Sunday, April 19, 2015

Blue Farm House Kitchen with Lamp Tutorial

The kitchen always seems to be the heart of the house where most of the action takes place aside from its main purpose, food preparation and serving meals, homework, paying bills, and a general gathering place. The kitchen in each of our homes has been the center of every party and family gathering. In my real world, our kitchen is undergoing a bit of a transformation with new granite counter tops, back splash, and under counter lighting. In the Blue Farmhouse, the kitchen remodel has neared completion, too. I have two things to share in this post, the kitchen reveal and the little lamps that I am making for a very pink master bedroom.

I have used my iPhone to take all of the photos for this post because I like that I can get decent quality close ups, not perfect, but nice.

The Hoosier, the stove, and the refrigerator, all wooden, came from my favorite dollhouse store and actually the only one I know of in this part of Colorado. For me it, is located 2 hours away on the south side of Denver. A long drive from anywhere, but Norm's Dollhouse has everything that a miniaturist would want and even need, except that the sink in the grouping is on back order. I am patient, though.

I made the bake center from balsa wood that I had on hand. I ordered the unfinished round table from an online site; the chairs I purchased at Norm's, and the hutch came from Hobby Lobby. The unfinished furniture has received few coats of pecan stain and a layer of polyurethane. I haven't finished the chairs yet because they already have nice finish, so I may leave them alone.

I made the curtains and throw pillows from scraps in my scrap stash. 

The lights were ordered on line, too. The bench was in a box of several furniture pieces that I purchased months ago from the local antique dealer. I am thinking that it is a Shackman piece, a popular miniature furniture maker in the 1970s and '80s. The flooring is original to the house. I did buy some plastic tile flooring with black and white tiles, but decided that I would use the original flooring to keep in character with the house and in keeping with the other wood floors that were already glued in. The wall paper is from Itsy Bitsy  that I purchased at Norm's. 

Other items in the kitchen I ordered from various online sources including Etsy, and Superior Doll House Miniatures My favorite item in the kitchen? I think I love the kitchen Aid mixer the best from an Etsy shop. But the lamp is pretty cute, too.The counter underneath the window came from I am undecided as to which one I will use in this house, the baking center that I made or the really cute, fancy one that I need paint. The little cherry dishes came Hobby Lobby, while the little dish drainer and the bottle of Fantastic came from an Etsy shop. I made the lamp, which is neither perfect nor lighted, but I think it is really cute. I downloaded a picture of a rooster from a printable that I had pinned on Pinterest,  using modge-podge to attach it to the lamp.

As I work on the little kitchen, I am reminded of the important kitchens in my life, inspired by them all, but not recreating any of them. my grandmother Duston's kitchen where I spent a lot of time with her as a very little girl was the best. She had the first in-sink garbage disposal that she called The Pig, explaining to me that the table scraps always went out to the real pigs before her fancy machine that gobbles up the garbage.

I spent a lot of time in my mother's farm house kitchen, a small space where I watched her cook everything from scratch, can the vegetables that dad grew in the garden, and where I was the one who always washed the dishes. It was a very small space with those white metal cabinets, the sink with a large drain board, and red linoleum counter top. The house had been built in 1890, but remodeled in the 1950s. 

My husband's grandmother's kitchen was a big square room with a huge picture window view of the farm yard, the milk barn, and corrals full of brown-eyed Jersey milk cows.  The family gathered at the end of the day everyday from their various jobs--farming, construction, office, machinist-- to share their day's events. When we first married, we were so poor that we couldn't afford our own home, so we lived with the grandparents. Later after grandma died we moved from our little cottage in town back to the farm when I became the Mistress of the kitchen. Sadly stuck in the 1950s with its cherry wallpaper, a worn and very outdated linoleum kitchen floor and the same red linoleum counter top, this kitchen had many stories to tell. I wanted a bit more modern kitchen, but still with that old farm homeless that fits the blue house.

I wonder what stories the Blue House kitchen will have to tell? Now, how did I make that cute little lamp?

First I must give credit to for the great instructions and inspirations. Make sure to check out her blog to see all of her wonderful DYI tutorials for mini builders. Rather than going step-by-step, I will show you an abbreviated process of my lamp making, and encourage you to visit her blog to see the best instructions so that perhaps you can make your own little lamps. 

This is the lamp that I am working on now. I am making a pair for the master bedroom for a couple of reasons. Lighting is very expensive and while I am struggling to come up a good way to make chandeliers, these little lamps are rather easy. I have modified Kris' instructions. My lamp will be hard wired, not battery operated. 

I still need to perfect the lamp shade, a bit tricky. This one is nearly finished.

The supplies are rather simple: the little spindles can be purchased at Hobby Lobby in the section where all of wood supplies  for wood hobbies are shelved.  They come in a package of 8 for $1.99. I like to add a jewelry finding for the top of the shade to make it look more decorative. The finding comes as ball, so it has be separated, so you get two pieces. The flowers are manicure appliques that I found at Sally's.

I always search the internet for good patterns when I want to create something from scratch. I have a small collection for lamp shades. 1inchminis provides these templates for the shade. I only used the round circle which fits on top of the lamp and inside the shade to hold the shade steady. I have another pattern that I use for the shade itself. 

 The round circle is made of clear plastic that you can recycle from any plastic packaging. It is meant to sit on top of the lamp and go inside the shade to stabilize the shade. See the top photo.

CDHD: Custom Dolls Houses and Miniatures 
If you want this pattern, follow the link for the best instructions

I did not use her lamp shade pattern; instead, I used another one that I found on CDHDThis one folds to give the lamp shade a more defined shape. This pattern has the star shaped top that fits inside the shade. I don't use it in this shade for it is very tedious to make and glue in; instead, I glue the jewelry finding to the top of the shade, which does require some resizing. The resize my pattern, I copy it into a Word document where I adjust the size of the image--sorta trial and error to get the right size. 

Step 1: cut off the excess wood.

Now you have a dowel that looks like a lamp. Lightly sand the top and bottom to make a smooth surface where the ends have been removed.

Step 2: Mark the center of the lamp. I first use a T pin to make small hole, then I use my hand drill to get the hole started to create a place for my Dremel bit to fit as I begin to drill the hole. I suppose you could drill the entire dowel using the hand drill, but it would be very difficult and a long process.

Step 3: Drilling the hole:  I use my Dremel, a battery operated tool that my dear husband bought for me a few weeks ago. I am using a 3/32 size bit. You must hold the dowel very tightly, being ever so careful that  the bit does not slip and drill your skin. Now, Kris used various sizes of drill bits, working up the final size. I kept it simple, using the size that I wanted the hole to be. I did drill half way through one end then half way through the other end.

Step 3: A channel  on the bottom must be also be cut for the light cord to fit through. I carefully used my Dremel to cut the groove. Be careful. I put it on a slower speed and pressed firmly to keep the drill bit from slipping into my finger.

Step 4: Painting. Now the lamp is ready to be painted. I used acrylic craft paint, applying 3-4 coats and sanding the final coat lightly. I used  Testers  enamel gold paint to paint the bottom of the lamp for a touch of elegance.

Step 5: Making the Shade. The tutorial uses cloth that she has stiffened with modge-podge. I have used both a heavy card stock and this fabric paper that has a peel off backing for the adhesive fabric. Really not the best, but I liked the flower pattern and it is what I had on hand. Heavy scrapbook paper or card stock work very nicely.

I use these self gripping tweezers that clamp down to hold the glued edges together.

Step 6: Adding the top to the shade. (What would you call it?)

Once the seam is set, I then put a dab of tacky glue around the top of the shade to hold the jewelry 
finding in place. 

Step 7: finishing the lamp: A plastic disc will be glued to the top of the lamp to stabilize the lampshade. With the smaller shade, the plastic disk had to be sized smaller. I used a dime to get the correct size. It fits inside the shade so that it is invisible. 

Once finished, the lamp will light up. I am sorry to say I do not remember when I bought the 12 volt light bulb--one of the many online sites for minis. I will show more of the electrical wiring once I install it in the house.

Step 7: Finish by decorating the lamp. I have used nail decals because I can't--don't--paint.

Making this little lamp is easy, an evening project, not counting the time in between coats of paint to dry. The possibilities are endless and for only a few dollars you can have custom, personalized lighting for your dollhouse. 

The only drawback is the need for an electric or battery operated Dremel to easily drill the center hole. Not particularly cheap, the little power too becomes necessary for a serious miniaturist. 

So with the kitchen finished, I am now focusing on the master bedroom. I purchased a pretty pink striped wallpaper at Norm's and I have already assembled a tester bed from a kit and sewed the canopy, bed spread, and pillows, and bed sheets, which I will save for another post. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I do love your comments, so please let me know what you think.


  1. Hi Ann, that kitchen is so fascinating and as cute as a button. I love the Hoosier cabinet, wallpaper, border, curtains, the whole thing. I can't believe they make a bottle of Fantastic that small! Love the dish drainer and the dishes, and the lamp you made is perfect. Cutest kitchen ever!!

  2. It's so neat to see how you made the tiny lamp. I love seeing all of the pretty things in the kitchen....even a kitchen aid mixer like mine! I can't wait to see all of the bed linens and bedroom details. I'm really enjoying this....and learning a lot too! (in case I ever get one!) Sweet hugs, Diane

  3. I want to live there! What a lot of very painstaking work you put into your designs. It is just lovely.

  4. I love that you bring the little kitchen to life with your own memories. I have neither the patience nor the skill - but I am enchanted by your doll house!

  5. Great tutorial! I love the fabric you have there. It's gorgeous! The kitchen is fantastic! I love the mixer in there. Ant the kitchen lamp is so cute!

  6. I'm totally in love with this kitchen!