Dollhouse furniture is definitely a learning process... Mr. River insisted on making things out of wood, so it's a lot of cutting... figuring out how things would lock together, trying to make tables and chairs not wobble, etc. After a week spent of looking online for "dollhouse furniture plans" and not coming up with much that *we* could make... Mr River took to lined paper and drew out the designs. And wow is he good at it! He made the bed and chair in a "locking" design so that the pieces go together a bit like a puzzle. They're very sturdy this way without the need for nails :)
Mr. River made the table and chairs. We found the small wooden cups and barrels and bucket at Michael's in the unfinished wood section. The pies I made out of bottlecaps using this blog for the idea. The blueberry pie is straight from the tutorial. The cherry pie, though, I just cut small circles from red felt and then used brown felt as the pie crust and I think it looks much better than the foam + cardstock. also, I didn't bother drawing around the pie crust before cutting strips, I just cut strips, wove on top, and then trimmed after it was all dry.
My favorite is easily the rocking horse :)
I made the girls "bendy dolls" as the dolls for the dollhouse. I used the size of the dolls that Elves and Angels sell for the dollhouse, which are a 1/12 scale dollhouse. So a 5-6" doll.
For Blue's birthday, I got a book on making fairies - and they're extremely straightforward and easy to make. Bendy dolls are the same idea. I looked at a few blogs to learn how to thread-wrap the pipe cleaners for a cleaner look. The Enchanted Tree has a really awesome tutorial. A few lessons I learned on Bendy Dolls though...
- I took two pipe cleaners and twisted them together for extra strength for the adults. For the kids, I used the "star" shape design of the Forest Fairy Crafts book, which already doubles up the pipe cleaner.
- Use a bit of tacky glue on hands/feet to keep the thread from unraveling.
- The hair is tricky. If you loop it through the pipe cleaner like The Enchanted Tree does, just plan on fitting the clothes on the body from the foot up or with a big enough neck hole to fit over the head. I wasted several nights trying to figure out how to put the head on after I got the doll dressed, which is impossible if the hair is on and it's impossible to get the hair on after everything is "fitted" with head on the thread-wrapped body.
- I found clothes patterns to be extremely annoying. Rather than trying to print and use any clothes pattern as a template, I found it far easier to just cut a large rectangle with a neckhole, put it over the doll, then trim to size. If you want an applique on the dress or shirt, just figure out essentially where it will be after trimming (i.e. in the smack middle of your rectangle), and applique it before sewing up the clothes.
- For pants, I used the Forest Fairy craft idea of a rectangle with leg slits and the felt is wrapped around the leg with thread. I tried sewing nice little pants, and the bendy-ness of the legs was significantly impaired because the pants didn't have much movement to them. Thread-wrapped felt pants move in any direction you want. Also, using a rectangle that is mounted over the head/shoulders for pants makes it so you dont' have to worry about them falling down :)
- I first tried to sew on felt shoes - the little boy is the only one with felt shoes. After that painstaking process, I realized I could just thread-wrap the feet with shoe-colored thread. I feel a bit silly about the hour spent on those felt shoes now :)
- The Forest Fairy Craft book recommends putting a coating of like modge podge on the head before drawing the eyes. This is true - permanent marker will bleed if you don't have a base coating of something on the head. We discovered it was true on the sugar/flour cannisters :) Paint probably won't matter like permanent marker does.
- I couldn't get boys' hair to work quite right, so they just got hats. Size 3 thread with a D hook if you know how to crochet :)
- The baby is just a wooden peg that I first thread-wrapped, then wrapped in felt that I stitched together as a "swaddling blanket." The hat is crocheted.
For the boys' hat - work in the round. This is a super informal workup of what I did:
Rnd 1. 4sc in magic ring (4)
Rnd 2. *Sc in each stitch* around (4)
Rnd 3. *sc, inc* around (6)
Rnd 4+. Continue *sc, inc* around until the hat will fit on the head, then just sc until length desired. You want it to fit snug.