Interior Decorating

Page: 3

White-washed wood: You can take regular acrylic white paint and thin it with water. Brush on and wipe back with a soft cloth. Use a piece of scrap wood and play with different ratios of paint & water until you find the one that matches.


Applying Yes glue on wallpaper: I have two ways of applying glue to wallpaper.  One is to use a stiff bristled brush, and sweep it on.  The other way, which is much faster, is to take a tongue depressor, dip it in the glue, and put a glob on the wallpaper, then using the entire flat side of the stick smooth it out onto the paper. It is kind of like toweling with a stick.   This method gives good, smooth coverage, and you can slide it right off the edges of the wallpaper   onto your underlying paper (wax, newspaper, or whatever).


Applying Yes glue on wallpaper: I use Yes glue (also sold as Grandmother Stover's) for wallpapering all the time.   I apply it to the wall, not the paper, using an old credit card to spread it very thinly.  Then I put the paper on and use another credit card to smooth out the paper.   This method seems to work quite well for me.  Tip: try to use the kind of credit card that does not have the raised embossed letters and is a bit more flexible - my favorite is actually an old auto club membership card.

Chris in Minnesota

Christmas gift bags: I like to use the self-stick mounting board that is sold mostly for mounting needlework before framing. I usually find it in the needlework section of craft stores or fabric stores. I always bought mine at Piece Goods and haven't purchased any in a while, but I feel pretty sure JoAnn's and Michael's would have it and whatever fabric or craft store you have locally probably would also. They're only sticky on one side and that's the side I put the wallpaper on. Then you can either spread thick tacky on the other side and press them into the bag or, if you've cut fairly carefully and have a good fit, you probably won't have to glue them in at all - they'll just "sit" there. I've also used 1/4 "foam" core board and then used double-sided carpet tape both to attach the wallpaper (or in my case, usually fabric wallcovering) and to attach the walls to the bag.
Hope this helps and you have fun - I've always enjoyed making these bags. :)

Mary Lynne in Huntington, WV

Wallpaper: I am going to remind people, especially new people to the hobby, to BEWARE of the random pattern wall paper.

It is not always as random as you think when you look closely. Just cut 2 walls wrong---those pretty flowers did have stems after all, and they had a specific direction. The hint to buy 3 sheets of paper per room is good. That's why I buy 4.


Color matching: Mary Lynne: "For some reason, the paint I chose for my woodwork (which I very carefully matched to the leather wing chair) does not match the wing chair at all in the picture." Here is some information that might be of use. First, it may be the film that you use that causes colors not to match. Secondly, it may be the light.

Daylight is comprised of all colors of the spectrum mixed together. If you have ever moved to the window in a department store to appraise the "true" color of a garment or other object, it is probably because you don't trust the electric light...and that's probably wise. Many electric lights do not emit all the colors (wavelengths) and are not full spectrum like daylight. Consequently, they will not render object color well if they are not emitting that color. To put it simply, color is how you light it.

Incandescent light is great with reds, but weaker with blues. Some fluorescent lights render colors poorly and some newer types are excellent. Other lighting systems, like you see in warehouse type stores (example: Home Depot) may have what is called HID light sources. Most of them don't render colors well, although there are some high color rendering types available. Lastly, sometimes colors match under one type of light source but not another. They are called metameric pairs.

Many people think a great deal about color, but may not consider the lighting. Based on the information above, designers know that blue color schemes, illuminated solely by incandescent lighting- no daylighting or other lighting added- will not be as vibrant as seen in daylighting and some other types of light bulbs. The blues will "gray down".

I want to put attractive lighting fixtures in my lights in my dollhouse, but I also expect to have a (very) soft wash of light from outside the house, from a narrow flood light- not too much light that it washes out the mini lights inside. Not only will it allow us to see the details inside, it will help to illuminate areas where I have used dark finishes and colors.

Kathy from Tustin

Color Schemes: Try these sites:   to find a set of colors which "go" together,  then use this one to see how they'll look in your room.   Just remember that color is NOT an exact science when using a monitor so disregard the paint names, or it might be a good idea to also have a color card and match the monitor and color card colors. Dulux have 250ml sample pots which are great for us.

Kaye from Sydney

Dulling a Shiny Finish: Delores asked about how to reduce the bothersome glare found on heavily coated furniture. One thing that might be attempted if you have some spare time, is to gently hand-rub the pieces with some very fine ( 0000 ) steel wool. You don't need to remove the finish, just evenly scratch it, so that the top coat can adhere to the surface

Medieval furniture: "Making Dolls' House Interiors in 1/12 Scale" by Carol and Nigel Lodder, 1997, has plans and instructions for a Tudor Room, giving instructions for the room box itself done as either a kitchen or parlour and for furniture.

"Making Period Dolls' House Accessories" by Andrea Barham, 1996 also has instructions for a Tudor four poster bed and its hangings.

"Dolls' House Needlecrafts' by Venus Dodge, 1995, has Tudor soft furnishings and accessories.
These may be a bit later chronologically than you are really thinking of but are the best I could come up with.

Wendy in Clinton, NJ

Ceiling idea: Working away diligently on the cigar shop. Wanted it to have a Victorian look. For the ceiling, I took a large paper doily and affixed it to poster board with rubber contact cement. When dry and zapped with several coats of white spray paint it looks really cool. Looks like one of those pressed tin type ceilings and the scale is just right.

Linda in Leroy, OH

Log cabin flooring and chinking: For the floor, and the chinking, I’d use air-drying clay and paint it with watercolors to get the right effect: dark brown, smooth packed earth (maybe even plan your furniture placement and put in slight indentations where people would regularly walk and sweep?) for the log cabin floor and a lighter colorfor the chinking.

Maura Bass

On a strip of wax paper, drop small circles of glue; let set until almost dry.
Peel off glue circle, roll in potpourri to form ball. Let dry. If bare spots show, add touch of glue
and roll again.
OR coat tiny beads with glue and roll in potpourri.
Pile in basket or bowl; use as ornaments on Christmas tree, etc.

Minutely crushed dried flowers, herbs, etc. One teeny whole bloom in each packet often looks very nice.
Small funnel (can be done without it)
Small bowl spoon
A larger size cut down soda straw (about 3-4 inches) OR glue together a round paper tube of size desired
Tacky glue
Fine bridal tulle or netting (examine your laces; some are fine enough to work)
Colorful thread, narrow silk ribbon

1. Cut a strip of netting longer than the soda straw; overlap over the straw and glue edges together. (This is the same principle as used in making bags over a form)
2. Slip net slightly off end of straw and tie tightly; slide back up.
3. Using funnel or narrow spoon, place potpourri in straw. OR use straw to scoop through potpourri to fill.
4. Slide off amount of net and potpourri desired; tie tightly. Make a second tie close to that one. Continue filling and tying with fine gold or silver thread or narrowest silk ribbon until net is filled. Cut between ties for individual packets.
5. For a garland, leave uncut, with longer spaces between ties, looping ribbon in and out, etc., if desired.

1. Cut small square of net and cup over end of straw
2. Fill and tie off. Cut off excess net.

Look through your laces for those that have tiny net in the center of small designs. Use a toothpick to apply glue around the lace edge. Add bit of potpourri and place second matching design on top of first; pressing edges together tightly. I find it easier to do these if I leave extra around the designs, glue them together first, then cut around the individual packets. If you want a hanger, insert loop of thread before gluing second piece down.

Cut lace designs as above. Glue potpourri in center, leaving lacy edge visible. These look great glued on tree tips, especially with fine thread or ribbon streamers hanging down from back. Again, one teeny bloom looks good.

1. Coat small Styrofoam ball with glue and roll in potpourri.
2. Use dowel or small twig and poke into ball; plant in pot; decorate with ribbons, lace, silk roses.
3. Coat inexpensive plastic toy animals - rabbits, ducks, chickens, etc., with acrylic paint; roll in potpourri. Tie small bow around neck, make hat of small snippet of lace, etc.

These are especially pretty in Victorian-type Christmas decorating, as well as in bathrooms and bedrooms.

Wanna in El Paso

Punches/Paper: This is a web site for scrapbook supplies, including many punches.

Peggy, in WA

Murals: Try a wallpaper book and look at the borders. I have a border in my real house that I used as a mural over chair rail in a Colonial house. It is 8 inches tall including a little plain border on each edge. But I cut it down for my house.

Martha Simpson

Murals: Who ever was looking for a source of murals, check out


Architectural moulding: An artisan in the US who makes lovely architectural mouldings for Victorian and Louis XIV style rooms is Annette Lobell-Doran. She also does lots of gold leafing and painting of them. She now has a website, and is a very nice lady to deal with. Her website has some beautiful roombox scenes on it using the mouldings - - do have a look. If you do contact her, do tell her that Wendy Smale referred you and says "Hello".

Wendy in Clinton, NJ

Rustic floors for log cabins.   It is little known that many log cabins had dirt floors covered with (get this!) a layer of animal blood.  The blood from butchering a large animal would be coated on the pounded dirt as if it was paint.   This, amazingly, created a smooth, almost rubbery coating on the dirt that was much easier to sweep and keep clean.   (Obviously it had to be a very thick layer and flies had to be kept away until it was completely dry).    I am not suggesting that anyone open a vein for the sake of realism, but perhaps a maroon (or oxblood) colored paint on a layer of fine dirt would do the trick.  I wonder if the term 'oxblood' as a color comes from this practice.

Evelyn in Canada

Log cabin floor:  you could put paper clay on the floor of your log cabin, after sealing the wood floor, and paint the paper clay brown once it has dried.  Then you have a dirt floor, which would be very in keeping with a rustic log cabin.

Mary in MS

Puncheon floors for cabins: If anyone wants more information on puncheon floors, they are mentioned in one of the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I believe it may be Little House on the Prairie, but am not sure. Laura describes in great detail how her Pa built their cabin, including the chimney (mud-and-stick above the stone base) and the puncheon floor, which was logs cut in half and set in the dirt floor round side down. It was smoothed down w/his axe for splinters, but otherwise had no finish. Also describes how he roofed the cabin with lengths of wood. Very interesting--there are drawings of the cabin and outside in the books at well.

Laurie from N. Calif

Air Dry Clay: I bought a package of terra cotta colored air dry clay at Michael's to make my own mission tiles and floor tile for the scene I am working on. The brand I found is Laguna. I made a template so all the tiles would be about the same size. Because I wanted them to look like the real thing, the bottom of the template was wider than the top. I rolled the clay thin, then let it dry just enough so I could pull it off the paper I was working on without ripping the clay. Then I pressed it over a straw to round it. I finished shaping it with my fingers so the tiles would be fairly even height. Even so, all my tiles looked, well....handmade. However, I was going for the rustic look, so no problem there. The clay dried overnight and looked very dark. However, the box says it takes up to 3 days to totally cure, and it does seem as though they are lightening back to the terra cotta color. They feel as firm as Fimo would be after it was baked, so it is pretty strong when dry. I also made some flat tiles for the floor of the scene. The clay seems to be easier to use than Fimo because it is soft to start with, doesn't need to be baked, and had a less plastic look when it is dry. I only used about a third of the package I bought, so it goes a long way. I would say this is a pretty good thing to use if you are silly enough (like me!) to make your own mission tiles. I am surprised I haven't seen some of the ceramic companies offer these tiles for sale commercially. Guess they would be expensive, but so are lots of other mini components and people buy those...!

Bonnie Gibson - Tucson, Arizona

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