I have had one of Joe Hermes' little
foamcore houses for many years. Heeding the advice of
one of my earliest miniaturist friends who always said, "Finish the inside first or you'll never do it," I
wallpapered, floored and made window treatments for several
sets of that inexpensive plastic furniture (referred
to by quarter scalers as BPF, for Brown Plastic Furniture)
that I bashed and repainted. One of these days I will
finish the outside!
(You can see a how-to on Bashing BPF here.)
THE BLUE BEDROOM
The blue bedroom set utilizes the chest of drawers and one of the desks has been turned into a dresser.
Sorry for the quality of the photo; in trying to see inside that tiny room I couldn't seem to get the light right.
The headboard for the bed was contrived from an embossed greeting card which I painted, then brushed with stain. I liked the carousel horse print fabric's design and pleasing colors, so it established the theme of the room. The nightgown across the end of the bed was made from a very fine lace.
The bedroom chair uses one of the inexpensive plastic kitchen chairs. I manipulated the back so it would have a slight curve. It is covered with silk ribbon and trim, and a cut-out from a piece of white cotton lace.
The dresser mirror came from a small
blush container. The design painted on the dresser lamp
is just dots with a paint-tipped pin; the Kleenex box
is a 1/8" square wooden bead. The little blue jewel
box was a funky little square bead I found in my stash.
The carousel horse atop the chest of drawers is a repainted model railroad horse. It has a tiny bow and flower trim around its neck. The black and white striped object on the floor is a hatbox. The dresser stool, barely visible, is laser metal trim from a Christmas ornament, bent around a wooden plug covered in the bed's fabric and with a separate cushion.
THE OFF-WHITE AND PINK BEDROOM
The color scheme of the off-white and pink bedroom derives from the wonderful trim that is used on the bed. This room has the ubiquitous plastic furniture as well, including the bed. As with the other furniture, I lined it up on double-stick tape on a wooden paint stirrer and spraypainted it with a matte acrylic. I hand-painted the knobs pink and painted a floral design on the nightstand drawer and on the other furniture pieces. The flowers are so small, however, they don't really show up here on the bed and dresser.
Some do show slightly, however, on the nightstand. The person who occupies this room likes to read and have a little snack before going to sleep. That's a small plate of chocolate fudge on the corner.
Since I have started designing my WANNA BOOK? Book Covers, I plan to replace these early books with "real" ones.
You can see more of my hand painting around the mirror, which is a replacement for the original dresser mirror. You can sometimes find these tiny mirrors on Christmas ornaments, which is where I found mine. The rose is made from pink bunka, and the jewelry box is an HO scale chest of drawers, repainted.
The window is HO scale, too, with a small scenic photo behind it. Its curtain is a piece of decorative trim that I purchased from Pam Kille of Etcetera, Etc.
The decorative box on the chest of drawers is contrived from jewelry findings and the lamp is made with beads. The lamp's flowers are dots and squiggles of acrylic paint. You can see more of the handpainted trim on the top drawer.
The skirted table is made on a wooden plug, and the lamp is jewelry findings and a bead.
I was having so much fun fooling with this furniture that I needed more rooms, so I built two additional rooms on the end of Joe's little foam core box/house; one for the study, one for a dining room.
The entertainment center in the study is made by gluing an in-scale picture to an appropriately sized piece of wood. Thin stripwood was applied to top and sides and stained to match wood in picture.
The piano is a tiny plaster piece; its stool is repainted from the plastic furniture.
The desk is repainted plastic, as is the chair, which also has the squared corners rounded off.
THE LIVING ROOM
The lamps are beads and jewelry findings, repainted. You've probably noticed that every room in my houses has to have Kleenex boxes!
There is a book, a tiny box and a brass bowl of candy on the coffee table, which is also made of findings.
The rug is a tiny medallion cut from a larger piece of lace. It is glued to paper to give a more solid look. Here are a couple of other possible rug examples, as well.
The church facade on the entertainment center is a tiny resin piece that I repainted.
The sofa is a little plaster piece that I found at WalMart years ago. It was so nicely made and painted that I wish I had gotten more because I haven't seen them since. I added the trim. The pillows are made by gluing fabric over the smallest pompoms.
There's a cozy chair in the corner for anyone who wants to read, as well as a concealed television and stereo system in the entertainment center (made from a picture in the same fashion as the one in the study). The brass tray on top is made from a tiny brass button; the ivy is dried greenery.
I made the chair, throw and pillow. The window treatment in the corner includes swags of unraveled bunka and little tiny tassels.
Our owner is definitely eclectic in her decorating, with a tv and stero and a glass-topped coffeetable in the living room and antiques in her kitchen!
I did a bit more bashing with the inexpensive plastic kitchen furniture, and had to put an extension on Joe Hermes' original little room, which just wasn't big enough for my purposes. I am still trying to figure out how to extend the roof so it won't be too dark to see things inside. Maybe I'll make it a sunroom/breakfast area where the table and chairs are, with wood beams and glass panels as the roof.
The braided rug is made with bunka. The laser-cut paper doily on the table top is by Jeanetta Kendall.
The flowers are tiny bits of preserved greenery and colored foam. The basket is made by stretching a glued piece of finely woven fabric over a plastic-wrapped pencil eraser and fastening with a rubber band until dry.
I painted the basket while it was on the form, then cut away the excess fabric when it dried. The handle was made by coating with glue two threads pulled from the material's edge, twisting them together, and wrapping them around the pencil to dry.
The stove is repainted plastic; I added a black sequin to the end of the stove pipe where it meets the wall. I found the bucket in the ship modeling section of the hobby store. The coal is poppy seeds painted black.
That's soup in the pot and a coffeecake drizzled with icing in the baking pan. The spoon is made from a tiny piece of jewelry finding. The salt and pepper shakers are tiny glass beads with sequin pin heads as lids.
The kitchen window is a model railroad piece. The window treatment is made by pinning the fabric in place on a pinning board and then spraying with hair spray. The corner treatments were made by tying a knot in fabric with a spot of glue on the back so it won't come undone. When dry, the knot is cut from strip and glued in place on top of swag corners.
The chopping block worktable in the corner is made from the plastic dry sink. I cut away the pump, which I will probably use in an outdoor scene, and added a new top made from thin wood veneer. The base is painted with golden oak, then stained. The meat is cut from a puddle of dried acrylic paint. I don't remember for sure, but I think the cleaver is a railroad piece that I painted.
Since I had already bashed the dry sink, I decided to use a bathroom lavatory to make my kitchen sink. I contrived some different faucets and put a skirt around it to make it fit my decorating scheme. The towel is a piece of Kleenex; its red stripes are added with a fine-tipped pen
The old-fashioned kitchen icebox looks like the kind that used a block of ice and had a drip tray to catch water as the ice melted; it is finished the same as the chopping block worktable. Actually, it encloses a modern refrigerator. The owner likes antiques, but enough is enough with cooking on the woodstove!
It's difficult to tell in the photo, but that's a candlestick on top. it comes in handy when the spring storms knock out the electricity. The little white milk glass vase holds roses from the garden.
I removed the doors to make an open hutch. That's another Kleenex towel, along with an open cookbook and a plate of peaches.
The platter on top is a pearlized sequin
with painted dot and dash flowers; the red bowl is the
top of a Chrysynbon goblet. The large "crockery" pitcher
is an accessory that comes with the plastic furniture.
It is like one that belonged to my mother, which now
sits on top of my real-life refrigerator inside a large
crock bowl she used to make dough for hot rolls when
I was a child.
I think the pitcher looks too big here, though, even though my mother's is very large, as well. If I were to do this scene now, I wouldn't use it.
BUTCHER BLOCK TABLE
I made this table from scratch using basswood for the top and decorative toothpicks as legs. The rug is bunka.
Since it wouldn't fit in this kitchen, I have it to use in a future project.
THE DINING ROOM
I wasn't satisfied just to have an eating area in the kitchen. Although I used the same plastic furniture in the dining room, I dressed it up a bit more by adding the floor length table cloth.
The rug, which doesn't really show up, is cut from a magazine picture. The arrangement is made in a bowl which came with the package of plastic furniture. I added some more dot and dash flowers, which really don't show up here.
Here are some more of the accessories that can be repainted and used, although I only used the bowl in this room.
This is more of the plastic furniture. I painted these pieces by hand and don't think they look as good as the spraypainted ones. I removed the doors so that I could put plates and glasses in the china cabinet and then replaced them, but I couldn't get a good enough picture for the interior to show up much. I don't believe this BPF has glass doors any more; I think they are solid?
The window treatment is made from a piece of silk ribbon trim and some fine lace. I made the plant stand with thread and toothpicks. The greenery is an example of how natural materials fade if they aren't painted. Some of it is still green, some is yellow, some is brown.
I don't remember the name of the spray paint I used on much of this furniture, but I loved its soft colors. I found several cans in a closeout bin at the old Ben Franklin's and have never seen any of that brand since.
Here's what the furniture looks like before painting. (I wonder why my palm looks so red?)
The corner shelf unit is made from the top of one of the plastic china cabinets. I removed its door to add the extra rolls of toilet tissue, hand towels and wash cloths inside, then glued it back on. The perfume bottles on a brass tray under the cabinet are sitting on one of the plastic stools.
This model railroad bench was used to make the low table beside the tub. I cut off the back and painted it white to hold towels and other bath accessories.
The bathmat is made of bunka; the basket is made of lace trim. The towel and washcloth are facial tissue. If I had realized how it would show in a close-up photo, I would have been more careful to cut away the mold lines on the lavatory before painting.
That's the original medicine cabinet; I just painted it and added a few accessories. The lamps are made with beads and findings. If you look very closely, you can see a bit of the scalloped wallpaper border next to the low ceiling.
I painted the toilet seat by hand. Next time I would dilute the paint somewhat; it looks too clunky here.
The standing toilet tissue holder is contrived from jewelry findings.
ADDITIONAL FURNITURE PIECES WAITING FOR A HOME
This brass bed was made from a roundtable kit at a show. I added the pillows. The chair is made from a business card, fabric and silk trim. The table is one of the ubiquitous wooden plugs. The painted lamp is beads and findings. The rug is made from a medallion cut from lace.
THE RED LIVING ROOM
Here is another living room with an entertainment center. The rug is an iron-on trim.
These iron-ons came four to a package. I cut the beads away and had a perfect carpet. One served as a temporary headboard when I was photographing the red-checked bedroom.
Of course, these would also make great pillow fronts in a twelfth-scale setting.
The sofa is made with embroidered and pleated silk ribbon and decorative trims.
I seem to wind up with a skirted table in every room. The chairback was made from a plastic pill cover. I think the base was one of those little wood plugs that look like muffins in twelfth scale.
THE RED-CHECKED BEDROOM
I made the bed and the chaise in a club workshop. Their bases are resin pieces. The skirted table is made on another of those wood plugs. I think these pieces will go in a little red heart Valentine chocolate box which I've been saving to use as a roombox.
I have participated in a few quarter scale swaps, and received materials for several coordinated room settings, as well as supplies. I hope to be making more quarter scale items in future, since I'm definitely running out of room for more dollhouses.