Playing truant



theinfill Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean 1:12 dolls house blog - the infill dolls house blog – owl in the schoolroom beams

Like a kid sulking over not having what it wants, I didn’t work on the middle attic today. The problem with Ms Moody here was I fancied an owl in the schoolroom sitting in the rafters (left-hand front attic) a little like Merlin’s Archimedes (“Once and Future King”).

(Three separate links there, sorry ;) )

Saturday afternoon playing around

The ones I found online and really fancied were beyond my pocket so, instead of putting it out of my head I played hooky today and tried to make my own.

I studied as many pictures as I could find and printed out a few and then took photos of what I was up to until I got so involved in visualising what I was trying to make (and my fingers were sticky as well).  By then I was so carried away so there’s a gap in the photos with only the finished article to see.


Well, apart from busting the rafter set up, and with the luck and ignorance of the beginner bird builder, it’s better than I thought it might be, but I am a little peeved that I didn’t set the wing feathers further back.  The beam I can fix.

Missing info on construction

By the way, the eyes are a couple of bright beads with a sewing pin inserted to hold them in place and the head of the pin felt-tipped black.  (The tail of the pin was cut off as it emerged from the back of the poor owl’s head.)  The min beads and the natural feathers were bought from one of the doll’s house haberdashery websites.

Bed cont: not cardboard box after all


But it’s twisted

Plans for disguise

Hopefully the dressing of the bed will cover up the twisting of the frame, plus it will be viewed side on rather than along its length I think.  Also planning to hang things on bed head and from at least one of the over-sized bun feet ornaments on the bed head.

But first need to push on and deal with the rest of the room.

Drunk on thought


A switch from building to making

So far there’s a bed head

theinfill Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean 1:12 dolls house blog - the infill dolls house blog

Three pieces of moulding shaped for bed head panel

In having a go at the front middle bay of the attic I’ve hit a problem or two getting the look I’d like and, as usual it’s holding me up. I usually brood until a possible way forward hits me between the shoulder blades. So that is what I’ve been doing. Spending a lot of time moving bits of wood around and trying things out so that now I’m more than a little befuddled with thoughts.

I’d been determined not to buy any more furniture at the moment, only raw materials when necessary. This space is a bedroom and the beds I’ve got to hand each overwhelm the space involved.

Under the beam for the slope of the roof

theinfill Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean 1:12 dolls house blog - the infill dolls house blog - large and small bed heads

Bit of a difference in size. On right a small double on left home-made single.

Therefore it’s a bed that I’ve got to make, one way or another.

Now I’ve seen, in a number of historical houses, four posters built into very small spaces, tucked under the rafters and squeezed in between small air hole/window, four walls and an entrance so that there’s barely room to open the door and the troupe of tourists have to shuffle by in ones or peek round the door opening for a sneaky look. But all I’d like to see in this space under construction is a smallish, un-canopied bed fitting within the limited head room under the sloping ceiling and around which a few bits of set dressing can be placed. Not got that bed. Appalling at making furniture.


The gamble is whether I can fix the footboard so that the bed is horizontal and the two ends square to each other. Will it get completed or shall I just use a rectangular box with a footboard stuck on as the rest of the bed and dress it to the ground?  Dunno yet.

And a nibble at the next one


Got held up a little this week due to life and the other things so not a lot to show and tell.

Starting on the next attic bay

theinfill dolls house blog - another cardboard door

Colour shading in pastels on cardboard door number three

theinfill dolls house blog - open cardboard door and view through

Open cardboard door with view through to corridor and steps up to back room.

Card or wood for door?

I’m still trying to find a use for the doors I made four plus years ago when I started out and was too frightened to make anything else.  They are wood and, of their basic kind, they are nice doors but, having already made two card ones for this part of the house, the wood ones look out of place, so it was back to card for the third door and the others go back into storage :(

Wall building from scraps

The wall the new door lives in is 3 mm card but I’ve now got more odd shaped bits than whole sheets and I have been reclaiming some of it.  I’ve found to-date that piecing together bits makes for a surprisingly strong and rigid structure when glued and sandwiched between outer layers.  I use thin card painted the chosen colour as facing on both sides of these ‘jigsaw’ walls and compress them under weights.  It all takes more drying time but I can report that if I have to cut into them when dry I have found them incredibly tough and strong.

I’ll try to put aside the foolish things of life and get down to work to make a better report next time ;)

Attic – one section at a time?


Schoolroom, chimney breast
and The Ambassadors are back

Where better than the schoolroom to put Holbein’s Ambassadors‘ table display (or my version of it) which I chucked out of the Great Hall a couple of years back.


On the left is Jean de Dinteville, aged 29, French ambassador to England in 1533. To the right stands his friend, Georges de Selve, aged 25, bishop of Lavaur, who acted on several occasions as ambassador to the Emperor, the Venetian Republic and the Holy See. (Caption obtained from the National Gallery site – link above)

But first a chimney breast

A gallery of work played around with this week.  Some taking days (fireplace and setting it in amongst the tangle of beams plus the inverted T section cross beams) and others went in place quite quickly (layout generally).  Click on individual images if you want to read the longer captions and access a possibly larger version of any image in the gallery.

 A mix and match across the centuries

with a touch of Edgar Allan Poe

As the two ambassadors have long since died, the year now being 1616, we have not just a memento mori at floor level but an actual skull with a friendly raven perched on top, along with, rather sadly, two skulls on the table top.

The outer wall (left) is a mock up, so if  you think the window perspex is looking bent you’d be right – it’s all a try-out.

I don’t think we’ll have any figures in here, besides one of the boys who should be present is watching the fight in the street through the window down stairs.


Dormer days


Ploughing on

Working on the attic and still doing a bit of pushing onwards here a little bullying into place there with a total refusal to allow for any ‘chickening out’ this time … slowly, slowly … Waiting for each itsy bit to dry before being able to move on again and hoping I don’t forget where we’re going in the meantime.

theinfill dolls house blog - windowed and cilled

Windowed and with squared off cill in place, though some beams don’t seem to meet as nicely as I’d like. The outside is partially dressed up but covered in pegs holding it in till glue dries

Going to continue with this section with the much needed wall below this dormer but may also branch out, as it were, to cover some of the wall below that too.  A change is as good as … ;)

… days later


Winging it

15_3742 dressed doorway

With the trays built and fitted with firm bases, building and sticking down can start.

I left off last time with the first, central ridge about to be measured up and added.

Trying to capture a repeatable process

Because of the gross inaccuracies of my work, I always waste or, more often, damage wood in trying things out. There are times when some items, such as roof beams, need to come in multiples and need to be as simple and easy to make as possible and also be adaptable to any small variations as required. It takes time for me to work out the possibilities and make some sort of decision.

Going with the skeleton

I swear I’ve developed a permanent scowling frown from trying to work out this roofing ;)

Tasting angles and shapes

I tried a triangle along the length to make the ridge point, building a couple of possibilities but neither of them was really satisfactory. In the end, I left the central, squared ridge beam and have cut a shape into the beams that meet it. If it were a real structure the cut profile would seriously compromise the strength of the beams, but as this is a 1:12 skeleton I’m hoping that the whole thing will hold together, even if it means adding the usual sky hooks.


There’s going to be a large number of ridges meeting making many valleys between. If I build the wood framework then it should be easier to give it a more tailored skin covering and will certainly be easier to fake in as I go. (Thank goodness for the final tile layer.)

Working with fixed and moveable

The whole plan of having moveable front sections is only for use in any wiring emergency so as to be able to get to the long runs of wiring. The fun is trying to keep in mind what can be fixed to what, so that I don’t end up tying any part of the ‘moveables’ to the fixed half.

Central fixed dormer

Fantasy planning

Across the back there will be three dormers, two small and one large, all with ridges running from the back to central cross ridge. Left and right house lighting controls and will need some removable area to get at the gubbins underneath. The central, larger one is going to be fixed and its contents displayed via a cunning plan that I’m hatching. (see diagram in above collage)

I’m not at all sure that this is going to work but I do fancy trying it out first before moving on to a more sensible plan.


Whilst mulling over roof beams, angles and slopes, I’ve been dotting about doing other preparation and planning. There’s now a corridor space, a back fixed block with plans and pieces for its roof and some work done on one of the front sections. Walls have been built, floors covered (though one is seriously warped for some reason) and cardboard doors plus surrounds made. The electrics are roughly planned and laid out for the front sections and lights have been added to the back block and the corridor area between. There’s even a figure in the fixed block. The pigeon boy has found new employment as a plasterer.