Friday, October 30, 2009

"Ultra-modern furniture" to make

I'm visiting my mother at the moment, where some of our childhood books are still stored. Among them is McCall's Golden Do-It Book - Things to make and do for boys and girls from 6 to 14, sent to my sister and me by my grandmother (the dolls house collecting one). It was first published in 1966, as you can probably tell from the colours!
I don't think we ever made this furniture, but here are settings for three kinds of living room. The book helpfully suggests that, after making these, "you may go on to redecorate the whole house." I'm not sure how making sofas and chairs is supposed to give you ideas for sinks and stoves and other kitchen and bathroom furniture, though!

The first is a "Conversation Corner":

The chairs are made from sponges, with hairpin legs. The lampshade is the cap from a tube of toothpaste, and the ashtray on the table is a button with raised edges. The floor vase is a nail polish bottle, and the rug is made of felt and rickrack. Here is the list of materials:

The other room settings are a formal living room:

and a family room:

I like the idea of making magazines from small pieces cut from the covers of old magazines. Although I've made magazines by printing scanned images, using pieces of old paper with the genuine colours and glossiness would be good too.

The colours in these illustrations are typical of the whole book, and of the period. Most projects are illustrated with drawings, as these are, by illustrator William Dugan. Our copy of the book is, I think, adapted for English publication, and has a publisher's address of 'Hamlyn House, Feltham, Middlesex'. It was, however, printed in Czechoslovakia, which intrigues me - perhaps that was cheaper than printing in England for a book with colour illustrations on every page.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Rebecca :-)

    This is lovely, its given me a couple of ideas especially the lamp shade! and the magazine idea will save me coloured ink on printing :-)

  2. Oh Rebecca, I love those pictures, thank you so much for sharing. The lampshade is a toothpaste-cap - how wonderful. in a very old advertisement there was a saying: times changes, the good things stay. It's so true!
    I have a lot of sponges for cleaning the kitchen in "girls" colours. perhaps I will try to make a chair. I have a lot of hairneedles too, I will give them a chance!
    I hope you have a wonderful time with your mother, Rebecca, see you soon.

  3. What a lovely and fun book! Love the colours and drawings, and I like it even better since it was from 1966, the year I was born :-) Seems there is quite a lot of nice ideas there too! This brings back old memories, when I was a child I used buttons as pillows and plates, and toothpaste caps makes nice pots for plants. My first mini magazines was infact cut outs from magazines (minis of the front pages) and I have also made newspapers from small facsimiles. For a long time I meant that scaling down and printing pictures and labels was kind of cheating, (I don't really like limitless possibilities, that's partly why I prefer the 1:16th scale too :-)), but now I love going through my art books when I need new pictures.

  4. How neat that a grandmother who collected dolls houses would send her granddaughters a book on making dolls house furniture!

    Rebecca, I think you should create the conversation corner and share it with us on your blog....are hairpins still available??

    Now, I've made the motion, does anyone second it? :)

  5. I agree, I'm dying to see a sponge sofa now. I think it could be fantastic. Now I wish I wasn't down to my last sponge! LOL

  6. LOL! I think I was hoping that one of you might make them and post pictures ;^) but how about we all make sponge chairs and sofas and compare them? I do have hairpins, and I think you can still buy them in different colours (well, black and brown, anyway). The toothpaste I buy has a flip top cap, though, not a screw cap - might have to change my brand!!