Thursday, 15 December 2011

Wooden christmas decorations ... ...

Been a while since I last posted, been busy making a dolls house and some furniture for it, for my daughter as part of her Christmas present.

Anyway I'll post about the dolls house soon, but for now have a look at these simply to make wooden Christmas decorations, they could also be made in thick card as well.

Stars -

Very festive :-)
After making the dolls house I had a load of scrap bits of wood lying about so I made some decorations to try and use some of it up, it's only thin plywood (4mm) so it's pretty easy to cut out by hand, although having a scroll saw or coping saw helps.

This wood make a great project for kids to try, with younger kids you might need to do the cutting for them, but they could do the painting and decorating themselves.

Basically what you do is cut out 2 identical shapes, I've done stars (above) to hang in our tree and I also did a Christmas tree for the mantle piece.

Then what you need to do is cut out a groove halfway down 1 piece and then on the other piece cut another groove, again halfway down, but in the opposite end to the first.

Like this  - 

I actually went a little over halfway.

Then all you do is slide the 2 bits together, and if you paint them before you put them together should be able to flat pack them when it's time to put Christmas back in it's box.

Assembled - 

1 easy to make 3d look Christmas tree.
 Now all that's left is to decorate it, you can use paints, or cover them in paper, or leave them plain, it's up to you, and if you let the kids at it you'll end up with all sorts of interesting designs.

I spray painted the stars silver, and the tree was painted in a metallic green acrylic paint, then I've added (badly) some detail in glitter glue.

The finished articles - 


In my defence I was in a hurry ;-)

And that's it, simple and quick, and they look pretty good, and pack away flat, you can use any shape you feel like, so if you have some scraps of thin wood about, or some thick card here's a good use for it.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Homemade dolls house ... ...

It's finally finished ! well almost, there's still some furniture and fittings to make.

This year we decided our daughter should have a dolls house, and after looking about at the various ones available and not really thinking any of them appropriate, I decided I'd make one, famous last words.

To be fair I could have had it finished months ago, but as usual I left it until the last minute, it's all but finished now, with the help of my most excellent wife all that needs doing is some extra fittings and furniture, but we intend it to be something that evolves and grows with our daughter, and hopefully in time she will feel like making her own things for it as well.

Here it is -

I built a house !
It's quite big as these things go, it's about 2 feet wide, 2 feet tall and a foot and a half deep, it has 3 floors and the entire front opens up for easy access, half of the roof also opens up, even the front door opens, but I've yet to make the shutters for the windows, or the window boxes.

It's made from a combination of different thicknesses of plywood, so it's pretty study, and in theory should take a good playing with, unlike some of the ones we looked at online and in toy shops.

Early stages of construction -

Just a shell here.

The 3 floors and stairs.

The whole house is made from a single sheet of plywood, the stairs in the picture are made from 4mm plywood, and built more or less like a real set of stairs, things like banisters will get added at a later stage if my daughter decides she wants them.

Some more early stage pictures -

I made the roof tiles, for both sides of the roof.

I decided to make roof tiles for the house, I used thick card and basically cut out a load of rectangles (546 of them) and approached fixing them in a similar way to a real roof, only I used pva glue instead of batons and nails, then I painted the roof in a dark grey colour, hopefully resembling slate



The mock stone work is also done in card.

I decided to do the stone window and door surrounds in card as well, I was going to use thin plywood, but after cutting some out it didn't look right, the window frames are made from 6mm plywood and inserted into the holes I made in the front.

We had to get creative when it came to decoration, we chose a plain cream colour for the internal walls, and the flooring is wallpaper, we used 2 different sorts, one of which looks a little like flag stones, and the other looks quite like the natural sea grass type carpets you can get.

The flooring -

We used this in the kitchen and bathroom.

This one is in the living room and bedroom, and the attic.

Once the flooring was in we coated it all in pva to make it a little harder wearing, it also means we can give things a wipe over if needed, we also coated the roof in pva after it was painted, and the paint for the walls inside and out had pva mixed in with it, adding pva to emulsion seems to make it a little more durable, and it can be wiped over with a cloth, with out taking the paint off.

The inside all done -

All done, you can see the roof lid as well.

For the front of the house we used plain white emulsion (with a bit of pva) and pink lacquer paint (Japlac) the white was for the walls and I used the pink to pick out the mock stone work around the windows, I also painted the front door in pink as well, but figured the door would stand out more if I painted the surround in a darker colour, so I used the same paint as I used on the roof, then we just added a handle so that the front can be easily opened and closed.

The front of the house again -

All done, sort of.

Of course every house needs furniture, amongst other things, so we've also been making furniture for the various rooms, this is another thing we hope will evolve as the years go by.
The furniture is simply made, but quite sturdy, and as our daughter gets older she can add different stuff, no doubt she'll be pestering me to make new stuff.

The 3 piece for the front room -

Easy to make, just needs cushions.

My wife has been making the cushions for the chairs and the mattresses for the beds, she even crocheted some small scatter cushions for each chair, it was my wife's idea to also use some small picture frames we had lying about to make some artwork for each room, and I have to say it was also my wife that suggested making a flat screen tv out of an old mp3 player case I had lying about, as you might guess my wife is in charge of interior decor, and it wouldn't be Christmas with out a Christmas tree, so my wife made one.

The chair cushions and pillows -

I think they look brilliant.

The finished front room -

We used pictures our daughter likes for the tv and wall hanging.


One of the beds (I think my wife has plans to make sheets for them -

Complete with Hello Kitty artwork.

We also have a small bench for the attic, or play room as it's now called, my wife added the heart decoration, and plans to do a similar thing to the beds.

The play room bench seat -

Fantastic isn't it ?


And for the front door my wife also made an excellent wreath, wouldn't be Christmas with out one.

The wreath -

Christmas is almost here !

And that's about as far as we've got, this will make up part of our daughters Christmas presents, hopefully she'll forgive me for saying it was a tool box ;-) not sure I fooled her with that anyway.

We have many more plans for things to make for it, including a roll top bath and a toilet, I have a load of miniature kitchen units to make as well, and I'll probably be making stuff for it for years to come.

I could have just gone out and bought one, but I personally think if you can make something like this (and mine isn't perfect) then you should give it a go, this actually worked out cheaper than a bought one of a similar size, and it'll last longer as well, but besides that it's a handmade gift for my daughter, and I know even at 3 she'll appreciate this more because mum and dad made it for her, than she would one from a shop.

This will most likely be my last post this year, so thanks for reading and we wish you all a happy Christmas and all the best for the new year.

Inspire Me Beautiful

Allotment update (part 2)

Welcome back, this is part two of my current allotment adventures, I had to break it into two posts as it seems I've done quite bit. ...