Thursday, May 26, 2022

You can Print a Velvet Rug for the dollhouse??

(...with Spoonflower, Yes!) 

First let me apologize for my lateness and not keeping up with posting since February and to thank my readers for their patience!! (clap clap)

Onto the rugs...I have been trying to find rugs printed on velvet that look nicely scaled.  Most are just printed on a woven cotton and don’t have a nap.  I like the velvet as a base for a rug because I think it is more like a real rug.  So… I thought, why not try Spoonflower?  I love it for custom fabrics. You can find any design you want!  And if you want to design your own fabrics you can do that too (if you have the graphic gene)!  It takes a little bit of effort to learn how to use the website but worth the effort.

What is Spoonflower?  It’s a website where people who design fabric sell their designs (Sort of like Etsy for textile products).  You pick a design, then pick what type of fabric you want the design to be printed on, like cotton or linen or velvet, then decide how much you want to order (full yardage, fat quarter or sample).  You can even buy textile items printed from the design, instead of yardage – things like curtains, pillows, and duvets. 

If you want to create your own design, you make an account, upload your design, use a little gadget to arrange the design (like mirror image, tiled images, etc) then you can order your own design and have it printed on whatever type of fabric you want.  This is how I made the rugs (though I don’t sell them - you also have to be aware of copyrighted designs if you plan to sell them).  

Of course you could select any type of fabric to print your rugs.  I chose velvet.  There are two kinds of velvet available from Spoonflower.  See the photos below for comparison of the two types.  Both velvets cost about $39 per yard but you don’t need to pay that much.  I ordered just a fat quarter (yes you can get a fat quarter of velvet) for $20 but then there was a 50% off sale so I got it for $10.  I was able to print 5 rugs on one Fat Quarter for $10 plus shipping.  They run sales occasionally so watch their website for the sales (or get on their mailing list).  This sale was close to Thanksgiving 2021 (I think).

Here are some hints:

  • Find photos of rugs you like "birds eye view" so it will be perfectly square on the corners.
  • Start with the best quality photo you can  find (highest pixels)
  • If you don’t want them all the same design, create a “collage” (I used Microsoft Paint tool) so they are all in one photo (you can see what mine looked like in the next photo below).
  • Upload the photo or collage to Spoonflower.
  • Select the Fabric (velvet) and Size/yardage from the drop downs (select “Fat Quarter”).
  • It takes a little trial and error working with the uploading / arranging on the website.  Depending on the arrangement, parts of some rugs may get cut off but just try to optimize to get them to print as many full rugs as you can in the correct size.

Try these hints to get the rugs sized while displaying on the grid:

  • Play with the “Repeat” and “Smaller” and “Bigger” buttons and “Change DPI” setting.  Check the displayed design to see if rugs will be correct size (it has a grid marked in inches).  Do this while you have the final size selected (fat quarter) so you can see exactly how many rugs you will get from that size of fabric.
  • If that doesn’t work and you can't get the rug to be small or large enough, you might have to resize your original photo (change pixels width and height) and re-upload (save under a new name).   Generally, if you can't get it small enough, your photo is too big (reduce the pixel size) and vice-versa.
  • Note that your Fat Quarter will have a different number of full rugs if you select a 45 inch wide fabric than if you select a 54 inch wide fabric. 

Photo of the Spoonflower editing screen:

Above you can see my rug collage as it would look if printed on a fat quarter.  The “Celosia” velvet is slightly more transparent than “Performance” velvet (you can see the cutting mat through the Celosia velvet). 

Below are two fat quarters showing both types of velvet.  The Celosia (on top) has more of a nap, like plush velvets.  It is woven, has a slight sheen and a little thinner than the Performance.  The Performance velvet (bottom) seems to be non-woven, sort of like soft suede cloth, very white, slightly thicker and more opaque than the Celosia.  The photo below shows both fat quarters overlapped.  I think the design is a little brighter and crisper on the Performance velvet.  But my preference for miniature rugs would be the Celosia due to having a plush nap or pile and warp and weft threads you can see. 

To finish the rug after cutting it and trimming, I glued 6 strand embroidery floss around the edge using a fine tip glue applicator (fabric or white glue) so I could apply the glue to the very thin edge of the velvet.  It was hard to get it to stay on.  I only did about half the side of a rug at a time and let it sit a while to make sure it got stuck on. 

For fringe, I had some linen upholstery fabric where I had trimmed off the selvage.  It had a perfect fringed edge (glad I don't throw anything away!).  So I trimmed off a little and glued it on as fringe.

Resources: Pink rug – from; other rug photos from various rug manufacturer websites.  The finished rug in the photos was made from the Performance Velvet on the Spoonflower website.

I hope this inspires my readers to check out Spoonflower!  Leave a comment and tell me how you might use Spoonflower for miniatures! Maybe print some lampshades?



Monday, February 28, 2022

Dealing with Deep-angled Dollhouse Attic Walls

If you have a dollhouse with a roofline that angles all the way to the floor, for instance an upper floor or attic you might have the problem I have had – how to furnish those deep angled walls?  These angled walls present a few decorating problems:

  1. the angled wall is slightly taller than any side walls so wallpaper has to be a little taller.
  2. Placing furniture in that low angle made by the roof – this area is mostly unusable space
  3. Window treatments – since the wall is angled, any curtains would fall away from the wall and hand straight down.

 Here are the ways I have dealt with these problems in my third floor ‘attic’ space.  

Girls bedroom – for this space I pushed the bed all the way into the tiny dormer so it had a little more room for the headboard.  Then I made built-in drawers fitted around the bed.  

Here is the room without the furniture.  Notice wallpaper starts about ½ inch above floor; gap is covered by built-ins (so if your wallpaper is too short for the roof wall this is one way to disguise that).

Built-in drawers (green) across wall on either side of the bed.

Here is a close-up of the left drawer section. Notice the angle of the back edge of the built-in where it fits into the angle of the roof/wall. To make these built-ins you have to use trial and error to get the right angle.

Front of built-ins with drawers.

Back of built-in. The built-ins came to a point at the back and were pushed all the way into the angled wall.  I used some scrap wood to support the drawers.
For the curtains for this room, I used the headboard to keep them against the wall so they wouldn’t fall forward.

Playroom – this room is still under construction but I did something similar to the girls bedroom.  Instead of drawers I made open shelves.

The sides had the deep angle and fit all the way into the wall.  But I put a false back behind the shelves so toys wouldn’t push back too far.  Also this area behind the false back hid some wiring in the area.

For window treatments in this room I did a simple curved shade with tassels that fit into the dormer.

Well there are my solutions.  I still have a third room on this floor to come up with angle wall solutions for.  Anyone else solved this problem with a creative solution?  I’m interested in your suggestions.