Tag Archives: Tiny House

Tiny Furniture

Well, you know all about my Tiny Houses. I’ve made a lot of them and I hope to keep on going. I think my interest in creating these structures comes from several sources. I’ve loved houses, house plans, and architecture since I was young. It was a favorite pastime of my family in childhood to tour houses under construction in our neighborhood, which was being built up during the time I was growing up.

In adulthood my husband and I continued this pastime of viewing sample homes, open houses, and the occasional house-in-process.

Along these lines, I also had several dollhouses in my young days, as well as building small villages outside with my sister and friends with scrap wood, under a shade tree to beat the hot summer days. And there were the boats my dad made for us with scrap wood that we sailed in the creek at the end of our yard…and how about all the little cars and the roads we made for them…and the paper dolls and their homes…

I guess I could go on and on. You may be saying, what does any of this have to do with TODAY?

Well, in the Build a Tiny House session I took back in July, I built houses. And then I thought I’d try some furniture. Here are my first attempts from that time in July.

Armchair!

Bed!

Small Chair!

How did I do these? It’s surprisingly easy. I constructed a basic form using thin (think cereal box) cardboard. It was important to take the time to make sure the form was sturdy and could hold up. For the two chairs, I built the forms from individual scraps; for the bed, I cut down a box to make the basic shape and then added the head and footboards.

Then, using the papier mache skills I learned in the Tiny House class (look here for a description) I covered the framework and built up the forms.

Once they had dried (about 2-3 days) I painted them with acrylics, acrylic markers, and India ink.

Wow! What a lot of fun! I will be making more furniture.

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Here is the armchair in the attic of Tiny House 9.

Here are the bed and chair relaxing together.

Tiny Houses 10, 11, and 12

Here are more Tiny Houses made while I was taking another session of Build a Tiny House at the Smithsonian in July, 2022.

The three are the smallest houses I have yet made. And they are done a little differently. Let me tell you how.

All my previous houses have been based on a cardboard box form with surface decoration added. I kind of did my own thing, following what came easiest to me. During the class, however, our instructor Marcie Wolf-Hubbard used a method that involved covering the house with papier mâché. At the time of the first class I took, my eyesight was impaired and I didn’t have the patience to take in the information. And, it didn’t really matter, as the idea was to work with your own skills as you liked.

In this class, though, I wanted to try the method. So, I started small. I used cardboard boxes of the type teabags come in (think Yogi Ginger tea, for instance). I took off the lid and used it to create a floor, resulting in a simple two-story interior.

Here are the houses I made, and then I’ll tell you more about how I created them. Here is a view of their interiors.

And here are the houses from the back.

Here are views of Tiny House 10:

Here are views of Tiny House 11:

And here is Tiny House 12.

In constructing these houses, it’s first necessary to put together the structure. It needs to be sturdy enough to take the wet paper mâché, but it doesn’t have to look great. When I make houses in my other style, I have to make sure that tape and other construction items can be integrated into the decoration techniques. In these houses I am discussing here, all these things will be covered up.

Next step is to get the materials together for the papier mâché. I used newspaper and magazines, and my glue was something I first tried out in making paste papers (look here for a post where I discuss this process), Elmer’s Art Paste.

Our instructor uses the traditional flour and water paste, but I had a quantity of this art paste already made up, and I thought I’d try it. I was pleased with the results and intend to continue using it in the future.

Well, all you do then is dip your paper into the paste and apply it to the house. You can lay it on flat or you can crumple and squish it to build up wrinkles or relief area. The house does become quite wet, and I needed to be careful to support it at time or let it dry a bit (that is where working on more than one house at a time helps out, I could skip around).

I covered every surface, finding that the wet gluey paper slid on very easily and could be maneuvered around corners and into crannies as needed. Once I was finished, I let the houses dry for about three days. They were significantly stronger than the cardboard boxes that they’d started out as and were ready for paint.

I painted directly on to the surface but many people gesso first, to even out the surface and reduce show-through of the papers.

I also could have applied decorative or painted papers to my house in the papier mâché process and skipped or reduced the painting part, if I had papers I felt would do the job.

OK! That’s where we are. I really enjoyed using this technique and I am full of ideas of ways to use it. Thank you to our teacher Marcie Wolf-Hubbard and to my classmates for a great experience.

Tiny House 9

Yes, another tiny house! I took another session of Build a Tiny House at the Smithsonian in July, 2022. Here is one of the houses I made.

It is larger than any other Tiny House I have made at about 15″. This is because I used a larger cardboard box as my base for the house. I can see that having more room to work with of course gives me more scope for architectural details and for decoration. And it makes me wonder about making even bigger, more elaborate ones…

I covered the box with black gesso and then used acrylic paints, markers, and collage for the surface decoration. Here are front and back views:

As you can see, it even has some stairs! (Not that they go anywhere, I just liked the idea of having stairs and I wanted to try out the techniques).

Here are more exterior views:

Here are some details from the exterior:

And details of the interior.

There you have it. Tiny House 9! Thank you to our instructor, Marcie Wolf-Hubbard, and classmates for a lot of fun.

Tiny House 8

You’ve seen the Tiny House I made for my friend Diane (Tiny House 6) and the one I made for her grandson (Tiny House 7). Now, here is Tiny House 8, made for Diane’s sister Lynne.

Lynne and I live many miles apart (think Pennsylvania and South Dakota) and we have never met in person. But…we both share an interest in dollhouses, something we found out when Diane invited her to the Zoom “reception” my Tiny House Class had online back in the winter. We began a correspondence based on our mutual interests and things went on from there.

So, I made her a house and sent it to her, as a surprise. Diane had showed her the one I made for her when Lynne made a visit east, and told me she liked it. It seemed natural to create one for her, so I did, and sent it as a surprise.

It arrived at Lynne’s house and coincidentally Lynne called Diane to tell her that the Tiny House had arrived as Diane and I were talking on a Zoom chat. We all marveled at how this circle had expanded to include us all.

All right. Let’s see the Tiny House 8. Here is the front.

Here is the interior/back.

Here’s a view of the back yard:

Here are some side and exterior views.

Here is another view of the interior:

Here are some other details:

So, that’s Tiny House 8. And a village made for friends has been created!

Tiny House 4

You may remember back in the fall I took an online class on making Tiny Houses. I wrote about that experience in a series of posts which also showed you the houses I made back then.

And you may also remember the little people figures I made out of eyedrops vials.

I have given these figures to people, with a cohort going to some nearby friends. For Christmas, I made a Tiny House for these little figures and gave it as a gift to these friends. Now I will show it to you.

It’s made of two boxes, one stacked on the other. It’s much smaller than the earlier Tiny Houses, only about 6″ tall, so that it could better fit the scale of the little people. Take a look.

Front and back:

I extended and reinforced the lid of the box so that it would be stiff and provide a nice wide base to make the house more stable. I put a garden scene on it because the recipients are avid gardeners.

There are three rooms in the house:

Now I’ll show you random details of the house. As you can see, I really enjoy embellishing all surfaces.

I’m going to say it again. Making a Tiny House is a lot of fun.