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Kits? (continued)

triang banner, showing various toys

Many thanks to everyone who voted in the poll at the end of the previous post.

I was a slightly surprised that it was the Triang box which gained the most votes: I thought it would be the wrong era for most people.

There is an interesting and informative article about The Lines Brothers (Triang Toy) Company on Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood’s site and the Brighton Toy and Model Museum have a selection of catalogue pictures of Triang dolls’ houses in the index pages of their website  but, if you would like to see some actual Triang dolls’ houses and get a real feel for what they were like, I recommend visiting Shed on the Pond’s blog, which is full of fascinating details and also documents some remarkably patient restoration work.lines's brother's dolls' house - Brighton Museum

 

***   ***   ***

Now for the boxes: I have split them up into the types of card / paper that I used. Directions for making them up are in the previous post.

doll house cardboard boxes - 7 different ones

I have made a note of the materials that I used as they affect the end result. I am not suggesting that you need to use the same materials – and you could well know of better alternatives.

Just click on a link to open the pdf. You shouldn’t need to save the pdf to your computer, you should be able to print from the screen.

Measurements for the boxes are length x width x height

Triang Toy box
Size: 1″ x 1″ x 1″  –  2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm approx

Triang occupies an important place in the history of British toy making and when I invented this box I took liberties with their logo: the slightly smudgy label comes from a picture that I found on the side of one of their toy lorries.

Eastman’s Perfume
Size: 1″ x 1″ x 1″  –  2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm approx

I used a ‘craft’ paper sold in my local craft shop for both of these boxes. The paper cracks when scored and creased; it goes soggy when dampened. (When I painted the Triang Box with cold tea, in order to age it and show up the cracks and wrinkles, the box nearly fell apart – but the printing did not run !) I have only had the paper for about a year and it is already yellowing at the edges. For most practical purposes it useless BUT it does make a very good bashed box. I would tell you what it is, but I threw the label away, vowing never to buy any more, and now my local craft shop has closed down so I can’t ask them.

When the boxes were assembled, I added white paper ‘tape’ (this was a thin strip of paper glued in place) to seal the boxes and then cut through this at the top end to add a touch more realism.

***

Bunting’s Babywear
Size: 1″ x 1″ x 1″  –  2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm approx

I used 140 gsm card for this – it too came from my recently closed down local craft shop.  I can’t find another supplier either locally, or on-line, who has it, which is a nuisance as this is exceeding useful, reliable, smooth card. (Great Expressions, Birmingham address – are either the manufacturers or the packager / suppliers.)

***

Worth et Cie (British) corsets
Size: 1.5″ x 1″ x 1/2″  – 3.25 x 2.5 x 1.25 cm approx

Peppermint liqueur (French)
Size -this was made to fit the label, it is an odd size

I used 200 gsm Daler Rowney Heavyweight ‘paper’ for these (see previous post for details)

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Blank Box – for postage or decorating
Size: 1″ x 1″ x 1/2″  –  2.5 x 2.5 x 1.25 cm approx

I use 280 gsm Kraft card from Amazon, where it is available in A4 and A5 sheets, when I make these (see previous post for details)

***

Lamp box – large (German)
Size: 1.5″ x 1″ x 1.5″  –  3.75 x 2.5 x 3.75 cm approx

miniature boxes for a german lamp

Lamp box – one lamp size (German)
Size: 1″ x 1″ x 1.5″  –  2.5 x 2.5 x 3.75 cm approx
(I found this file after I published the previous post and I think it is a useful size)

I used handkerchief box card for these lamp boxes. Most card (in the UK) that is used to package food or things like paper handkerchiefs is high quality. Usually it cuts cleanly and does not break up when scored and creased. If you are patient and peel the glossy printed surface off the cardboard backing, you can then print on the smooth side of the card and have a box with an interestingly textured interior.

'peeling' a handkerchief box toget cardboard

When the box was assembled, I added brown paper ‘tape’ (this was a thin strip of paper glued in place) to seal the box and then cut through this at the top end to add a touch more realism.

***

Red Dog – headphones
Size: 1″ x 1″ x 1″  –  2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm approx

I used Bristol board for the Red Dog box – more specifically, Goldline 220 gsm Bristol Board. This is relatively expensive, but it does have a very white, very smooth surface. It takes ink-jet printer ink beautifully and it did not crack or break up when I scored and folded it. It has a very dense structure and I find it rather difficult to work with, but if you need a smooth, clean, slightly shiny modern look this could be a good choice.

NB There are different makes and types of  Bristol Board, with different finishes.

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While I was hunting around on the computer, I found the files for these boxes:

dolls' house christmas boxes -open house miniatures 2017

I suppose I should save them for Christmas, but they might come in useful before then and so…

Christmas Boxes:
Size (all): 1″ x 1″ x 1/2″  –  2.5 x 2.5 x 1.25 cm approx

 Greetings – snow scene

 Santa and Sleigh – Bright colours and very modern looking

 Father Christmas and reindeer – faces

 Season’s Greetings – red bells

 Christmas decorations – fir branches and glass balls

When I use these for small gifts I sometimes close them with a small Christmas sticker or use a ribbon tie and a large label, but they can be fun (with a mini label) under a miniature Christmas tree too.

The examples above were made from Hahnemuhle Nostalgie 190 gsm (A4) sketch block paper. This came from an art shop and I can’t see anything identical on-line. Jackson’s Art  have A3 to A1 blocks that looks similar.

This paper / card is ‘natural’ white and not pure white. It is smooth and easy to work with, but the ink tends to ‘bleed’ a little bit and truly crisp detail disappears.

(It doesn’t help the image quality that I turned this photo into a jpeg in order to save WordPress file space.)

miniature box detail - open house miniatures 2017

One of these days I am going to stop doing six things at once 🙂 In the meantime, I will see if I can find the small sheets of Christmas paper that I made with these designs. If I do find them, I will put them on the Printables page – which I think is looking forlorn and neglected at the moment.

[Disclaimer: I don’t host advertisements on this blog. If you see any, they have been put here by WordPress who need to fund their blog hosting. I could pay WordPress to have the advertisements removed, but I am either too mean to do this, or I need to buy paper, card, paint, new brushes, scissors, varnish, glue or something else instead.]

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Kits? (Why not?)

dolls' house cardboard boxes - open house miniatures 2017

“Oooohhh,” said my neighbour, who had come round to see if I was having a power-cut too (I was, but I hadn’t noticed because I wasn’t using anything electrical.) “Oooohhhh, I like that one.”

And she picked out a pretty, but highly improbable box. (Sorry to be a realist-wet-blanket. Cardboard boxes that are designed for transporting packets of soap are not intended for display and they don’t have multi-coloured printing.)

dolls' house cardboard boxes - savon au parfum

And that is when this blog post stopped being about my new camera and the search for a new supplier of card and started being about miniature cardboard boxes.

dolls' house cardboard boxes lofthaus, suchard and worth et cie

“Are you going to make kits?” my neighbour went on. She was being hopeful (again). She likes kits. She is good at putting them together and she gets very good results because she adds a touch of glamour to whatever she makes and it looks quite impossibly romantic by the time she has finished. I have asked her to let me photograph her dolls’ house, but she is shy about showing it to people and would rather it wasn’t on display here.

Anyway,  I explained about die-cutting to my neighbour and how expensive it would be to get a basic miniature box made into the sort of kit that she was thinking about and then I saw that she was looking baffled and realised that I was saying earnestly : “Basically, it’s like making a cake: if you don’t use chocolate in a chocolate cake recipe, you won’t get a chocolate cake.”

And so I stopped trying to explain and asked my neighbour if she would like to have the box and she said yes, and she told me that she is going to fold the upper flaps down inside and make it into a container for two potted geraniums.

I would never have thought of doing this and it saved the pretty, but improbable, box from going in the recycling bin, which was its original destiny.

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Thinking about it later I realised that, instead of talking about cake, I should have said that the thing about real-life cardboard boxes is that they are designed by professional box makers and made by machines.

And

  • The market for miniature boxes is relatively small
  • The cost of setting up production of a miniature die-cut box is relatively high
  • The type of materials used would have to be very carefully chosen
  • None of the above makes for a cheap, or even reasonably priced, end product

Result: No 12th scale die-cut box kits as far as I know. (It would be nice if I was wrong about this).

Oh do get on with it! I imagine you are shrieking by now. Are we going to get something to download and make, or aren’t we?

Yes, there are three boxes : two sensible ones and the pretty (but improbable) one.  None of the boxes has ever existed in full-size in the ‘real’ world and Lofthaus Storage is completely my own invention.

dolls' house cardboard boxes -vintage suchard and lofthaus storage

PDFS

Lofthaus Storage
size 1.5″ x 1″ x 1.5″  –  3.75 x 2.5 x  3.75 cm (approx)

Savon au Parfum (pretty, but improbable)
size 1″ x 1/2 ” x 1/2″  –  2.5 x 1.25 x 1.25 cm (approx)

Vintage Suchard Chocolate
size 1″ x 1″ x 1/2″  –  2.5 x 2 5 x 1.25 cm (approx)

I have to say at this point that, before printing these out, I would like you continue reading about the card that I used and how I put the boxes together and why I have no plans to sell downloads of boxes.

There is also a poll at the bottom of this blog in case there is a box in the photos that you would like to make that isn’t in one of the pdfs, but before everything else I am going to make a promise: No Jargon.

There is a short article about cardboard boxes on Wikipedia. If you read it you will probably understand why I am only going to use the words ‘card’ and ‘paper’ here.

THE CARD

The brown boxes are made from 280 gsm Kraft card. I bought mine from Amazon where it is available in A4 and A5 sheets.

The two sides are slightly different in colour and texture. It is tough, nicely made, folds well and is useful for all sorts of things. It even smells of cardboard box.

With this weight of card I would struggle to make a tiny box, but it does work very well down to about ½ inch square size box (of this type).  (1.25 cm square).
Other weights are available.

NB you do need to score this firmly in order to get the card to fold.

The white boxes are made from 200 gsm Daler Rowney Heavyweight ‘paper’. This is available on Amazon, as an A4 pad.

I liked using this. It has a slightly textured, but smooth surface, cuts easily, folds nicely and takes printing ink very well. I think there must be quite a fair amount of size in it as the water based glue tends to sit on the surface.

If it has one flaw it is that it does pick up dirty marks easily.

The surface of both of these cards / papers remained unbroken when I scored and folded it once or twice. If you continue to manipulate the fold in the card / paper, without treating it with something like a plastic based glue,  it will break down.

WHAT I DID:

I used:

  • My ancient inkjet printer
  • 2 different sorts of card (as above)
  • a blunt kitchen knife for scoring the fold lines
  • a very sharp knife
  • a ruler
  • water-based glue
  • A flat surface and a non-slip cutting mat – some things I have to use a cutting mat for and this is one of them
  • ceramic baking bead – optional

What I did (For the brown Kraft card, I printed the box on the slightly darker, slightly shinier side of the card)

I let the print dry for about 10 minutes. This is because most card absorbs moisture and retains it far more than paper does. Cutting damp paper or card usually results in tearing.

Then I scored all the fold lines. The thin black lines that stop at the outline / edge of the box are the guide-lines to the fold lines.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - pattern with score and cut lines

Then I cut around all the black outlines, so that there was no black outline showing on the box itself.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - vintage suchard ready to fold

 

There is now a choice to be made:

If you would like a flat-pack cardboard box: fold the sides of the box towards the centre, so that the tab is in the middle, and glue the tab to the side of the box (see second photo below). The tab remains unfolded and flat. It is also in the middle of the folded box.

If you would like a fully assembled box, there is a trick that helps to ensure ‘square’ corners.

First make all the creases (fairly lightly)
NOTE: I forgot to do this. It isn’t essential, just helpful

Then, keeping the edges of the flaps lined up, fold the box so that the flap is in the middle

making a miniature cardboard box - fold the side flap in first

Fold the other side in and glue the flap to the edge of the box.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - making 2

I have made creases in the fold lines in this photo

Then squash the box open and re-fold it, with the glued edge at the side.

If you have scored the lines exactly and cut exactly, the box should fold flat both ways, and it should look ‘square’ when opened out.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - making 3

If the glue is damp and you need to adjust the box, now is the time to do it.

I think it is easier to fold the square boxes as you can line up all the cut edges more easily.

making miniature cardboard boxes - folding straight lines

With oblong boxes, I make the first fold in the centre of the box. This seems to make it easier to fold the rest of the box more accurately.  I don’t know why it does, but it does.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - making 4

If you have made the creases in the fold lines first, folding over the bottom flaps of the box should not be difficult.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - making 5

I used a small amount of glue to hold the flaps down.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - making 6

I wanted the boxes to dry with flat bottoms, so I filled them with ceramic baking beads, but anything small and heavy will do.

dolls' house cardboard boxes - making 7

I had a look and you can even get Ceramic Baking Beans from Amazon !

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WHY I DON’T MAKE DOWNLOADS FOR SALE

I don’t think making things from downloads is easy. (I don’t think making the downloads themselves is ‘easy’ either).

This type of box, in particular, is a good example of what I would call ‘harder than it looks’.

In addition, in this particular case, experience has taught me that there is a limited market for boxes – mainly because most people seem to need a box that I haven’t made yet.

Added to which, I am convinced that if I did make this sort of box into a sale-able download (no matter what guidance notes I wrote for the download) I would then have to spend half my time explaining about different sorts of card – not to mention asking people what sort of printer they had and how it was set up.

That is why these are freely available for you to use and customise and share.

But please always bear in mind that the printer, ink and the card that you use will make a big difference to the result that you get.

***  ***  ***

“What are you going to do with them?” asked my neighbour, as she was leaving and I had to tell her that they were going to get thrown away as they were my equivalent of a sketch pad and that I had been trying various things out when I made them.

So she asked if she could have another box too, because it had given her an idea:

wills's cigarette card -making a simple doll's house - not to scale

THE POLL

Some of these boxes were made from card / paper that isn’t available on Amazon (!!!): the German lamp box, for example, is made from a piece of real-size paper handkerchief box. (It is possible to peel the glossy, coated image off some packaging and use the smooth side of the card to print on.)

If you would like to try any of these out, please vote for which one(s) you would like in the poll below.

doll house cardboard boxes - 7 different ones

It may be a month before I am able to blog again, but I won’t forget about the boxes.

The other boxes – and some Christmas gift boxes – are now here

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