Homemade Doll Furniture – How to Make Dolls House Furniture

Homemade Doll Furniture – How to Make Dolls House Furniture

The metal furniture which you can buy is very pretty when it is new, but this new appearance does not last long after it has come into a youngster’s possession, for the pieces are very slender and delicate, and thus easily broken.

Wooden furniture is the most durable kind, and plain and simple pieces will generally outlast the fancy ones. The designs illustrated in this chapter make very substantial pieces, as there are no spindle legs or fancy arms to break off. They follow the lines of the mission furniture, that simple style used in the early American mission schools, and which is to-day being extensively made in handsome pieces for the furnishings of modern homes. You will find the

Miniature Mission Furniture, illustrated and described in this chapter, simple to make and something which is easy to sell, for there is nothing like it at present upon the market.

Cigar-boxes furnish the nicest material for making this furniture, and the various parts can be cut to the right shape and size with

A Scroll-Saw. Procure small brads and glue with which to fasten the pieces together.

To Prepare the Cigar-boxes for use, place them in a tub of boiling water and let them remain there until the paper labels readily pull off. Do not use a knife in removing the paper, as it is likely to roughen the wood. The paper will come off by allowing it to soak long enough. When the boxes are clean, set them in the sun to dry, after binding the covers to the backs to prevent them from warping. Pull the boxes apart when they are thoroughly dry, and throw out such pieces as have printing upon them, for these would spoil the appearance of the furniture if used.

In order to simplify the matter of cutting the parts that make the furniture, the curved pieces have been drawn out carefully on page 177, so that they can be laid off upon the strips of cigar-boxes without any trouble, by the process of

Enlarging by Squares. These drawings are shown one-quarter of their full size (half their width and half their height). To enlarge them procure a piece of cardboard nine by thirteen inches, or a little larger than twice the size of the drawing each way, and divide it into squares just twice the size of those on page 177.
That will make sixteen squares in the width of the cardboard and twenty-four in the length, each half an inch square. In order to get the squares spaced equally, it is best to lay off the points first with a ruler along the top, bottom, and two sides of the sheet of cardboard, and then connect the points with the ruler and a sharp lead-pencil. Then number the squares as in the illustration, using the figures along the sides and letters across the top and bottom of the sheet.

With the sheet of cardboard thus prepared it is a simple matter to

Reproduce the Drawings of Figs. 259 to 266 by locating the points of the curves and corners of the pieces, as shown in the illustrations, in corresponding positions in the squares on your cardboard sheet. The curves may be drawn in by eye, after locating them with reference to their surrounding squares, but the surest way of enlarging them accurately is by laying off the points where the curve strikes each horizontal and vertical line in the illustration, upon the enlarged drawing. These points can then be connected with a curved line.

Make all of the lines heavy so they can be distinguished from your guide lines, and after carefully going over the drawing, comparing it with that on page 177 to see that no mistake has been made in locating the points in enlarging, cut the various pieces apart. These will give you

The Patterns with which to mark out the pieces on the wood.

 Figs. 259-266.—Patterns for Furniture.

We will first note the construction of

The Chairs shown in Figs. 267 and 268. These are four and one-half inches high, two inches wide, and an inch and one-half deep. Cut the back for the chair in Fig. 267 four and three-eighths inches high and an inch and three-quarters wide, the sides by the pattern in Fig. 259 and the seat an inch and one-quarter by an inch and three-quarters. With the pieces cut out, fasten them together with brads and glue, placing the seat between the arms and back so that it is an inch and one-half above the base.

Fig. 267.—Chair.
Fig. 268.—Chair.

Cut the back for the other chair (Fig. 268) four and one-half inches high by two inches wide, the seat an inch and a quarter by an inch and three-quarters, and the sides an inch and three-eighths wide by two and one-half high. To get the curve in the bottom edge of the side pieces, use the pattern in Fig. 259.

The Settee (Fig. 269) should have its sides cut by the pattern of Fig. 260. Make the back piece three and three-quarters inches wide and three and one-quarter inches high, and the seat three and three-quarters inches by an inch and one-half. Fasten the seat against the back an inch and one-half above the base.

Fig. 269.—A Settee.
Tables for the living-room, dining-room, bedroom, ball-room, and nursery of a doll-house may be patterned after the designs of Figs. 270 and 271. These should be two and one-half inches high to be of proper proportion for the chairs.

Fig. 270.—A Table.

The pieces necessary to make Fig. 270 are a top two inches square, two sides an inch and one-half wide by two and one-half inches high, and a shelf an inch and one-quarter square. Fasten the pieces together as in the illustration, placing the shelf between the side pieces an inch from the bottom.

The other design (Fig. 271) will do nicely for

A Dining-room Table,
or table for the center of the living-room. The top of this should be five inches long and three inches wide. Cut the side pieces by the pattern in Fig. 261 and, after fastening them to the under side of the table-top four inches apart, brace them with a strip three and three-quarters inches long by half an inch wide, as shown in Fig. 271.

Fig. 271.—Another Design.

A Side-board similar to Fig. 272 should be made for the dining-room. The pattern for the side pieces is shown in Fig. 262. After sawing these out, cut a piece seven inches long by three inches wide for the back and fasten the side pieces to the edges of it. The location of the shelves can be obtained best by referring to Fig. 272 and the pattern in Fig. 262. Cut the bottom shelf (A in Fig. 272) three inches long by an inch and one-quarter wide and fasten it to the side pieces half an inch above the base (line 24 on pattern, Fig. 262). Make shelf B three by one inches and place it at line 22. C should be three and three-quarters inches long by an inch and one-half wide, with a small notch cut near each end with your knife, to make it fit over the side pieces (see illustration).
Cut shelf D three inches long by half an inch wide, fastening it in place at line No. 17, E three inches long by seven-sixteenths of an inch wide, fastening it at line No. 15, and F three inches long by three-eighths of an inch wide, fastening it at line No. 13. The top shelf (G) is three and three-quarters inches long and half an inch wide and is fastened to the tops of the side pieces as shown in the drawing.

The lower portion of the side-board is inclosed with two doors two inches high by an inch and one-half wide. Small pieces of cloth may be used for hinges, but it is better to use pins, running them through the shelf above and below (A and C, Fig. 272) into the doors. Stick the pins near the edge of the doors and see that they are straight, so the doors will open easily. A small mirror attached to the back between shelves C and D will complete this piece of furniture.

Fig. 272.—A Side-board.
Fig. 273.—A Mirror.
A Mirror in a frame should be made for the living-room of the doll-house. A neat and suitable design for one of these will be seen in Fig. 273. For its construction cut two sides by means of the pattern in Fig. 263, a piece five inches long by three inches wide for the back, and a strip three inches long by three-eighths of an inch wide for a shelf. Fasten the sides to the edges of the back piece, and the shelf between the sides about three-quarters of an inch above the base. Now procure a mirror such as you can buy in a toy-shop for five or ten cents (or a piece of a broken mirror cut down to the right size will do very nicely), and attach it to the center of the back.

The Grandfather’s Clock (Fig. 274) makes an effective piece of furniture for the hall or living-room, and is easily made. Figure 264 shows the pattern for the front of this clock. The back is made the same, with the omission of the square opening cut in the front frame for the clock-face. Cut a block of wood two by two by three-quarters inches to fit between the frames at the top. After nailing the pieces together, procure a face from a toy watch, and fasten it in the opening made for it in the front frame. A button suspended by means of a piece of thread from a tack placed in the bottom of the block forms the pendulum.

It will be unnecessary to give any suggestions for

Fig. 274.—A Grandfather’s Clock.

Kitchen Furniture, such as chairs and tables, for these can also be made out of cigar-box wood similar to the designs illustrated in this chapter, with perhaps a few modifications which will make them simpler.

Now for the making of some pieces of bedroom furniture. You will find in Figs. 275 and 276 two designs that are easily carried out, one or both of which may be used for

The Beds of a doll-house. To make Fig. 275, cut the head and foot by means of the pattern in Fig. 265, and cut the two sides by means of the pattern in Fig. 266. After preparing these pieces and fastening them together as shown in the illustration (Fig. 275), cut a few strips a quarter of an inch wide for slats and fasten them between the sides of the bed. It is advisable to fasten these in place to prevent them from being lost.

The side pieces for the other bed (Fig. 276) are cut out with the same pattern (Fig. 266).

Fig. 275.—A Bed.

Fig. 276.—Another Design.
Make the head and foot pieces three by four and one-half inches, cutting a piece two by an inch and one-quarter out of the top of each as shown in the drawing (Fig. 2766), and using the pattern of the other bed for cutting the curve in the bottom edge. Nail the pieces together in their proper places, after which cut some slats and fasten them in the bottom.

The Dresser (Fig. 277) is made somewhat similar to the side-board. Cut the sides by the same pattern (Fig. 262) and fasten them to the edges of the back piece, which should be six and one-half inches high by three inches wide. Cut shelf A three by one and one-quarter inches, B and C three by one and one-eighth, D three by one and three-sixteenths, and E and F one-half by one and one-quarter inches. Fasten shelf A between the sides at line No. 24 (see Fig. 262), B at line No. 23, C at line No. 22, D at line No. 21, and notch the ends of E and F to fit over the side pieces at line No. 20.

 Fig. 277.—A Dresser.

Drawers to fit the lower shelves of the dresser may be made out of small strips of cigar-boxes or pieces of cardboard, glued together. A small mirror fastened in the position shown in the drawing will complete the work upon this piece of furniture.

A Wash-Stand can be made for the bathroom and each of the bedrooms similar to Fig. 278. The sides for this should be five inches high by an inch and one-quarter wide, and the shelves one by three inches. Fasten the lower shelf three-quarters of an inch above the base, and the top shelf at a height of two and one-half inches. When the stand has been put together, fit a round stick, about an eighth of an inch in diameter, in holes made in the sides with a gimlet (see illustration). This forms the towel-rack. Hang a small drapery over the lower portion of the s tand.

Fig. 278.—A Wash-Stand.

When the pieces of furniture have been completed, they should be rubbed down with emery-paper to remove the rough edges, and also any rough places that may have been caused by soaking the boxes in water.
Then give the wood several coats of linseed-oil. This makes a beautiful finish for this kind of wood, which may be improved by adding a coat of wax.
The little hearts may be painted upon the pieces as shown in the illustration, with a small brush and red paint, or may be cut out of red paper and glued to the wood.

If desired, the bedroom furniture may be painted with white enamel.

Other Cigar-box Furniture
Fig. 279.—A Doll’s Folding-bed.

In Figs. 279 and Fig. 282 will be found some pieces of furniture that are simpler to make than those just described, and although they may not be so pretty, they present a very good appearance when neatly made.

The author constructed many pieces of this furniture when a boy, and found them suitable as presents, and something that was always easy to sell.

The cost of making a set amounts to but a few cents, cigar-boxes being the principal material. They are also very quickly made, as the boxes require but little cutting.

For the construction of

A Folding-bed, such as is shown in Figs. 279 and 280, select two cigar-boxes, one of which will fit inside the other. The smaller box should be a little shorter than the inside opening of the larger box.

Fig. 280.—Folding-bed (open).
Fig. 281.—Foot.

After removing the paper from each, place the smaller box inside the larger one, as shown in Fig. 279, so that the bottom of the inner box is flush with the edge of the outer box. Then drive a brad through both boxes on each side, about three-quarters of an inch from the end as shown at A (Fig. 279). These brads should run through the outer box into the bottom of the inner box, and should be driven in carefully so as not to split the wood.
The inner box should now fold down as shown in Fig. 280, moving upon the brad pivots. Purchase a five or ten cent mirror and fasten it to the front of the bed, after which cut two wooden feet similar to Fig. 281 and glue the pegs on the ends of these in gimlet holes made above the mirror. Finish the wood the same as described for the other cigar-box furniture.

Fig. 282.—Dresser Completed.
Fig. 283.—A Doll’s Dresser.

The Dresser shown in Fig. 282 is made out of a box the same size as the larger one used for the folding-bed. Saw the sides of the box in half, crosswise, and remove the upper half and the end piece. Then nail the end across the tops of the remaining halves of the sides. When this has been done, divide up the lower portion of the box into compartments as shown in the drawing (Fig. 283). This should have a small drapery hung over it. The upper portion of the dresser should have a mirror attached to it, and some lace draped over the top and sides will add greatly to its appearance.

All you will have to do in making

A Wardrobe will be to fasten some small hooks inside of a cigar-box, attach the cover with a strip of linen—the same way it was attached before you soaked it off—and hang a mirror on the front.

These pieces of furniture were designed for separate sets, and would not do for doll-houses the size of those in the preceding chapters, unless the boxes were cut down to smaller proportions.

Published, August, 1915