Saturday, July 27, 2013

How to Make Bamboo Furniture: Part One

I have a real soft spot for bamboo furniture, and I've always wanted the parlor to have a few pieces. As it turns out, miniature bamboo furniture is incredibly difficult to find! I've been searching for over a decade, and only found a couple pieces, none of which were quite right for my house. In fact, the only piece of bamboo furniture I have is this chair that Mom made. It was one of the first pieces of furniture Mom made, and it's become quite rickety as the glue is letting go. I finally had to pack it away for safekeeping until it can be fixed or remade.
 This illustration of a bamboo "overdoor" caught my eye in a library book a while ago. I am completely addicted to dollhouse porcelain, so anything that lets me cram in a few more plates/vases/figurines is a good thing in my book! I had to make it.
I reworked the design to fit over the parlor door. I eliminated all the curved pieces, which would have made the project more difficult. I was also completely out of narrow dowels, so I used toothpicks to make the bamboo. Using toothpicks meant I had to break the long bottom piece into three sections, which I think made the whole thing a bit more fragile.
I used my chopper to cut the toothpick pieces to size. If anyone wants exact measurements, I can add them to the next post. The bamboo rings were made with DMC floss, covered in tacky glue and then wrapped twice around the toothpicks. I added the rings randomly, though I did try to keep the spacing fairly consistent.
My gluing jig was helpful keeping the bottom and vertical bars square.
I used my drawing to add the top and middle bars.
This is the assembled back portion of the overdoor. It still needs a shelf, decorative panel, and paint job. I had to pause here for a while, since this was as far as I had planned. I took a moment to check the fit over the parlor door.
Not bad, but it still has a ways to go!

The shelf was made from more toothpick and thread "bamboo", and a scrap of thin wood from a sandalwood fan. I tucked a piece of cardstock where the painted panel will eventually go. I'm thinking about adding panels behind the four bottom squares as well, but will wait until the I've painted the bamboo to decide.
Here's a better view of the shelf.

I'm also toying with the idea of adding a pair of little shelves for teacups or small vases on either side of the main shelf, approximately where you see them in the picture above. Next up, I'll be faux-finishing the bamboo, and painting that back panel.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another Tiny Beaded Handbag

Whoops! It's been a lot longer than I expected it to be since my last post. I've had a surge of non-miniature related energy, and the dollhouse projects went on the back burner. The good thing is that I got a lot done in real life. In the past week I've planted flowers, hauled rocks, re-organized cupboards, cooked enough to fill the freezer, and even got a head start on Christmas presents.

 When I left off, I mentioned that I was working on a black and gold beaded evening clutch. I did manage to finish the clutch during my mini-break. I freehanded the design (as usual), and  somehow managed to miss the fact that I'd drawn a big "M" until I was almost done with the beading.
I did experiment with a different style of clasp for this particular bag. I usually use a tiny Swarovski crystal and brass finding, but I couldn't decide what color crystal to use with the black and gold. I substituted a larger brass finding instead, and really like the result! I still plan to use the crystal clasps for most of my beaded handbags, but I love having another option when the crystals don't look right.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A New Beaded Handbag

 I mentioned this morning that I had finished a beaded handbag. Well, after making several handbags with straps, I wanted a little change of pace. I decided to try making a clutch. It turned out better than I was hoping!
 Since the clutch is slightly smaller than the other handbags I've made, the beading went a bit faster. The one thing I regret is not adding a gold border around the blue diamond in the center of the bag to highlight the diamond shape. I guess it's true that blue and green should never be seen, at least when they are micro beads right next to each other!
 Since I wasn't planning to add a chain strap, I only needed two thicknesses of cardboard (rather than the usual three) to fit the hardware on top.

 I'm tempted to make some sort of shadow box to display some of the bags, but I have so many unfinished projects, I'm wary of starting yet another one.
I've started working on a second clutch- black with gold swirls. Pictures of that next!