Monday, June 22, 2015

Reupholstering Dollhouse Furniture

Since I don't buy much new dollhouse furniture (I get most of mine in odd lots on Kijiji and MaxSold), and also because I enjoy making things, I've recently had a go at re-covering some of my miniature furniture. My first try is shown above. The original fabric was the blue stripe, which looked nice but not really in scale: more like a toy than a miniature.

In order to re-cover dollhouse furniture, you have to gently pry the pieces apart. For some, a hair dryer will help melt the glue; for others, you might need to dampen them (although this could be risky in many ways.) Cheaper furniture is actually easier to disassemble, because the glue gives way easily and there are no nails.

Then you gently tear off the original fabric, cut out copies in the new fabric and glue them on. This wingback chair was a chore to do, because of my choice of fabric. It's a rather heavy synthetic with a tight weave that repels the glue, so I had to work in stages and secure everything with alligator clips while the glue dried. Also, the fabric tended to ravel at the cut edges.

By sheer fluke, I spotted a bit of brown ribbon from a chocolate box as I was working on it, and I like how it looks glued across the front in place of another band of the fabric. I'm fairly pleased with the end result, despite some frayed edges; the interior I'm planning can use some shopworn-looking items.

By chance, I acquired two chairs and a sofa of the same type (but in different colours) in separate lots. The original velvet-like covering was rather threadbare, and a bit was missing from one of the chair arms (above). The swatches show the original emerald and ruby fabrics.

The flowery fabric, which is (expensive) scale fabric, came in a different batch. It's a cotton with a fairly open weave, and it stuck on like a charm. (I think I could size it with a watered-down brushing of glue to really seal loose ends and baggy bits.)  As with my first try, I was fairly lucky in my attempts to make the pattern match up between  pieces.

Here's the sofa from the set, with the cushions lifted out and one piece of the fabric off, to show what it looks like. This set has nails, which makes them fussier to work with, but sturdier in the long run. I'm looking forward to (eventually) installing three matching pieces in the Westville dollhouse.

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