Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Joys of Making Your Own Dollhouse Furniture

Dollhouses have had universal appeal for thousands of years, not only for children but for adults as well. Their allure comes from the endless possibilities of living life vicariously in miniature, the enjoyment of which would be limited only by the person's imagination.

Today, there are a host of video and computer games which are based on the age-old principle of the dollhouse: furniture, walls and people. While they may be more visually appealing with their virtual working parts - ranges where food can actually be cooked, plumbing through which water really flows, and people who could interact with each other - it is not quite the same as having a physical model to play with.

It would be easy enough to just go to a store and buy a dollhouse and all the necessary accessories. It is true that store-bought items these days are generally of decent workmanship. We have gotten used to the idea that the more you spend, the better the quality is. But these days, the word recession would bring a ready cringe to any working person's face. Money certainly becomes more valuable the less there is to go around. But while our wallets might suffer from being too light, our enjoyment need not. If one good thing could come from the current financial stagnation, it would be that it would allow a person to express creativity in simpler but effective ways.

To make your own dollhouse, you need not look further than your own home. Take out your scissors, stapler, needle, thread, and glue, and get ready to go to work. Well, play-work.

For the dollhouse furniture, look for unused shoeboxes and shape them into frames for beds and couches. Glue on some batting from an old pillow, and cover them all up with cloth scraps. For dining tables, use the cardboard center of toilet paper as legs, and attach it to a rectangular piece of cardboard.

For a table or floor lamp, use an old candle holder as the base and stick an inverted plastic cup over it. Stick together matchboxes and empty slide-out crayon boxes for chests of drawers, and glue on toothpaste lids for handles. Cover up surfaces with colorful construction paper, tin foil and glitter accordingly.

For the dollhouse itself, use old plywood, or cut up a few packing boxes into floors and walls and glue them together. This way, you would have the freedom of making up your own rooms lay-out as well. You could paint the walls with acrylic, or cover them up with leftover gift-wrapping paper. For the floors, use old (but clean) mats. Paper doilies could brighten up the floors as "rugs" with their intricate patterns. If you want to "hang" artwork onto your walls, cut out tiny landscapes and pictures from old magazines. Use bits of lace for curtains over cellophane windows.

These are just a few useful ideas. Make it a family affair; you will discover that foregoing one Saturday movie-evening to make dollhouse furniture will not be such a great sacrifice, and the pay-off will be a fun, creative time with your kids. You would also have the great satisfaction of making something nice without needing to spend a lot, if at all.

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