Saturday, March 2, 2019

Non-Traditional Barbie Furniture Ideas

In my last post, I discussed my top five favorite mass produced doll furniture pieces for Barbie & friends. (in case you missed it click here.) Today I'm expanding on a past post regarding looking for doll furniture in more unusual places. (To see that post click here.)

  I have found some of the most incredible and unique doll furniture pieces and accessories in a variety of resale shops and big box stores. Don't head to the toy aisle secret? The home decor aisle!

Trinket box dresser found in my local thrift store.

Some of my favorites are ready to go items such as the painted dresser pictured above. This little gem has three actual working drawers and I found it at my local favorite thrift store. These highly decorative trinket boxes can be found on-line, in stores and even at garage sales. You just have to develop what I call the 1:6 scale eye. To demonstrate scale, I have photographed this dresser next to an actual Barbie chair so you can see how perfectly suited this treasure is for my dollhouse.

Another example of a home decor item re-purposed into doll furniture. 

This particular vignette includes a resin candlestick table base, rectangular craft sign-faux painted to look like a concrete table as well as a faux finished Barbie wicker piece of plastic furniture. It's amazing what a little paint can do to transform a few pieces!!

Oh, and the little drink holder? It is a fun little fairy garden accessory! I just filled with faux ice cubes and a variety of fun beverages. (mine pictured above is a slightly different style).

And can we just mention pin cushion chairs again?? This sweet little pink plaid chair is one of my all time favorites. I finally have a matching pair of these beauties. The seat removes for storage and it comes with a matching ottoman. Be still my heart!!

This lovely nautical themed vignette was another altered piece I've created. The cabinet began life with the drawer & doors and just a plain wood finish. I added the decorative trim detail to the doors, changed out the knobs and created a distressed painted finish. A few accent pieces and coordinating piece of artwork, in a thrifted miniature frame of course and the vignette is complete.

What are some of your favorite home decor pieces you have found to add to your doll collection? Any items you've transformed into something new? I'd love to hear about it!!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Realistic Barbie Furniture-Top Five Favorites

As a collector, one of the most frustrating aspects of finding realistic furniture for Barbie is that most of the mass produced furniture on the market is truly too small. 

I’m here to take the guess work out of it for you. I have bought & sold hundreds of Barbie furniture pieces over the years. My personal collection has grown quite substantially during this time. I have gotten fairly selective in what pieces remain in my collection. Not every piece that stays is 100% suitable for Barbie to use. However, my goal is to create realistic miniature scenes so the realism of the piece outweighs the usefulness of it. I own a mix of mass produced doll furniture pieces and a large collection of non-doll items suitable for playscale use. In this post I will detail the mass produced pieces that I use on a regular basis. These items will be easier for you to find on the secondary market. Some pieces are rare and may command a high price. However, do not be discouraged. You can usually find gently played with items at garage sales & thrift stores. All they need is a little cleaning & maybe a coat of paint and they will be good to go.

Opinions expressed in this post are genuinely my own. I am not affiliated with any doll manufacturer nor am I compensated by them. Let’s get started!

My number one, most favorite 1:6 scale realistic furniture piece(s) is the My First Kenmore Kitchen set. This is NOT produced by Mattel and was not made expressly for Barbie. However, it is perfectly made in scale to fit Barbie and friends. Made by Sears and sold in 2005, this limited run playset was very popular among doll collectors and remains so today. There are a number of lower cost knock off’s of this kitchen in a variety of bright colors. I have not purchased any of the colorful knock off sets, but have heard from other collectors that they are a good substitute.

Here is what the set looked like as sold in stores:

My First Kenmore Kitchen Playset New In the Box

Here’s an example of the set in use in my studio. Notice that I painted the cabinet doors a solid white color rather than the black fake glass that was originally there.

Customized My First Kenmore Kitchen Playset

My second favorite piece is the My Scene My CafĂ© play set sofa. This piece is gorgeous in person. The scale is perfect to pose dolls on. The tufting detail, the rolled arms the turned feet, make this a prized piece in my collection. My only complaint is the back of the sofa. There isn’t one. It’s hollow. If you only need a piece that will be photographed from the front, then this is it.

The sofa is from this set originally:

Barbie My Scene My Cafe Playset New in the box
Barbie My Scene My Cafe Playset details

And here is a pic of the sofa in one of my diorama scenes:

Barbie's guard dog.
My third & fourth favorite pieces are from the same set, the 2008 Barbie french door refrigerator and kitchen cart. This refrigerator is even better than the My First Kenmore Kitchen fridge. Double doors to access the interior of the fridge, pull out drawer for the freezer and the amazing little kitchen cart are must have pieces for any serious Barbie furniture collector. The color isn't exactly my favorite, but for now it stays until I decide what to change it to.

2008 Mattel Barbie Kitchen Fridge & Cart Playset

Here's the same fridge used in a diorama scene:

Barbie's Farmhouse Kitchen

Rounding out the top five favorite mass produced furniture pieces for Barbie is the wicker settee found in a variety of 1990's garden playsets.

Barbie So Real So Now Summer Garden Playset

I have several of these wicker pieces and have updated with paint. Here is an example painted white:

Kelly Ladybug Picnic Diorama Scene

And here's an example stained brown:

Barbie's Christmas Porch Scene

Whew!! That post went a little longer than I had intended! This list is far from all inclusive and I will continue my list at another time. What are some of your favorite mass produced doll furniture pieces to use in Barbie scenes? Do you agree with my favorite choices? I will have to say though that part of the reason for my choices thus far have to do with the fact that I LOVE kitchens!! They are my favorite rooms to create and photograph. Probably why I have such a large collection of Rement miniatures as well.

Until next time....


Sunday, January 11, 2015

How to Repaint Barbie Furniture The Basics

Tired of all the pink plastic mass produced furniture for fashion dolls? Like the details of a piece but dislike the color?  Don't discard it, transform it!

It is quite easy to update a piece of Barbie furniture to suit your needs.  Now I am not saying that my way is the only way, but I have been repainting Barbie furniture for 10 years and this is the process that I have found works best for me.  In the above scene I customized the red sofa quite simply with two colors & some embellishment. 

I started with the purple chaise from the My Scene Chelsea Getting Ready Playset:

Then I gathered my supplies:
  • Drop cloth or cardboard box for painting 
  • Spray Paint for plastic
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  •  Plastic furniture to be painted

Step 1: Separate your furniture into pieces if it is applicable. Many sofas, tables, beds are made with pieces that can be removed such as the legs or seats of chairs. It's easiest to paint the individual parts-especially if you are trying to paint them different colors.  In the example above I removed the legs so I could paint them silver.

Step 2: Clean your furniture. If you are not buying the item new give it a good scrub with some hot soapy water & let it dry thoroughly.

Step 3: Wipe everything down with rubbing alcohol. This removes any soap residue and ensures a good adhesion with the paint. Let it dry .

Step 4: Prep your paint area with drop cloth or cardboard to catch the overspray. I like to use an empty cardboard box.

Step 5: Paint! Make sure you follow the directions on the can. Keep the can far enough away that you avoid drips. Light coats work best!

Step 6: Multiple coats. For best results let each coat dry at least 20 minutes before the next coat. Don't add coats after 24 hours. I have found that the paint will bubble if you do. It should be fully painted within a few hours of when you start.

Step 7: Let paint cure for 7 days before handling too much. I have found that this is key to prevent paint scratches or chipping off. I know it's hard to WAIT!!

Step 8: Enjoy the fruits of your labor!!

I generally do steps 1-3 a day or two ahead of time. That way I can make sure everything is dry & ready to go.  Tip: Do NOT spray paint outdoors on a windy day. Not that I have ignored my own advice or anything. **Ahem.  All I will say about that is wet paint attracts every particle in the air. But I digress.

You can achieve some really terrific results using just two colors of paint.

That's it!! Super simple. Time consuming.  Exhilarating. Empowering!

Now, I'd love to see what pieces you transform!!! 

Thanks for stopping by and as always,

Happy Crafting!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Prop Alert! Cute Miniature Lanterns

One of the best places I have found to source realistic miniature props is in the Christmas ornament section of any store. That is the first place I head these days when I am out shopping. Actually I start looking in July when the craft stores start stocking their holiday items. I like to look for things that can be used as is without any alteration as well as items that can be updated to suit another purpose in a miniature scene.

This year I found these adorable red glitter lanterns at WalMart.  I will say that these are what I consider low-quality in the realm of ornaments. They are made of cardboard, glitter and thin plastic sheeting for the "glass".  However, they are cheap, $1.97 each so they suit my budget and are detailed enough to make an appearance in a diorama scene.  The greenery on top of the lantern came with it, but the candy canes did not. Just a little extra touch I added when setting up this diorama.

The lanterns are quite large so while they are great as oversized props for the 1:6 scale crowd such as Barbie, Monster High and Fashion Royalty, they would be perfectly suitable for the larger dolls-American Girl, Tyler Wentworth, Gene, Dollfie and similar 16-18 inch range. Multi-purpose props are the best! 

Without further adieu, a quick front porch diorama dressed for the holidays.

Here's how I made this scene:

Shingle siding: printie (found image on Google & printed multiple copies & taped together)

Porch floor boards: printie (found image on Google & printed multiple copies & taped together.

Door: Barbie dollhouse door. (no idea which house but it has a B logo on the top half). It came in a bag from the thrift store without a door handle just a long hole where one should be. This is what the detail looks like.

Door Knob: I printed the face plate from Google & sized it to cover the hole. Then I used a round knob from a jewelry box. It has a nail sticking out of the back so I just cut out a piece of foam core for it to stick into. The foam core is the size of the door plus the surrounding trim. I then glued the trim to the foam core. The door is stuck in place with the knob. (so I can use it again).

The trim & threshold are also made of foam core covered in scrapbook paper. Isn't that crackle look divine?

The hole I had to cover (from the back)

Merry Christmas Sign: Printie from Google. (you can see I didn't even bother with adding trim to the top of the door for this scene!)

Mini Pine Trees: loot from the thrift shop

That's it. Easy peasy.

Thanks for stopping by!!! What are your favorite sources for mini accessories other then traditional miniature retailers?

Have YOU played today?


Friday, November 14, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside

Brrrr…I hope you are all staying warm! This early dip in temperature has me reaching for something to warm me up on the inside. What better way to do that then with some yummy hot cocoa!

I have enough to share. Please help yourself.

There is warm milk in the teapot and hot cocoa mix in the tall apothecary jar. Don't you just love those jars? I wish I had ten of them to fill with all kinds of sweet treats.

Marshmallows or whip cream? Which do you prefer? Me, I'm all about the whip cream. And maybe a splash of a little something, Rumchata perhaps? That will really get you toasty!

I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit and to enjoy some refreshments. Bundle up and stay warm. This is just the beginning of the cold weather round these parts.


Have YOU played today??

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Staying Warm...With A Teddy Bear Winter Tea Party

The weather outside is certainly frightful. We have had sub zero temperatures for a few days along with plenty of fluffy white snow! It is cozy warm inside and I am thankful for blessings. 

While I wait for the weather to improve, I'm so glad you stopped in. Please pull up a chair and join me & teddy for some tea and sweets. Hope you are staying warm!

Non-Traditional Barbie Furniture Ideas

In my last post, I discussed my top five favorite mass produced doll furniture pieces for Barbie & friends. (in case you missed it clic...