Monday, 30 May 2011

Take a seat - Part 1

Someone's just dropped me a line asking if I would mind doing a tutorial on how I made the chair in my blog title.
Of course I don't mind. If I can help, I will =0)

I'm going to do this tutorial in two parts ~ the frame and then the upholstery because I have a feeling this is going to be picture heavy and I don't want to give blogger an excuse to have a tizzy fit and delete the post *rolls eyes*

The sizes I'm giving you are for a 12th scale two seat sofa. If you want to make the chair too, just shorten the length of the base and back to suit. (i.e. half it)

First of all, I'm using 12mm and 6mm MDF. Use whatever is available to you to make the frame. Glued together bits of corrugated cardboard or foam board work just as well. The reason I'm using MDF is because it's sturdy, cheap and easy to work with. At my local hardware shop, the assistants will give you three free cuts in a sheet so if I'm making a few sofas I ask them to cut the sheet into a few 60mm and a 40mm deep strips. Then I can make three or four sofas at a time.

Okay, these are the sizes I've used

Click to enlarge

The base is 6mm thick MDF, the back and arms are 12mm MDF. I'm sure I don't have to tell you this but if you're cutting/sanding wood then PLEASE wear a face mask. You may not look or feel particularly sexy but neither does coughing up your lungs in years to come =0(

Just in case you're not familiar with getting a true 90 degree angle in your wood, invest in a steel set square. They're no more than a couple of pounds and will last your miniature making lifetime. Place the thicker part of the set square against a flat edge. You shouldn't be able to see daylight coming in between the wood and set square. Draw a line along the other (thinner) edge. This will give you a perfect 90 degree right angle



You will notice that the arms of the sofa are not square. This is so the back of the sofa will be reclined like in a life-sized model.

First, lay the arms of the sofa so that the angled edge is flat on your work surface. Place the back of the sofa in between, glue then clamp together until it dries


Click to enlarge


 Notice the positioning of the arm and back. Make sure that both edges (against your work surface) are in line.


Click to enlarge


This is what you should have now. It looks a strange angle but this is the sofa laying on its back with its arms in the air. This ensures everything lines up =0)

Now, place the base of the sofa on your work surface, spread a little wood glue on the bottom of the arms and clamp together till dry







Looks more like a sofa now.









To finish off the frame we need to do a bit of sanding. One thing I always have in my tool box is a variety of sanding blocks with different grades of paper on them. This one in the picture is a child's building block (sorry Amelia, I promise to replace it) which has 30 grain and 320 grain stuck onto the surface with double sided sticky tape.


Use a sanding block to take the sharp corners off your frame. They don't have to be perfectly rounded, just a few sweeps with the paper to soften the edges.



On the back of the frame you'll notice that where the base and back meet, they are butted up squarely. Use a heavy grain sandpaper (30 grain) to smooth the base so that it is angled the same as the sofa back


Now for the seat cushion. I've tried all sorts of materials for this and found that I prefer foam. The type I use most often is the foam 'kneeling' pads that you buy for gardening. It's soft-ish but keeps it's shape. But you can use anything at hand...upholstery foam, cardboard...


Use a very sharp craft knife to cut the foam to the width of the sofa (which should be 140mm if my calculations are correct) Use a steel rule to cut against and keep your pinkies well away from the blade. Now the tricky bit *dramatic music playing in background* You need to cut the foam that is going against the back of the sofa, at an angle. This isn't an exact science. I normally tilt the knife a couple of millimeters which seems to do the job. If you don't do this you will have a gap at the back of your cushion =0/


Sorry the photo's are so naff. My old camera seems to be having a joke with me grrr




Now you can place the foam snug against the back, draw a line between the arms to get a nicely fitting cushion and cut across with your craft knife. If you want, you can make two single cushions by cutting the foam in half.

Okay, I'm going to get on with making the second part of this tutorial. There's little or no sewing involved, depending on your preference. If at this point you're wondering if it isn't easier to buy the damn thing then please take a look at some fabulous modern miniature furniture makers who have some sublimely beautiful work for sale Minimodernista , Annina and Elf Miniatures

Pepper =0)



18 comments:

  1. O so marvelous ;)I loved the light tutorial and now the seat!A! Congratulations about your house especially the modern touches.

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  2. Great tutorial, but since I'm not very handy (can't saw a straight line), I did buy one of Annina's sofas instead :-)
    But this post made me look at your top photo, I love that scene and the small picture frames look fabulous! I must visit some scrapbook shops soon I guess!?

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  3. Thank Tam Toum, I'm glad you're enjoying the tutorials

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  4. Thank you Pubdoll. I saw Annina's sofa in one of your latest scenes...it looked great =0)

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  5. wonderful tutorial! been itching to make a sofa, just haven't found the time, you make it look so easy! :D :D off to read part 2 :X

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  6. Thanks Snowfern. With your talent I'm sure it will be a fabulous one =0)

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  7. Thank you for this tutorial! I have made my first 1:6 scale sofa in cardboard foam following this tut and some photos on flickr by FoxyBelle. I am so proud! Next I will try your chair tutorial. Love your blog and your talent and creativity - so inspiring!
    Lina, Sweden

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    1. Hey there Lina. I made a comment on your sofa (I'm pinch of pepper on Flickr)and I thought it was fabulous.

      Thanks for dropping by my blog =0)

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  8. Hi, just saw you are following my doll house furniture so came by to check out your minis also and I joined right away. I want to see your finished sofa and also part 2 of the sofa tutorial you started.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Will these measurements work for an American girl doll. .

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    1. Hi Marcus, this couch is 1:12 scale. I think American Dolls are 1:3 so you need to multiply each measurement by 4
      =0)

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    2. So to make this for an American girl doll I have to make it 4x larger?

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    3. Hi anonymous. From what I can gather, an American doll scale is 1:3 so yes, to convert my 12th scale measurements you would need to make it four times larger :0)

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  10. Im a novice wanting to make this sofa. What degree are the angle of the arms? Can you tell me exactly how to cut them?

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    1. Hi Paula, you see in the first picture, I've measured the arms so that the top of them is 70mm long and the bottom is 60mm. When you glue the back of the sofa between the two arms, you need to line them up at the back (third picture) so that when you turn the sofa back to it's upright position, the back of the sofa reclines. It's just under 15 degrees by my measurements. As for cutting - if you use wood, you can use any woodsaw. Lot's of people try this tutorial with foamboard or balsa wood because it's easier to cut.
      Good luck =0)

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  11. Hello! Thank you so much for this tutorial! I was wondering what kind of saw do you use to cut the MDF?

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    1. Hi Tracy, I used an electric chop saw but if you don't have one available, you could cut it by hand with any full size wood saw =0)

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  12. Nice to discover old tutorials of yours!!!! Always thanks for sharing wonderful woman!!!! Hugs!!!

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