Monday, November 27, 2017

Wooden floor for the Del Prado House


It's starting to look like a house!

I've installed a wooden floor in the bedroom of the Del Prado house.  The kit came supplied with printed paper for the floors.  Not bad, but I wanted something more realistic.

Paper vs. hand made floor.

It started with a quest.  One day, long, long ago, an interior decorator gave me a load of discarded sample books.  Some I gave away, others I stored in my stash in the store room for 'some day'. I recalled there being a book or two of  wooden window blind samples and I thought there might be something that would make a floor for a dollhouse. 
Out came the ladder, and up went Megan to haul the boxes down.  Finding something in the store room is akin to slaying a dragon.  The space between shelves is so narrow one needs to go in sideways, and there are always a few dogs underfoot to make it more hazardous.  After numerous up and downs, lots of dust and sneezing, there was no sign of the books and I was about to give up.
Then my eye caught a box.  Dolls House, Raw Materials, Wood.  Meticulously labelled and I knew there were some Popsicle sticks in there.  Oh well, that would work too.
When I opened the box, I found the sample books, standing on end!

 Dino says "Duh, you could've just asked me.' 

I took them indoors, and dismantled the books.  Quite a job, they used some kind of glue protected by a wizard's spell. The loot was inspiring though.

Choices, choices. I can use these for many things!

I selected some straight narrow slats, and proceeded to snip the threads to free the floor planks.  Then I cut them into shorter lengths, and ended up with a pile of lovely straight, thin floor planks.  There were  not enough planks of one colour to make an entire floor, so I mixed some teak with mahogany.  Actually these 'planks' are made of stained bamboo, and I knew I would need to sand the floor, so I wasn't too worried about the colour.

Planks glued directly on to the dollhouse floor.

The end result was pretty, but quite uneven.

Pretty, but pretty uneven.

After the glue was completely dry, I used an electric sander to level out the uneven planks.  As I thought, most of the colour came off.

Whoa, that looks way too patchy! 

Some more rummaging in the store room, and I found Imbuia wood stain.  I would have preferred Oak, but I'm adhering to my plan of using what I've got.  

First layer of wood stain.

From previous experience, I know that one needs to be careful when using wood stain.  As a precaution against making the planks too dark, I decided to thin the stain with thinners.   Why do they put such nasty stuff in a bottle that can't pour without dripping?  Oh well, they said to make a test patch.  Mine is on the dining room table. 

Colour evened out.

After five layers, I was very happy with the colour.  My only complaint, it looked too new.  I recently read on Liberty Bibberty's blog how Mercedes rescued a floor that came out too dark, by painting over with grey acrylic paint.  I want warm tones for my dollhouse, so I selected French Vanilla acrylic paint instead.

Using acrylic paint to tone down the colour.

I diluted the paint with water, then used a rag to dab it on to the planks, and wiped away excess.  On the left you can see how this tones down the colour, giving the floor a more worn look.

Painted over with polyurethane sealer.

After the acrylic paint dried, the last thing that remained to be done, was to seal the floor with polyurethane.  Unfortunately, I only had gloss.  Shiny surfaces in a dollhouse can be disturbing, they create reflections, and will give the setting an unnatural look.  But once again, using what I've got, I let it dry, then wiped over with fine grit sand paper.  

Test fit in the dollhouse.

I can't tell you how pleased I am with the way this floor turned out.   It was also much easier to do than I thought. I chatted with Elga, and told her about my wooden floor.  She makes antique reproduction furniture for dollhouses, and is very knowledgeable about dollhouses, and the decorating and furnishing of homes during the ages.  My concern was that I would have to make all the wooden floors in the dollhouse the same, or risk ending up with a fruit salad of styles.  Elga says that the entrance hall of houses often had more ornate floors than the rest of the house, first impressions, ha ha.  So when I tackle the entrance hall floor, I might try one of the traditional parquet patterns, such as herringbone or Versailles parquet.  Nothing with mitred corners though.  Mitre is a swear word.

Meanwhile, I'm not making as much progress on the Del Prado house, or in real life, as I would like.  I did take some rather lovely pictures of the garden yesterday after the rain.  If time permits, I will share them later this week.  


  1. Your floor looks great Megan! Floor wax on top of glossy varnish will also lessen the shine and give a softer older look. I have some antique wax that I can give you a bit of.

    1. I never thought of wax, Elga. Just knew I had to get rid of that plastic shine. I am definitely going to try wax in the entrance hall, thank you for the good tip!

  2. The floor looks lovely Megan. Well worth all that work! :)

    1. Thank you Sandra. I'm glad to read that you are feeling better, and I hate to think what my six Great Danes will demand as a severance package if I ever decide to retire, ha ha.

  3. ¡Fantástico! un trabajo impecable, la foto has captado el efecto de la luz entrando por la ventana de una casa real.Feliz día:-)

    1. :-) Thank you! The house is standing near an east window now, when I saw those sun rays it was too good not to capture in a photo.

  4. Wow! The adventure into the store room was well worth the effort because you've turned a cache onto a treasure! What a lovely wood floor, the color and tone are warm and welcoming. It will be exciting to see what you come up with for the rest of those blinds!

    1. Thank you Jodi! I'm going to use some more blinds for wooden floors, then I think I might use the rest for screens, garden trellis, legs for furniture, planting boxes and crates... it will soon all disappear.

  5. Hi Megan! I had to laugh about your note: I could have asked Dino, hehehe :D!
    You've done alot of work at your floor, but it shows: it looks absolutely wonderful. I love to see the result in the sun on the first and last picture, great work!
    Have a nice evening,

    1. Ilona, these dogs are so curious, they are always right under my feet when I am working. When I tell them to get out of the way, they look at me like I don't know what I'm doing and they are in charge! Thanks for liking my floor, it's a real compliment coming from you.

  6. such a stunningly beautiful floor xxx well done!!

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  8. Oh Oh.. no.. the dining room table! Yikes.. but also lol.. because that would totally happen to me. Well, at least you got a wonderful floor out of the dining room debacle. :D
    The colour really turned out great and it looks wonderful in the room with the light streaming through the windows.