Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Troublesome Chairs

I want to create some type of hangout for my dolls.  I haven't decided exactly what type of place it will be, but I'm going to need furniture.  Since I vowed to be more crafty and less spendy, I'm going to try and make most of the furnishings myself.  I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

First up, chairs.  I want 8 of them.  I don't know why, but I get fixated on things and I've decided that I must have at least 8 chairs for this "hangout."  So, I've spent the last 3 weekends trying to design and put together a chair that I can easily mass produce out of simple materials.  I also need to be able to take it apart for storage and reassemble it without any damage.

The 1st weekend was a total bust and I had to scrap everything, including my choice of material (stinky duct tape)and my design, which was an armless chair with a singular rod and base holding it up.  I may come back to it, because I'm nothing if not stubborn.  However, I was stressing myself out, so a redirect was in order.  The 2nd weekend I came up with this design.


It's a very simple pattern.  I folded a piece of paper in half, sketched the shape I wanted by hand and cut it out.  It's not really that even, but it's not like I'm making them to sell.  I cut the 1st one out of a Dora Explorer box.  Although made of compressed cardboard it was still thicker than I wanted to work with.  The 2nd was cut from file folders.  I made an opening in it but didn't like how it looked.  What I did like though was the file folders.  They were the perfect thickness, easy to bend and I literally have hundreds of them.  The 3rd is folders wrapped in duct tape... that doesn't stink.


Every time I make a prototype, I seem to change how I put it together or I want to do something differently.  However, these are the basic materials inside each chair.  I decided I wanted to pad the front and make a cushioned seat, so the white things are cut up paper towels for this use.  The long strips of corrugated cardboard get rolled up and go inside the seat bases.


This chair is almost ready for production!  Duct tape has been applied to the exterior back, seat fronts and seat cushion.  Electrical tape has been applied to the corrugated chair bottom.  After I glue the two back pieces together and let them dry, I use electrical tape to secure the sides and chair bottom.  Very easy to put together and take apart.


3 weeks in and I've got a complete chair set!  Unfortunately, this is actually an abandoned idea.  This green Dollar Tree contact paper is more patterny than I care for on a grand scale, but in small sections I think it's cute.  However, using contact paper would cause me to have to cut out an extra back piece.  Since the contact paper is so thin, it shows the shape marks of the duct tape lines unless you put a thicker material between them.  I went ahead and made a second chair anyway because I had exactly 6 of these white "chair legs," which are the tips from ball point pens.


A photo with dolls so you can see the scale.  The seats are large enough for my widest guy to sit comfortably.  As for chair height, Fashionista feet can touch the ground, but Liv has to tippy toe.  My next chairs will not be as high because the chair legs will be shorter -- if I use any at all.  Like I said, I keep changing how I put it together.

Well, that's what I've been working on.  I don't expect to finish this "hangout" project anytime soon, heck, this year even, but the idea is there.  At this point, I just want to see what I'm capable of making. Hopefully, I can do this without frustrating myself too much in the process.  We shall see.

16 comments:

  1. The chairs came out fantastic! I know the feeling, I am still trying to work out the details for the ChynaDolls Debut lol it's in my head, but won't come out to a finished project!

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    1. Thanks, Chynadoll. Unfinished projects are the worse. But finally I realized that there is not enough time in the world for me to do every thing I want. I put all the ideas in my phone so I wont forget and do bits and pieces when I can.

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  2. Hello from Spain: congratulations on the chairs. I love how you were. Black with green color is very elegant. The wonderful work! How fortunate that you do very well. How original the foot of the chairs tip pens. I look forward to all stay over.
    When I buy ‘Barbie want to be clothing designer’ I will tell you about her knees. The other day when I saw her in the store I noticed the body and It is no articulable. It's not like the fashionistas. I do not see if the knees are bent that. It will keep you informed.
    Congratulations about the chairs and keep in touch.

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    1. Hi, Marta. The chairs are certainly a labor of love. I found four more of those pens that I made the chair feet out of so there maybe a matching sofa in the future... once I figure out how to make one. Thanks for agreeing to update me on the Clothing Designer.

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  3. I do understand Muff, I pulled the chairs out to paint two weeks ago!! I finally did them. I do love the chairs and the green works. I'm going to attempt to make two of them--I don't know about eight. Don't worry you know the juices will flow and then it will all come together.

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  4. Hi, Brini. I tried painting one of my Liv furniture pieces once and it was just a mess. Can I ask if you used any kind of special paint or varnish? That contact paper is really cute, but I want my hangout pieces to be more gender nuetral.

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  5. Love your chairs but oh no, another way to use pen tips.I'll never look at pens and pencils in the same way again. Just a thought about the chair backs, would leather or vinyl scraps work? They might be a bit thicker to hide the duct tape ends and more like the look you want.

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  6. Hi and welcome, Christine. ^_^ I do have some vinyl (no leather) but I want to save that for something fancier. Another piece of file folder on top does a good job at not showing impressions of the duct tape lines underneath. I then put the contact paper on top of that. I'd just rather avoid more steps than necessary and only use material I currently have.

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  7. Clever and lovely!

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  8. Wowwwwww!!!! I'm going to copy that great idea! Love those handmade chairs!

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  9. Thanks, Rossetti. Hope you enjoy making your new chair. I look forward to seeing it paired with some of your awesome doll photo shoots.

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  10. First, see this post reminded me that I need to paint my Liv maryjanes! What did you use to do it. I want mine to have a shine too.

    I love, love, love these chairs! I must try this! I too need alot of chairs for different things I want to do. You can spend a ton of money only to find that it's not right. I think making give the chance to tweet it.

    Oh yes, I have quite a few projects that need work. I always have to work my self up to it. I have several chairs that need painting that I started on a month ago. Maybe now that the show is over, I can start.

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  11. Hi Ms. Leo. To paint the Liv shoes I used a Faber Castell artist pen, size B. I'll do up a post to show you some photos of other stuff it works really well on.

    My first attempt at a chair design was probably more ambitious than I was prepared for. This version is fairly simple. I think the key is to have a simple design and you can always bling it up with the materials or colors you choose. If I wanted more permanent chairs I would most definitely use better materials and bond it together with glues not tape.

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  12. Wow, the chairs look great! You really are a creative type, aren't you? xD

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    1. Thanks, Dailey! My creativity comes and goes. It depends more on my level of frustration with what I'm trying to do, lol.

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