Friday, April 6, 2012

April - Miniatures

For the months of April and May, our girls are learning about Miniatures, specifically Dollhouse Miniatures.  Dollhouses have been a hobby of mine since I was young.  I currently have one unfinished dollhouse and lots of furniture and accessories to fill it!  I wanted to start the girls on a simple beginner's project to show them how much fun this hobby can be and how they can use their creativity and frugality.  Miniature collecting can become a very expensive hobby, but at the other end of the spectrum, there are many, many things you can make yourself for next to no money at all!

In looking for an inexpensive beginner project, I came across this photograph online at this site:
foldable dollhouse
I thought, WOW, I could totally make that out of cardboard for free!  Talk about inexpensive!  So I had it all planned out in 1" to 1' scale, making the finished product 20" wide and 12" tall.  I later realized that this was a bit ambitious for a beginner project, so I modified the design to make just a one-room "house" with a little garden. 

Here is the basic, unfinished product I came up with, ready to be decorated:

Here's the step-by-step on how I put them together.

Materials needed:
     2 sheets foam board 20x30 (Dollar Tree, $1 each)
     Utility knife
     Stacks of newspaper or old cardboard

Make sure you read all the directions and look at the pictures before you start, just to make sure it all makes sense!  I hope my directions are clear.

Cut one 20" x 30" sheet of foam board in half lengthwise
so you have 2 pieces, each 10" x 30"

Out of one 10" x 30" piece, cut 2 pieces that are each 10" x 12".
There will be a smaller piece left over that you can save for
other projects

Measure the thickness of your foam board (mine was a bit over 1/8")
Holding your 10" x 12" piece so that 10" is the height and 12" is the
width, mark a straight line 1" from the edge and another line 1" + the
thickness of your board. Use these lines to cut a slot in the board half
the height of the board.

Do the same with the other 10" x 12" piece, then flip one over
so that they fit together like this:

Once you're sure they fit, mark your pieces 'left' and 'right' as well
as 'top' and 'bottom' and 'inside' and 'outside'.  Take the pieces
apart and cut out details such as a door and a window.  I cut on
2 edges of the door and scored the third so that it would make a door
that opened and closed. 

Make sure you score on the correct side so that your doors
and windows open to the "outside" when it's put together as
seen here:
I used the second sheet of foam board to cut a 15" x 15" base
for the "room" so that there was room on the "outside" for a
walkway and flower bed area.

So that is the basic unfinished "room box", ready to be decorated by the girls!  If you've made this, you'll see that you have half of the foam board left over so you can make a second project.  I think this would also work doing a full-size "house" as in the picture above, using a 12" height with a slant for the "roof" and a 20" or more width, giving you rooms that are at least 12" x 10", perfect scale for a 1" to 1" scale dollhouse.

Also, if you don't need to make 2, you could make the height of the box 12" or more and make the peaked roof as shown in the first picture above.  There are so many variations you can come up with!

Stay tuned for directions for the rest of the project.  Next will be wallpapering and carpeting!

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