If you have been following us for a while on Instagram, you know I absolutely love to craft with wood. Give me some glue and Popsicle sticks and I can keep busy for hours. I am a problem solver, so a lot of my creations just evolve as I glue pieces of wood together, that is also why it is hard for me to prepare tutorials while I am working on something, but I will do my best to give you some great pointers and resources!
I am not claiming to have invented any of these methods or ideas, but compiling them and adding my twist. Of course, I have many original ideas, but so many things are inspired by others and real life designs. I love sharing the tips and ideas because there is no reason anyone needs to be in the dark on how to create things. I am the first person to encourage anyone to craft!
This is the wood craft aisle at my local craft store. Heaven for me! I do not have a Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Walmart near me, so I am lucky to have this local California chain called Beverly’s . In fact, I worked here when I was 16 years old (it was my second job). It started as a fabric store and morphed mainly into a craft store over the years.
Here are some of my favorite bits & pieces that I use to create furniture and accessory pieces in my diorama’s and dollhouses.
Caps in all shapes and sizes are a necessity. You can use these for simple things like vases or architectural sculpture pieces or use them to add detail to furniture, planters, etc.
Planters made from Popsicle sticks with cap accents.
Discs & Wheels
Discs and wheels are great because you can use them as filler or risers in building height in pedestals or columns or to create a layered look on a base. You can also use them to make candlesticks or pedestal vases. I like to keep both the laser cut unfinished ones around (top) and the sanded versions (bottom) so that I have options!
In addition to being great for plaques and bases, for doll items, these make great table tops, picture or mirror frame bases, and even components of a furniture piece.
Spindles & Spools
These varieties are great for table and chair legs. You can build height and detail to them by using the discs and caps. You can also cut down the spindles to the appropriate height needed for your furniture piece.
This is the table and bench I made for one of the challenge rooms, it shows how these spindles and spools can be used to make turned legs on doll furniture.
A great resource I have found is a Canadian company that specializes in a lot of smaller wooden craft parts. They ship really fast and have a great selection of spindles that can be used for legs and railings. Check out their site at Bear Woods .
Photo: Bear Woods
I have used individual beads to create many things including candlesticks, furniture legs, and even chandeliers. The key is to look at individual items as components to a larger creation, not just for what it was initially intended for.
Dowels can be found in many different sizes, I like to keep a variety around for use on their own for anything from a part of a chair, to a clothing rack, curtain rod, to a base to build on for a furniture leg or floor lamp, etc.
You all know how much I love the popsicle stick, in fact…#powertothepopsiclestick. These come in so many different sizes that you can make just about anything with them these days! They range from coffee stir sticks to ultra jumbo sizes. I’ve purchased these over time from the Dollar Tree, Michael’s, and Walmart. I pick up a couple of coffee stirrers every now and again, but my guess is that I could order them in bulk online.
This desk set used almost every component I have shared with you so far. I used popsicle sticks, spools, dowels, beads, and a pre-cut piece of wood.
The Project Wood Center
My other favorite resource is the project center at my local hardware store and local art store. This is where you can purchase balsa or bass wood pieces in around 24 inch lengths and in varying widths.
You can also can buy pieces perfect for window trim, chair rails, and base boards. I also use a lot of these items for furniture.
Here is a sample of the smaller trim pieces:
To find out where a location is near you, check out their store locator at MidWest Products.
In addition to a shoe box and some foam core, I trimmed out this bed in project trim wood and the feet are acorn caps.
Bass vs. Balsa
You might wonder what the difference is between bass and balsa wood. I personally prefer the bass wood because it is a harder wood and works a lot better for furniture. You will need more tools like mini saws if you are opting to try working with it. Balsa wood is much softer and can break easily or dent, but it can be cut with just an Exacto knife. It certainly serves it’s purpose, but I don’t use it a lot.
These are the tools I use most often:
- Metal Ruler
- Small hack saw
- Mini Mider Saw & Box
- Nail Files
- Hand Held mini screwdriver
- Dremel tool (not mandatory, but nice to have)
- Heavy Duty wire cutters (I use these to cut my popsicle sticks)
- Utility knife
- Exacto knife
I swear by one type of glue for my woodworking….pen tip Turbo Tacky glue . I find it at my local hardware store. I also keep the regular tubes around, but I find this pen style really great for working with small pieces of wood. It sets quickly. The only thing is that this glue doesn’t dry 100% clear, so I always have cotton swabs handy to wipe off the excess before it starts to dry.
Tip: Use the caps for a smoothie or juice pitcher in your kitchen and coffee shops!
I also use hot glue guns when necessary, but honestly they aren’t my favorite for some reason. I think it’s because they are so messy.
Here are a few samples of components I would use for tables or benches, or even chair bases:
For a realistic look, I like to add what is called an apron to tables, benches, and chair bases. This is the trim that would be glued under the flat surface of your furniture piece. It allows you to create more strength and hide any messy glue where the legs are attached.
Thank you as always for stopping by! I hope you learned a few tricks and are now inspired to try your hand at more wood furniture for your dolls! If you haven’t seen the details and are interested in participating in the Spring Challenge, please check out the details here. Please be sure to Follow our blog to get notifications when we post each week. Until next time…
A la prochaine
Rie & Bruni