My mission: To make Orange Kitty’s set for iSundae. My objective: To create a set that’ll have such a visual impact it’ll knock the socks off of anyone who sees it. Sound easy? Let me walk you through the rather lengthy process.
Step One — Structure
A very big box. I cut two sides off the box, then trimmed them to make the sidewalls, cut a few holes for door, window(s), hallway, revolving fireplace and hey presto! A cardboard box with holes in it. So far so good. Tip when you cut the holes: Keep in mind the size of the set’s occupants. Make things as close to scale as possible.
Step Two — Furniture
The couch came first. A thin cardboard base with, if I remember right, some medium thickness of cardboard too. I taped, cut, and hot-glued away until it presented a fairly good imitation of a couch. Thankfully, we had some old home décor fabric samples. We dug around through the box until we found this great blue. No sooner found, then hacked to pieces and glued to the cardboard frame. The cushions are fabric wrapped around stuffing (polyester, not turkey) and are removable. The pillows are also drapery sample fabric, backed with muslin. I followed the same process with Kitty’s chair, using what I had learned from the couch to make it a little easier.
The grandfather clock is, I think, one of the best pieces in the set. It took a substantial amount of work. You try cutting cardboard in 1/8 of an inch wide sections. It can get a little intense. The chains are actually jewelry-type chains, and the weights are aluminum foil. The pendulum is cardboard, hot glue, and silver paint. It took us awhile before we could find some plastic “glass” to use in the door of the clock. We had to wait until somebody got something packaged in smooth, see-through, non-damaged plastic. You can’t see it in the movie, but the clock hands are fully moveable, aluminum foil spikes.
At one point there was a coffee table, but it looked very cardboardy and was in the way, so we removed it.
Step Three — The Fireplace and Stairs
The fireplace is cardboard (naturally) that we coated with sand and then painted over. If I were to make another one, there are a few technical errors I would take care of. One of them being the thickness of the “brick” on both sides of the fire pit. The mantle was interesting as I had to curve some cardboard to get the shape I wanted. The staircase took a long time. That’s a lot of cardboard to glue together. Plus, I had the built-in bookcase to work around. The railing is cardboard strips ¼ of an inch wide and the banister is two straws wrapped in wood-print paper.
Step Four — Getting Rid of Brown
At this point, we have a nice, brown box with furniture. It works, but I don’t think Kitty would go for a cardboard home, especially when he’s babysitting. First stop, floors. We found some scrapbooking paper at JoAnn Etc., so we grabbed a stack of it and hurried home (after paying for it, of course). I laid the papers out on the floor and lo and behold, a really obvious pattern. Three light planks, three dark planks, three light planks, three dark planks. Hmm. Inspiration! I cut the paper apart into individual planks, grabbed a glue bottle and scissors and set to work. Squirt a pile of Kitty’s set floor, smear it around with a little piece of cardboard, and lay the planks. It took a while, and I got pretty tired of sitting on the floor, but it looks great.
Last stop, walls. Ruth did the walls and wainscot. She’ll tell you about that in another article. I’ll just say that the wainscot took a lot of cutting, and the wallpaper is more scrapbooking paper.
Step Five — Bring a Fish Friend
By this time, we have a nice room, but it’s rather bare. Bring on the wonderful dust-collectors affectionately called knick-knacks! For most of the things we raided Barbieland (which is our town of dollhouses on a level of detail few have achieved). But a few items required work on our part. Namely, the moose head, stuffed fish, and picture over the fireplace. Ruth made the moose head and fish. They turned out great. And Jordan did a little creative work with the Mona Lisa for the picture. Oh, the fireplace screen! Strips of cardboard in 1/8 to ¼ inch pieces, a little tape, and a lot of patience.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Kitty set. And even though nobody’s socks have flown off (that I am aware of) I think it’s still pretty impressive.