I remember the day I decided to paint our thrifted leather chair from The Salvation Army. It was about 35°C when I started, and ended up being around 43°C when I finished. I was a hot mess to put it mildly, but it was so worth it.
Simply put, it’s exactly the same as the day I painted it. No word of a lie. Not a scratch, no peeling, no scuffs, and no fading whatsoever. We’ve used our black leather chair every day since and it hasn’t shown any wear. It’s lasted through a harsh, humid summer and has since experienced a dry, cold winter. While it hasn’t been in the direct 48°C peak this summer nor the -40°C winter winds, inside our apartment has experienced the difference of high humidity then very dry, static-y air.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve put our Fusion Mineral Paint-ed chair through some pretty rigorous testing and has come out the other side perfect. Did I mention we also have a toddler? It has also survived her climbing, curious, energetic hands and thrashing limbs.
I would not hesitate to recommend using Fusion Mineral Paint on leather. Especially something that would get so much physical wear like a piece of furniture. I could not have hoped for it to work out more perfectly. It’s where I blog from the most and even where I’m sitting right now as I type.
DISCLOSURE – while this post is not sponsored, I did receive this paint free of charge from Fusion Mineral Paint in exchange for a blog post. I only work with brands that I like and of course, think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer.
The niche-ness of this blog post is almost too much. Also, I will shortly be changing the name of my blog to The Interior Dollhouse-er because I have a newfound tiny obsession that you may or may not have noticed.
Last weekend there were two special weather advisory’s here in Ottawa; one was for frigid temperatures [-35°C and below] and the other was a snow storm warning so we spent the entire weekend indoors. Did I do anything productive? No. Did I Marie-Kondo our kitchen? Or paint the hallway? Or make batches of dinners for the week ahead? No. I made a miniature dollhouse for Cora’s Lower Town Dollhouse.
So this week I thought I’d share how to make a miniature dollhouse, or, a dollhouse’s dollhouse. Because I just know there are thousands of people out there feverishly Googling this very niche subject right now and I must ensure I reach them through most excellent Search Engine Optimization.
It was actually fairly straight forward making the body of the miniature dollhouse. For the facade, [try to keep a straight face while I use the term ‘facade’ to describe something 8cm tall], I sketched a rough outline of the windows and cut them with an exacto knife [as seen above]. I did the same with a second piece of cardboard [but a lot less accurately] as I was going to sandwich a piece of plastic between the two to securely create plastic windows that wouldn’t budge thanks to tiny toddler hands [you can see the roughly cut inner piece three photos down in the interior of the dollhouse].
For the rest of the body of the dollhouse, I used cardboard, masking tape and Gorilla Super Glue to create the other three sides [Super Glue because toddler].
Then I tackled the tiny angled roof. I used wooden tongue depressors [you could easily just use cardboard] that I cut at an angle to mimic the angle of the larger dollhouse’s roof [below]. My next worry was how I was going to securely attach the roof to the dollhouse. It needed to be toddler-proof. So I Super-Glued what I’m going to call ‘brackets’ [I don’t know if that’s the right term?] using wooden coffee stirrers to the inside of the roof pieces [as seen above]. This way the roof ‘brackets’ would be able to rest on the top of the body of the miniature dollhouse. And by ‘rest’ I mean be glued to using vast amounts of Super Glue.
The above picture might help to make a bit more sense of my description. I added more brackets to the top of the inside of the roof to once again give the flat part of the roof something to sit on and adhere to. I painted the outside in a few coats of paint and even cut out tiny cardboard shutters which I Super-Glued into place.
“This seems like a lot of detail for something so small and unimportant and is in no way contributing to current day society“, I hear you say. Yes, you could very well be right, but there really isn’t anything better than seeing Cora’s little face light up the moment she realized I was making a tiny version of her dollhouse. “OHHHHHHH! BABY DOLLHOUSE!”, she squealed. I could have better spent my time doing literally anything else all weekend, but that would have been far too productive.
After many late nights hunched over tiny pieces of cardboard, glue and paint, the exterior of Cora’s [now called “Lower Town Dollhouse” because I do love consistency] is finished! It was fiddly and intricate and involved a lot more planning than I anticipated, but I absolutely loved updating this dollhouse ahead of Christmas. It was immediately worth it as soon as Cora saw it on Christmas morning.
It was in good condition, but at the same time it had no front doors and was missing possibly a door [?] on the second floor. Or a window? Or a porch? Or a portal into another dimension? I don’t know the purpose of it or what it was, but while I thought about what to do with that gap, I decided on some colours for the outside of the dollhouse.
I knew quite early on that I wanted to paint the outside of Cora’s dollhouse a shade of green. I mean, for a moment I did consider burgundy, but I wanted it to be light and fun and for her. While secretly also being for me, so I just made it my second-favourite colour instead of my favourite colour. See? Compromise.
I really like natural, muted, mossy, historic, sagey greens and ended up taking inspiration from the two floral paintings [above] I thrifted for my One Room Challenge. I really liked the neutral background shades and so I matched that as best as I could.
Before I commited to any paint, I did a mock-up on Google Sketch-Up to see what combination of colours would look best. I picked up some DecoArt’s Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in ‘Revive’ green from Michael’s with an accented darker shade of ‘Light Avocado’ from DecoArt’s Americana Acrylic paint for the shutters. I decided white trim all around would be a perfect accent to top it all off.
I next decided to tackle the front doors. Or, lack of front doors.
It was a large opening so right away I wasn’t going to make just one door. It looked strange and a bit off-scale to have two tall, narrow doors so I decided to make two doors with a transom above them because hello my name is Alex and I’m a glutton for punishment and why take the easy route when you can make things four times harder for yourself?
I made the doors using recycled cardboard, coffee stirrers, duct tape [as door hinges], glue, wood filler and white paint. I watched this YouTube video to get an idea of how to make dollhouse doors, but I didn’t follow it as I didn’t have a lot of the fancy materials at hand, so I made a simpler version. To give you a quick rundown of how I made the dollhouse doors, I …
Cut two identical pieces of 1mm thick cardboard per door [so for two doors, four pieces of cardboard]
Add a flap of duct tape to one piece of cardboard then glue two pieces of cardboard together
Cut coffee stirrers with scissors and create a panelled door pattern on each side of the door [as seen above]
Fill in any gaps in the wood with filler
Let the filler dry, then paint [as seen below]
I used the last four minutes of this YouTube tutorial for how to install the doors. In short, I removed the trim from the inside of the dollhouse, glued the duct tape in place to the wall, then glued the trim back on. I was surprised at how perfectly functioning little set of doors they turned out to be! I did the same for the transom except used leftover plastic from a fruit punnet as the window pane.
Next, I started work on the other massive hole above the doors. I decided the best looking option would be to try and mimic one of the existing windows. Remember, I don’t like making things easy for myself. This is a recurring theme you will find throughout my blog. So why not make an intricate little window? No problem.
I first made a little wall to fill the bottom half of the gaping space [as the opening was much longer that the other windows]. I simply glued a few pieces of cardboard together and used duct tape to secure it to the inside wall of the dollhouse [as seen above], much like adding the doors.
I then cut strips of cardboard to mimic the existing siding, overlapped each piece and glued them in place against the little wall I had just created [as seen below]. It’s not perfect because I couldn’t cut away the existing wooden frame that was there, but I’m quite proud with how it turned out!
I then created the window in a very similar style to how I created the doors and the transom; it’s kind of tricky to explain, but maybe the picture below will help explain the piece of recycled plastic, with duct tape on all sides, sandwiched together between coffee stirrers. I then attempted to paint the same window-pane pattern as the other windows onto the plastic. I took zero pictures of that process because it was so tedious and I just wanted to get it over with.
Once the painted window was glued in place, I created two shutters from cardboard [and wooden hearts that I added to all the shutters], painted them ‘Light Avocado’ green and glued them in place alongside the new faux window.
The only things I bought to update the exterior of the dollhouse was the green paint, some Krazy Glue and a pack of coffee stirrers. Everything else was salvaged from either cardboard or plastic that was in our recycling bin.
While I would have liked for the entire of the dollhouse to have been ready for Christmas morning, it took me so long to update the outside that I was realistic and left the inside as it was. I knew Cora wouldn’t understand that the inside was unfinished and I also figured she might like to see the inside being updated as well as have an input for what things should look like.
I loved every minute of updating the exterior of our Lower Town Dollhouse. It is 100% quenching my need to renovate a real house. Except it’s giving me unrealistic expectations as there’s no dodgy wiring or plumbing and I can paint the entire house in a few hours. But it’s letting me make tiny versions of real things; something I will always love.