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.




  1. Thanks Pippaloo! Grace and I will attempt this in January! Our girls eat great because of you!
    Jenn Davis