Scratch built sofa

by brae  

I borrowed Dollhouse Magic by P. K. Roche from the library, and it turned out to be a rather simplistic book of miniature making, such as using thread spools for tables.  But, the instructions on using kitchen sponges to make sofas and chairs inspired an idea.  I wanted the living room to be more modern, and I thought using sponges would be a great way to achieve the shape a modern sofa.  It would be easier than trying to cut and shape pieces of wood while still being firm enough for structure.  I could add thin pieces of wood where I needed extra support and then upholster the piece with batting and fabric.

After scouring (er...nevermind) the internet for ideas, I decided to go with the Dream Velvet Sofa by Graham & Green, a home furnishing company in the UK.

I bought cellulose sponges in different shapes and sizes at Target.  I had to leave them out on the counter for a few days to let them dry out.  In the process of drying, they shrank a bit so I was glad I hadn't used right them out of the package.

Using the overall real life dimensions as a guide, I started cutting the sponges into thinner pieces.  I used the curved sponge to make the arms of the sofa, cutting it into thinner sections using a serrated kitchen knife.  It was rather like cutting really stale bread.  :D

I used a large sponge for the base of the sofa.  It had dried to an uneven thickness, so I marked all four sides with a sharpie and used the knife to shave off the excess and shape the base.

Below is my initial basic sponge structure.  The cushions are cut small to leave room for batting and fabric.  I've used some wooden beads to mockup the legs, but I'll shape some legs from wood during the finishing process.

The back cushions on the original sofa were taller than the back, so I think my side angle is a bit steep.  I'll have to cut that down before upholstering.   The coffee table here is just a placeholder; it's a bit traditional for this modern room.

For the upholstery, I chose chocolate brown microsuede.  I've been sewing for a long time, but this was my first time or otherwise.  It took me quite some time to figure out the best way to get the fabric on the sponge and wood frame.  I sewed some, glued some...swore some.  :]

I used batting to smooth out the front edge of the base and the seat cushions.  I glued a thin sheet of balsa wood to the back to have a smooth surface under the upholstery.  Here it is in mid-assembly.

Here it is mostly complete.  I need to tweak the fit of the cushions and adjust the legs, but overall I like the way it turned out.  :]

The striped pillows were created by finding designs online, resizing in PhotoShop and printing on fabric as I had written about in this post.  The bird pillows are actually made from a resized image of tiles by Jerusalem Pottery which I then printed on fabric.

I read a tip about filling miniature pillows with sand to give them a more realistic appearance than batting would produce.  I didn't have any sand, but I did have a bag of seed beads.  Filling the pillows with beads gave them some weight and did make it easier to shape them.

First floor update

by brae  

The first floor is really starting to take shape.  This is pretty much how it will look, plus the front porch railings and posts and the trim above the garage which I don't have up here.  It is 58" wide.

click image to enlarge

As for the interior, that's still in the works.  :]

Scratch built kitchen pendant lamps

by brae  

I had been planning to put in can lights in the kitchen ceiling since this is a deep room that will be dark once the ceiling is permanently attached, but I still wanted some sort of fixtures over the island and the dining table.  I have a light for the dining area but couldn't find the type of modern fixture I wanted for the island.  So, I decided to attempt making my own.

I cut a length of aluminum tubing and fed a Novalyte single LED through it.  The bead is to hold the LED in place closer to the bottom opening, allowing for more light.

The shade portion of the lamp is made from a Wilton #4 cake decorating tip, which I painted white on the inside to reflect more light.

I fed the aluminum tube through the tip to create a hanging pendant lamp, turning the stamped lettering out of view.

Since my experiment was a success, I plan to make a second one and hang the pair over the island.  When I am ready to permanently affix the lamps, I'll finish the connection to the ceiling with a small block or bead.


by brae  

I used some leftover IKEA stain for the front door, finishing it and the white doorframe and window with satin varnish.  The doorknob and doorplate are by Clare-Bell Brass and came in chrome finish.  I wish more minis came in silver and chrome finishes instead of only brass.  The doorknocker is by Olde Mountain Miniatures; the iron was a little dark for the door so I brushed on a light coat of metallic silver paint.  I don't recall where the doorbell came from, but it was brass.  I painted it silver with a dab of white on the button.  It doesn't ring, though there are musical doorbell systems for dollhouses on the market.

The lights match the ones used on the garage.  I made the topiaries, but the hydrangea is by Falcon Miniatures.

click image to enlarge

Look who wandered over to the first resident.  :D  He hasn't told me his name yet.

Living room

by brae  

Work on the final first floor room begins, though that is not to say the rest of the first floor is done by any means.  :D

I created the chimney breast and firebox in a similar manner as I had for the study.  It was a much easier and faster process this time around since I already knew what I was doing.  Here you can see the powder room tucked into the nook created by the tower walls.

This chimney breast will hide most of the wiring for the house.  I had originally planned to have the power strips located in the garage behind false cabinets.  After thinking about it, I decided to drill holes through the first floor and through the foundation to run the wires out to the power strips, which will be mounted to the display table (or a board fastened to the table).  I just think it will be easier to access the switches from there than from inside the garage.  Here the holes are shown on either side of the firebox.

And the holes in the foundation in the back.

I cut a new removable wall out of foam core board and edged it with corner trim.  This temporary wall will hold an interior door and finish off the powder room when I photograph the living room area.

The room is large but has some decorating challenges because of the entryway and staircase.  The fall scene outside is a clipart image printed on large paper and taped to the wall behind the house.

The Handley House wood sheet flooring is the same as the flooring used in the study, but it has a slightly different grain pattern.  It isn't permanently affixed yet since I need to put in the wallpaper first.

The grooves on the far walls are for running electrical wiring so that it won't show underneath the wallpaper.  There are also grooves in the floor under the wood sheet.

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