Friday, March 18, 2011

Two Tutorials This Month

Be sure to scroll down past the lamp harp to see the "How to Make a Ruffle on a Doll's House Pillow" tutorial.

You all have a good day, looks like a little rain here, but I know the sun will come out . . .Tomorrow . . Tomorrow . . .  LOL!    Kris

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How to Make a Lamp Harp for a Dollhouse Electrified Lamp

Anita wrote to me and asked if I had any ideas on what to use for a lamp shade that was going to be used on an electrified lamp.  I didn't.

I think it would be all right to use the card stock I used in the lamp tutorial.  Two problems arise though; one, it's card stock and light will only be coming from the top and bottom of the shade, not through.  Two, how to hold up the shade from the lamp itself.  That's called a harp and I will show how to make one that will do the job.  Anita, I am making this harp different than I told you, this one is easier, I think.

These two pictures are of a kit that Cir-Kit makes and it's great.  I has all of the pieces needed to make your own electric doll's house lamp, except the plug.

You can cover the shade with fabric and light will shine through.
They also make a kit that has a plastic pleated shade.

To begin I used green paddle wire, 26 gauge.  I cut two pieces about 6 inches (15 cm), this doesn't have to be exact.

I have used two dowels, one the size of the inside of my shade where the shade will set on the harp and a dowel that is the size of the top of my lamp.  Or, anything else that will do for size.
Wrap one piece of wire around the large dowel and twist.  Cut off the short extra wire.

Bend the wire straight out from the end of the dowel.

Take off the this one and make another one from the other piece of wire.

Measure from the end of the dowel (for this lamp and shade) 9/16 inch (14mm) and make a mark.

Slip the wires back onto the dowel down to the mark you made.  Bend the wire across the end to make a 90 degree angle.

Make two the same.

Use the smaller dowel to bend the wire around at the 90 degree angle and trim off the extra wire.

Make two the same.

If you have a pair of wide flat (no teeth or grooves on jaws) use them to tidy up the wire, making it nice and straight and flat.

Trim that extra wire, Kris.

I covered my large dowel with plastic wrap, cling film.  Slip the two shaped pieces of wire back onto the end of the dowel.

I used 527 glue, use any jewelry glue to glue the two pieces of wire together.

Let dry, I let mine dry overnight.  You don't want them popping apart.

The two pieces are glued together.  Trim off the excess glue.

For the example I am using a wooden lamp base I bought years ago and can not find anymore.  (I am trying to get my son to turn some more and sell them.)  Wrap the plastic wrap over the end where the harp will set and bring the two circles together and onto the lamp top.  I have put the big circles onto the big dowel to keep the shape true.

You can also use the small dowel to do this.

Apply glue to the wire as you did before and let this dry.

Trim off the extra glue, Kris

Paint the bottom circles and straight wire gold.

The top circles will be inside the shade, so I left mine as is.

Here is the harp setting on the lamp.

You see the hole in the top of the lamp base?  That's where the wiring and bulb and socket would come out of.

Here is the shade on the harp.

I think you would want the shade to come down to cover the bottom part of the harp.

You might have to make a couple of samples to get the height right.

A note on the shade.  I made this a long time ago.  I used rayon seam binding, it's found in packages at a fabric and sewing store.  I wrapped it around the shade several times and the last wraps I spaced apart.  I then took gold thread and tied it at the center of the seam binding.  You could do this with the shade in a previous tutorial.  Follow the directions to cover the shade.  After you have the shade coverd glue strips of the seam binding, one on each panel leave them a little loose.  You are going to be pulling from each side of the seam binding and you will need a little more length to do this.  After you have tied your knot (or something decorative) glue the center, the part you have just tied, to the shade.
The trim I found a long time ago, too.  It was perfect for the shade.

I hope you all have fun with these two tutorials.

Remember, have fun, expand on it, make it better, just keep making minis! ! !

Got more furniture to make . . . . . . . . . . Kris

I can not believe it did that,  I figured out if I wrote the tutorials and saved them in Draft and put them in later I could put them in in order.  All excited I went pushed the wrong one and I still have them with the second part coming first!  I will get it right on the lamp harp.  Kris

How to Make a Dollhouse Pillow with Ruffle, Part 2

Part 2, the ruffle.

Before I cut any fabric I fold up an 1/8 inch (3mm) hem.  This doesn't have to be super exact just make sure it's even all across.  Press this hem with your iron, and try not to burn your fingers.

For the length of ruffle I use twice the length around the pillow.  My pillow is 1 1/4 inches multiplied by 4, 10 inches.  Or, 32mm multiplied by 4, 128mm.

Measure 7/16 inch from the folded edge.  Make a mark at the beginning and at the ending length.

Measure from the folded edge 11mm and make a mark at the beginning and ending length.

Draw a line to cut on.

Cut on the line and cut it to the length you need for your ruffle.

Apply a sparse line of glue to the raw edge of the hem and finger press down.

Fold the raw edge over, should be about a 1/4 inch, (7mm).  Fold it so that it is almost to the hem on the other side.
Press this with an iron.
Apply a sparse line of glue and finger press the raw edge down.

This is what you should have.

You are looking a the back side.

The bottom is the edge that the raw edge is closest to.


You are going to be sewing the ruffle on with the right side facing you, that's  important to remember.
Glue a little of the end over.  Glue the end that you are going to begin sewing with.  In the pictures you are going to see me sewing, I AM LEFT HANDED, so take this into account.

Start by inserting your needle into a side seam of the ;illow, don't have the thread knotted at the end.  Come out at the middle of a side, pull the thread a bit to hide it.  Take a couple of back stitches to secure the thread.

Now, take a small stitch into the BOTTOM OF THE FOLD of the bottom of the ruffle.  Remember the right side of the ruffle is facing you.  Make sure you stitch into the fold, right in the crease.
A word about the size of stitch, I say small, less than an 1/8 inch (3mm).  More important though is to keep the size even, the same every time.

(Why did the format go wacky?)

Now, insert the needle back in where you started, come out taking a small stitch.

Pull the ruffle close, take another stitch into the crease.  Take another stitch into the seam of the pillow in the SAME place as before.  Pull the thread tightly.

You are going to be taking two stitches into the ruffle and sewing two stitches into the same place in the seam of the pillow.

This shows the ruffle pulled down to the pillow.

Your thread is coming from the pillow and now you take another stitch into the crease of the ruffle.

Take a stitch into the seam of the pillow, this time in new space.

Take another stitch into the crease of the ruffle and stitch into the same space into the pillow.  Pull the thread tight.

Do you see how the fabric is beginning to ruffle?

Remember, you are making two stitches in the crease of the ruffle and placing two stitches into the same place into the seam of the pillow.  If you find that the ruffle has gone flat, then you missed making the two stitches in the same place in the pillow.  I recommend ripping back and correcting this, it really shows up in the finished pillow.
A word about the corners.  Take three stitches into the pillow in the same place to get you around the corner with a nice fullness.

You are looking at the back side of the pillow.
I have gotten around to the beginning.
Cut the extra off, leaving enough to turn on the end to glue a little hem down.  Take the last stitch and make a back stitch or two and bury your thread into the pillow.

Here is the finished pillow.  I used my natural color thread and you can see a couple of my stitches.  If you keep your stitches pulled tight you won't have this.  You can always use matching thread to avoid this.
I hope you try making a ruffled dollhouse pillow.
I am going to be putting the other tutorial up later tonight or tomorrow, the glue has go to dry!   Kris

How to Make a Dollhouse Pillow with Ruffle, Part 1

I have 2 tutorials for you this month.  The first one is making a ruffle for a dollhouse size pillow.  The second tutorial is making a harp for a dollhouse lamp that you are going to electrify.

I am going to review how I make a pillow before we go on to the ruffle.  This is for the newer followers.

First of all make a pattern for your pillow from card stock the size of the finished pillow.  Mine for the tutorial is 1 1/4" or 32 mm square.

Cut the card stock pattern out and trace around it onto the wrong side of your fabric.

Cut out the traced piece for your pillow, adding a seam allowance.  Cut out a second piece the same size.

With right sides together, pin them together.
Begin sewing on the line a little bit from the center on one side, not too close to the corner.  I use natural color cotton thread for all colors of pillows.

I sew in and out for about 2 stitches; then I will back stitch and begin again.
Sew around until you get to the side where you started, try to leave at least 1/2 to 5/8 inch (12-15 mm) open for stuffing.
Do not knot and cut the thread.  Bring the needle through between the two layers of fabric, pull the thread through.  Leave the needle and thread connected to the pillow.

Trim the seam allowances down to 1/8 inch (3mm) or less.   Do not trim the opening side, leave that at it is. Trim the corners.  Apply a little glue on the stitches at the corners, both sides.

Finger press the opening side.  Apply a little glue to the edge and finger press down to hold.

The opening has been glued down and we are ready to turn the pillow.

I use hemostats to turn the pillow.

After you have turned the pillow and poked out the corners you can use the needle to pull at the stitches in the corner to fully bring the corners out.  Don't pull at the fabric, only the stitches.

O.K., here's the secret to squishy pillows - I use tiny, tiny polystyrene balls.  I found them in a squishy life size pillow.  They were popular, they were covered in a knit, and were really squishy.  I saw Kohl's had them in the travel department for travel pillows, I found a couple at thrift stores, too.

Fill the pillow to just over half full.  You want some space to be able to squish the pillow into a corner of the sofa.

Use the ladder stitch to close the opening.  This stitch is almost invisible when finished.

Now you have a pillow ready for the ruffle or piping that we made in an earlier tutorial.

On to part 2.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Hi Sheri,
In answer to your question about the table and chairs.  This set is in my life-size kitchen right now, I bought it in a second hand store about 40 years ago.  I did explain how to go about making the miniature table way back in the early part of the blog, November, 2009.  It doesn't have step by step pictures, I didn't have a camera then.  I do not give instructions on the miniature chairs.  I would have to have some requests for that.  I won't kid you, they are a little involved, bending the aluminum tubing and all.  I write about how to do a lot in the kitchen in the November 2009 blog.  I do apologize if I have taken a long time to answer your question.  Please, if anybody has a question about any of the previous blogs feel free to e-mail me at and I will be happy to answer you.  Going to be showing how to make the ruffle on the pillow and make a lamp harp for the lamp shade we made earlier in a couple of weeks.  Talk to you all later, Kris