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Linda's Doll's House

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The Grotto



The back wall and floor of the grotto - the plaster casts of the rocks set into the surround


The first layer of colour applied to both areas



The development of the floor area - the stream is extended and landscaped


Vegetation is applied to the back wall


The view of the completed back walls seen through the arch


A closer view of the lower waterfall on the back wall


The stream flowing out from the grotto



The grotto unit in place in front of the house


The materials used to construct the grotto are produced by Woodlands Scenics, and supplied by EC Scenics. The products are aimed primarily at railway modellers, but transpose very well to dolls house scenery, and are very easy to use, even for beginners.

The terraces are paved with the same miniature flagstones used in the kitchen and laundry.





I wanted to make most of the furniture myself, and having neither the tools nor the skills to cut timber accurately, I have used kits from various manufacturers. The wood finishing materials supplied by Trent Workshops, especially the wood stains, have proved far superior to any that I have bought from DIY stores and timber merchants. One supposedly top quality stain that I used swelled the grain of drawer pieces to the extent that the finished drawers would not fit into their slots. I had to sand them back to size and re-finish the exteriors.

There is no short cut to obtaining a good finish on wooden furniture. I decided against using varnishes, as the effect is not the aged, used and polished look that I wanted. I have experimented with powered sanders and polishers, but the best results are given by using rags, dusters, and a lot of elbow grease. Before beginning the construction, I sand the pieces to a satin smooth finish using progressively finer grades of sandpaper - usually 180, 240 and 320 grits. 

It is preferable to stain the pieces before gluing together, as stray spots of glue will prevent the stain from penetrating the wood properly, and produce an uncoloured area. I apply one or two coats of stain, depending on the quality of the wood, followed by two or three coats of shellac sanding sealer, and then four or five applications of beeswax polish. Each coat of stain and shellac must be sanded carefully with fine sandpaper before the next stage. This is a lengthy process, as the stain needs six to twelve hours to dry properly, depending on atmospheric conditions, and the shellac sealer needs twenty four hours. Trying to rush the process will result in a patchy and unsatisfactory finish. I have begun to experiment with French Polish, and have been fairly successful, but again I think the trick is to apply many thin layers (I applied seven coats to a wine table, and may well add more) and sand thoroughly between each layer. The results are well worth the time and trouble, and the satisfaction factor is considerable!


This chair kit came from Masterbuilder Miniatures. These kits are laser cut and so are beautifully detailed, but come with a mixture of soot which must be sanded away before assembly.

The component parts of the chair in the state in which they arrive   Chair unassembled


Chair unassembled   All parts are now sanded clean, and the curves have been sanded onto the legs, arms and back rails.


The chair is assembled ready for final treatment.   Chair ready for assembly


  The chair after staining, sealing and polishing.




The library carpet. This is a scaled down replica of a Persian carpet.
It is being worked on 22 ct canvas with two strands 
of embroidery thread



Insert for a pole screen

It is being worked on 54 hpi silk gauze with fine silk thread. 
The entire piece is less than 2 inches square.  
There are nearly 3000 stitches per square inch


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Linda Butt        August 2005