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This upcoming project is a little different from my usual ones. This is a rehab. This custom dollhouse belongs to a neighbor and she was ...

Saturday, May 16

The Gloucester Dollhouse Day 9

The Living Room
Today I got started with the first room. This room will be the living room. I’m going to do one room per day because each one will be different and I’ll try different things with them.

It's time to work on the flooring. I really love the look of the marble shelf liner roll I bought so I decided to use it the living room. I applied tacky glue to the floor because the stickiness of this paper is just not going to be enough for it to stay on the floor without shifting. All I did was cut out a piece of the paper, creased around the walls and cut it out. It fit the floor just fine but remember that edges never have to be perfect if your putting in baseboards or trim.

This paper has a tendency to be very susceptible to bubbling and creasing because it's very thin. You must apply the tacky glue with a foam brush so it's flat and smooth on the surface of the floor. You also want to try and cover as much as the floor with glue as possible. Also make sure that your floor is smooth and doesn’t have paint drips or glue globs anywhere on it because they will show up through the paper.

If you see bubbling on the paper, make a slit with your craft knife over it and then flatten it down the a credit card, working from the sides of the bubble towards the slit you made. The slit becomes invisible once the bubble is flattened out. Do not try to use a credit card to flatten the bubble without making a slit over it first because the bubble will never travel to the edge of the paper and you will just end up stretching the pattern and damaging the paper itself.

Once that’s done, it’s the walls and of course I’m using fabric.

Before I begin, I wanted to share a tip that my friends daughter swears by for applying fabric as wallpaper. She says to wet the fabric with liquid starch and then apply it to the wall. She says that you can even peel off the fabric if you later change your mind and you can reuse it. I have not tried this method but she is a decorator and she says that it not only works for dollhouses but for your real life size house as well. It sounds like a really nifty idea and I thought I would pass it on to all of you so you can give it a try. I unfortunately, had already applied the fabric with tacky glue to this dollhouse, so I was unable to try out this method.

First the cutting of the fabric for the walls. You have to make paper templates of your walls first because there is no way to put the fabric up and crease it. Templates are a must. Cut the fabric around the template and here is when it starts getting a little difficult. It's very hard to cut fabric easily. So you need to cut your fabric on a large table surface but even like that, the fabric will not be exact to your template. It always has the tendency of being a little larger and this is not good. Fabric is not easily cut with a craft knife around ceiling and floors. You don’t want to end up with a larger piece of fabric than your wall so try to be as close to exact as possible. You can always use fabric trim as ceiling and flooring trim later on.

Now, putting the fabric to the wall. I’m using tacky glue again to do this. I wouldn't try mucilage or any kind of wallpaper paste since it might seep through the fabric and be visible. A lot of those pastes do not dry completely clear. They tend to have a more yellowish hue to them and with fabric, this might become visible.

It's very hard to get fabric up on your wall. Fabric has a tendency of wrinkling and bubbling, much more than paper. Just like paper though, if you smooth it down and wait for the glue to dry, the fabric shrinks back up and lies smoothly against the walls. Your big challenge is smoothing it because with every shift of position, something, somewhere creases.

Apply glue to the entire back of the fabric. You can smooth it with a foam brush if you’d like but you can also just apply lines of glue everywhere and it will smear to cover the whole back once it's on the wall. Tacky glue dries completely clear and it does not leave wet spots on your fabric. Paint your walls very well because any dark spots will show through, especially when the fabric is still wet with glue.

Fabric looks horrible when wet. It almost looses all of its patterns but give it some time. Once dry, the patterns are crisp again and the colors become even through out.

You can make cardstock or thin cardboard templates of your walls and apply your fabric to them instead of the actual dollhouse wall. I chose to not do that so that I could see if fabric can be applied like regular wallpaper and it can. You really don’t need to go through the extra trouble of making templates if you don’t want to.

Fabric also patches well. I thought it wouldn’t but it patches exactly like wallpaper. Try to avoid having to do that though because just like wallpaper, the patching is dependant on your patterns. Heavily patterned fabric will patch better than solids or light patterns.

Keep color fastness in mind too. If you have a fabric that is not colorfast and its dark with light colored patterns or vice versa, you might have a problem when you apply glue to it. Your patterns might smear. Test a small area first to see how it responds to glue.

After the fabric was up on the wall, I went ahead and glued on the wallpaper panels. I glued them to cardboard a few days ago and I cut them out. The cardboard allows them to have a nice raised panel look.

I then added trim to the whole room. I put it around the panels and the ceilings and floor. I added a few roses here and there to give it a more detailed touch. It's just like the more expensive architectural look but with inexpensive fabric. I then painted some wooden caps and added them between each wallpaper panel. The room looks like its been upholstered and that’s just the look I was going for so I love the outcome.

Working with fabric trim is a little difficult as well. The only good thing is that you don’t have to paint but it's harder to measure correctly and don’t forget the constant fraying. You have to apply glue to every tip you cut or it will fray.

Notice that I left one wall bare. That’s because a staircase goes there but I’m not putting it in right now. I have to wait and finish up the interior before I can assemble and install it. This is why I didn’t add any wallpaper panels to that side or trim. Any ceiling or flooring trim will make your staircase unable to fit so it's best to leave them for last.

I trimmed the doorway and added some fabric roses for accents. Notice the heavy texture of the ceiling in the pictures. That is exactly what I wanted.

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