Furniture and Appliances
Rubber Wood: Rubber Wood is common in Asia and used in furniture making. Here is a site with info and pictures: http://www.seamlessturning.com/
Recliner Chair: I did receive quite a few great ideas but the one that was the most detailed was one from Donna in Indiana and because it was sent to me directly, I will retype her message intact so you can do that 'copy / paste' thing and print it off in word processing. She writes:
"I made one for my DH out of scrap from the dollhouse kit. The DH itself had round topped windows and when I punched out the windows I had several pieces of rounded wood. I took one piece for the back of the chair; it measures about 1-3/4 inches in width and 4 inches long. I angled the back a bit for the reclining position. The seat measures about 2 inches and the side pieces measures 2 inches. I just put them together like a chair and then I used red felt to cover the inside back and seat portions. Felt doesn't have to be finished at the edges. The round edges of the wooden back are exposed. I padded the arms and lower front of the chair with quilt batting and covered that with a red and blue print. The foot piece measures 1 inch by 2 inches and is covered completely with red felt. I glued a little piece of wood that I had left over from something else on the side of the chair for the handle. Oh yes, I made a separate cushion for the back and seat of the chair and glued those in place".
While I don't have access to the scrap wood Donna refers to, her ideas certainly are a great basis for what I am going to attempt. Someone also mentioned about using a small hinge fastened to the base and another small piece of wood that would allow the foot part to raise and lower. If you want a good picture of an actual mini recliner, already built, another reader suggested that I go to the following location www.miniatures.com and do a product search by typing in "recliner" there is a Camel Corduroy Recliner for sale and you can print off the picture if you want to build it.
Sher in Toronto
Deco overstuffed furniture: if you like do-it-yourself and can find a copy of Joan McElroy's Dollhouse Furniture Book, she has patterns for an overstuffed sofa and arm chair. If you want ready-made, check the ads in DHM or MC, because a company called Carlisle something (Creations? Connection?) in Iowa specializes in these styles. Don't recall if they have a web site, but the ad has the snail address.
Contemporary furniture: The Museum of Modern Art has a fabulous modern Lucite dh with moveable walls, furniture, accessories and people! The dh and some furniture is in the $200 range (if I remember correctly). New items are sold by the room in the $20-$40 range.
Magic-N-Miniature: Magic-N-Miniature address is 5 Barber Court, Maumelle, AR 72113. E-mail addy is firstname.lastname@example.org They will send you a price list/order form. I have done over a dozen of their kits. Wonderful wood and so easy to make. Some of my pieces are stained and some painted. I did the same writing desk in black with gold trim.
McDonalds cardboard: I have used the corrugated cardboard from McDonald's sandwiches for ruffling around a quarter scale bed. Just perfect, and can be tinted or painted.
Betty in Ky.
Ungluing: I tried the tip that was posted on the SSD about ungluing furniture in the microwave. It works and it takes only 1 minute in the microwave to soften the glue. What I found out though, is that it melts the varnish also, so be prepare to sand. I didn't mind since I needed to sand the piece anyway.
Basketry reed: This page may offer a source for the 000 round reed that someone was asking about. I know it is extremely hard to find. Hope this helps.
I used to use tiny natural reed to make mini wicker furniture, in fact my wicker was featured in an article in Nutshell News in the late 70's or early 80's. (I know I have a copy somewhere...) When I look back at those early efforts of mine I am almost embarrassed by their crudeness. Waxed linen and other materials give a better scale effect. But I still love the basketry materials - I use flat reed to make mini Mexican style furniture and I use reed to weave tops on some of my gourd art.
Bonnie Gibson - Tucson, Arizona
"Leather" chair: I tried my own version of what I remembered and it actually worked pretty well. I have a stash of 45 pieces of beautifully made House of Miniatures furniture that I purchased at ONE garage sale, all signed and dated by the man who made them almost 20 years ago. The blue fabric that came with some of the kits faded over the years. I had one little couch with a broken leg and wobbly arms, so I chose that one to experiment with. I took all the wood off and painted the fabric with several coats of acrylic. (Should have sealed it first -- it absorbed a lot of paint!) A couple of coats of satin polyacrylic sealer, and I got a pretty convincing result. I even pushed in the cushions in a couple of places to reflect years of little bottoms sitting there, and the wrinkles held, making it look like a lot of well-used leather furniture I've seen. I built a simple box platform for it and it looks "mid-century modern", though it started out Chippendale. Now I regret the caramel color I used and may be giving it several more coats of a different color. It's still fun.
Rosalind in Houston
Grand Piano Sizes:
Petite Grand: Under 5 feet in length.
Maureen in St. Albert AB Canada
Sturdy Play Furniture: Aletha asked for ideas for sturdy mini furniture her nieces can play with: having 7 grandchildren who have been between 3 and 5 yrs old (youngest is 4 now) I can speak from experience: buy plastic. Think unbreakable, because unless you have highly unusual children with advanced motor skills, or can sit and watch them like hawks while they're playing, whatever can be broken WILL be broken. I buy plastic furniture at Kmart, Meijer's, Walmart, yard sales, etc. Save the good stuff for when they get older and can appreciate it. Right now they need to be able to PLAY.
Paulette in IN
Sturdy Furniture: I have a store in Ont. and a web site http://www.ddsdollhouse.com/ When people come in to buy for children I recommend the name playstuff. It reminds me of the sturdy good quality wood toy cars and trains you can buy at better toy stores. If you go to my site look up CLA91100, 10410, 10415, and G2830N that is playstuff and you can buy it by the room. furniture like 10261 is like wood blocks covered in fabric with no small pieces to break off.They even have non-electric lamps with wood lamp shades, all one piece. I don't have all their pieces on my site but if any one is interested I will put in more pictures. I'm sure any store that you shop at can get it if you ask them. There is other 1/12" scale furniture on the market for children made of nice wood, but I find this to be the best quality for the price. (Try it! You'll like it!) lol
Turned Toothpicks: I used some of mine to make little beds for the 7 dwarfs in the Snow White Cottage I made last June with Lady Bug Thwaite during the Molly Cromwell Show in Sturbridge. The first one was a bit large for the house (trial and error working well here!) so it became a doll's bed in my little girl's room in my dollhouse.
I used the toothpicks for the bed posts, cutting the ones for the footboard a bit shorter than those for the headboard. I used the ends of a craft stick (popsicle stick) for the headboard and footboard, again making the footboard shorter than the headboard. I trimmed the stick on each side to get it narrow enough for the cottage. The first one I didn't trim so it made a great toy bed. I used the center of the stick to make the base of the bed. I have some thin foam, the shapies type of stuff, that I cut to size for the mattresses. I haven't put bed clothes on them yet but they are really adorable, IMHO.
Lissa from Rutland, MA
50s dinette set: You could probably bend heavy wire (maybe coathangers if you've got good pliers and wire cutters) for that 50s dinette set, then super-glue it in place and use the chrome nail polish I mentioned a couple of issues back to get the right finish.
Pumice is a wonderful material used as a finishing agent and so is rottenstone. Both are a powder, very fine somewhat like powdered sugar. It is used with an oil as a lubricant and that oil can be just any kind, baby, mineral, motor, etc. I even used the nasty, crudey oil drained from my car on one occasion when I couldn't find anything else. Despite it being what it was, I obtained the best softly glowing appearance that closely resembled the patina of an antique on that piece of furniture. I used it to repair a somewhat less than perfect finish on an old piece of furniture with great success. Both pumice and rottenstone are gray, one lighter than the other and which to use depends on the finish you want. If you want a very low sheen, use rottenstone, but if you desire a soft shiny ( NOT that awful high shine) finish, use pumice. I am embarrassed to say I had never thought of using either on wood minis that have that horrible garish bumpy finish. I would think either would tone it down to a acceptable appearance. I have read that some furniture has been dipped or painted with glue for a finish. How true I don't know and I also don't know how one would remove that.
Mel - Mass., USA
Dulling Varnish: When one uses many coats of gloss varnish, to make it appear less garish and more hand rubbed one can coat a piece of soft cotton with mineral oil and dab it on pumice for a final rub down and repeated until the finish you want to achieve has been accomplished. I think there are many ways to remove varnish. I just wanted to make people aware that there are other methods in mind also when using pumice and mineral oil. BTW I have to go to my dentist to get pumice.
Gary the Yank in NH in the US
Super-glossy appliances: Try using glossy spray paint. Krylon makes little bottles of spray paint (called "short cuts") so that you don't have to buy so much... I have used their matte white and it's very useful for a base coat, but there's also a glossy white which might be just what you're looking for.
Celeste in Boston
Super-glossy appliances: "Try using glossy spray paint. (called "short cuts")" this is great, but remember to spray lightly and then sand with very fine sandpaper and spray again - lightly - at least 7 to 10 times. It will be well worth the effort when they really look like porcelain.
Mary Lou in Middleburg Hts., OH
Faux Corian: Saw someone ask about Corian for modern kitchen counters a few days ago. Lo and behold, saw two possibilities right here in my own house.
1) Get one of those thin(maybe 1/8 inch or even less thick) flexible plastic cutting boards; got mine at Bed Bath. They're made to fold so should mold nicely over the edge of a counter you have previously made up of wood and painted suitably. Mine is a foggy translucent no-color but they also come in colors.
2) Gift bags, there is a whole wall of them at Target (Tar-jhay) and some of them are solid color translucent plastic...white or lots of colors. The one I bought is a bit stiff, but a short dunk in hot water would probably help.
Ginger in PA
Painting Chrysnbon: I made their pump organ and didn't like their "stain" effect. I used regular acrylic, glazed it and it has yet to peel. For that matter, I think I also used stain on top of the acrylic. They say ignorance is bliss - there may be a few others who gasp in horror (I've been known to make a few people do that), but it worked for me, and it doesn't look bad.
Louise in Toronto
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