Windows and Window Treatments

Page: 3

Curtains: if your library has Helen Ruthberg's books, she has a pattern and directions for swag & jabot curtains. There may also be one in Venus Dodge's Dollshouse Needlework book. Ruthberg is out of print but often available on eBay and through amazon, etc. if you decide it's worth owning.

Loretta Sniarowski

CURTAINS I have done all my curtains on graph paper, pinning the pleats with straight pins and then spraying with heavy duty spray starch. First I draw the window to size on the graph paper. then I tape the paper to an old macrame board (a ceiling tile would work) cover the paper with wax paper. ( I make my curtains just like big curtains with a heading and below that a place to thread the curtains on. I use a bent piece of hanger to make a curtain rod I----------------------I sort of like this I thread the curtains on and poke the pointed ends of the curtain rod in the drawing of the window just like I was putting it into the holes I'd drilled either side of the window pane in the doll house window. Then I pleat the curtain using the little squares in the graft paper as a guide. I hold each pleat in place with a straight pin. When all is to my satisfaction. I spray with heavy duty spray starch. I use several coats ,letting it dry between coats. Then I remove the pins and hang in the house . Since I live in a dry climate (New Mexico) this works very well and I have curtains that have been in place several years and have kept their shape. I hope I have made this understandable. Please feel free to write me at my AOL address with any questions, but do put doll house curtains on the subject line, as I do not open mail when I don't know what it is.


Curtains: for the drapes, you will need a surface (like a rigid foam), stainless steel dress pins, graph paper, and a non smelly (odorless) mild hair spray and wax paper. Since you are working in quarter scale, make sure with a flexible glue like Ultimate to seal the edges of the fabric that should be the correct length and 2 1/2 times the width of the window you are covering. Put the graph paper on the foam and the wax paper on top of that. Start by pinning down one side (use the graph paper as a guide to keep it straight). Make your first bump from the top to the bottom of the material. Judge by the height of the bump what would look best for your scale. Then put a pin at the bottom and top of the fabric next to the bump. Continue until you use up the fabric and keep the bumps the same height. When you are done, spray the fabric with hair spray (test on a scrap before you do it on the main piece) You can spray with a mist of water also, but I've found the spray better. Some people have their favorite, so this is not written in stone.


Curtains: Years before I got the Pretty Pleater, I did the most of the curtains in my big dollhouse using the graph paper on the ceiling tile method and pleating with straight pins. I sprayed the curtain with cheap hair spray a couple of times. Now, this was about 12-15 years ago and they are still just like they were when I finished them. One set was white batiste in my little girl's room, and they are still white. I sewed the header and hemmed the curtains before I put in the curtain rod and pleated them while they were on the rod. I used the same method as someone mentioned about using the wire angled on the ends and then drilled small holes in the wall of the dollhouse and the wire was pushed into the wall. Worked like a charm. You can see the result in my dollhouse section on my web site: I'm still happy with all the window treatments I did using this method. I did use the Pretty Pleater when I made the vanity skirt in the powder room on the 1st floor and on the lace curtains in the Liv. Rm & Din Rm. Getting the lace (which was a polyester blend) to stay in the Pretty Pleater was tricky because it kept popping out. I think I ended up making an old-fashioned starch mixture and soaking the lace in it and then putting it in the pleater. Turned out very nice.

Fay in St. Louis

Hair Spray: I think by not spraying the curtains until they are already in the pleated position solves the fabric sticking to itself. I just sprayed with a couple of coats of hair spray and once the hair spray is dry, the fabric is not sticky at all.

Fay in St. Louis

Stiffener: I have used plain old Elmer's school glue, dries clear and is available practically everywhere and anytime (I have seen it at 24-hour gas stations). Last year I made a number of mini angels (not quite 1:1. just small in comparison to a regular one, only about 3 inches tall) for Christmas presents. It seemed to work out nicely, if not messy. All I did was work some glue into the fabric and squeeze out the excess and let dry. The angels were a big hit, in fact my mom had a mini angel sweatshop going on at one point (both of us making them, me stiffening and decorating them) because she liked them so much. Must have made a tree full of angels over the holidays! Once fabric has been stiffened, though, it will crack and break, so it can't be handled roughly.

Kim From Canada

.0075 Butyrate: I have used the plastic report covers available at office supply stores as a source of thin clear plastic. It may not be butyrate, but it is clear and easily cut.


Odd-shaped windows. I've rehabbed flea mkt. houses missing their original kit windows, and it's not impossible to turn out something that looks fine. Use clear plastic (salad bar carry-out boxes, clear plastic file folders, report covers) for the panes, cut muntins from plastic berry baskets for a Tudor look, or cut coffee stirrers for modern or colonial, and use scrap strip wood for the framing. Once the wood and muntins are painted (before attaching to the window) and glued in place, the components blend together and look pretty good. The windows won't be working, opening windows, so just tell yourself the residents have central air!


Window Latches/Hardware: Miniature House used to make some really cute window latches....a.k.a.: Handley House/Intl Miniatures. They have a huge selection of brass doorknobs, lighting, etc. You might try the Handley House web site - it will also have a store list where you can buy their products.
Here's the link:

Laura in OKC

Velvet Drapes: I have a great tip for all of you with regard to draping certain fabrics, especially those like velvet which you do not want to use a product like Stiffy on. I have use this method to do velvet drapes for Sherlock Holmes flat and even to pleat a kilt for a little Scottish doll. Spread the back of the fabric with a thin layer of tacky glue, then stick it to HEAVY DUTY aluminum foil (made by Reynolds, mostly for use in barbecuing) Let it dry, then fold as you wish, and folds will stay as you bend them. You can even "puddle" draperies onto the floor without that awful look that minis often have, where you just KNOW that gravity isn't working on them as it should!

Alice Zinn - Pt. St. Lucie FL

Stained glass: I made some stained glass squares for my San Franciscan dollhouse and thought I would share them with all of you. They are small and fit in the small cross bars of this house but you might be able to find a use for them. I have put enough on the page where you do not waste as much transparency film.


Soldering: I used to do stained glass and made a few things with copper tubing and brass channel framing. I found the materials more difficult to work with than the normal soldering on the copper foil tape that is used to connect the glass pieces. The copper tubing and brass channel framing are thick and require quite a lot of heat applied to them before you can melt the solder. If they're not sizzling hot,the solder melts, puddles up and rolls off.

{1}The metal MUST be truly clean. Any oxidization, finger oil, or dirt on the surface will prevent the solder from adhering. If the metal has been exposed to air for any length of time and has dulled, it is oxidized and needs to be polished with steel wool before you solder.
{2}When using a liquid flux,use a BRUSH, do not dip the soldering iron into the flux, which is a major toxin hazard.
{3}Remember that soldering is dangerous and please work only with adequate ventilation.
{4}Never keep food or beverages near your soldering station.
{5}Always wear safety equipment, especially on your hands and eyes.


Vertical blinds: I would like to share how I made a vertical blind window treatment. Out of balsa wood I made a four sided box that will go at the top of the window. I then cut a round chopstick [I didn't have a dowel] the length of the interior of the box. For the blinds, I used the "straps" they use in shipping. They are made of a heavy duty grained plastic. These were white and about 3/16" wide. I cut them into strips as long as needed to reach the bottom of the window from 1/2 way inside the wooden box at the top. I wanted the blinds to appear somewhat open...not all the way and not all the way closed either. I took hot glue and made little glue "gobs" evenly spaced along the piece of chopstick. I then glued the "slats" edge of the slat onto to stick and "resting" on the  glue gob. They wind up at a perfect angle!

Cathy Heimbauer

Curtains and Valances From Sherise's Haunted Mansion: I'm still getting a curious amount of private mail about the curtains, and the valances, specifically in the poker room, and the nurses room, ( but the curtains are the same in the house throughout, maybe the picture in the poker room, or the nurses room, are better pictures, likely.) And outside of the people that I know first name, mostly on dollhouse miniatures, and this list, I don't know where they're listed so I'll generally answer on two lists. I don't want to appear rude by not answering the questions, or aloof, or act like I've got some great wonderful secret, I don''s really simple. An accidental kinda thing.

The "curtains" in the haunted mansion, are used fabric softener sheets, soaked in diluted white glue, and set (with a credit card and my Drivers License as carding) through a "pretty pleater". I really didn't buy them. That's all they are. Some of them I stretched and pulled to give the illusion of wear. I wanted a "fabric" that resembled lace, but everything was simply too was unsuitable. I tried most everything I could think of, until I opened the dryer one day and figured...what the heck, worth a try ! The curtain rods are all made of metal ..I made them...(even on the French doors, front and back, and a small length of Victorian Bridal lace affixed to the rods (you really need the rods to give the illusion of dimension.) The greatest trick , I found was getting the curtains off the "pretty pleater" intact. Tough way to go. The delicate nature of the fibers in the softener sheets will lose the integrity of the draping if they are pulled harshly. I hope this answers those questions. But they've held up really well, and even upon close examination, people ask me where did you get such spider-like lace? I can only laugh, saying my boy was outside, getting dirty, playin' baseball. p=6&uid=482716&


Acrylic Windows: Chrissy wrote: "just found out (NOT the hard way, thank goodness) that cyanoacrylic glues (Krazy, Super, etc.) cause a permanent, white fog on acrylic."I put this chemical reaction to good use on my log cabin windows. I took the sheet of acrylic I was going to use for windows, laid it over a drawing of my widow pane grid, marked the grid lines lightly with a marker and then pressed my fingers onto the center of each "window pane" front and back...rather like lightly pinching each pane. I then placed my windows into a large plastic throw away container ( lean them up against the sides so the air can circulate ) and squirted some superglue into the middle of the container, covered it and let my windows "fog". The glue didn't have as much effect on the areas where the oil from my fingers were so my windows now look like the corners are really old and dirty and someone just semi-swabbed the grime away from the centers in a circular motion. I then glued the window grids on and completed the windows using a different type glue.

Obviously you don't want to wash your hands before you begin pinching your windows and if you have a lot of windows, you can always ask family members and friends to pinch a pane or two.

Reva in Loveland, Ohio

Stained Glass: I will tell you about my new adventures with stain glass. I don't have pictures up on my site yet but I was blown away by the results. If you buy the liquid leading at WalMart or your local craft store you can also get a set of Tips that are tiny, tiny and work wonderfully.

So you have your piece of plastic from your dollhouse kit or your piece of glass depending. Now put your pattern under the piece of plastic, unless the pattern is already on your plastic if it is from a kit, OK? Next Take your Liquid leading and trace the pattern either on or under you plastic, using the tip that suits your project the most. I suppose that you could use a pin or small brush if you were really coordinated. Once that is done set aside to dry. Now you have another choice. If you don't buy the glass paints you can mix clear drying glue and food colouring. The next step is simple as with a very tiny brush fill in all the little sections with the glass paint, (store bought or homemade) in whichever colour you wish. Let dry.

It turned out wonderful and now I am going to the mall and allow my kids to get those gumball machine toys so that I can have the plastic containers to make lampshades out of them. My dollhouse that will be posted on my site soon will have stained glass in every window. I am working on designs for Stained glass suncatchers also.

Oh, the greatest thing about them is if you make a mistake it just peels off, you start again. Wonderful, wonderful stuff if you ever wanted to try it, I recommend it.

Kathy Huffman

Stained Glass: Our club has done the Stained Glass Workshop. We did this by the following method.

Make up a design to your liking or copy one and shrink to the appropriate size. Buy the transparency sheets and transfer the design by copier.

There are ready made kits for children in the toy stores for stained glass (plastic) projects. Those kits offer a variety of colors in glass paints which are a better value than purchasing individuals bottles.

Paint the transparency and outline with a permanent marker, preferably, "fine". We had black, silver, and let your creativity dictate. Cut, trim and glue in place with a glue that will dry clear.

bon maio

Plastic windows painting: I am into 1/4" and all the windows are plastic or have been so far! The suggested method for painting them is to put them on double sided masking or scotch tape on a scrap piece of wood and then spray paint them. If you have the right color spray paint, then two light coats should work, but if not a light coat of say Testor's white and then you can paint over them with normal paint.


How to Paint Windows - I have the Houseworks working windows and in order to avoid getting paint on the Plexiglas I found it easiest to take the panes apart. They came apart fairly easy. I use a foam brush for painting and that kept down the thickness of the paint. I hate to state the obvious as it can be insulting but don't paint the sides of the panes where it goes in the track and don't paint the track.


How to Paint Windows - When I paint windows with non-removable panes, I use waxed paper. Cut it in strips to fit the window. It is thin enough to slide between the pane and the wood and will not let paint soak through. I used this technique on the Timberbrook garage door. Worked great.


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