Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOLL FIND- BOWLS

I was recently perusing the aisles of Micheal's craft store and happened upon a set of ceramic dipping bowls- I knew right away that they would be in great scale for the American Girl dolls.



They came in this set of four colors for $3.00.  I found them in an catch-all type of aisle with other similarly priced merchandise- all things were $2 and $3. 





 I love the array of colors- the light aqua being my favorite- so summery.   






The scale is not quite small enough to work as cereal bowls- but would be great for chips, popcorn- or even for side dishes or salads.   My first thought was that it would be great as a mixing bowl.   It would work perfect in a baking scene-  fill it up with brownie batter (made from clay) and have your dolls mix up some delicious chocolate brownies.   There are probably other uses that I have not considered too.  If you can think of any other ideas- share them! 







Tuesday, June 4, 2013

CANDLES

Doll sized things aren't always easy to find out in the real world,  I will admit.  Keeping your eyes open to the possibilities wherever you go is key.  I'm always on the look out for things in miniature that will work for the dolls.   Another admission: finding things does require patience and time. I enjoy the hunt and am never in any hurry, so for me it is a perfect fit.  I love perusing antique shops to find that odd but wondrous piece.   I love to scan Ebay looking for this or that to suit my dolly purpose.

Recently I purchased a pair of dolly sized candlesticks- where else- but on Etsy.  There are lots of vintage items to wade through on Etsy- some happen to be in great scale to American Girl dolls.  I had been looking specifically for candlesticks for some time.  These were near perfect.







Now that I had my candlesticks- I needed some candles to compliment them. I knew what I wanted: tapers in a creamy vanilla color.   Really just your run-of-the-mill every day candles. I wanted them to be able to work in both a modern setting and to be able to travel back through time when I fancied.    I could see them in Kit's dining room,  adorning a mantle in Julie's house or bedside in Felicity's room. 

Pillar candles are another alternative when candlesticks are not an option.   They are made in a similar way.  And there is no size restriction- so you can make them any thickness you like. The tops of the pillar candle would be treated a bit differently than tapers though.  I'll leave that tutorial for a different day though.







MATERIALS:

translucent clay
thin rope
super glue
acrylic paint


To start, I mixed translucent white clay with some translucent yellow clay- and just a touch of a light brown (non trans).  And when I say a touch I mean the teeiest bitty bit. 



Mix varying amounts until you get a color that suits you.  The clay will not have that "glowing" look until it's baked.

Many times I bake just a tiny bit of the mixed clay beforehand to make sure I get the exact color I want.   Since color here was not incredibly pertinent I did not do a test piece.  I was not trying to match something very specific,  I was just trying to get it similar enough.  If you are looking to make dozens of candles I would test your color first, before committing and mixing it all together. 

Next roll your clay out in a long, thin rod.  Simple.  It helps to have the item in question on hand to color match and to mimic shape.  I had a taper nearby to use as a muse.  Another admission: I have loads of candles that I have not lit in probably 10+ years sitting idly in a drawer.  And yet here I go making them for my dolls. 

Using a razor blade, cut your candles to your desired length, then smooth out the top edge a bit, using your finger.   Poke a small hole in the center of the top of  your candle with a large pin (think safety pin) so that you can insert a wick after baking.  One quarter inch depth will do.  Take care that your candles are straight and level.  I made two and wasn't too concerned with them both being the same length, as candles do burn differently,  but try your best at making them all the same thickness.
Bake your item per the package instructions.  Never bake clay on trays that will be used again for preparing or baking foods. 




After baking and cooling, I carefully thinned out the bottom a bit with my razor blade and sand paper so that the candles would fit snugly into the candlesticks.


I had rope on hand that I felt was a bit too beefy, so I separated the pieces to get the desired thickness for a wick.   I then doused the piece in super glue, in the effort to stiffen it so that I could easily insert it into the hole in the top of the candle.




I was only making two candles, so I only stiffened about an inch of rope.  I cut it down to the length that would work as a wick and  glued it into the hole at the candle's top.  I used super glue for this project.  My 12 yr old was nearby watching and managed somehow to super glue her fingers together.  A first time for her- and she thought it was just the most fun. 


After drying,  give the wick a gentle pull to make sure the glue held.  Now its time to paint the top of the wick-  to make it appear as though it had been lit.  You can skip this step if you like, but it does help to sell the realism.  I used black acrylic paint, dotting the tips of the wicks.  Use your muse as a guide.  Candle wicks can vary. 








Pillar candles would be a great addition to your dolls' modern dining setting or for living rooms.  Keep your eyes open for small trays that would work for a grouping of candles, or even for candlesticks like the ones I purchased.

This was a super easy project, with great results.  If you have any questions, always feel free to ask.