Monday, January 31, 2022

Re-Wallpapering the Dollhouse

Dining Room, 1996-ish

Dining room after (2021)

Does anyone else redecorate their dollhouse?  I purchased mine in 1996 (while on maternity leave).  I SLOWLY worked on it room by room and now, 25 years later I still have 2 of the 13 rooms unfinished.  I'm curious if anyone else is in the same boat?  I guess it follows actual life because we sometimes update the kitchen without updating the bedroom but a 25 year difference in decorating styles within the same house?

Anyway, that's my situation.  Most of the house was decorated in the 1990s and only recently did I start working on the last 3 rooms.  Regarding this dining room, in 2011 I had a problem with electricity.  I had to peel back the wallpaper to repair the wiring in the dining room and decided that would be a good time to change that wallpaper since I really didn’t like it anymore.   I did like it at the time I papered it but ... changed my mind.

I was really into toile back then (2011).  I love the kind of odd combination of green and purple (see my green & purple kitchen HERE.)  So I really wanted to switch to a toile wallpaper.  I was inspired by some lovely vintage green toile wallpaper by Beehive Studios (from the 1970s).  It was sort of papery, not very thick so I decided to mount it onto some poster board then glue the poster board to the walls (over the top of the old wallpaper).  The poster board would also cover the wiring where I had to solder some connections.

I measured and cut pieces of poster board for the 3 walls and cut out the window and door openings.  Then I glued the wallpaper to the poster board using “Yes” wallpaper glue and an old credit card to spread it.  You can see in one of the photos below I allowed the new wallpaper to extend about ¼ inch beyond the poster board on both vertical sides of the back wall piece.  You’ll see why below.  I also used a brayer to remove bubbles and weighted it down overnight.

In the room I had to remove all the trim around doors and windows (I hadn't gotten as far as putting in baseboard or crown molding at that time).  Then I glued in the papered poster board starting with the back wall. I used the brayer again to remove bubbles before bracing.

Photo below is of how I glued and braced the wallpapered poster board using a book and wood strip scraps wedged between the walls.  The book was to hold the poster board to the wall as flat as possible and take up some space since my wood scraps were too short.  I used clamps and more wood scraps around the doorway.

Below - old and new wallpaper.  You can see here why I let the green toile paper extend on both sides of the poster board  - so there would not be any gaps or old wallpaper showing through at the corners.

I left the bottom section of the walls un-papered because I wanted to simulate faux paneling on the lower half of the wall.  I really liked some woodwork I saw on another blog that were French style, sort of scallop shaped.  I cut paper patterns for the different areas using different sizes for the areas below the windows, and between the windows. 

For the lower panels, I cut the shapes out of very thin 1/32nd inch thick basswood and then sanded the outer edges so they  were beveled and sloped toward  the wall.


Deciding on sizes and positions of panels to fit in wall sections

I glued the panels (probably with Ultimate glue, I can’t remember) and used wood to brace again because they kind of curled from the glue.

I painted over the panels and wall in the off-white color (“buttermilk”).  Then I aged them – just a tiny bit with diluted paint – mixture of burnt umber and raw umber.

Above photos shows aging wash before some was wiped off

Lightly aged panels - has just a little 'wear' from grubby hands and dust

Finished Room (back in 2011):

Here is the same room with chandelier (finally hung!) and drapes I recently made (May 2021).  I was trying for the green and purple color scheme with the carpet and drapes.  You can't tell in the photo but the dishes on the table are purple too (see close up below).  Carpet was an Etsy purchase, artist unknown but it may be a Harry Whalon design.

Vintage 1980s(?) magenta dishes by Jo Parker and Jo Berbiglia petit point dining chair seats to keep with the green and purple color scheme.

Incidentally, here is a fun fact.  No one really knows this BUT my dollhouse was used as the background for a children's music video produced by Joe McDermott - a musician in Austin.  Here is the link if you want to check it out.  It's called "Holiday Cooking Set".  He found me through my blog and came to my house to photograph the dollhouse then used it as a background.  Those chairs the kids are sitting in are the chairs from this dollhouse.  And the thanksgiving dinner I made that was in the dining room above.

Well, readers, hope you can use this info to redecorate when you get tired of your current wallpaper!  It can be done!