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