Dolls on Parade

It began sometime after I received my fifth or sixth Wilde Imagination doll: The inspiration to create a backdrop for them. Thanks to my mom, I already had a wardrobe and chairs to start the scene and I had painted and stenciled an unfinished bureau from a nearby craft store, as well as stained a mini doll shelf. All that remained to complete the semblance of a room was…a wall! Here is a picture of the first backdrop I made:

Three Ellowynes, one Prudence and Senson's Tori camp out on my bureau.

Three Ellowynes, one Prudence and Senson’s Tori camp out on my bureau.

Because I didn’t have the funds to go crazy elegant or complicated, I simply picked up a 2’ x 4’ presentation board and some fabric from Joann’s and, together with craft sticks, lace, a razor blade and little nails I already had on hand at home, I fashioned my backdrop. It served me well for about two years…and then I was ready for a change and something a little more permanent–and I was willing to use some of my birthday and Christmas money to make it happen!

I have to pause here and say “Thank you!” to my indulgent husband, who allowed me to take a corner of our 11’ x11’ dining room and make it Ellowyne’s “home.” Ello and Pru had inquired after something bigger, but I apologized and said, “Not in this house. You’ll overwhelm any guests we have!” (I am making them a front porch, so that mollifies them somewhat.)

Their new backdrops are made from a 2’ x 4’ MDF board, cut down to Ello’s scale. In future posts, I’ll go into more details about each room, but for now let’s just skim the surface of how I created them.

Ellowyne's Humble Abode

Ellowyne’s Humble Abode

For the living room, I used Mod Podge to glue fabric to the MDF board, and then applied two more coats of Mod Podge over the fabric to mask its cotton origins and make it hard to the touch. The floor is from an 8’ x 16” board and after cutting it to my specifications, I used an awl and Hubby’s square ruler to create the look of floor boards. When stained, the color seeped into the crevices so it remained darker than the surface of the board. I finished it off with two coats of Polyurethane.

For the bedroom walls, I used wallpaper left over from my grandmother’s bathroom (thanks, Mee-Mee!) and the “wainscoting” is painted balsa wood, with lines etched into it via the awl. I painted the floor white, and then glued pale green fabric onto it to give it some interest. Again, I used Mod Podge and again, I applied two more coats on top of the fabric once it was glued down to make it hard and durable.

For the loft area (yes, I have plans to make a railing and ladder—stay tuned!), I used joint compound on the walls, then primed and painted them. The wooden “beams” are stained pieces of balsa wood. Though one can’t see the floor without standing on a chair, I still finished it on the chance some interested guest wanted to “nose” around (that is part of the reason why Ello’s in the dining room and not stuck in the bedroom, after all). Once more, I made it look like floor boards and stained it the same color as the “beams” then followed through with Polyurethane.

None of the rooms are 100% complete, yet. Each one is missing a crucial element or two (or three), but all in good time—as in, when I find the time. At least the prospect of blogging any future progress should help me stay motivated and moving—and perhaps it will even inspire you to create your own backdrop! But be forewarned: Your dolls will have a propensity to get carried away with aspirations for their dream house. Stay firm and remind them: You’re the one paying the mortgage.

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