Beacon Hill: Left Side–Chandelier

I have chandelier!

I made this myself with findings from JAR / JAF and Cirkit candle holders and bulbs. It was a challenge!

Can’t remember if I showed the garage light, but here it is. (I purchased this one.)

I had to dial way back on minis to finish writing a book and turn it in, but I’ve returned to finishing the Beacon Hill.

Not much left! I need to make a chandelier for the middle floor room on this side, then put in floors, trim it up, and I’m done!

I’m gathering my thoughts on making this big house and I’ll do a tips / lessons learned post on it later.

Beacon Hill: Third Floor and Roof Prep

Building a dollhouse, like writing a book, involves lots of little decisions. To move forward, I need to put the roof on, but before I do that, I want to wire sconces in the third-floor room. Before I do that, I need to wallpaper that room, but I also need to figure out where the fireplace goes because I don’t want wallpaper there.

I skipped all the way to the end of the instructions (no!) to figure out the third-floor fireplace. Because it’s built in, there is only the trim and two pieces for the mantel. The piece with the long tab goes into the slot.

This helps me figure out where I want the wallpaper to stop–the fireplace will be a painted panel all the way to the ceiling, and the rest of the walls papered.


I’ve painted and glued the mansard roof support base to the outside of the walls and temporarily set in the roof supports. As you can see I’ve also started to paint the outside walls of the lower floors. The color might be too dark green for me, but I’ll see how it turns out.

Beginning the sconces. These will have dangles on them–it took me an entire episode of Outlander to make six of the nine dangly bits for one sconce! The pliers weren’t cooperating.

I guess it will take me another two episodes to finish both sconces. Fortunately I’m only on season one.

I’ll wallpaper and fix up the fireplace, install the sconces, and move on to the roof.

Beacon Hill: Trimming interior and building outer wall.

I did go back to the Beacon Hill and finish trimming the last room on the top floor, and the secret tower room.

This space will continue the bedroom–be a sitting area.

I had to do a ton of trimming here: Around the corners of the tower ceiling, the corners of the back wall, plus picture rail-like trim to cover slots, the raw edge of the divider wall, plus the usual baseboards and cornices.

This photo shows more how it will be one big room.

I trimmed up the tower room as well, including the window–which the kit has no interior trim for as this room is not supposed to be seen from the inside. The floor is scrapbooking paper–I was feeling whimsical. Maybe it’s an interesting floor cloth. I’ll do more with this room later.

All right–now that the interior is trimmed, time to build the outer wall for the side I cut away and trim the exterior.

I realized that before I could build the wall, I needed to build another wall sconce. The rear of the front hall is dark (chandelier is pretty but doesn’t generate much light). I need a matching one to the first one I built.

Out came my findings and paint. This sconce will go with the chandelier and other sconce already done. Painting the finding.

Gluing together the back, mirror, and arm with candle socket.

Finished sconce (which does light–I checked!)

The base wall. From this I will build a two-story bay window. The sconce had to be installed before the wall went up.

The base wall glued in place. Now I need to build the floors, sides, roof, and outer wall that will hold the windows.

By the way, I did finish the Creekside Studio, one of my interim projects. I’ll post those photos in the next post.

Beacon Hill: More Light Fixtures and Top

Gradually moving on with the Beacon Hill.


The beginning of a new chandelier. I need to make 24 of the little dangly things, eight on each candle holder.


The most invaluable tools when making light fixtures: Needlepoint tweeters, round-nosed pliers, and forceps. The iced tea is essential as well.


While glue dries on the fixture, I put the roof onto the house to see where I’ll need to cut it for my adventure in dividing the house in two. I didn’t want to take off too much.


Looks like I’ll cut it right there. Time to bring out my trusty table saw.


Next stage of the chandelier.


Adding the candle sockets and bulbs (Cir-Kit sells the candle sockets; HBS sells the bi-pin bulbs).


Chandelier done with the bottom parts glued in place.


Wiring the chandelier through the ceiling.


I had originally intended for this chandelier to go in the second floor stairwell, but it looks better in the bathroom–goes with the wallpaper. I’ll make something a little more rustic for the hall. This is going to be one wild bathroom.


The test–it lights! Yay! I never thought I’d be able to make my own lights, and they’d turn out so pretty. Who knew?

I have more beads and also some old, broken lights from when I gutted The Big House. I’m looking at those old lights and thinking “spare parts.” I’m going to take those spare parts, play with new jewelry findings, and see what I can come up with. Maybe a mess! But it’s fun to play.

While I’m making light fixtures, I’m going to start painting the outside of the house. In the instructions for the Beacon Hill, the porch is next on the agenda. I need the base of the house painted before I glue on porch railings.

I’ll keep working!


Beacon Hill: Electricity and Making my Own Lighting Fixtures

I realized I needed to stop and plan the electricity before I finished the staircases (with railings and posts), because:

I want to do chandeliers

Chandelier wires will run up to the floor above

I need to have the wiring in place before I can put the flooring in

I need to put the flooring in before I can finish the staircases.

I had the mad idea to make my own lighting fixtures for this house, which turned out much better than I expected! (photos below)

So, here we go. I decided to do tape wiring–I will do mostly ceiling lights, so tape will go on the floors, where it will be hidden by flooring (which I won’t glue all the way down so it can be removed for repairs)

I pondered a long time how to run the tape, considering I had already finished some of the walls.

I hit on building a small wall in the back and running the tape up the inside of that, hidden from all eyes.


A 1-inch by 1/8-inch wood strip. The strip not only hides the tape but the raw edges of the interior walls.


Tape runs up the inside of the board, which will later be painted.


Comes out on the floors.


This is as far as I’ve gone–floor of the third story. When I get more walls and the roof on, I’ll continue. You’ll notice my messy folds. I prefer to fold rather than splice, because splices can come undone. I learned to do this from the book: Dollhouse Lighting: Electrification in Miniature (

Now: The lighting fixtures.


Here are some of my supplies. I had to go buy a storage box at a craft store for these along with what I already have.


I had in mind to make a “porcelain” chandelier using instructions found in the book “Bangles, Baubles, and Beads,” sold by JAR / JAF Miniatures (click on “Books” ; they also have the electrification book)


Findings being glued on the main chandelier wheel. This will be electrified, but by a single bulb while the candles are faked.


The basic chandelier put together.


A glossy white coat transforms it.


Next, I painted the leaves with Kelly green tube acrylic paint (Liquitex).


I wasn’t certain of the color for the roses until I put it on, but I like it! The pink is also Liquitex tube acrylic paint (found in the artists section of craft stores or art supply stores). The color for roses and leaves is dry-brushed on very carefully. No globs!


The finished chandelier (except for the candles)


It lights! (Getting the wires through the medallion and the upper floor involved a bit of colorful language. Even the cats ran.)


I’ve added the candles.

Now–this chandelier doesn’t give out much light, because the bulb glows through the bottom finding. Looks pretty, but not much illumination.


So I said, What the heck? Let’s add a sconce. I have the findings on hand.


This is a modification of a sconce in JAR / JAF’s book–I didn’t have the exact findings, but these were very close. The candle light socket and flame bulb can be purchased inexpensively from CirKit Concepts (  Click “Light bulbs”)


I stuck it here on the wall by the turn of the stairs. It will be hard to see once all the walls are on, but it will light up the corner.




Both lamps in place.


Another shot of the lights.

Yay! Now that those problems are solved (and I’ve stopped cursing), I will now put in the flooring! So I can finish the stairs and stop obsessing about them.


Easy Quarter-inch scale lamps

I’ve been enjoying learning to make 1″ scale lamps, and I’m finding the techniques easy to translate to other scales. It’s tough to find lamps in 1/4″ scale. By making my own I can design them to my specifications.

And they’re easy! Because quarter scale is so small, there aren’t a lot of parts involved. What you do need are good tweezers. I have two that I swear by:

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1) A set that you squeeze to open and holds things when you let go (I’m sure there’s a name for this tool)

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2) Fine-pointed tweezers that will pick up the tiniest beads.

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I bought each of these at our local annual miniature show, but small tool places like Micromark and JAR-JAF miniatures should have something similar.

The other thing you need is good glue. JAR-JAF recommends jewelers cement. I don’t have that and make do with crazy glue (the bottle with the brush in the lid) and the Ultimate glue.

Beads and Jewelry Findings:

JAR-JAF has a huge selection of findings and beads–you can download their catalog from their site and browse all the fun shapes they sell. Nothing has to be expensive; e.g., you can get a dozen of whatever for $1.25.

Jewelry-making aisles of hobby stores will have a ton of stuff, and if you’re lucky enough to have a bead store nearby, that’s great too!

I’ll show you how I did a couple of lamps, just by looking at beads and things and putting them together.

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Here’s supplies for lamp #1. The blue beads are from a hobby store. The finding for the lamp base is from JAR-JAF, # 677. The lamp shade is #1302. The pin is #688 (a blunt end pin). The tiny gold beads are #711 as you can see.

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Build the lamp from the base upward, using the pin to hold everything as it’s glued. Only small drops of glue (the Ultimate or crazy [super] glue or a mixture of both) are needed.

I wanted a small lamp for a bedside table, so I stacked beads until it was about 1/4″ high. I glued the shade on the top. I added the top greenish bead as a finial, but it’s really too big, so I did not put on anything after the shade in my other lamps.

Clip the pin that sticks out above the shade with nail clippers or wire clippers (cut into a wastepaper basket because the pins will fly).

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The resulting lamp. This one is not electrified, but with LEDs being so tiny now, you could carefully remove the pin and run wires down the shaft (once the glue is completely dried). Lighting Bug sells an LED kit with a transformer and battery box for smaller scales. They also sell the LED bulbs with wires separately, as does JAR-JAF.

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For now, I’m doing non-electrified lamps.

For this lamp, I used the clear little tubes, #1515, from JAR-JAF. These are mostly used to make lusters for 1″ scale chandeliers and sconces, but I thought “Hey, quarter-inch lamp body.”

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The finished lamp on display. This was nothing more than base, clear tube, crystal bead, lampshade (again #1302), built up on a pin. I found I needed to have the bead on top of the clear tube to give a more stable base for the lampshade.

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Another lamp with dark blue tubes I found at the beading/jewelry aisle of hobby stores. Again, I don’t think the top gold bead is needed. It’s too big in proportion to the rest.

Since doing these with findings I had on hand (leftover from 1″ projects I’d completed), I browsed through the JAR-JAF catalog for more 1/4″ scale-looking findings.

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I came across more possibilities for lamp shades: #1316 and #814, plus the gold tubes (#1399). They also have a kit for a 1/4″ torchere lamp with the light included for $7.

I highly recommend the book “Bangles, Baubles, and Beads,” from JAR-JAF, which has instructions for many lamps, some incredibly easy (some more involved). They have instructions for a couple of 1/4″ chandeliers, sconces, and accessories.

The trouble is, it’s addicting. Pretty soon I had to have a way to keep things organized. This is only one of my trays:

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These are quick and easy projects–what takes the most time is waiting for the glue to dry!

Easy Quarter-Inch scale accessories–Sparrow Cottage

I went back to the Sparrow Cottage I put together earlier this year, ready to furnish and decorate. First a tour, then I’ll talk about how I made some things.

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My story for this house is that it belongs to a widow, who uses it as a summer retreat. I picture it on a rugged piece of coast in northern California, Oregon, or Washington. It’s a cool spot by the ocean, where she can enjoy solitude or the horde of children and grandchildren who come to visit.

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She collects novelty china, and enjoys baking in the kitchen.

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With space at a premium, my lady decided that it was more important to have a dining area to feed her friends and family than a sitting room. Meals take precedence.

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There is a nook for reading and relaxing near the stairs.

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A big bathroom with a large tub and plenty of towels.

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A warm comfy bed in the attic bedroom, plus another area for reading.

Furniture and Accessories

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I started out with the bathroom set I’d bought at a show about five years ago.

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Dug into the box of quarter inch kits I’ve stashed, and figured out what furniture would best fit this house. I acquired all these kits from The Quarter Source, Karen Carey, Suzanne and Andrew’s minis, Robin Betterley, BySharon, and bits and pieces found at shows and elsewhere.

Quarter-inch furniture is usually inexpensive and easy to build–few pieces, though they are tiny!

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I made the table here from scratch (accessories from various places). The top is 1/32″ thick wood (I had mahogany), covered with a piece of scrapbook paper decopaged on. (Glue paper to top, finish with a gloss varnish like Delta Ceramcoat). The bottom is a block of 1/16″ thick wood, legs are 1/16″ square. I used hardwood (walnut), instead of basswood, because I wanted the table to be sturdy. A good hobby store has hardwood strips, as does MicroMark online.

For these accessories: The pie making setup is from Desert Mini Makers (a fabulous source for 1/4″ food), mixing bowl was $1 or so from Pierce miniatures, toaster from Debbie Young (Young at Heart), canister from Debbie Young with decals found at Miniature Luxuries.

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The great thing about 1/4″ accessories is they’re fairly cheap. $20 will give you enough accessories for a room or two.
I do also like making my own. I made the lamp, vase of flowers, and row of books. I’ll do a lamp tutorial in the next post.

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Plant is from kit, lamp by me, pillow a kit from The Quarter Source. The rocking chair is cast iron, made by Pierre Luigi. He does beautiful work (beds, chairs, tables, baking racks, fireplace accessories, plates, and other things), and it’s very affordable! Suzanne and Andrew’s minis carries these pieces.

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The all-important toilet paper. Easy to make. Take a strip of 1/8″ white quilling paper (found at hobby stores or online), use either a quilling tool or a darning needle with the top of the head clipped off, and roll the paper in to a tight roll. Use a tiny jump ring as the toilet paper holder. I made three for this bathroom–one for the holder and two spares to sit on a shelf.

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The toilet paper in place.

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Towels. Method one makes folded towels for shelves or counters. Using a tiny amount of glue in the folds, fold a strip of thin fabric (very thin cotton or silk works well) lengthwise into thirds. The resulting long strip should be about 1/8″ wide. Crease and press with fingers to get the strip tight and creased.

Fold the top of the strip over on itself crosswise (gluing and creasing with fingers), creating a square about 1/8 x 3/16 or 1/4 or thereabouts. Snip off. Make several, then stack on top of each other, holding them in place with drops of glue.

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Here’s my stack of towels plus the toilet paper in its shelf. The bottles are from a plastic kit from Suzanne and Andrew’s minis; the gold jar is a bead with a tiny crystal bead on top (glued with superglue).

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Towels 2: You can see I’ve done another towel in a ring by the sink. That towel is a strip of fabric folded into thirds lengthwise (glued and pressed), then cut to length. I eyeballed it, but it’s about 3/4″. Thread through a jump ring and glue to wall.

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An iron bed by Pierre Luigi. I bought a single bed and a double–this house had just enough room for the single.

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I kept the bed dressing simple so I didn’t hide the nice bedframe. The mattress is a thin cotton over a 1/4″ thick piece of foam rubber. I bought the quilt for $5 from The Quarter Source (huge selection–any kind of quilt you could want). I finished it with pillows from The Quarter Source–pillow kits match the quilts. (Kits in progress at the bottom of the picture).

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Finished bed in the bedroom.

Other easy finishing touches:
Things that make a house look lived-in: Plants / flower arrangements, pillows, throws, and pictures.

Vases of flowers: Use a bead or jewelry finding for the vase. Glue in clumpy greenery from railroad modeling landscape material (hobby stores or MicroMark). For flowers, either dry brush tiny dabs of bright blue, red, yellow, pink, on the greenery or punch out tiny paper flowers with a paper punch (or use what comes in mini flower kits where the flowers have been pre-punched). Use a ball stylus or round-headed pin to cup the flowers (put flowers on a folded pillowcase or mouse pad and roll stylus once or twice around the petals). Glue cupped petals to the greenery. Keep in mind that for 1/4″ the flowers must be tiny!

Row of books: Glue a photo of row of books (reduced to 1/8″ on computer) across a 1/8″ square strip of wood cut to length. Score the top and back of the wood with a knife to simulate gaps between the books, shade the scoring with a very fine lead pencil.

Pictures: Computers make it easy for us to have all the pictures we want in our dollhouses. I search for classic paintings or take my own photos and reduce them on my computer. I print right on cardstock with a color printer. Frame with very thin molding or stripwood cut to size (Hobby Builder Supply and any dollhouse shop are good sources for picture frame) moldings.

Throws: Chairs look extra cozy with a throw. Use a thin fabric such as very thin cotton or silk–if it has a pattern, make sure it’s tiny. Cut a strip longer than it is wide. Play with folding and scrunching it over a chair, then glue in place when you have something you like.

Accessories made by others are very affordable. The best for accessories are Suzanne and Andrew’s minis, Robin Betterley, Debbie Young, and Desert Mini Makers. All are listed in my sidebar of links. Browse The Quarter Source and Karen Carey as well (I purchase a lot of furniture kits and building supplies from them). Miniature Luxuries is a good source for tiny decals, ribbon, and fabric.

I discovered how to make easy quarter-inch scale lamps, and was going to do a tutorial here, but this is getting long, so I’ll save I for another post.

I have much more to do I this house (rugs and pictures mostly), but this is a good resting point.

Big House–Jewelry Findings–a dangerous obsession!

I found a new obsession–making minis from jewelry findings. I bought the book put out by JAR-JAF miniatures, and had to try my hand.

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I had way too much fun choosing a project and picking out the findings for it. This Regency sconce didn’t have too many parts, so I began with it. I made two, which will go in the Big House game room on the top floor. Fun!

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This lights, it really does. Now I want to make more! And try something more complicated. See? Dangerous.

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Another project was a compact and lipstick. I had the tray in my extras boxes–made the two lipsticks out of the findings from JAR-JAF, with tiny red stones left over from another project. The compact opens and displays a mirror and powder puff. The little jar with a blue stone was an accident. I’d broken the finding trying to make it into the lipstick. I stuck a tiny blue stone on the top, and decided it could be a rogue pot.

The hexagonal box is from a kit by Lisa Engler (the rest of this neat little kit is shown in closeup in this post).

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Panning back, this is the dressing table I’ve put together for the bedroom of the Big House. I wish I could claim to have made this wonderful perfume and lotions tray, but I bought it from Mountain Miniatures. The gloves are a kit I put together, bought from Dragonfly International. The fan and comb-brush-mirror set I’ve had for so long I have no clue where I got them.

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Backing up to show the whole dressing table.

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The dressing table in place in the bedroom, which is still a work in progress.

I had to go out and buy two storage boxes for the findings, because of course I bought more for more projects. I’ve already made a desk set and candlesticks, which I’ll share when I have the desk vignette I’m working on done. I have my eye on building a big, multi-armed, many dangly bits chandelier…. Stop me!