Monday, June 4, 2012

Make your own 1970s chairs

I did buy a few other things at the fair - a book and a couple of magazines. The book was from the stand next to Anna-Maria's, and when I showed Anna-Maria the pictures, she said, "Why didn't I think of that!? Will you scan the pages?"
So here they are - with all the colour illustrations, because I love seeing how 70s style was represented here!

The book is called How to Decorate a doll's house, by Eve Barwell, published by Studio Vista in 1975 (ISBN 0289 70509 6). The 70s was when dolls houses and miniatures really took off as an adult hobby, but this book was written for children (as was the rest of the Studio Vista How To series - How to Amuse yourself on a journey, How to Disguise yourself, How to Mend your bike, How to Start using tools, etc ).

The introduction does explain about scales, particularly 1 inch to one foot and 3/4 inch to one foot, and recommends sticking to whichever scale you choose. It doesn't give measurements in the directions for making furniture, but suggests using the furniture in your own home to check the right size for your doll's house.

A lot of tips are given about how to decorate the house, based on who will be using the room, when and how often ...

The first room that visitors see is the hall, so it must be welcoming. However, it's a room where no-one spends much time, so the colours can be strong and dramatic:

An elegant, clean and bright hall, with its purple carpet and vase of red flowers giving a splash of colour ... (I have mentioned before the house which we rented in 1978, which had purple carpets and red curtains - or was it the other way around? - in rooms in which we spent a great deal of time. Clearly the decorators had not read this book.)

Postage stamps are one suggestion for pictures - an idea I have used myself (for example, here and here, although they would look better hung!!) - but personally, I prefer pictorial subjects to Willy Brandt and the Queen ...

The living room, of course, is where people spend a lot of time, and because of this it needs restful colours such as blue, brown or beige ...

Hello, Mr and Mrs Dol-toi!

This living room is decorated in beige and brown with splashes of contrasting green; orange or yellow would also have contrasted well ... A brown carpet and beige curtains would have worked just as well as a beige carpet and brown curtains, but not brown carpet and brown curtains - that would make the room seem dark and small (!).

Here are the instructions for making the living room chairs - of cardboard covered with fabric on both sides, with either pipecleaners or cardboard cut-out rectangles for the arms and legs:

For extra chairs in the living room, take some cardboard packaging (the kind which used to be used round fruit; is it still??) and make bucket chairs:

The colour scheme for the kitchen is yellow and orange, with a red Venetian blind - bright, warm colours making the room seem sunny and gay:

The cupboards and fitments are white, to make them look extra clean and bright - but the floor is patterned, as a plain colour would soon look dirty.

Here are the instructions for making this bright, white kitchen table and chairs - from polystyrene trays and cocktail sticks:

A pretty and restful colour scheme for the parents' bedroom:

and bright, primary colours for the children's bedroom / playroom:

Master and Miss Dol-toi happily playing in their bedroom


  1. Hi Rebecca, I enjoyed reading about this book so much that I started to look for a copy for myself. I really found an affordable one in a british second-hand bookstore and I'm looking forward to the delivery.
    Thanks for the great pics!

  2. Thank you, Lilli, that's great! I'm glad you were able to find one so quickly - perhaps you'll show us if you make anything from it?

  3. Hmm must look on Amazon. Way groovey, Rebecca! Great find! Carol M

    1. I've seen some since on ebay too, CM - happy hunting, and happy making!

  4. Hello Rebecca, I love your blog, and I am going to try my hand at this furniture! On another note, you have won a give away on my blog, please let me know what items you would like. ( Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Neen - I look forward to seeing the furniture you make!
      Wow, that's really exciting, thank you!!! I'll visit your blog again and email you :-D

  5. This brought back a lot of memories for me as crafts were very popular in the 70s with stay-at-home way of getting away from little ones for a few hours by taking craft classes! Still some good ideas in this mag after 40 years...

  6. Hello from Spain: I just discovered your blog thanks to LUIJUAS Y CIA. I have also several dollhouses. I make dioramas in a blog. I invite you to visit: I love decorating the houses. If you want to keep in touch from blog to blog. I really like your creative ideas. Your magazine is gorgeous. Keep in touch