paper mache

New Project(s)

I am getting ready to start another miniature project. For play, of course. In fact it think I am starting several simultaneously. A gnome type house as a neighbor for the doll tree house. My granddaughters have Calico Critters that they enjoy playing with, that would make good neighbors for the Waldorf dolls.

The critter home will be in a large tree trunk. I want it to be a moveable house that can be set on a table, or moved to the floor next to the treehouse. I am thinking two floors. A great room downstairs, with a living room and kitchen. Bedrooms upstairs. The interior and the furniture will be very rustic. In this home, I will forego the bathroom. After watching my granddaughters play with the large treehouse, I have found the bathroom gets very little attention. The majority of play is about cooking dinners and putting dolls to bed. The tree will be free form paper mache something like the sketch below…..

My second project is going to be a street of shops. I recently purchased 4 miniature American girl dolls – one for each granddaughter. They stand 6.5” tall and have removable clothes and shoes. They will sit, although with their legs sticking straight out. I will have to work around that, but it is doable. The scale will be determined using them as a measuring stick, as it seems to be a larger scale than 1/12.

This street will find a permanent home in the studio. The girls love being out there and it has more room available than my house. Unlike the doll tree house, I will start recording my process from the start.

The first shop planned for the street is a bakery/cafe. I have already started making baked goods from polymer clay after watching YouTube videos. It is really quite easy to turn out realistic breads and pastries with this stuff. Also, it’s a project I can work on for short spurts of time. With spring here, my garden is calling me and spending full days in the studio is a challenge.

Other shops I am considering – a clothing store, a book store, and/or salon. I want to put a small apartment above one of the shops. This is definitely a long term project. Although, I do need to get it done while the girls are still young enough to enjoy it!

My process can sometimes be rather random, but I do have a rough plan. These buildings will be constructed by recycling cardboard and foamcore as I did with the tree house.

I started the bakery with a floor plan and constructed a base. When I did the tree house, I didn’t do this properly and my floor was a nightmare to get flat. I wound up gluing the living room and kitchen to a plywood board to keep them from warping.

So…right now I have a floor, with a floor plan and some food. It is a start!

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Finished Dollhouse

The doll house is done and decorated….for the most part. It’s in it’s final resting place and ready for play anyway. There are, and probably always will be, things to add or make better….or repair😂. I also need to start on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations.

I want this post to be mostly about the pictures. But as a reminder, this house is completely constructed (except for the refurbished base), completely of cardboard and paper mache. Everything in this doll house was made or repurposed by me with a few exceptions. I purchased wooden stir sticks for the floors, lights, and a set of dishes and pots and pans, for a total cost of around $30. The food and animals were made from polymer clay that I bought as a beginner set for $15. All of the cardboard, glue, paint, dyes, fabric etc., were already in my studio from many other projects. I also pulled from a stash of items I had saved for one reason or another (like napkin rings for lights, jewelry findings, the old book cover I used as paneling, etc) It truly is a recycle project. I think it may take up only a little less room as a whole than the pile of stuff that went into it, but it is much more pleasant to look at!

So, here it is before Helen and Margo show up for their play date today and totally redecorate….

Moving Day

John and I loaded the doll house onto the garden cart and moved it from the studio to the granddaughters bedroom in the house.

Cora was the first to have a play date with the dolls in the new location. She really enjoyed having it all to herself, and looking for all of the critters hiding in the rocks and tree. Cora especially liked the bunnies and the guinea pig. At one point she hid them all under the bed. Her mom figured it was because of the “dust bunnies” hiding under her bed 😂. Not sure why she put the rug in the tree…..

Her joy at playing with the house made all of the work worth it! I did have a whole new house to clean the next day, and cleaning a mini house is very hard with adult hands. From now on, we will have to to “cleanup, pickup put away” after each play date.

I did a few accessories for the house over the past week to finish it up. Here is a collage of the small projects.

The squirrel is made from polymer clay and then painted. The coffee table is a piece of driftwood and a slab of cherry wood from our orchard. The bathroom shelf is made from cardboard “plywood”, then painted. The cosmetic bottles are glass beads with polymer clay bases. Canisters are made from lipstick tube and buttons for lids. The fire is a flickering tea light, twigs and sparkly paper. I made the books by cutting down the spine of a small paperback book and I then added covers of various kinds. The painting….well, is a painting 😁.

I will post final pictures of the entire house, decorated, in the next couple of days and then move on to a new project. This was too much fun to have it end!