Creating 1/4 scale flooring for $4

After going round in circles for while figuring out how to make a realistic-looking treehouse floor, I finally stumbled on something that seems to be working.

For something to work for me, it needs to be:

  • Easy
  • Cheap
  • Realistic-looking

I’d dismissed the stick-on parquet tiles, because I doubted the girls would install parquet floors in the treehouse, but once I found a grey, weathered parquet floor, I realized I could change it into weathered boards with a few snips.

Here’s part of a vinyl parquet floor tile I picked up at Home Depot for $0.89.

It doesn’t look right in scale as it is, but you can easily cut along the lines using pruning shears (my cutting tool of choice).

And then clean up along the edges using a utility blade.

And then lay out the individual pieces on a solid piece of wood.

And it looks like some old planks of weathered wood that the girls might have found.

Here’s Olive working on laying out the floor.

And here she is relaxing (in a way cool $10 chair from WalMart on top of a $1 placemat from Goodwill)

Covering the whole 21 x 21″ piece took four pieces of parquet flooring, so about $4 altogether.

For 1/6 scale dolls, I recommend the vinyl oak parquet flooring tiles. Here’s one in red oak next to the tile I used:

The wood pieces are much smaller, and the less weathered look is more appropriate for indoor flooring.

I’m really happy with my solution, and I think I’ll start using the 1/6 scale flooring to create some of my second draft rooms for the Mia Fiorello girls.

From each according to their abilities

My fashion dolls all have pretty similar posing abilities. The two dolls on the Barbie Made-to-Move bodies (Lily and Daisy) are easier to pose than the two dolls on Obitsu bodies (Camellia and Rosie), but they all pose in pretty similar ways. That means that, when I sketch out a plot, I’m not figuring out who will star in a role based on posing ability.

Not so my ball-joint dolls. Working on the treehouse with the three sisters, I’m finding that I have to re-write the episode based on who can do what, instead of based on the characters themselves.

Specifically, there’s some sawing to do in order to start building the treehouse. Willow (the eldest sister) isn’t involved in the building work – she’s a bit more of a homebody, and she also has the responsibility of looking after the other two so spends less time playing and more time working. Which is a darn shame, because Willow (a Supia Aasta doll) is a terrific poser. She’ll get into just about any position and hold it like a champ.

That leaves the two younger sisters, Olive and Fern, to saw through branches. Normally, I’d expect that the older sister would saw and the younger sister would help, but Olive (an Iplehouse Amy doll) is not good at all at sitting or kneeling on the ground. First, she’s loose in the hips – a problem I haven’t worked up the nerve to address yet – so I’m constantly popping her hips back into her joints. Second, she has a very hard time holding any kind of kneeling position. Mostly, her knees just buckle. If they stay solid, then I have to spend a ton of time getting her to balance on them.

She also strikes an awkward post with her knees bent and sitting on her bottom. It works, but it doesn’t fully resemble how a real person would sit.

Compare this with the ever-graceful Willow who looks completely like-like in this position.

Olive can sit cross-legged, but that means that she’d be sawing over her lap, which seems kind of dangerous.

The little sister, Fern (a Dollsbe Strawberry doll) is terrific at kneeling – she’s probably the best poser of any of my ball joint dolls.

But is Olive really going to have a sister that young wielding a saw?

All of which has led me in a round-about way to decide to spend more time in each of the doll story worlds before rushing on. By the time I really learn how to work with one set of dolls and their settings, I’m on to the next scene. And, by the time I get back around to the first one, I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learned.

Also, at the end of an episode, I’m totally in that world and I can really feel where they ought to go next. Once I’m away for a few weeks (or months, in the case of my ball joint doll stories), I’ve totally lost the flow.

So, I’m going to continue with an episode a week (except for this week), but I’m going to stay in each story for several weeks. So, we’ll have a little time over the next few weeks to get to know the treehouse girls. Then it’s back to Mia Fiorello for the final episode, and, by then, by 1/3 dolls may be here.