B.B. Miniatures
B.B. Miniatures
3 Uitgift Street
South Africa

e mail : bbminiatures@yahoo.com

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I am often asked "How did you do your ....." So I thought it would be a good idea to record it on my web site and then those who are interested can read all about it.  So here is the start. Quite a bit of repetition on here so skip if you know it.

First a general word or two about my decorating philosophy.  Because in a dollshouse, you see all the rooms at once, I feel you should not have too many different colours and designs.  My whole house is in tones of blue and yellow.  So the kitchen is all blue/ grey with some blue accents. The entrance hall is all yellows.  The dining room which leads off the entrance is grey and yellow. The bathroom is a paler yellow.  The bedroom is a slightly fleshy peach but still fits within those parameters and is a good complement to the blue I think.

My other idea is that all rooms should have some interest with regards to shape, preferably with some depth to suggest something beyond.  So far I have been able to achieve this.  In this room the interest is given by the fret work panels and the split level. More on this later.

Floor:  The floor is made from sapelli strip wood made for model ship building, bought in South Africa from a ship building supplier in Mossel Bay : http://www.shipyard.co.za/
This is then stuck onto matte board, with contact spray adhesive. I first did a border around the outside edges mitred at the corners and then the rest laid, sanded and sealed.  I decided that with all the choice of finishes I was going to stick to one.  I don't like oil because it gathers dust and needs re doing. Shiny varnish is too shiny, matte is too matte, but you get a satin finish (also called suede) and that is what I use on my floors. The matte board floor is held in place with a few dots of clear silicone.

The way to get a good finish on your floors (or any wood for that matter).  Start with a layer of plain Turps (mineral turpentine).  This brings up the grain slightly.  Sand and wipe off with a .......  Now mix 20% varnish (as discussed above) to 80% turps. Do your next layer. Sand. Wipe. Next layer  50/50. Sand and wipe. Final layer 100%.  I did this with the wood on my conservatory but did it 20/80 30/70 40/60.... you get the idea.  You will get a satin smooth finish.  I wish you could feel my bedroom floor - but I think you can see the warm sheen.

This is the method that I love. It is quick, clean, easy, neat and allows you access to wiring if you need it.  

I chose the colour of matte board that I wanted (fleshy peach) and then took my dining room wall paper in to the copy shop and said "Match that" and pointed to the colour of the matte board.  10 minutes and a few Rand later I had wallpaper that exactly matched my matte board.  The reason I used the dining room wallpaper was because a) I liked the fineness of the design and b) I didn't want THE DESIGN to clash with the dining room design. 

Cut the matte board to the size of each wall using a green cutting mat and a craft knife with a NEW blade.  You test fit each section until it is perfect.  Remember that a cornice at the top will finish off and hide a small gap so it does not have to be a tight fit but must rather slide in and out with ease.  If your walls are not exactly square you can test fit and adjust the size of your boards ad infinitum until they are exactly right.   Mark any openings with pencil and cut those out as appropriate. 

The only problem with matte board is that it buckles with ANY moisture  so the way I apply the wallpaper is as follows:   
I use spray contact adhesive.  Mask off the top section above the picture rail. Spray the matte board. Spray the back of the wallpaper. Wait 5 minutes. Stick the wallpaper to the matte board.

On the back write in pencil "Back wall of bedroom. Made with love by Barbara Brear 18 July 2007" and sign it!

Always position the back wall first and then slide your side walls in place and you will get the neatest corner.  I hold mine in place with double sided carpet tape or a few dots of clear silicone.  You need to be able to remove it in case you need to access wiring.

The last job is to add your cornice, skirting and picture rail or dado, as appropriate.  I stick those in place with clear silicone.  It is sticky enough to hold things firmly without being too permanent.

Filling the gaps:
Actually, the last job is to seal the gaps between the cornice and the ceiling.  I still have to do this as you can see if you look carefully.  This is especially important if you have an anaglypta ceiling paper because no matter how tightly you push up against the ceiling you will still have gaps.

The way I do it is with white silicone (the same stuff as is used to seal between the bath and tiles in full scale).  Half fill a monojet syringe with white silicone.  Squeeze a thin line of silicone between the cornice and the ceiling. Dip an ear bud (cotton bud) into a strong solution of dishwasher liquid soap. Run it along the line between the ceiling and the cornice. It smooths it and finishes it off perfectly. (Taught to me by a full scale tiler only in full scale use a finger dipped in soap solution!)  Only problem is, you may well not be able to reclaim your monojet once the silicone dries out, so it is best to wait until there are a couple of rooms that need doing to make it worth your while!

All lights in the house are by Ray Storey. 

The bed was a present from my daughter which she brought back from America.  Bought (I think) at "Through the Keyhole" in Texas somewhere (Dallas maybe?)  The bed was all gold and I lived with it for a long time before realising that what it needed was toning down.  I masked off the scroll at the bedhead and the knobs at the 4 corners then spray painted the rest black.  It now looks much more in period and I love it.  The bedding was just a series of handkerchiefs and lace layed over one layer on top of another until it looked right.  All glued (I don't SEW!).  The top most piece of lace, which you cannot see in the photo, was bought in England at the Hove Fair at GREAT expense, but it is one on those things that you just KNOW you would never be able to do yourself.  At the time I bought it I had no idea where it was destined for but once laid on the bed I knew it had been waiting for that spot all these years!

The tilt top table in the front left in front of the fret work screen was also a present from my daughter , Kirsty,  also bought at "Through the keyhole" and very cleverly chosen by her.  It is made by Judy Beale and signed underneath.  One of my favourite pieces.

The painting is a framed cigarette card.  The frame was bought by me at a silent auction in Castine at Guild School.  I bought 2 - the other is in the same position in the dining room.

The corset was a swap - I think from a friend in Canada.  Will look it up later.
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