Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TUTORIAL: Tiered Display Stand

Finding specific serving and display pieces for the dolls is sometimes challenging.  What I can envision in my head, and what exists in reality in the marketplace are quite often two very separate entities.

After having searched many months for a display stand to meet my needs- I decided that I should just cut out the middle man and make one myself.

I am asked frequently where I bought the tiered stand I use so often in m  shop displays for my dolls.  I am always so happy to reply that I made it myself!   If you want to use this tutorial to make one for your dolls,  I would love to see pictures of your finished projects.  If you want to make this stand and sell them, feel free,  just give me my credit due for the design and tutorial.

The stand was not that hard to make- it just requires a little finessing here and there.  And since it is only affixed together with wood glue- it is a fairly easy project.  However, since it is only glued, it is on the more fragile side- similar to a ceramic piece that you would not want to drop.   I know first hand, as I dropped one and the two tiers instantly separated.  I glued it back, no worries though.

I chose white paint for this stand.  Not only does it lend a clean and dainty feel to the piece,  but against a white background the colors of my foods pop- most of which are not white.  I think it would also be pretty in green- or even painted silver- to mimic metal.

I cannot say how long this project took to complete, as my projects are always drawn out over many days- even weeks and months sometimes.  And with this project, as it applies to most,  it is very important to wait for the glue and paint to dry between each step.

Materials List:

craft wood pieces
wood glue
spray paint
wax paste
lightweight spackling

Tools Needed:
sand paper
tack cloth

I did not attempt to use nails or screws for this project, as I was afraid of splitting the thin pieces of craft wood, so I opted for wood glue- which does create a fairly strong bond.

Micheal's Arts and Crafts carries a wide array of craft wood pieces.  I spied this package of circles and knew it would be perfect.   There are about eight different sizes of circles in the package.  For the stand I used only five.

I also purchased a separate set of other turned wood pieces that included a bunch of these little  fancy thingamajigs at top left in the bottom picture:

About a dozen came in the package (with various other interesting pieces), but for this project I only needed two of them.  I will call them little lamps bases for the remainder of the tutorial,  for clarity- since that's what they bring to mind for me. 

 Circles for this project:

1- 3" circle
1- 2.5" circle
1- 2" circle
1- 1.5" circle
2- 3/4" circles

I always start out by sanding my wood pieces, priming and then painting.  Do the custmary sanding between coats.  Prime and paint both sides with a minimum or two coats of paint.  I did three.  Use a tack cloth to remove any dust particles after you sand. You do not need to paint both sides of the 3/4" circles.  You only need to paint one side of those.  In the picture below you can see I have double the amount of pieces necessary; I made two stands.

For the little lamp bases- one of the end parts protruding out has to be removed.  It does not matter which end- but you should take care to make them uniform and remove the same ends on both pieces.

This picture below depicts the end piece removed from the thinner tip.   However,  in the end  I opted to remove the piece from the thicker end, as it has a little more surface area to bond with and I preferred the way it looked.  I used a small saw to remove the tiny piece.  Sand down the end and try to get it as level, flat and smooth as you can.

Glue one 3/4" diameter circle to the smooth end of the lamp base piece you just sanded, taking care that it is level and evenly spaced.  Do the same for the other.  Allow to dry 24 hrs.

They should look like this, but painted.  Make sure to glue the painted side up toward the lamp base.  The unpainted side will later be glued onto a circle.

For the 3" circle and the 2.5" circle you will need to drill a small hole to fit the diameter of the lamp base end piece as shown below:

Glue the end piece of the lamp base that protrudes out- into the 3" circle hole.  Do the same for both the 2.5" circle.   When dry, sand down so the two pieces are flush.  Again, wait the 24 hrs for the glue to dry.  Don't be impatient!

Next glue the 1.5" circle to the bottom of the 3" circle as shown in pic below. 
Your piece should now look like this:

I like to fill the spaces and cracks between all the circles with spackling.
It gives your finished product a more uniform look. I recommend doing that step now before gluing all the pieces together. Use a small rag or a gloved finger to push the spackling into the cracks.  Wait for the spackling to dry as per package instructions.

Now glue the 3" circle/lamp base pieces you've assembled, to the 2.5" circle/lamp base piece you assembled. Remember to take care that the piece is level and spacing from all sides is even from the center.   I adjust by eyeballing.

Your last piece to add will be the final 2" top tier.  Glue that piece to the top 3/4" piece.  Allow to dry 24 hrs,  then fill in the remaining cracks again with the spackling.  You must glue each piece on one at a time and wait for each to dry in between.

Once my painted pieces are completely dry and finished I like to coat the entire surface with a paste wax.  The wax gives the painted surface a delicate sheen and a softer feel.


If you have any questions or my explanations are as clear as mud in places, please feel free to ask.

This month I will be making a cake stand in a similar fashion- made from left over  pieces and parts of those craft wood sets.  You will probably see it in my displays sooner or later.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving To All

As the country gathers to sit and do some serious eating this week, my thoughts turn to the dishes and serving pieces that will bring the glorious feast to the table.  But I'm not talking about human sized dishes,  rather I am referring to the doll sized versions.

I am asked quite frequently where I get my dishes and serving pieces for my shop.  I have amassed quite the collection- and I have to admit that I am always on the lookout for more.  I will refrain from calling it an obsession-  but wherever I go I have my eagle eye scouting.

You never know where something in the right scale may pop up.  I have purchased dishes for my dolls everywhere from antique shops to Ebay, Target, crafts stores, craft fairs, historical sites, internet doll shops, wedding supply sites, gift shops, the zoo, malls, toy stores...the list is endless.  Basically anywhere anything is sold.  You just have to be looking.

My favorite place to find little dishes is antique stores.  Prices can range from a few dollars to well over what I will pay.   Ebay comes a close second.  But buyer beware- make sure you ask about sizing if it is not already specified.  There are so many different scales that it can quickly become confusing.  Some dollhouse 1:12 scale dishes can work- but most don't.  Anything with a diameter between 2.5"- 5"  will work for the 18" dolls. 

One of my favorite serving pieces is actually one that I made.  It's a tiered display stand.  I will be doing a tutorial on this piece after Thanksgiving.  

It's just the right size to display baked goods- from cookies to brownies and even chocolates.

                                      DECEMBER 9th 


My next product release date is slated for December 9th at 12 noon est.  Below is a menu list and few pics of some of the items I will be offering.  
I will add more to the list as inspiration hits- and as I complete items.  I am hoping to add in a few more sweet and savory items.  

raspberry cheesecake slices
chocolate cake slices
red velvet cake slices
holiday sugar cookie cut outs
cookies for Santa
pigs in a blanket
holiday twister pops
icicle twister pops
pumpkin pie
festive cookie assortment
peppermint brownies
meat cheese and roll tray
deviled eggs
peanut butter cookies
stocking stuffer candies
crackers and cheese cubes set
chocolate yule log cake
ham and turkey roll ups
party sub
baked potatoes
ice cream sandwiches
swirl lollipops






                          Happy Thanksgiving from the Pippaloo Kitchen!

Monday, November 5, 2012


                                      ~MENU LIST~

                                   NOVEMBER  13th

As stated in my previous post, due to the hurricane I do not have as much accomplished as I was hoping to for my November 13th items.  As I complete items this week I will add them to the list.  Everything will be available in my shop at 12 noon EST, Tuesday November 13th.


frosty fun sugar cookie cut outs   6.75
baked beans & biscuits    9.50
burnt sugar cakes   10.00
baguette   9.00
round breads   9.00
fruit sets  12.00
potatoes with slices on cutting board  10.00
breakfast sets   6.50
pancakes   5.25
sushi   13.00
chocolate sandwich cookies   3.75
peanut butter bread with apple slices  8.00
doughnut sets   9.00
holiday lollipops   4.25
tea cakes   10.50
turkey sub sandwiches  6.75
peanut butter & jelly sandwiches  5.25
pigs in a blanket   8.00
holiday twister lollipops  2.25

~a selection of period tea cakes suitable for Felicity or Caroline


~frosty fun sugar cookie cut outs

~ trio of doughnuts

~peanut butter on bread with apple slices

~whole potatoes and slices with cutting board


~Caroline's burnt sugar cake

Sunday, November 4, 2012



                             Caroline's Table and Chairs




I have to admit there's only one thing I like better than shopping for new furniture.... and that's shopping for new wee doll furniture!  Believe it or not here at the Pippaloo kitchen I do not own all of the American Girl table and chair sets....not yet, anyway.  :)

Caroline's table and chairs is one of American Girl's latest furniture offerings.  It is a 19th century styled oval wooden table featuring gold tone accents and dual drawers.  The two shield back chairs are upholstered in a dark blue silky brocade.  All three pieces are finished in a rich mahogany.

What I love:

~The chairs have ample seat room so Caroline can sit comfortably without falling or slipping off.    The shield back design was shrunk down triumphantly to doll size. The proportions and the curves are just right.  

~The drawers pull forward easily, but do not pull out entirely from the table- a boon to those who tend to loose pieces and parts to things.  I loaded up one of the drawers with a few heavy foodstuffs and miscellany- and the table stood firm it's ground.   The drawers are perfect for storing cutlery, napkins or foods- keeping them free at hand for meals.

Love the little routed table edge and the gold faux inlay.  The small details make all the difference.

What I don't love:

~The seat legs are a touch low to the ground,  making the chair seem to have an overall squat appearance.

~The mahogany finish on my table and chairs were not a perfect color match, as demonstrated in the photos.   The chairs are a touch darker in tone.   Perhaps this a a flaw specific to the set I purchased.  It's not bothersome enough for me to return it however.

~The $140 price point for this set seems high. I am a firm believer in that you get what you pay for.   However, at that price I would have expected some other accessory bundled with the table; the ubiquitous flower vase or even a table cloth to accompany it.  Kit's patio table and chairs are made from a sturdy heavy metal and those are priced at only $90.  The $140 price point make Felicity's tilt top table and chair's secondary market prices seem reasonable. 

Still overall Caroline's table and chairs is a great addition to the American Girl furniture line up. It will transition well as an antique piece for dolls of generations beyond Caroline's time period. 

I hope my doll Summer was a suitable stand in for Caroline in the above pictures.  She was so happy that she got to do the modeling for the day.

Coming soon:

a few foods for Caroline....

Tomorrow I will have a complete menu list up for November 13th's, new items.  Due to Hurricane Sandy I'm days behind schedule and won't have quite as many items for the 13th as I had hoped.