Miniature & Dollhouse Tutorials

------------Moved from New England Miniatures

Some of these tutorials were written in languages other than English. You can use  Google to translate them. 

All links were checked on 9/10/15

Building Dollhouses 

How to etch bricks 

From a miniature railroading site: How to make a scale river, etc. 

A tiny pumpkin house, another tute about making stairs, and some fun with Paperclay

How to make paper mache out of dryer lint

How to make things look old, from Wanna's Blog 

Artisans in Miniature online magazine 

More spiral stairs from a Castle project, and more! 

Dr. Bob's Spiral Staircase Tutorial, from Small Stuff 

Pooh Beer's huge list of worldwide links

Let's Build a Dollhouse...& more 

How to build a dollhouse

Construction of a miniature Swiss farmhouse 

Framing a miniature Tudor house 

How to make a faux stone floor using drywall compound or stucco 

The Blue Willow kitchen .... Handy instructions for building fireplaces

Dollhouse wiring made easy 

Hirst Arts, for smaller scale castles & fantasy projects

Modeling realistic water

Creating Munchkinland in miniature 

Free dollhouse and furniture plans ...from The Woodworker's Workshop, many are old fretwork plans for scrollsaws 

How to create miniature dollhouse gardens, part 1 of 4 

A parquet floor 

How to make clay roof tiles 

Tutorials for Miniature Furnishings

How to pin hinge cupboard doors -- this blog is geared towards modern miniatures 

A twig Adirondack table

Wanna's tutorial index includes how to make a cardoard box full of 1950's tiles, working with Michael's hutches, making skirted tables & more. 

Make a miniature 3 drawer chest 

Making a miniature planter 

Turn a plastic "pizza table" into an office chair 

An imitation wicker shelf 

Make a miniature couch out of polymer clay

A folding screen 

How to make a simple bench 

How to make a miniature stove 

Tips for making twig furniture 

Tutorials for Miniature Accessories 

How to tie a nautical braided rug 

Another how to tie a nautical braided rug, in French, but the illustrations show how to do it using pins to keep the string in place. 

How to make house plants 

How to make a crystal chandelier based on plastic tubing - in Spanish * since this is an image of a page, translate or cut and paste to translator will not work, but the pictures are fairly self explanatory

An easy round dollhouse rug

How to bake polymer clay in a toaster oven

Make a mini book - part 1

Make a mini book - part 2

How to make a gizmo to help make miniature bows

How to make a desk set with blotter, pen & ink

Printable kitchen casseroles & serving dishes

Baking polymer clay 

Polyclay tutorials from NoraJean. 

Mary Eccher's miniature food projects 

How to tie a miniature bow 

Making plates....This technique uses soda cap liners and Mod Podge 

Making a miniature book 

Make a non-working miniature Venetian blind 

Make a baby bouncer 

A tip for a simple doormat 

Make a shopping bag 

Make a hanging rack for nursery or kitchen

How to make a miniature Christmas tree 

An easy rag rug 

How to make a boudoir bottle 

Make a colorful Tiffany style lamp, perfume bottles, sconces, and more 

A faux wicker basket 

A paper lobster trap 

A wooden tray 

How to crochet a quarter scale sofa 

Buttercup Miniatures offers some free mini crochet and knitting patterns 

How to make a polymer clay troll 

Mary Williams makes lovely dolls, and offers 3 nice doll dressing tutorials 

Cynthia Howe's tutorials ..dollmaking, dressing dolls, making hats,hairstyling, ribbon roses, bows, and more. 

Completed 19th century wash house

After sitting unfinished in various places in my studio and dining room for the past few years, my Victorian wash house is finally complete. Well, sort of complete. I have to track down where I put the acrylic panel that slides down over the front to keep out the dust.

My inspiration for this project was a British book of cottage interiors. Bake houses also served as wash houses. On the left you'll see an old fashioned oven with an iron door. The big piece of masonry below it holds a boiler, or as it was also known, a copper. A large copper or iron kettle would be set in the masonry for boiling water. They were also used in America and were sometimes called set kettles. Fires would be set under the big copper or iron kettle and water would be heated for washing clothes.  In some places they were used for making large amounts of soup for organizations that had to feed a lot of people.
Next to the stove and boiler is a stone sink. The sink and boiler would have to be filled by the bucketful. The sink usually had a drain to let the waste water outside. Sometimes the boiler had a drain, sometimes it had to be emptied by the bucket.

OK, enough historical fact. If you want to know more check out my Victorian site, Victorian Interiors and More.

Here's a picture that shows more of the left hand side with the oven. By the way, all my pictures will open larger if you click on them.

And here's one that shows more of the right side.

The floor is made of drywall compound, I just spread it out and drew out stones. I admit, I could have done a neater job, but I hadn't worked on this in so long I was just wanted to get going and get something accomplished. I was afraid I'd get sidetracked again and wind up putting the wash house back in its corner.
I tried several different color washes for the stones. I was unhappy with my colors, one color would look good, then in another light it would look a little off. In the end, after deciding I had a pretty good color floor, I felt it still needed something, so I wiped some wood stain over it. Ta-ta! Much better.

I used a few things from my New England Miniatures stock, like the AN399 baskets, for example. Maybe I should move them to the Laundry & Sewing room section. I hadn't realized what a great looking laundry basket the bigger one was. Right now they're still just listed under Baskets & More.

Of course, I still needed a few things I couldn't get for New England Miniatures, so I had to make them. I wanted an all wood washboard like the one in my inspiration photo, so I made myself this one.
I also wanted a wooden peel for taking bread out of the bake oven, and a washing bat or paddle for the laundry. Sanding the edge of the peel was tricky, but if I had a working mini oven  I could slide this peel right in there and pull out my loaf.

A nice old antique dust pan would be nice too, I thought. I sell a tan one and a blue one on New England Miniatures, but they looked too clean and new. I wondered if I could antique them up.
Yes, I could. I sprayed a tan dust pan with primer, and dipped the brushy part of the brush in primer spray. Then I painted the dustpan with black acrylic paint that was mixed with just a little water. I also dabbed some of the black paint on the brush to make it look sooty.

That's when I remembered I could use some brushes. The long handled one would be for cleaning the ashes out of the oven, the small one for just regular scrubbing chores.

The brushy parts are made from black stick on Velcro. I just cut snips of Velcro, stuck them onto the brushes, then I snipped a bit of the loops off so they'd look more like brushes instead of little bits of Velcro.

If you'd like to see the previous posts that describe how I went about this project from the beginning, click HERE. It'll take you to the first post.

Marvelous Matchstick Models

 photo PAtrick-Acton-Matchstick-Architecture-537x429_zpsda542933.jpg
Iowan Patrick Acton started building matchstick models as a hobby.

You have to see these - Hogwarts and more!
Pictures HERE and more pictures HERE.

The Blog Index

New  England Miniatures has some of the lowest prices you'll find on  Reutter miniature furniture and accessories, and they're in stock - no waiting.  We ship by US Priority mail 2-3 day delivery.
Miss Frobisher's Cottage - my first scratch dollhouse

Through a doll's eyes - Introducing Doll Frobisher, owner of the Bungalow

The Bungalow - complete photo set of the dollhouse 

Dollhouse Books  -  a list of some of my favorite books about dollhouses.

A little information about Victorian houses  - and a link to my Victorian blog

Photos of the kitchen - from the movie Coraline

I have a need to add landscaping to each of my dollhouses.
…intro -- shaping & painting sponges -----reindeer moss---using sand to simulate mowed grass----balsa wood blocks to make stone steps

using foam,plywood or paper mache to make rises in the land to cover your dollhouse foundation and to create visual interest in your minigarden.-----bushes from sponges---plywood for paving stones----a small tree from a twig & reindeer moss.----using Great Stuff insulating foam to make ground cover

Mulch, soil, flowers and plants

 More ideas for miniature plants

A Faux stone floor - How I used drywall compound to make a stone floor.

New England Miniatures' Links to Tutorials

The Beach House from start to finish --A 1:12 beach house from scratch -- trying for lumpy sand -- building the furniture -- fold down shutters

The Kitschy Kitchen roombox -- Kitsch....(noun)..tawdry or sentimental art (from German).
 A very sentimental frame of mind led me to create a cottage kitchen, inspired by the kitchen roombox I had made years before My Mother's Little Kitchen.----Building the room box from scratch --plastere over egg carton stones -- hearth stones made from plaster -- making the furniture -- a faux window

My mother's little kitchen ---A miniature Lithuanian cottage kitchen I made for my mother

Finished pictures of Lithuanian Cottage kitchen -- and a recording of Lithuanian folk tunes – 1929 

Tall Chimneys -- A British mid Victorian farmhouse

The Gnome's Cottage - a northern European log house, all built in gnomish scale

Another Gnome's Cottage - another version of the log cottage -- building it from start to finish --- windows, the door

The Pumpkin House -- what to do with a styrofoam pumpkin

The Baron's Study - a roombox

The Nuthouse ---This was a step by step building blog I wrote for a British retailer.

Ashley's Heritage Dollhouse --a long, long time ago I built a Duracraft Heritage and an addition for it

Amos Gooch’s cottage, part 1 – A Maine fisherman’s cottage--- starting with a Greenleaf Buttercup --- nicely worn & scuffed floorboards

Amos Gooch part 2 ---weathering the shingles

Amos Gooch part 3 - --Using Michael’s hutches to make some cabinets

Amos Gooch part 4 ----fooling around with furniture

Amos Gooch part 5 ---faux finishing a table 

Amos Gooch part  6 ---Starting work on Amos Gooch’s front yard ----crushed shell walk, soil & sand

Amos Gooch part  7 ----Amos’s lumber pile – painting a barrel, and some more plants

 Amos Gooch part 8 ----Amos’s garden, continued – painting the walk to look like crushed shells – making seats for the garden -- adding more beachy plants

 Amos Gooch part 9 ---finished exterior

Amos Gooch part  10 ---Little Star Gooch finally has some hair

The finished cottage ---& making simple curtains for a working man’s house

More pictures of Amos's Cottage

333 Franklin St - The Franklin St project kept running into problems. I lost interest in it, and it still sits unfinished. The parlor was finished, with a nice mural. I've included photos of the parlor with several different furniture arrangements, but some of the furniture shown is no longer in stock.-------pages are linked in sequence.  Also included is a bit of information about faux marbling the fireplace.

19th century cottage wash house --- scratch built room box ---still not quite finished as of 1/1/13

Didn’t have time to work on the wash house – a link to working with plaster cloth

Cottage wash house part 4 --- Old “plaster” over “bricks”

Cottage wash house part 5 – Timber!  Making aged timbers

Cottage wash house part 6 – more about old timbers

Cottage wash house part 7 – making a lattice window

Cottage wash house part 8 – how to make a faux stone sink
Don’t cry it’ll be alright – sometimes things just don’t come out right, but in the end it'll be great.

Half scale

I know some people are confused by dollhouse scale. At New England Miniatures we stock mostly 1" scale, but we also have half scale items.
To make it easy, all our half scale items are kept together in one section.

Not all half scale miniatures are the same half scale, which can be a big problem. When shopping for half scale miniatures it's very important to read the sizes in the item descriptions.

At New England Miniatures we try to make your shopping experience as easy as we can.

As of today, we stock the complete half scale Monticello Collection from Aztec.

Don't cry, it'll be all right

Yesterday I dug out the Victorian wash house to make a rack to put next to the sink.
I measured several times before I cut the pieces and glued the rack together, then I slid it into place to mark where I needed to glue the other support. I realized I had overlooked something. There was a post in the corner of the room, and it was in the way of the rack. I made alterations in the rack so it would fit. No problem.

Next I measured and cut the support, but it wouldn't fit. I sanded a tiny bit off the end - still didn't fit. I sanded some more - still didn't fit. I kept on sanding infinitesimal bits off the end, and it finally came out a little short. By this point I didn't care. - It'll be all right in the end.

Next I put the rack into place and tried to slide the support between the rack and the wall to make sure it all fit before I started staining and gluing, but the support kept falling out. I guessed it was because it's being a tiny-tiny bit too short did matter after all.

I made another support, and this time it looked like everything was going to be OK.

This morning I went downstairs to double check the rack and support so I could stain them. They wouldn't fit. Maybe the little gremlins came in during the night and pumped the wooden slats with enough moisture to make them expand, I don't know, I only knew the pieces wouldn't fit.

I'd had enough of this piddling around with the stupid rack and decided to make a new one, one that fit better.

Using the rotten crummy old rack as a template to show me what not to do with the second rack, I cut new slats. I came out a slat short. No problem, I have another strip of that wood. No--- turns out that strip was narrower. I hunted through all my scrapwood - and believe me I have a lot of scrapwood - boxes of it --but I didn't have any pieces of that particular dimension. I broke up the discarded rack and used the longest piece, even though it's a little short. It'll be all right, I'll rig up something to support that short end.

Right now the glue is drying on part of the rack. Next I'll have to carefully flip it over so I can glue a skinny little support near the other end of the rack. It'll be all right in the end.

And that's all the story on the wash house for now. It's sitting in a cabinet, waiting to be finished - eventually.
= = = = = = = = = = = =

Do you ever feel that your dollhouse has a mind of its own? Annie: a dollhouse story

A reprint of my Non-Working Venetian Blind tutorial. Hope this works for you Kathi.

This project is pretty easy to do. The materials are cheap, so if you make a mistake, just start over. The result looks pretty impressive.

Dollhouse molding or strip wood for the valance
Hot glue or other glue for attaching ribbon to paper
White, wood glue, (or optional contact cement)
Thin scrap wood

The slats of the blind are cut from cardstock. I happened to have a paper cutter, which made cutting the paper strips a quick job.
Cut a sheet of cardstock to the width of your window frame. You’ll then cut the strips from this sheet.
Ideally, the paper strips should be 3/16” wide, which equals a 2” wide real life blind slat, but ¼” wide strips work just as well.
You’ll need enough strips so that when laid side by side, they’ll cover the window. I saw right away that not all the strips I cut were exactly alike. Some were a bit too narrow, others a bit too wide, so I cut more than I needed.
Once I had a nice little array of paper strips I started matching up the ones that were closest in size, and I arranged them so that they’d cover about half my window. I then set these safely to one side, keeping the other strips to stack at the bottom of the blind.
If you want your blind to cover the full length of your window, you’ll just have to make sure you have enough paper strips that are the same width.
I then cut 2 lengths of ribbon, making them quite a bit longer than I needed, in case I made a mistake somewhere.

I drew a picture of the window on a piece of paper, then I drew on how I wanted the blinds to look, measuring the distance between the tapes (ribbon).
and checking how many slats I was going to need. A standard single dollhouse window needs about 13 slats to cover it halfway and about 26 for full length.

Iron the ribbon before you use it, so that it stays nice and flat. I used a bit of spray starch to stiffen it up a little, and make it easier to work with.

I decided to use hot glue, because I didn’t feel like waiting for glue to dry, and I wanted to make sure my paper slats or ribbon didn’t crumple from the glue. You can use any other glue that you feel works well for you.

Lay a length of ribbon on the table, then squeeze a thin bead of hot glue on the ribbon, about 1” or so long. You don't want the glue to harden before you get your paper strips attached. Carefully lay your paper strips on the glue, pressing down gently. You’ll want to leave about a ½” overhang.
You’ll also want to leave an extra 1” or so of ribbon at the top.
Once you’ve got one side done, carefully flip the paper strips and ribbon over.
To attach the second ribbon, you’ll need to glue the ribbon down onto the strips, instead of gluing the strips to the ribbon. From my experience, I found this the easier way.
Mark your ribbon, so you know where to bead on the glue. You don’t want it to go up or down too far, or it will get in the way during the next steps.

You should now have what, on the face of it, looks like an unfinished tiny Venetian blind.
If you’ve decided to make a blind that completely covers the window, you can skip the next section I call “stacking”.

Remember the extra paper strips, that may have included ones that were maybe a tiny bit too narrow or wide? You can use these at the bottom of the blind.
If you look at a real size Venetian or mini-blind, you’ll see there’s a wooden or polyvinyl slat at the bottom. I used a Skinny Stick to make one for the miniature blind. You can also cut one from a 1/16” thick piece of basswood, or a craft stick. Cut it the same size as your paper strips, and paint it white, and let dry.
Next, glue a paper strip to the wooden slat. Use just a narrow bead of white glue down the center. Keep gluing on strips of paper till the height of the stack looks right. How many should you glue on a stack? That’s up to you.

If you’re making your blinds full length, you’ll just need the wooden slat.

Position your slat, with the stacked paper strips, on its side, just under your unfinished Venetian blind. You’re going to hot glue the ribbon to the front of the stack, then down under the bottom and up the back.
When it’s all cooled, dry, and secure, you’ll need to glue the ribbon up the back of the paper strips.
At this point, you’ll have a cute, very mini Venetian blind. All you have to do now is attach it to the window frame.

Next I cut a length of dollhouse molding, though I could also have used stripwood, for my valance.
I lined the top of the blind with the bottom of the valance. I chose to overlap my blind slightly (about 1/32" or less), gluing it to the very bottom edge of the back of the valance. I thought it might make the blind a little bit sturdier. Then I glued the end front and back ends of the ribbons to the back of the valance, cutting off any extra ribbon.

I used a short piece of bass stripwood as a spacer, and also to help in firmly attaching the blind to the window frame.
The spacer makes the top of the blind come forward slightly, so that the bulge at the bottom isn't noticible unless you peer closely at a side view.
I glued the spacer to the back of the valance, sandwiching that tiny edge of the top paper strip between the 2 pieces of wood.
When the whole assembly was dry I glued it to the window frame. Since I was using wood glue, which can sometimes take a while to set, I turned the house on its side, so that the wall be more or less horizontal.

It occured to me now, that contact cement is another solution. You'd need to spread a little of the glue to the back of the spacer, and some to the section of the window frame where you were going to attach the blind. Wait 10 to 15 minutes til the glue was dry, then set the blind into place. You have to be careful and do it right the first time, because you will probably not be able to reposition it.

The last step is to cut tiny pieces of valance molding to glue into the space between the valance front and the wall. See side view photo.
You can skip the side pieces if no one is going to see them. I believe I attached one to only to one side, because no one will ever see the back side view.

When gluing the paper strips, I placed them side by side, and when the light shines through the window, you can see little glimmers of light. If you want to block the light, overlap your paper strips slightly when gluing them to the ribbon.