler on beaded fabric.

Using 35 colours of DMC means that the shading in the design can be subtle

I’ve decided to count the hours this takes me to stitch, so that I’ve got a proper record of how long it takes – usually, I make a very rough estimate, but I want to be more precise with this one, as it’s a big project, and I want to know how much of my life I’ve sacrificed to get it done!!

The grid to help me track how many hours I stitch for

To make that simple, I designed a grid in Excel, and printed it out on one sheet of A4, and each time I spend 10 minutes on my stitching, I put a cross in one of the boxes. The grid is divided up into six boxes horizontally by ten boxes vertically. That equates to ten hours of ten-minute slots. I folded the A4 sheet so that only one grid box out of the twelve is showing, so that it’s small enough to clip it to the edge of my floor frame. So far, it’s proving really easy to keep track of how long it’s taking.

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