Monday, February 2, 2015

Crafty Inspiration - Dollhouse Miniatures

I was reminded recently that I used to collect and make dollhouse miniatures many years ago so I thought I'd blog about it while I take a short break to get some more beading articles ready to post. The really scary thing is that it was over 40 years ago that I was involved with that hobby. It's hard to believe that I'm old enough to have done anything that long ago! It seems like yesterday and so many other hobbies have come and gone in the meantime. Sewing, cross-stitch, embroidery and needlepoint all come to mind. And, does anyone remember "paper tole"? We used to take multiple copies of pictures and cut out bits and pieces from them and raise some bits up on pieces of balsa wood to make the scene 3D. That was a lot of fun during my "Holly Hobbie" days. Remember her??? You could buy gift wrap with Holly Hobbie designs on it which provided many copies of each picture to work with. This was one of my all-time favorite Holly Hobbie pictures:

Artwork by Holly Hobbie
Google "paper tole" to see what I'm talking about. I just did and got lots of hits.

Anyway, I still have all of the miniature furniture and accessories that I collected and made but they're stashed away in boxes in the closet. I also have a dollhouse kit partially assembled in a big box in the garage but it's not completed enough to bother taking pictures of. I did take the small stuff out a few years ago and took photos of a few things. I'm not sure why I never thought to blog about them before but here they are just for the fun of it. Bear in mind that I acquired or made these things way too long ago to be able to list sources for any of the items or the materials used to make them.

When I first started my collection, my idea was to stick with Early American/Colonial period furnishings. I did accumulate quite a few nice things that fit that period but eventually decided to just collect anything that I fancied and have fun with my hobby rather than limiting myself to one historical period. My inspiration in the beginning was Greenfield Village near Detroit, Michigan. I lived in the area and that was one of my favorite places to visit. I thought it would be great fun to try and recreate one of my favorite houses there. Even though I never completed a house, I still enjoyed the collecting and creating of all kinds of tiny objects.

Some of the items in the photo below are among the first things I acquired. They definitely fit into the Colonial era. All items were purchased except for the flour sack, which I made.

Here are two views of more kitchen items, also Colonial inspired and all purchased items:

Here are some bedroom miniatures:
I used found objects to make a lot of my projects and the bedspread on the bed was made with some kind of textile thing that I found around the house. I don't remember anymore what it was originally (a dinner napkin perhaps) but I loved the woven texture of it. One thing that I didn't take any photos of, because I didn't want to un-make the bed, is the mattress that I made for the bed. I did take pictures of some of the bedding that I made:

I worked in the fabric department of a department store back at the time I made these things so I had access to lots of fabrics and notions that I could use for these projects.

Below is the dresser for the bedroom. The drawer is open to show some of the extra linens that I made for the bed. As you can see, I've added a few non-colonial objects to the display. I couldn't resist the pretty Victorian sewing machine and I made the lamp out of beads and findings. Who knew that making stuff out of beads would later come back into my life?

Here is a Victorian/Colonial combo display of a few more things from my collection. I did begrudgingly make a couple of those plastic miniature kits only because they were so beautiful and real-looking and my husband bought them for me for Christmas. The rocking chair was made from one of those kits.

I also made the stove below from the same kind of kit:
The rest of the items below are things that I made myself, with the exception of the metal objects:
I made the leather book covers out of an old leather glove that I found around the house. Although most of it has tarnished over the years, the details were originally painted on with gold paint.
Believe it or not, the food items that I made were made out of a concoction made from sandwich bread and glue. At the time I wasn't familiar with Fimo and products like that so I used what I had on hand. I painted them with acrylic paint and used glue for the shiny bits and even used some real spices for the "seeds" on the bread.
I used real Christmas gift wrap and ribbon to wrap these tiny presents. The scale just happened to be about right.

I even tried my hand at making a couple of pieces of furniture:

I found the directions for weaving the chair seat in a book of miniature projects. I don't recall if the chair was also a pattern from a book or my own creation inspired by something I saw at Greenfield Village.
I made the wash stand for my cousin who has a Victorian dollhouse and a wonderful collection of miniatures. She's the one who got me started with my collection. We used to visit miniature shops and exhibits together. She took the photo for me so you're seeing a view of one of the rooms in her dollhouse. Isn't her doll exquisite?



  1. Your miniatures are exquisite. Love the lamp made out of beads plus the bed linens. And yes, I do remember Holly Hobbie! Jeanette

  2. Is there no end to your talents? These are just fabulous!

    1. I dabble a lot, Jeanie. I'll stick with a hobby for a few years and the move on to something else. Somehow I don't think that will happen with beading though unless they stop selling beads.

  3. awesome and awesome-er
    erm fingers itching ...... maybe i will pack my beads up and get the balsa wood out ....T

    1. Maybe we could make some really teeny beaded jewelry, Teejay, LOL.