Windows and Window Treatments

Page: 2

Windows: I restored my grandmother's 2 room shadow box (ca. 1910) last winter. It has glass windows which are held in place with wood strips just like regular windows. They do not open but I glued pane dividers ( muntins/mullions?) as my mother recalled the originals as having. They are certainly clearer than the plastic panes I have in my dollhouse.


Window Glass: I read a tip somewhere ages ago that, if you colour the edges of regular thickness windowpane glass with a black marker, you can't notice the thickness of the glass when it's put in a miniature window. The theory is that the light won't reflect through the edge of the glass once it's painted dark, so your eye can't tell that the glass is out of scale. I haven't tried this, not having made any windows, but did think it was an interesting idea as micro glass is much more expensive.

Heather Inglis

Curtain rods -- I've made them using very thin dowelling painted gold, threaded through hooks from a picture hanging kit, with a bead pushed onto each end. Didn't glue the beads, so I can take them down if I have to.

Kay Gale

Make windows Fit: You can make standard size windows fit. If the standard windows are too large, the answer is obvious, make the opening wider. If the standard windows are too small you can make the openings narrower by placing pieces of wood on the frame edge. You then cover the seam with wallpaper or wood fill and paint or use broad molding. I remember doing this with a door as the door I really wanted was too small for the opening. Of course the windows would have to look proportionate to the rest of the house and if they won't, using standard windows, chuck out my idea.


I found an easier way than I planned on for the arch top windows: Instead of cutting and laboriously shaping a piece of wood 5 mm thick   (the thickness of the window's grooved   side strips)   to fit, I'll just cut the arch top hole in the plywood 10 mm less in diameter and run the vertical window strips from the window sills to the edge of the drilled hole, so that when the strips and sill are in place, the visual line of the window strips will continue smoothly straight up into the arch top. That should work fine since the outside of the wood windows are 3 to 4" inset into the brick walls in real life, and that would make them flush with the face surface of the plywood backboard on my model.

The arch top will need to be grooved with one groove for the upper window   to fit in properly, but since I can't use the table saw for that as I did the side strips, I suppose a mini router bit with bottom bearing will do if I can find one.

The fun part comes later for windows, the 4 grooved strips holding the "glass" on those Houseworks windows are an amazingly minute 5/32" thick by 3/16" wide with a 1/16" groove for the "glass" to fit into.

I suppose I can mill some strips 5/32 thick by maybe 3/4" wide so I have something to hold onto.  I found a tiny 2" x 1/16" saw blade on a 1/4"  router shaft at work,  I guess I can try the table router with a new fence guide with a groove cut in it to allow the blade to stick out 1/16" and run the strips over it then rip the strips to the 3/16" width on the table saw. The REALLY fun part which I haven't figured out yet is cutting these strips for the arch top's upper "glass," now THAT should prove interesting! I might just fudge it since the tops won't be openable anyway, by just cutting some veneer out to fit the curve and gluing one on each side of the "glass."


Window Trim: I have used Crayola felt tip marking pen in brown to do the trim on my windows that is the closest to the "glass".  It looks just like regular stain and is much easier to control so close to the glass.   I have used this pen to do other small things --  like hat stands.  I hate to open regular stain and do all that stirring.  This brown is a perfect match with cherry stain.  that's my favorite stain BTW. Your find sounds like it will do large items and I will neverhave to open another can of stain.

Elise in Va.

Painting windows: I had also upgraded some windows to the same as you have and found that the Plexiglas was removable which made it much easier. I am sure yours must come out too. All I did was use a good quality primer for the inside, painting it with a sturdy brush to make sure all surfaces were covered. When everything was dry, I folded some sandpaper to a good crease and used it like a file, going up and down, in all the grooves on the inside. I made sure none of the primer was removed but making sure it was smooth enough for the Plexiglas to go back in. I didn't bother to paint it since paint just adds another layer. If you are using white for your trim, this is one less step to do.

Sher in Toronto

Painting windows: On one side of my opening windows I stained all the woodwork. That tiny edge up close to the glass was a challenge. I used Crayola Felt Tip Markers and the brown worked like a charm; matching the stain. Just dragged the pen along the narrow edge. Combining this with the great idea of sliding in a piece of wax paper should solve the "staining" problem. Sorry I can't remember the name of the person who recommended the wax paper hint. Now, if you are painting, I hope the wax does the trick and will try it the next time I work on windows. Thanks for the wax-paper hint.

Elise in V

Material to use with Backlighting: Terry solved my question about printing photos to be back-lit for a room box. That would be this:   But several other people  had good suggestions for me which I'm also  going to try out, involving clear transparencies and mylar available  from officesupply stores.


Material to use with Backlighting: re: "What could one use for computer paper to print enlarged photos out on transparent or translucent material?  The purpose is to back up a room box scene of an outdoor view seen through large windows, lit from behind the photos (primitive homage to Thorne Rooms)."

Suggestion: use overhead transparencies made of thin plastic (sold for both ink jet and laser printers, I believe). I am a retired teacher, and would often scan, enlarge, then print B&W or color pictures onto the transparency "paper", to show on an overhead projector onto a screen or wall. Depending on how big you make the picture, the colors will fade out as the size increases. The paper is rather thin, so would have to be firmly anchored/glued onto the windows.

Bonnie in Sarasota

p>Window cutouts. Personally, I use a full sized router for window and door cutouts and even to finish edges to precise size and perfect "squareness". If you do not have access to a full sized router, I would suggest using the jig saw to rough cut slightly undersize and then square up and fine finish with the Dremel version router and straight edge guides. In either case, you will need to square the rounded corners with a sharp chisel or small Japanese saw.

Mel K.

Window cutouts. I always use a drill and drill a 3/8 size hole in each corner of the window then I use a jig saw to cut the opening.


Applying YES glue....I keep a small bowl of water handy, and use a sponge/foam brush.  I wet the brush, squeeze out the water (leave the brush damp), then just scoop out the YES glue with the brush, and spread it over the back of the wallpaper.  If it's pre=pasted paper, I even cheat a bit....I will wet the pre=paste with some water on the brush a little, letting that paste activate...then apply YES over that.

Laura in OKC

Stained Glass windows: Question:  Where do you get those great designs to make your stained glass windows?   I would love to do the same thing- print them out on transparencies and paint the colors on.  But where do you find them so well suited to the shapes of the windows?   How do you get them the right size.

Answer:  I have some excellent books with designs in them.  "Dollhouse Stained Glass Windows for Hand Coloring" by Ed Sibbett, jr., is my favorite.   This book is where I found the black-leaded window pattern I used in the Harrison dollhouses. "Treasury of Traditional Stained Glass Designs" by Ann V. Winterbotham.  has many designs, a number of them almost ready- made for the dollhouse window size.   These can be copied onto overhead transparencies from your scanner. I use either puff paint, or gallery glass for my colors.


Reflective Surface: In this month's 'Walls, Windows & Floors' (Women's Day special publication) they had a Krylon product which can be painted onto glass (maybe onto other things?) to make a reflective surface (they used it to make a glass vase into a mirror finish - tres cool).  The info phone# is 1-800-457-9566.  Sounds interesting and may be your answer.

Catherine from Toronto

Pretty Pleater: You can make cartridge pleats as follows: (these will work for drapery because the pleats are not pressed flat).

Cut a rectangle of fabric about 3 times as wide as the finished width plus the width of your hems and the length you need plus hems. Unless you want a raw edge for some reason, make your hems first. Run two rows of evenly spaced basting stitches along one long edge of the fabric.

For both rows, the stitches should match, both running on right or wrong sides of the fabric together. The width of each stitch will determine the size of the pleats. When you have sewn both rows, pull the threads evenly to gather to the width desired. Now tack the points along one side of all the pleats evenly to a strip of fabric or interfacing to hold the pleats evenly. Cartridge pleating was done on skirts' waists during the 19the century instead of gathering because less bulk is created when the fabric is evenly folded.

I have seen diagrams in books showing how to make a home-made pleater, but you can hand pleat (tediously) knife pleats as follows: You need about three times the final width of your fabric plus the width of any hems. Work on a pinning board or ceiling tile. You will need your iron, pins, and 4 very flat, thin sticks (the width of one pleat to gauge the pleat widths and the length of your fabric). You might try slicing up a stiff piece of plastic that is about the thickness of a credit card instead of the sticks.

**Make any necessary hems before you begin pleating. Work with the fabric wrong side up on a pinning board or ceiling tile.
1 * Lay gauge #1 near the right edge of your fabric. Lift the left end of the fabric and fold over the gauge so that it hugs the gauge in the fold and crease.
2 * Lay gauge #2 directly on top of the first gauge (with the folded over fabric in between). Now fold the fabric over the second gauge (right to left) and crease.
3 * Leaving gauges #1 and #2 in place, place #3 over the fabric directly to the left of the stack of #1 and #2. Fold fabric to the right and crease against gauge #3.
4 * Now place gauge #4 directly over #3 (with previously folded over fabric sandwiched in between). Fold fabric over to the left and crease over gauge #4.
5 * Leaving the gauges in place, press the 2 completed pleats.
6 * Carefully remove the gauges from the 2 pleats and tack them to hold.
7 * Moving to the left, follow the above instructions again to make 2 more pleats.
8 * Repeat until you have the desired number of pleats.
While this method is quite tedious, it works. It is much easier on a narrow piece of ribbon than on a long piece of fabric, but it can be done.


Filling in window openings: If you remember that mini projects are only the real world on a small scale - you will answer many of your own questions. A handyman will fill the open area in a home by inserting new reinforced sheet rock. For you the same may be done with Bristol board, a piece of wood the same thickness as your wall, a cut out from foam core, etc. Cut it to fit the opening by holding an index card to the back side of the space, trace the measurements from the right side. Now cut out your pattern being sure to cut on the outside of your line. Now glue your patch in place. You may use household spackle to fill any cracks then prime and sand the wall with gesso. I gave a tip a short while ago about using crumpled tissue for wall treatments.


new doors and windows: I rebuilt my exe's dollhouse that her father made for her when she was a little girl. He just cut holes in the walls for windows and doors. We glued pieces of wood the same dimensions as each wall to the existing wall, having first marked out new windows and doors where we wanted them, and of the size that would take manufactured ones. We then cut out the new holes in both walls with a jig saw. We filled in the old holes with the same thickness of wood of the original walls and used wood filler for the gaps and sanded smooth before painting. By adding additional pieces of walls you will make them look thicker, just like the old Spanish buildings. As for the "stucco", you might want to try some lightweight spackling compound, used to repair cracks in wallboard. This is available at any paint store, hardware store or Wal-Mart. Try it on some scrap wood first to get the look you want. A one inch putty knife should work OK as an applicator. You can then paint it the color you want.


Filling in window openings: Cut wood to fit into the window opening. Wallpaper on the interior and siding, brick, or stucco on the exterior will hide it.

Carol, S P Miniatures

1/32" dowels for mullions: Someone asked about this item. What I did was use a substitute; i.e. thread or twine of the right color. In my Japanese guest house I used needle point yarn for the mullions in the upper soji screen windows. You can not tell the difference. Below is the URL for a photo of the yarn in use. The upper rice paper(tracing paper) windows have the yarn. It gives the impression of wood; as seen in the soji doors. On the soji door this is real wood and the doors slide so I opted for real wood to maintain rigidity of the door. But the yarn does give the impression of wood. After all; miniatures is really giving an impression. That's what it is all about.


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