Dollhouse Decorating

Miniature Decorating Ideas |Articles on decorating dollhouses and the history of this artform

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I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 17 February, 2016

spring-cleaning-Queen-Marys-dolls-house-library

The library of Queen Mary’s Doll’s house, found on Royal Collection Trust

Spring Cleaning

It may be a bit early to think about spring cleaning where you are, but here in Florida, it’s time to look closely at the dusty dollhouses. There are links here to 3 famous ones, to see how curators handle the projects.

There is also an interesting factoid about mice at the end of this post.

bostyk-dollhouse-cleaning

The Bostyk Dolls House at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia

Best Practices

Following is a “best practices” list about cleaning miniatures. If you have any other helpful hints, please put them in the Comment field.

Wear white gloves when handling the larger pieces of furniture to ensure no accidental damage is done. For the tiny items, we don’t wear gloves. The odds of small things slipping out of your hands and being lost or broken is too great

Rugs and carpets be vacuumed with a gauze over the top, to stop any loose threads being sucked in

Be incredibly gently. Small parts and fragile designs can easily nap or break, especially wooden pieces that have some age on them.

Dust is the major concern when cleaning dollhouse furniture. Curators dust dollhouses every week to ten days.

When cleaning your dollhouse furniture, it is recommended to simply use a damp cloth. Wipe off any excess water afterward.

Avoid using a spray or a stain, as this will make a mess and could stain the fabric areas of the furniture. However, if the furniture is a solid piece of material you could consider using a cleaning spray.

To clean the inside of the rooms of your dollhouse, you can use a vacuum extension. Make sure that you remove all of the furniture and accessories first, so that they don’t accidentally get sucked into the vacuum cleaner.

You can use a compressed air canister, like the ones designed to clean a computer keyboard. This will allow you to blow out most of the dust without disturbing your dolls house miniatures.

Nostell-Dolls-House spring-cleaning

Nostell Dolls House spring cleaning

You could also try using a makeup brush to dust the furniture and the other small items within the dollhouse.

It can be a good idea to sometimes rearrange your dollhouse furniture. This gives your dollhouse a fresh look and it also prevents dust from concentrating in the same area every time.

While you have taken all of the furniture out for cleaning, you might want to take the opportunity to touch up the paint on the walls or fix any imperfections in the wallpaper.

Use the lens cleaning cloth from a pair of glasses to wipe down some of the larger pieces of furniture.

Some dollhouse miniature collectors like to cover the open side of the house with Plexiglass, which prevents dust from getting in and means that you won’t have to clean your furniture as often.

Tudor dollhouse at the P. Buckley Moss Museum , Waynesboro, Virginia

Tudor dollhouse at the P. Buckley Moss Museum , Waynesboro, Virginia

About Those Mice

Ellie Matthews, conservation assistant at Nostell Priory, says: “One quirky feature that we have is a very tiny replica mouse which lives in the doll’s house. Its location changes every year, and children enjoy spying out where it lives.”

Not that it’s a competition, but the P. Buckley Moss Museum in Waynesboro, Virginia has a Tudor dollhouse “under the stairs” with any number of miniature mice. The game is for children to see how many they can find.

 

I look for any excuse to show an Ileana Ottini video. Here’s her wonderful Queen Mary’s Dolls House.

 

Susan

Posted by Susan Downing


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