How to Make a Miniature Stove


At this point, my husband, who is also my partner in New England Miniatures, would say to me, "Why are you teaching people how to make a dollhouse stove? Aren't we in the business of selling miniatures?"

That's true, but if you've noticed, as of today, I'm still selling old fashioned looking stoves and Agas from Reutter porcelain. When I needed a contemporary style stove for the Bungalow kitchen, I wasn't satisfied with the stove I had originally bought. It looked a bit too toylike to suit me, so I decided to see if I could make myself one out of basswood.

MATERIALS:
1/8" thick basswood
1-2 square dowels, @ 1/4" thick, though any size will do
3/16" thick basswood, 3" x 3/8" high
4 lock washers
small guage aluminum wire
thin aluminum tubing
1/8" thick dowel
1/4" thick round wooden dowel
white paint
white enamel spray paint
black paint

I used 4 pieces of 1/8" thick basswood to make the sides of a box.
The back and front were cut 2 & 3/4" wide x 2 & 15/16" high.
The sides were 1 & 7/8" wide x 2 & 15/16" high.
I based my measurements on the sink and counter pieces I was using. I could have cut my sides 3" high instead of 2 & 15/16", but it wouldn't have worked for me. You can make your stove as high or wide as you want.
The stove top, which forms the top of the box is 2" x 3".
Here you see the underside of the stove, and how the sides, back and front fit together. I used some square dowels to reinforce the box and help keep things squared up.

I glued the 4 sides together with wood glue, then I glued in the dowels. You want the tops of the dowels to be level with the 4 sides of the box, so you can glue the stove top to the 4 sides and the tops of the dowels. This way you get a pretty sturdy box that isn't likely to break if you drop it.
But don't glue the top on yet!

Next you need to cut out the 3 pieces that go on the front of the stove. They make up the control panel where the knobs will go, the oven door and the broiler door (or drawer).
The narrow top panel for the knobs is 3" x 1/4" high. The oven door is 3" x 1 & 11/16" high, and the broiler door on the bottom is 3" x 3/4" high. These 3 panels will be glued to the front of the stove.
Now, I could have just scribed in some lines to mark the separations, but I really wanted a toe kick under the stove. It just makes it look more real I suppose. By gluing the panels on I get the open space underneath that I painted black.

Once you glue the front panels on, you can glue on the top. Be sure that the top isn't too short. It's better if it's a hair too long than a hair too short. if there's too much you can always sand off the excess. Apply wood glue to the tops of the 4 sides of the box and to the tops of the dowels, then press down the stove top and let dry.

If you find any slight gaps where 2 pieces of wood meet, just fill in the space with wood putty or drywall compound or spackle. Once everything is dry and to your satisfaction, sand your box smooth, and apply a coat of flat white paint. It can be a primer, or acrylic or latex paint. When that's dry, you'll want to sand the box smooth again.
I have to confess, I was in a hurry, and could have sanded my stove a bit better.

The next piece you need is the splash back. I used a somewhat thicker, 3/16" piece of basswood for that. The splashback is 3" long x 3/8" high. I painted and sanded it smooth before gluing it into place.

Next I used white enamel spray paint to paint the stove. I wanted a glossy finish, and spray paint seemed the best idea. It took several coats, you might need to sand again after the firsat coat of paint is dry.

Next I made the oven door handle. For this I used some aluminum wire and tubing from the hardware store. Just pick a piece of tubing that will slide over your wire. The wire I used was similar in guage to a cheap coathanger. I cut the tubing with a pair of tin snips. The snips flattened the end of the tubing where I cut it a little, so I used a narrow dowel or wire to shape it back out.
I cut the tubing 2" long, and the wire @ 2 1/2" or so. I drilled 2 small holes into the top area of the oven door where I wanted to place the handle. I drilled the holes 2 & 1/8" apart. I bent one end of the wire with a pair of needlenose pliers so it would fit into the hole, and stick out enough for the tubing to slide over it.
Next I had to bend the other end of the wire and fit it into the hole. This was a bit trickier, I just had to experiment a bit til I got it right.

I could have made a similar handle for the broiler, but I admit, I was feeling lazy and I wanted to get done, so I decided to see how a different handle would look. I cut a 1/8" thick dowel 2" long, then I sanded one side of it to flatten it out. This way it would glue to the "door" more securely. After gluing it on I gave the front of the stove another shot of enamel spray paint.

The next step was to glue in the aluminum door handle. I applied a little glue to the ends of the wire and pushed them into place.

A piece of dollhouse cove molding or L shaped molding might also make good handles, but I didn't have any at the time.

The knobs are cut from a 1/4" dowel. I painted a section of dowel black first, then I cut the knobs. I glued them into place, after which I painted the cut ends black to match.

The gas burners are made from lock washers, also from the hardware store. I painted black circles where they were to go, then glued them on.


While I was making the stove, I noticed that at one point it looked a lot like a washing machine, or a dryer, and with a few minor details, you could turn the basic box into one too.

DAISY, her story

Once she was known as Hagerstown model 339-7 dollhouse, but she preferred to think of herself as Daisy.

Most of the time she sat on her shelf in the toy store dreaming of the day she’d be taken down and wrapped up for a trip to her new home. After all, there wasn’t much to see or do on a shelf.

“I wonder what color they’ll paint me”, she thought. “I hope I get to be yellow, I do so love yellow. Maybe they’ll give me shutters. Dingly Dell # 72 has them. I’d like green ones. Green goes so nicely with yellow paint. Oh, and a green door, maybe with a flowery wreath. Oh, a heart shaped flowery wreath like on the house in the calendar picture.”

She sighed contentedly dreaming her pretty dollhouse dreams.

One day a customer pointed straight at her as she spoke to the clerk. “Oh joy!” Daisy thought. “It’s my day! This is it!”

Yes indeed, the clerk walked straight over to her and lifted her down off the shelf. “Goodbye, girls!” she trilled to the other dollhouses. “Goodbye, Sam!” she called to the log cabin, and “Adieu, Sebastien!” to the tall, stately stone manor house.

In no time at all she was in her new home, ready to be transformed into the house of her dreams. Sure enough, bright and early next morning her lady started gathering her tools. There were scissors, and cutting knives, glues, rulers, and a stack of colored papers.

“Jiminy Crickets! Wallpaper!” Daisy practically screamed with delight.

She relaxed as expert hands began their work. “Gee,” Daisy thought. “That wallpaper is awful red. I was hoping for a pretty rose colored floral in that room. Oh well. Maybe she plans on mahogany bedroom furniture. Some of that mahogany stuff looks really grand with dark red wallpaper. Of course, that paper sure is red-red.”

Later that afternoon the lady took out a shiny brass bed and put it into the red room, then she stepped back for a look. Daisy was dubious about the brass bed and the fancy red velvet wallpaper. “Yes, please, lady, think it over. Mahogany would be a nicer choice. I’m sure you’ll agree.” But the lady left the brass bed in the room.

The next day the lady selected a pink wall paper. “That’s better”, Daisy thought. “Pink is such a nice ladylike color, though I’m not so sure about it being next to that red room. Still, furniture does make the room, after all. It’s not just about the wallpaper.”

The lady laid the pink wallpaper on the table. It was shot through with gold stripes and red and blue flowers. Daisy just about faded away in embarrassment. She had dreamed of being a tastefully dressed yellow cottage with a green door and green shutters and white trim, with maybe a pretty picket fence in front. “I think the lady‘s taste in colors leaves something to be desired,” she thought. “Maybe she’s color blind,” she added charitably.

The next day the lady returned from shopping with some fancy gilded mirrors for Daisy’s bedrooms. She placed more furniture into the bedrooms, including a tufted red velvet couch for the red room, “Well, that it a pretty couch,” Daisy thought, and a pink dresser with flowers that matched the wallpaper for the pink room. “I hope she didn’t pay extra for that” sighed Daisy.

The lady also added some pretty little embroidered cushions. One said ‘Love’ another said ‘San Francisco’, and Daisy couldn’t make out the rest. Next the lady glued some pretty pictures of flowers and ladies on the wall and added a stitched sampler to the red room that said ‘He who loves longest loves best’. “I wonder what that’s supposed to mean?” pondered Daisy.

Part II

The next day the lady started on the parlor. She glued in some pale gold wallpaper that was decorated with sprays of delicate flowers and a bit of gilding. “Oh, that looks quite nice”, thought Daisy, hopefully.

A beautiful walnut parlor set followed, upholstered in light blue satin, accompanied by a matching piano. The lady hung blue satin draperies on the windows that matched the parlor set. Daisy was very happy. The upstairs rooms may be in not quite the best of taste, but the parlor was more than making up for it. Even the rug was absolutely perfect. It was the most gorgeous room Daisy could ever imagine and she began to feel much better.

A few days later the lady came into the workroom with some bags. She pulled a can of paint out of one. “Oh, goody, goody”, Daisy thought, “Maybe I get painted today!”

The lady had already painted Daisy’s window trim white, and Daisy was eager to see what sort of a face she’d be presenting to the world. “Yellow, yellow, please let me be yellow. She’s opening the can…..oh boy, oh boy, I’m going to be…..red? I’m too little and cute to be red”, she pouted.” Big barns are red, little houses aren’t red”.

There was nothing Daisy could do but sit there and be painted red. “What’s the matter with this woman? What is she thinking?” Daisy was getting downright peeved.

There was just one room left to decorate. “Well,” Daisy sighed, “She can’t mess up a kitchen. No matter what she does I’m sure the kitchen will do. It certainly can’t look as bad as the bedrooms or my (sniff) front.”

The lady laid some pieces of stained wood on the table. “Why,” Daisy thought, “that looks like paneled wainscot, and very nice wainscot indeed, in mahogany yet. Who puts mahogany wainscot in a kitchen?” She settled back and waited to see what came next.

“Oh, maybe it won’t be a kitchen after all. Maybe I’ll have a library.”

The idea of having a library within her little walls made her feel very grand indeed. She felt quite puffed up with that thought.

The lady brought out a white box. “Maybe it’s a fireplace! No, the box is too big for a fireplace. Maybe there’s bookcases in there, no, it’s still too big for that. Or maybe it’s a library set all in one box, like kitchen sets or living room sets, like the ones they used to sell in the store!”

She waited.

“What’s that? Why……it’s a bar…..a mahogany bar.”

Indeed it was, a magnificent mahogany bar and the wainscot matched it exactly. It even had a delicate brass rail that ran along the bottom. The lady had also bought tiny green and brown bottles with pretty labels and the smallest glasses you could ever imagine, all made of real, tinkling glass. She added a matching table with two little chairs with red velvet seats. Next she hung a picture of a lady in a big gilded frame.

“Oh my,” blushed Daisy. “ Why, she has no clothes on. Wait a minute………”. A thought had begun to cross Daisy’s mind. “Not that, no it can’t be.”

The lady opened another box. In it lay a small doll. The doll had long black hair and a lacy peignoir. Daisy could see right through the lace that she had a corset tied in pink ribbons and pink garters, with a pink rose on one of them.

“Oh, noooooo!!” wailed Daisy in despair, “I’m a House of Assignation!!!! I’ll never be able to hold my head up again! Oh the shame…..” She whimpered silently, and later that night, when she was all alone, she cried herself to sleep.

The weeks passed. Daisy was on display in the lady’s living room, and none too happy to be so. “She should be ashamed of herself,” she pouted . “I’m certainly ashamed of myself and I didn’t even do anything.” Every time a visitor came in to see her Daisy just wished she could shrink into 144 scale.

One day Daisy was tenderly packed into a large box and taken on a long trip. “What now?“ she moaned. Her nerves caused her clapboards to feel too tight, and she was sure her shingles must be curling. “I wish I could have stayed on my own shelf in the toy store.” She began to wail, and once again, cried herself to sleep.

When she woke she found herself in a very large room and there were hundreds of people milling about. Many of them were stopping to look at her. She could see big banners overhead that said Northeast Miniatures Fair. “Oh fine,” she thought angrily. “The woman turns me into a bordello and now she wants to get rid of me. Yes, people, take a good look at gaudy, tawdry, tacky me. My life is ruined anyway.”

Just then something was placed on the table just in front of her. “What’s that? What’s it say? I can’t read upside down writing very well. Wait a minute, it looks like a blue ribbon. It says…..”

“First Prize goes to….” announced the loudspeaker. Daisy didn’t hear the rest. She didn’t need to. By then she had deciphered the upside down writing on the blue ribbon. It said, First Prize.

So, Daisy didn’t get to be a sweet little yellow cottage with green shutters and a white picket fence, but then again, it’s not every Hagerstown model 339-7 dollhouse that gets to be a prizewinning bordello.

How to make a miniature planter

I had originally published this tutorial on my old blog back in 2007.

Materials...
4 balusters: I used the traditional balusters, made by Houseworks

1/16th " thick basswood: a small piece

A very thin dowel: I happened to have some wooden old skewers laying around. My skewers are @ 1/8" in diameter.

A square dowel @ ¼” thick

A piece of wood 1/8 to ¼” thick. I used a piece from a bag of assorted craft wood I got at a craft store or Walmart

A piece of decorative wooden trim

Wood glue

Wood putty, in case you drill your holes all the way through the baluster

A drill, I used my Dremel tool.


I began by drilling 2 holes in each of my balusters, you’ll notice one is slightly lower than the center of the block, the other hole is closer to the top of the block. This is important, or your holes will just run into each other.

Be sure your holes are centered and spaced correctly. If your holes are wrong, your dowels will look all crooked.

Try not to go all the way through the baluster when you drill your holes. If you find you’ve gone all the way through, don’t despair, just make sure you have some wood putty to fill the holes up before you paint the finished planter.

Next cut the dowels. You’ll need 2 long and 2 short. I cut the longer ones 3” long, and the shorter ones 1 1/8 “ long.

You need to give the ends of your dowels sharpened points, so that they can fit into the holes you drilled in the balusters.

At this point, some might say, well why can’t I just make the holes in the bottom of the baluster bigger, so I cen just put the whole dowel straight in? The answer to that is, if you make the tiniest mistake in the placement of your drill bit, 2 bigger holes in the bottom of those balusters will eat up the whole piece of wood. Why not use a thinner dowel? If the dowel is too thin, it’ll break more easily, and the proportions of the plant stand won’t be as pleasing.

I used an electric pencil sharpener to sharpen the ends of the 3” long dowels. I had to lift them in and out and turn them a bit, but they came out fine. You can’t stick a 1” long dowel in a pencil sharpener, so I sharpened one end of the dowel before I cut it. I found that a drum sanding attachment on my dremel worked very well to shape the other end of my 1 1/8” long piece.

Dry fit the rods in place in the holes

This shows how the rods go into the baluster block.

Now you are ready to glue the longer rods in place. Be sure you match your holes up correctly. Dab the rod points with a glue and push them into their holes. Press them in firmly, but not too hard. Lay the 2 balusters which are now attached to each other by the rod. Make sure that everything is laying down flat, with no twisting. Readjust the rod before the glue has a chance to set. Make sure everything looks straight.

Repeat this with the other 2 balusters and long rod.

Let the glue dry and set a bit.

Meanwhile, get the piece of 1/16th inch basswood.

I cut 2 pieces, each ¾” x 3 ¼”. When the glue on my balusters was set enough so I could handle them, I glued the basswood pieces to the upper parts of the balusters.

I used some small clamps to keep the basswood in place and let dry. My basswood strips turned out to be almost 1/16th” too long, which was fine. The extra bit can be sanded or cut off so that the ends of the basswood pieces are even with the baluster. Having them a bit too long is better than a bit too short. If they are too short, you have to recut new baswood strips.

Again, when gluing, be sure you keep everything straight. A jig is helpful. I still haven’t gotten around to making or buying one, so I used a carpenter’s square and a square dowel to align my pieces.

Be sure the glue on these pieces is quite dry and firm before you proceed to the next step. Look at the picture below to get a closer look at how the pieces fit together to form the box.

I cut the square dowel into 2 pieces that would fit between the balusters. They were 2 and 13/16th inches long. I glued them to the bottom of the inner side of the basswood. Clamp and let dry. Below you can see the underside of the plant stand
I then cut 2 small pieces of basswood, each ¾” x 1 and 5/16th inches. These will make up the sides of the “box”. I also cut a piece from the thicker wood, the one listed as 1/8 to ¼ inches thick. I could have used some thin basswood, but I felt the thicker wood might make the planter a bit sturdier. This thicker piece was 1 and 3/16th inches by 3 and 1/8”, and was notched in the 4 corners . This piece forms the bottom of the “box”.

Now comes the tricky part, adding the side pieces and gluing it all together.

Take one of the short dowel pieces and glue it into place at the bottom of the baluster, then carefully glue the small basswood piece into place. I held it in place for a few seconds, then gently layed it down on its side .

I slipped a piece of the thin basswood under the lower end of the legs to keep everything aligned,while the piece was laying on its side, and let it dry. I then flipped the planter over and glued the other short dowel and the other basswood piece into place and let dry.

When everything is dry and set, you can pop the thicker bottom piece into place. If it’s a bit big, just trim where needed. If it’s a bit too small it doesn’t matter, it will still hold everything together once it’s glued in place. Just apply a bit of glue everyplace where this piece touches another piece.. Let dry.

If you’ve drilled through the baluster bases, apply some wood putty.

Next you can apply some decorative trim. I had a couple of pieces to choose from, I selected the one I thought looked best.

It’s important to lay out the trim pieces carefully so they are in perfect visual balance. No cutting through a flat part on one end and a curved part on the other end.
Then cut to fit, glue and let dry. Small clamps are helpful.

Sand any rough edges with an emery board.

You are now ready to paint. I chose to use spray paint for this project. I have found, however, that if you apply a bit of acrylic artists paint to the cut edges of the wood, it’ll seal them and the spray paint will come out looking better, faster.

I dabbed a bit of white paint in a few spots and when it was dry I spray painted. I used the fast drying paint, and was able to apply a new coat every 15 minutes or so.

I did sand the flat trim surfaces slightly after the second coat had tried. I continued applying coats of paint til I was satisfied that everything was covered with an even coat of paint.

ADDING THE FLOWERS

You can place potted plants inside the stand. I have those wooden “pots” that I paint to look clay-like, however, they are a bit big. Mine are 1” tall which translated into human sized is a pretty big pot, or 1 foot high.

I decided to just “plant” the flowers into the stand.

I used a piece of the ¼” thick scrap wood I used to form the bottom of the “box”. I cut it the same size, with the notches, and painted it dark brown.

I rummaged through my flower and leaf pieces and made my selections. I had purchased a clump of tiny leaved ivy in the floral department of a craft store to use when I did the exterior of the Nuthouse. I plucked off some of the smallest leaves, then trimmed them somewhat and used them

to form the leaves of the yellow plant. Houseplants are actually tropical native plants, and quite a few, if you’ve noticed have rather large leaves, so the size of these works well for that.

I also found that if you drill holes into the wood for your flower and leaf stems, they will be more likely to stand up just the way you want them to.

When your selection is made, and the proper sized holes are drilled, dab a tiny bit of hot glue in 2 or 3 holes. The glue will melt the plastic stems if you apply it to the flower, but I’ve found that in the moments it takes to put down the glue gun and pick up the flower and place it into the hole, the glue has cooled enough so it is not a problem.
The circled areas show where the stem of the plant is less likely to melt. I had to cut the stem of the longer flower on the left. When gluing it into place, I let the glue cool a couple of seconds longer. You can also tape several fragile flower stems together with floral tape, then drill a hole big enough to hold the taped stems.

Once your plants are glued in the way you want them, you can add tiny pieces of reindeer moss underneath them, to partially obscure the painted wood and the occasional bare stems. I had originally considered using coffee grounds, but saw that the slight fluffiness and texture of the moss would suit better.

Finally I glued the piece of wood holding my completed flower arrangement in place inside the planter using wood glue.