My 1/6 scale dolls all have sets, although some of them are in pieces currently. Daisy has her room with the pale pink wainscotting, bookcases, and the window seat.
Rosie has her blue room with the casement windows that let in dreams.
Lily has a small room with a large wardrobe full of old letters and photos
and Camellia has a set full of sand and flowers and a sadly wrinkled blue sky backdrop
The Underfoot cast lives in the real world, so they don’t need a set. My windowsill will do for them.
My 1/4 scale dolls mainly have furniture instead of sets, like the kitchen where the two sisters in In the Pictures sit
While the On Our Own crew has a nice trailer home.
But, once I run out of complete furniture for the 1/4 scale dolls, and all of the time for the 1/3 scale dolls, I’m left with just photographing them in various spots in my house and hoping it looks realistic.
The In The Pictures cast often ends up by a sliding glass door in my husband’s home office
or in a corner of my dining room
while the 1/3 scale cast sits on a table in the doll room
But, for the episode I’m working on, I wanted to give Marta (the Dollmore Manuier doll) a real room. Well, as real as doll rooms get, which is basically two walls and a floor.
Unfortunately, I’m having a heck of a time building one for her.
Problem 1: The materials I normally use for walls (foamboard) is not large enough to serve as a backdrop for standing dolls. At 20″ x 30″, even standing on its side, the boards are just a few inches taller than Marcelo’s (Granado Udell’s) head. (Please ignore his ridiculous shorts – I simply cannot find doll clothes that fit him).
So, to build them a set, it has to be a sitting set, or the lying set which Marta is modelling.
So, first problem – wall materials are the wrong size. Second problem is that the way I normally decorate the walls don’t work in this scale. For the 1/6 scale dolls I cut the 20 X 30 walls down to . . . actually, I can’t recall now – maybe 15″ x 12″? Anyway, with the wainscotting I put on the bottom of the walls, I can fill the top of the walls with a single sheet of decorative paper (standard size of 12″ x 12. So, I never have to worry about having a join in the middle. But, if I’m using the full 20 x 30, the only thing I can use is wallpaper, which I’ve found difficult to work with. Also, really, teenage girls do not normally have wallpapered rooms. They have painted rooms like, well, the rest of us.
So, I decided to paint a sheet of foamboard. I’ve used a bit of wet material on foamboard before (mostly glue) and it went OK, so I figured that paint would also be alright. Turns out I was wrong. Or, at least, not the watered down paint I was using. Although everthing looked OK at first, within a few hours the edges had curled up. So, reading online, I saw that I could weigh it down and repair the curve. Sort of true, I guess. The original curve went away, and now it just curved in another dimension. More reading and I learned that I could paint the other side. I tried that – nope, now it just has a sort of wavy pattern.
I looked online and found these very cool 2′ x 2′ paint samples, but I’m too impatient to wait for them (although I suspect they’ll solve my problem) and I had a nicely painted (although curved) wall that I wanted to use. So, I cut a few narrow pieces of wood to size and glued them down the back of the curved part of the wall and that *seems* to have fixed the problem. At least, it fixed it for long enough for me to take photos.
Before I show the solution I went with, I wanted to share one other solution that also works, and that’s to Photoshop the background. I don’t mean to just paste in an image. What I mean is, to take a picture with the dolls against using a plain white wall (preferrably) or whatever wall you have (less preferrably). Then, select the wall in the image and paste it into it’s own layer. Then, take the paint blush and start painting the wall. You might want to mix colors, or blend, or use a spattering effect so that you don’t just have a flat color. Then, copy and paste the original wall again and make it pretty transparent. You’re just using it for the shadowing and texturing – not to pick up the initial color (hence why white is better than a more saturated color). That effect actually worked pretty well for me, but I wanted to use the actual painted wall.
So, here is Marta’s room, with the blue-only-slightly-curving wall beside her.
Of course, if I’d know that the shot I liked best would only include the narrowest strip of the wall, I would have just used the wall from Rosie’s room. But, I didn’t know until I’d finished taking my photos. I suppose I could use the shot that shows more of the wall, but it’s just not as cute as the previous shot.
Also, interesting aside from this episode. I learned, while building Marta’s room, that she’s a big Joanna Newsom fan. Which is funny, because I’m a big Joanna Newsom fan as well. What are the chances that we’d share such an obscure interest?
Anyway, that’s how I’ve been spending my time – painting and uncurving foamboard, and making tiny books on fairies for Marta’s shots. Next, I have to work on the shots for Marcelo. While the fairies have given Marta a great big headache, they’ve pushed poor Marcelo right over the edge (granted, he was perched pretty close to the edge to begin with), and he’s going to have a full on crazy board (you know, those things with pictures and strings that people seem to create spontaneously when they go slightly mad)? So, I’m finding tiny tacks and string to give him a big crazy canvas to work with.