Tag Archives: Doll's house

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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Dollhouse needlepoint kits

How to add brick slips to a dollhouse shop kit

My Sid Cooke shop kit (‘Number 1, High Street’) was gradually taking shape. The next stage was to find out how to add brick slips to my dollhouse shop kit, to make it look more realistic, and to complete the name board.

I needed to find a name for it first though – some people agonise for ages over the name for their shop. With me, I just thought that it was a dollhouse shop, and it would be selling tiny toys, so I’d call it ‘Tiny Toys’. Simples. Job done  🙂

I bought some MDF letters on Ebay from Dolls House Direct for ÂŁ4.50 for 8 letters, 30mm high, and painted them gold with Humbrol enamel paint. Then I stuck them on the signboard that had already been painted green when I did the rest of the lower front of the shop. The gold trims above and below the lettering were also painted with the Humbrol paint, and then the signboard was fixed in place with wood glue.

Then on to the brickwork….quite a mammoth task, and I was very aware that if I got this wrong, I’d have ruined it (so, no pressure, then!). I had researched online for hours to narrow down what kind of 1:12 bricks I wanted. Brick papers were discounted really early on, as they looked too childish and clunky for me – far too unrealistic. Real brick pieces looked nice, but were very expensive, and I’d worked out that I would need almost 4000 bricks for the front and both sides, so I needed to keep the cost down a bit. Real brick slips would have also made the house very heavy.

I eventually settled on these – brick slips made from card with a textured paint coating. They are called Versi-Slips from Richard Stacey, and are really easy to use. They vary in colour, so when you mix them up they look very realistic. You can get them in a yellow/buff mix, too. I needed four packets, plus a packet of the corner bricks, which are longer, and you fold them around the edges of the house to give a realistic-looking corner. Each packet cost me ÂŁ12.95, so doing the brickwork for the whole of the exterior cost me around ÂŁ55, including the corner brick slips.

I used PVA adhesive to stick the bricks to the plywood/MDF shell of the doll’s house. I used a cocktail stick to put a small amount on each card piece, held it for about ten seconds for the glue to penetrate a bit (or it just ran off), then placed it on the house wall, along a line that I made by sticking a metal ruler in place with masking tape for each course of bricks, moving it down one course at a time. This gave me a solid edge to work to. I found that most of the bricks stuck first time, but a few would curl up and need pressing down until they’d dried out a bit. I pencilled a guideline in centimetres near both wall ends, so that I was sure that I was completing each row perfectly straight. Between each course, I also checked the measurements from each end to the base line, to make doubly sure I was doing it right!

I’d decided before starting the brickwork that although it might be tricky (‘might’?! It was!!!) to apply the bricks around the window woodwork, it would look better later, as the brickwork would look more realistic than if I’d stuck the window trims on afterwards (as then they might look as if they were ‘floating’ on the brickwork). I had painted the window trims first with an undercoat and then two coats of off-white emulsion, then attached them to the house with contact adhesive. This image is upside-down because I found it easier to apply the bricks from this direction, with the house laying on its back  🙂

I found it easier to work from right to left each time. As you can see from this image, the corner bricks were added first, to work out the spacing for a few courses, before adding the bricks for the whole row. I didn’t do the corner bricks up the whole side in one go, though – just a couple of rows at a time was enough.

After sticking on each brick, and before the glue had dried completely, I scraped out any residue with a dental probe (every miniaturist has a dental probe in their toolbox, don’t they?!).

The brick slips were easily cut with scissors to fit around odd shapes, and ends of rows, as you can see here. The narrow strip already bricked that is showing towards the top of this image is the lift-off front for the upper storey, which I bricked first before I stuck the bricks on each side.

As I worked my way down each side, I had to make sure that the courses of bricks ‘flowed’ from the main body of the house on to the front lift-off piece, so I had to use masking tape to hold the two pieces together, and cut bricks in half on alternate rows to keep the pattern going.

After 35 hours in total of sticking on almost 4000 brick slips, it looked like this. I had carefully trimmed a lot of the brick slips up into the ‘triangle’ of the roof area, before realising that all of that would be hidden when I stuck the gable end boards in place, but never mind, *I* know it’ll always be neat under there!

You might also be able to catch a glimpse of the wallpapered interior in this shot – I’ll blog about that another time.

So, this is how it looked after all that brickwork. I’m very pleased with it, but to be honest, I wouldn’t choose to do brickwork like this again. Not sure yet how I’ll tackle the other shop kit that I’m planning – maybe I’ll choose an easier finish, like paint!

The next job is attaching and tiling the roof, which should make it look much more ‘solid’  🙂

 

 

Look what I’ve bought for my doll’s house toy shop – tiny little dolls!!

If I was really focussed, I would build my doll’s house toy shop, decorate it on the outside and the inside, and only THEN start to collect things to fill it. That would be in an ideal world, of course. But life isn’t like that, is it? In real life, we get tempted by stuff. Well, I do, anyway.

I obviously already had an interest in miniature toys, or I wouldn’t have wanted to make a twelfth scale version of a toy shop at all, would I?!

I’m just trying to justify what I’ve done – I had this plan, you see, that I’d get all the decorating done, and then I’d go online and start buying stuff. But I kind of gave in a few weeks ago, and ordered some rather nice things. They came in a pretty box like this:

Even the inside was pretty, and the packaging carefully folded:

I had taken the tissue paper off before I thought to take the next picture, but this is what was in the box:

Tiny dollies! And a little girl to be the ‘customer’ in my toy shop, who will be able to choose from all the toys!

They have all been made to order by Diane Yunnie, of South Africa, who makes the most gorgeous little dolls. The little girl doll is fully posable, and if you balance her right, she doesn’t need a doll stand.

I have a real soft spot for French-looking porcelain dolls (I collect reproduction full-size ones too – that’s another blog post or two….), and these are just lovely.  If you’re not sure of the size of these, each little doll is just under two inches high.

Cute, aren’t they? Quite an incentive for me to get on with my decorating of the Sid Cooke toy shop kit, so that they’ll have a home……

How to assemble, then paint, a Sid Cooke shop kit

Having done a dry run of my Sid Cooke shop kit, I then pinned and glued it together.  This is how it looked when I assembled it roughly, holding it together with masking tape:

toy-4

The instructions said to glue and pin each panel of the main house in place – the kit even includes plenty of panel pins, and some wood glue – so I had no excuse not to do it properly. It went together very well (but I didn’t take any process photos – sorry!). I had bought this shop kit as two separate pieces, as it’s available like that to give people choice – you can buy just the base shop part, or add on the top half to make it look more like real building. If you buy both, you just glue the middles together to make one structure.

The front lower panel will eventually just lift off from the main shop part itself. It consists of quite a few pieces, but they are all cut accurately, and just needed gluing together with the wood glue. Fine bead trims are provided, cut to length, to cover over the joins of the main pieces, so it ends up looking more complicated than it actually was to assemble. I’m very pleased with how it came out!

The only piece that needed to be put aside for now is the signboard, which is fitted in place last, once the lettering has been added. Not sure yet how I’ll do that.

I then painted all the surfaces with white emulsion paint, partly to stabilise the surfaces ready for finishing with the final colour, and partly to stop the wood from warping if I’d only painted one side of the wood. I even painted the base.

For the top coats, I used various shades of emulsion that I bought as match pots. One match pot in any colour is plenty for painting a doll’s house, and sometimes I bought several close shades at once, and then tried them out at home, to make sure I had exactly the right colour (just what match pots are for, really, but used on a mini house, not a full-sized one!).

Most of the time, I found that Dulux emulsion gave the best coverage, and had a large range of colours to choose from. Wilkinsons paint was too thick, and the colours didn’t match the labels on the outsides of the pots, which was very annoying, and Crown seemed to have far too many beiges, and not much else.

The chimney for this kit is to be painted and attached last, after the roof is on, so I painted the chimney pot at this stage, then put it aside to be ‘bricked’ later.

I also cut the covings and skirtings for the two rooms at this stage, as the covings needed painting (the skirtings needed varnishing – different job!), so while I had the emulsion out, it made sense to paint everything at once.

outside-1

When the lower shop frontage was completely dry, I undercoated the whole of it with a pale green emulsion, and was planning to do the top coat a dark olive green. This was far harder to find in the correct shade than I’d expected. I looked online for hours, then had a fruitless trip round all the local shops….it’s just that a dingy olive green isn’t fashionable at the moment for real houses, so hardly anyone is making that shade of paint. Eventually, I found the range made by Little Greene. I don’t think they realise how hard they are to find online, when you key in ‘little green pot of paint’ into Google! You’d expect them to come up first, wouldn’t you? It took me days to find them, as Google doesn’t work like that  🙂 Anyway, the olive green paint I used (undercoated with a pale green emulsion) was this Little Greene match pot which I sent off for, and was a beautiful Edwardian-looking shade. Eventually.

outside-2

The inside of the shop window area I painted with Dulux emulsion in ‘Putting green’ shade – a soft pale green. I’ll need to make some kind of shelving for the inside of the bay windows at some point to display the toys on, probably painted in the same colour.

outside-3

This shows you how it will fit together:

outside-4

Next up, painting and wallpapering the interior.