Monday, October 3, 2011

A Good Man is Hard to Find, and Fake It Till You Make It

I realized that I haven't shown many of Mom's dolls on here lately. She made this fellow a while ago. Though she knew she wanted to put a frilly apron on him right from the beginning, he spent a long time in just shirt and trousers while she hunted for the perfect apron fabric. She also debated giving him a vacuum instead of dishes, but decided that it made more sense to wear an apron to do the washing up.
 I haven't done much lately. I've mostly played with a few other little pieces I picked up at the local dollhouse shop. I've always admired the China Closet's pierced bowls, and am lucky enough to own two small examples. You can see one of those below, on the Davenport desk by Julian Biggers. I'll have to take better photographs sometime soon, because this corner  contains some of my favorite pieces.
In any case, I started wondering if there was any way to make something that looked similar but was a little less fragile. I also wanted something that I could use in a shadowy corner without feeling guilty that it was hidden away. I found a shiny silver plastic bell (the type sold in packs in the wedding aisle of craft or party stores) among my stash and decided to see what I could do.
I forgot to take a before and in-progress pictures, but I'll do my best to outline the process. I used my set of files to first file a groove all the way around the rounded top of the bell, and then to take the top completely off.  With the top off, I could flip the bell over and add a flat base (where the top used to be). I also used the files to sand off the "made in china" lettering and other imperfections. Since I still wasn't sure that this crazy idea was going to work (it looked pretty rough at this stage), I didn't spend as much time refining the details of the casting as I should have. After that, it was simply a matter of painting the entire thing many, many coats of white until the original silver was completely gone.  I used a hairdryer to speed things up a bit, but it still took quite a while. When everything was flat off white, I added a bit of decorative painting inside and out. Last was a glossy acrylic top coat for protection and make the piece look like porcelain. It will never be mistaken for the real thing, but it's not a bad fake for an evening's work and less than $1 in supplies!


  1. Where do I start. Firstly, the lovely man in the apron is perfect. He also made me smile because you not only don't see a man in an apron every day, you also don't see one doing the dishes!! If you hadn't explained how the bowl was created, I would have thought that you paid far more than I could have afforded for it. Beautiful and so delicate.

  2. What a great man ,wow and I love the idea to see a man in the position of a housewife. Hey that's something we see once in a blue moon :-)
    The bowl is just awesome !Jeannette

  3. Preciosas miniaturas , nos gusta mucho la cara del Sr., transmite tanta dulzura.

  4. What a clever idea. He is so expressive and would be fun to talk to while doing the washing of the dishes. CM