Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dressing your windows - tutorial

When I bought it, my dollhouse had simple white cotton curtains, hot glued to the window frame. They looked good enough for a while, but when I began to change the dollhouse to fit the vampire taste, the white cotton fabric was not interesting anymore.

I must confess that I was never a craft-gifted child, and when I began working on the dollhouse (which I bought ready made) I was afraid that any "major" change could ruin it. So I decided to simply hot glue a piece of burgundy velvet with a black lace trim to the window frames.

They looked good enough for me, so I let it run. Some months later, my mom got me a catalog of miniatures, and I found an interesting picture of a dressed window with a blue fabric-covered cornice and two sets of curtains, one of white lace, and another one of flower-printed cotton. Although I found the combination quite ugly, I thought the idea was great, and decided to give it a try, changing the fabrics. I would covered the cornice with burgundy red, the lace would be black, and the main curtain burgundy velvet.

I had read that working with velvet for making dollhouse curtains was quite tricky, because velvet does not have a credible look for miniatures. Of course, I was not going to allow that to stop me.

I tried to find a ready-to-use cornice. And I did, but I thought that the price was ridiculously expensive for a piece of laser-cut wood that was not going to be visible when I finished with it. So I decided to make my own. Also, I found at my local Jo-Ann a fantastic scrapbooking paper that looked like suede to the touch, and I bought a sheet to cover the cornice. After some days of careful work, this was the result:

Sure, probably it is not as perfect as it could be with another kind of fabric, but I am happy with the results! Here is how you can make one for your dollhouse too!

Materials you will need:
Measuring tape, ruler, pencil, scissors, razor blade, balsa wood, lace trim, your choice of fabric, matching thread, needle, scrapbooking paper, glue, hot glue, glue gun.

I decided to use balsa wood because it's strong enough but easy to cut even if you don't have a saw. My balsa wood was Midwest, and with these measurements: 3/32" x 4" x 36". I had more than enough for 3 windows and a lot to spare. Of course, you can always buy your cornice ready made and skip the first steps.

1- Measure the width of your window. Add 1 inch to the total length, so the cornice will be slightly bigger than the window. Decide how tall you want the cornice to be (mine is 5/8", if that helps you). Then draw 2 rectangles with those measurements on the balsa wood with the help of the ruler. They will be the front and the back of the cornice.

2- Cut the balsa wood with the scissors or the razor blade.

3- Now you need to cut the sides of the cornice. I made them 6/8" wide, and there was room enough to work with the curtains later without problems. Draw 2 rectangles on the balsa wood and cut them. Now you have all the sides of your cornice.

4- Glue them together and let them dry. When they are ready, measure the top part to make the cover of the cornice. Draw the rectangle on the balsa wood, cut it and glue it to the top. Let everything dry for one night. I used superglue to glue the pieces together, but you can use regular craft glue if you prefer.

5- Now the fun begins! I used the scrapbooking suede paper to cover every side of the cornice, but you are welcome to use fabric if you prefer. So cover the outside part of the cornice with your choice of paper or fabric. I used regular craft glue for this step. Or you can paint it with acrylic paint. The customization is up to you!

6- Measure the height of your window, and cut 2 pieces of the lace trim to match in length with the bottom of the window. Glue the lace to one of the inside parts of the cornice. Let it dry.
You can leave them like that and you have a nice combination too:

7- Measure the distance from the top of your window to the floor of your dollhouse. This will be length of the main curtains. For the width, use the same measure of the window. Draw 2 rectangles on the fabric and cut them.

8- If you are using velvet as I did, make the pleats on the fabric as shown in the picture; hold them with a sewing pin and sew them both at the bottom and the top to keep them in place.

9- Glue them to the other part of the inside of the cornice (not in the same side you glued the lace, but in the opposite side). I used the hot glue for this step. Let them dry.

10- Hang the cornice over your window. You can use hot glue as I did or miniature hardware.

And that's it! You can do the same for the rest of the windows if you want. Have fun! Or if you think this is too complicated, you can give me a howl and I can do it for you! ;)

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