Friday, 12 March 2010

The Fireplace

I haven't had a chance to do much prior to today, so I thought I would save it up and include it all in one post.
As I wanted a deep recess for the fireplace, I set about contructing a false wall. I used tacky glue to fix all the supports in place -
After I glued it all I decided that actually I wanted the walls to be flush with the fireplace (why do I always think of things afterwards!). So I glued further supports, and measured and cut some leftover mdf to make the walls either side of the fireplace.

Next up was making the fireplace surround. My woodworking skill really aren't that good yet, plus I don't have the right tools to do precision cutting so I cut the surround from thick cardboard.
I'm really pleased with how well it turned out. I've decided that the back of the fireplace should be brick and as I have no brick moulds or anything similar, I've improvised!
I've cut another large piece of cardboard which will fit on the back wall of the fireplace (you might just be able to see it in the photo above). This means that I can put bricks on this card and glue it into place rather than trying to fit them straight on the back wall. I painted this card a creamy colour (it's still unpainted in the photo below) and then painted some sandpaper a reddish brick colour -

Once dried I cut out thin strips and then cut them into brick shapes and voila....

(It's a good thing tudor bricks were different sizes!) I still need to finish it and then do the same for the inner left and right sides of the fireplace. Once I've done that I will glue it into place.

While I was waiting for the paint on the sandpaper to dry I whizzed over to Casey's Minis and got some fabulous inspiration from her egg box tutorial for the fireplace surround -

Once again it still needs to be finished, I will try painting it a darker stone grey colour I think.
This is the final picture of it all together so far.

I will be putting anothe piece of mdf aboce the fireplace so it looks like one long wall. That's it for today, I'll hopefully be able to finish the bricks later so I'll post more pictures once it's done.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Construction complete....

.....well the shell anyway!

I sanded all the pieces, test fitted them together and discovered that they weren't perfectly straight so wouldn't fit together as tightly as I had hoped. This was especially important as I was just intending to glue the pieces together. So this time, rather than abandoning the project when I hit the first problem I decided that I would also use small nails to hold it all together as well as the glue. This meant that I could eliminate the need for corner clamps (I still hadn't found any to borrow anyway) as the nails should hold it together whilst the glue dries.

As the MDF I am using is only 1/4" thick, I was worried that just hammering in nails would split the wood, so I pre-drilled the holes using a pin vice and this is the result -
It's not perfect, but I'm really pleased how it's turned out. I haven't fixed the top permenantly yet so that I can access the inside more easily. Once I have completed the room box I will just glue the top on -

The next step is going to be constructing the fireplace. As the box has ended up slightly bigger than I expected I am going to include a false wall at the back so that the fireplace will look more realistic and have depth to it. New England Minatures have put a wonderful step by step tutorial together for doing this in their Kitschy Kitchen Part 1 Post. I am also going to be using their fab tutorial to create a flagstone floor.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


OK, I know I'm a bit back to front, especially as I haven't actually constructed my room box yet, but I couldn't resist having a go at making a basket from Jane Harrop's 'Finishing Touches' book. This is the first time that I have tried weaving and despite a few mistakes I am really pleased with the result.

I'm planning on having several different sized backets in my room box, filled with seasonal fruit and vegetables. This one is the log basket - I think I may need to find a few more logs to fill it.

There will also be a trestle table (I need to get some wood before I can start on this), stool, shelves, food and fireplace. All of this I intend to make myself, so I will update you with my progress.

On the room box construction front, I found this great website which gives you step by step instructions on how to put one together - Plan for a Dollhouse Room Box. I've measured and cut my pieces, I just need to sand them down and fit them together. The tutorial suggests corner clamps to hold it together while the glue dries, so I need to try and borrow some before I can stick it all together.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A very nervous hello...

This is a real adventure for me. I have always loved the idea of creating something in minature and as a child dearly wanted to have a dollshouse. Year after year I have toyed with the idea of buying a kit and furnishing a dollshouse but I knew that I would want to create pretty much everything that went in it (if not the dollshouse itself) and so I put it off knowing that I hadn't got the skills to fulfill my ambition.
Then a couple of years ago a newspaper was doing an offer on a dollshouse and we decided to purchase one for our daughter. However when it arrived it really wasn't going to be suitable until she was alot older so I decided maybe I could start my minature journey with this dollshouse. It really wasn't the house I would have picked for myself, not enough rooms and with really cheap outside windows and front door that weren't in proportion (I think it's because it is a childs house really)and small rooms.

I started by moving the staircases so they were above each other (rather than in different rooms) and by painting the interior a base of white.

Then I got a bit carried away and wanted to redo the roof with proper tiles, but on a brick exterior, have a basement for a kitchen, add skirting boards, ceiling roses, wall paper, wooden floors, lights, lighting, a new front panel etc. etc. and that was before I started furnishing it. Well I got as far as buying a basement (so much for making everything lol!) and then having looked into the cost of 'above' list, my dolls house conversion came to a very abrupt halt! I told myself that it really was 'just' a childs house and really didn't warrent that amount of money being spend on it especially as I didn't have a lot of money to spend and the fact that if I ever had a dolls house I really wanted it to be set in the time of the Tudors.

Fast forward another 2 years and whilst web surfing I came across a number of 'mini' blogs. These amazing blogs offered me inspiration and fabulous tutorials and I suddenly I realised that I didn't have to spend a fortune on those 'essential' items I listed, I could easily make a lot of things and rather than starting with my 'daunting' dollshouse I could start with a room box and then I could build my longed for Tudor kitchen!

And here's where I am...5 pieces of mdf! OK it is dawning on me that I may be completely mad but I'm hoping this blog will keep me motivated and I know that all those other great blogs will keep me inspired.

So here's to a exciting venture into the world of minature and please bear with me whilst I learn 'the ropes'.