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The 1970s Revisited

Betsey Clark - Doll House Card, with figures, full size

Betsey Clark Doll House Card – Hallmark copyright 1975

I have a new camera. It is a Sony Cybershot DSC-W830 and so far it has been amazing. All the photos in this post were taken with it on an overcast, rainy day in June. No artificial lights were used and I haven’t ‘tweaked’ the photos in any way . I have simply cut out the bits that I wanted and, on my computer screen at least, the soft, pearly-grey light in the pictures exactly captures the daylight as it was on the day I took the photos .

If anyone is interested in the electronic wizardry that made this possible, the technical specifications are available (like the camera itself) on Amazon.

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I am now going to do something mildly naughty. The following cards were produced by companies that are still in business and, as they are copyright to those companies, I suspect that I should not have uploaded any sort of copy of them here.

Betsey Clark Doll House Card – Hallmark – folded size, when detached from the header and with figures removed for use, 8 1/2  x 6 1/2 inches (21 x 16.6 cm)

I have had this card for a long time, but I knew nothing about Betsey Clark until very recently when I did some research on the internet and came across this site: The Betsey Zone

This is the only information that I have been able to find about her on-line, which surprised me as she was evidently well known enough to have her name prominently featured on a card that she had designed.

My particular card was bought in Britain and it seems to vary slightly from the American version in that it is a ‘Doll House Card’ and not a ‘Party Favor Card’.

I only know about this difference because, at the time of typing this there, are a several of these cards for sale on eBay in the US. Apart from the description on the header card they all look identical to mine. (The price of $1.50 is printed on the US header cards.)

Betsey Clark Doll House - Card Header UK Version

I remember this style of illustration so clearly that, when I recently came across this card again, I was staggered that it is now over 40 years old.

As old as the card is, Hallmark is still in business and the copyright is still in place. This brings me to the mildly naughty part and so, before I go any further, I had better make the following clear:

I do not make, and have never made, a miniature version of this card for profit.

If you would like to make my version of this design, please remember that it is intended for your personal enjoyment only and that is not intended for re-sale, in any way shape or form.

That said, please read on –

I have not attempted to reproduce the complete card here. There are only three characters, plus the table. And, at 1 1/4 inches (3.2 cm) tall, it is slightly larger than 12th scale. The image in the pdf is a high resolution one and so, if you would like to make a smaller version, it might be possible to re-size the image without too much loss of detail. Trying to make it much bigger will be a waste of time.

If you do make one of these for yourself, please be aware that the card, paper, ink and printer used will affect the result you get.

I have an elderly Canon Pixmar inkjet printer and I used:

  • Thin, white card (140gsm) – card with a smooth surface is best
  • Water based glue (and a paintbrush)
  • A sharp knife
  • A sharp pair of scissors
  • A ruler
  • A blunt kitchen knife for scoring the fold line

You do need card that takes printer ink nicely, without blurring or bleeding.

 

To make the card:

You will need the pdf
(You don’t need to download the pdf to your computer, you should be able to print it from the screen.)

On the pdf:
The blue lines show where a line should be scored
The red lines show where straight cuts should be made – (there are no red lines around the figures, or under the table)

I allowed the print to dry for at least 10 minutes, as scoring or cutting even slightly damp card can result in a damaged surface or a ragged edge.

I then scored the fold lines across the room setting, as indicated by the blue lines.

Then I cut out the card, as indicated by the red lines – Initially, when I tried to do this without the red lines, I struggled to see where the pale edge disappeared into white background.

The original card folds up in a zig-zag fashion, but if you would like to do something different, there is no reason why you shouldn’t (see photos below).

I folded the table, so that it stood out from the wall, and then stuck it in place over the figure standing on the stool – there are guidelines printed on the wall and these need to be just hidden by the table.

the table goes in front of the girl standing in the stool

If you would like to be true to the original design, the table slots into the wall with tabs. It will, inevitably, not stand up straight without a great deal of coaxing. I have never found a folded paper table that stood straight the first time round.

The figures are small. I didn’t score the fold points in the support strip that is supposed to make them stand upright because I didn’t want to weaken, or damage it.

I cut the lines around the strip using a ruler and knife; then I used scissors to cut out the characters, and only then did I ‘Z Fold’ the strip .

z-fold

As, I have said before, the thing that annoys me about full-size paper dolls is that they fall over very easily.

Putting a ‘Z Fold’ in the support does make them more stable. But I wanted these to be really VERY stable and so I used a tiny amount of glue and attached them to the walls of the room.

I applied the glue only along the surface indicated by the green line, in the photo above.

betsey clark doll house card dolls house size

If you fix the figures to the walls by their support strips, and are careful about where you place them, it is possible to make a card that folds up with the figures inside.

 

Betsey Clark Card House in miniature - figures fixed in place

The way the card is folded and where the figures are positioned can make a big difference to the overall appearance.

Betsey Clark Card House in miniature - walls in Open C position

Betsey Clark Card House in miniature - walls in Z Fold position

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Just in case I have given everyone the idea that everything in the 1970s was all in the Betsey Clark style, there is another card below which dates from the same era. This one was produced by the Medici Press, in the UK. As well as having the figures to cut out and room setting, it has a very brief story inside.

Inside the card, the pictures and story are both credited to Nicola Pindar. She is not listed on the Medici website of current artists and I have not contacted the various Nicola Pindars who I have found on-line, to ask if this is their early work.

Medici card - designed by NicolaPindar

Size, when folded, 9 1/2  x 7 inches (24 x 17.67 cm)

Nicola Pindar - paper doll card

Back of card

The Medici Press still produce a vast number of high quality cards, including vintage designs by Molly Brett, Racey Helps and Margaret Tarrant. This type of card is rather out of their usual range today, but it is a classic example of the colours and design style that were widely used (in the UK at least) in the early to mid 1970’s.

Finally, many thanks to everyone who voted in last week’s poll. Your answers are very helpful. I am told that the polls (and certain other things) do not work in the Firefox browser. I am sorry about this; unfortunately it is not something that I can do anything about.

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I must stop now and go and do some work. But before I go, one last picture:

ark from Nicola Pindar, Victorian room setting card - Medici Press

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A M Davis (London) Cut Out and Colour Farm Set

(Apologies for the poor quality photo. Mission: BUY A CAMERA THAT WORKS is in progress.)

There is something about the original set of cards for this farm set that baffles my scanner. The full-size prints looked all right, but all sorts of odd things happened when I tried to scan them back into the computer, or to resize the scanned images on screen.

Luckily, in our local newsagents, there is a photocopier that appears to be ancient and decrepit. It wheezes and rattles and hesitates and then produces photocopies on white-hot paper. More importantly, in this particular instance, it is so low-tech that it just copies things and does not do whatever it is that my scanner does.

I can’t honestly say that the photocopies it produced for me earlier this week are the cleanest I have ever seen, but they have made this blog post possible and I came home with a sheaf of paper and the feeling that things were now going to go well.

My scanner, however, being defeated in its attempts to thwart me, had evidently communicated with my printer, which promptly decided that it was about to run out of ink. (No, I don’t keep spare cartridges to hand. I am convinced that the minute I stock-pile some the printer will stop working altogether.) And this is why the test run that I printed, instead of being black and white, has a blue-violet tinge to it. Even taking the ink cartridges out and shaking them and re-inserting them did not help this time.

A M Davis (London) Farm Set to Cut Out and Colour

While I was coaxing the last sheet out of my printer My Nearest and Dearest (one of My Nearest and Dearest) conceived the idea that it would be rash to release a whole farm set into the unsuspecting universe as they might be copied and used to produce fakes.

I honestly can’t imagine why anyone would wish to do this, or that it could possibly be worth anyone’s while to do it. But, as the matter had been raised, I promised that I would make it as clear as I could that this is NOT a complete set and that there are only 8 cards reproduced in the pdf below (and there should be, as far as I know) 12 cards in total.

Anyway, to shorten what is turning into a long story, I used thin, cheap card for my example and was pleased at how well everything fitted together.

Ideally, if I make the full size set again, I think I will use 200gsm card. Then it would be possible to cut around the legs of the horse and in between the wheel spokes, without fear of them becoming too flimsy.

So now, without further ado, here is a pdf of the large size farm set: Paper_Model_Farm_AM_Davis_OHM20170601

And here is ‘dolls’ house size’ farm set (it isn’t 12th scale):
Miniature_Farm_AM_Davis_OHM20170601m
The positions of the folds and cuts can be seen in the pdf for the bigger version.

NB: These are for your personal use and enjoyment, please do not re-print them and sell them as modern, vintage or antique cards or card sets.

A M DAVIS farm and garden - colour

Photograph – but not taken by me

There is a pdf for the colour version (just the house and garden, as shown above):
OHM_Farm_and_Garden_20170524 and the basic instructions for putting it together are in a previous post here

Finally:

My Nearest and Dearest, having triumphed in the ‘What About Fakes?’ debate, and asked to be a Severe Critic and read this before I pressed the Publish Button, suggested that it might be a good idea to explain why I going to the bother of getting a decent print of this cut-out paper model, not to mention why am I making part of it available here.

The short answer is that I need a decent print for a project that I am working on.
And, having tried the full-size model out, I think it would be a pity for it to vanish back into my ‘Why Have You Got This and Can You Get Rid of It?’ box.
And I hope that if you enjoy paper models you will have fun with it too.

 

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2017 !  How did it get to be 2017 ?
I didn’t think it had been that long since I wrote something for this blog.

There should be a nice photograph here. But I don’t have a camera at the moment and the results that I got from the Android Tablet that I borrowed were a bit… odd…

So you are going to have to take my word for it that the images below are of a really a rather nice little model farmhouse sitting in its own garden, and propped up at a peculiar angle either on the cap of a tube of toothpaste or a cork.
open_house_miniatures_Card_farm_house_put_together  open_house_miniatures_card_farm_house_put_together-size

The farmhouse is something that I was trying out today and, while I was struggling with a knife blade that wanted to break and paper that wanted to tear, not to mention disbelieving the way the card I was using absorbed water-based glue like a sponge and went soggy, I thought that, as well as being relatively simple to make (just don’t use the card I tried using first of all), the finished farmhouse would look good in a miniature nursery, school-room or shop.

And so here, if you would like to try making this for yourself, is a pdf of the parts for you to play with too:
OHM_Farm_and_Garden_20170524
UPDATE: 3rd June 2017 – black and white versions of an 8 card set are now in this post

The usual request remains the same: make the model, share it and, if you want to, sell the finished article (but think of all the other people who will do this too), but please don’t re-sell the pdf or the artwork itself.

Instructions for putting the model together:
The paper or card that you use and your printer ink will affect the finish and the colours you get. 
If you have never made anything this small before and would like to see detailed, step by step pictures for a similar project, please take a look here at another small house on a base – the walkthrough is towards the end of the post (which is much shorter than this one!)

Materials:
I used 200gsm paper and water-based glue, which I applied with a brush.
This was mainly for speed, as this was a trial run for me.
Printing on a thin paper and gluing this to thin card would work equally as well.
The main thing is that you need something that will hold its shape when folded and will not fall apart when glued.
Note: If you glue 2 sheets of paper, or paper and card together, make sure they are completely dry before cutting them out.

First (for reference only) look at the picture below:
The fold lines are marked in red and the slots that need to be cut out are marked in blue.
These lines are fine and black on the pdf and, if you don’t know what you are looking for, they are easy to miss.

Reference picture for A M Davis farmhouse and Garden Kit

What I did:
Scored along the fold lines first. 
Then cut the slots out, cutting away from the corners.
Then cut around the outlines.
Then made the creases in the various parts – centre roof, house walls, etc.

I found that it was best to fit the front of the house into the roof first and then fit the back to these two pieces once they were assembled. A little bit of glue inside the house, applied with a paintbrush, will hold all the parts together.

The hedges fit around the outside of the garden base.
A small amount of glue, applied with a paintbrush, and left to dry on the thin edge of the garden base is helpful. Once this is dry, another thin layer of glue can be applied and the hedges should adhere to this without giving too much trouble.

I assembled the garden so that the coloured part of the hedge was on the inside and, when it was all in I place, I discovered that there was a significant gap between the front hedge and the garden base.

So, after I had glued the house to the back and the base and was certain that everything was dry and fairly stable, I made a second base out of two layers of card.
I measured and cut this to be a little bit wider than the original base. The new, slightly larger, base makes a tiny ledge around the sides and also strengthens and neatens the appearance of the whole thing.

The white, unprinted card and the cut edges now looked a bit stark to me, so I washed some thin water-based paint over them – green for the base and the outside of the hedges and light orange for the chimneys.

I am sorry that I do not have the means of taking better photos at the moment – this is a nice little model and deserves a better picture than I can achieve right now.

A Minor Point :
The original cards are about A5 in size. This would be very small if reduced to 12th scale, so this model is not 12th scale, just a useful sort of size for a dolls’ house.

About the Cards :
There are 12 cards in the set that I have. They were published by A M Davis, Quality Cards & Co (London).

.A M Davis - Quality Cards Logo

The original cards are uncoloured line drawings. I made copies and coloured some of those. (This was a lengthy process as they were probably lithographed and the interference dot-matrix pattern, or whatever it is, is appalling. It would have been quicker to draw my own design out.)
The set is undated and I have no information about the original publisher.
A quick look on the internet did not  make me much better informed about them, but I did find two enjoyable sites, which are worth a look if you are interested in vintage cards:

http://www.postcardy.com/article04.html

http://vintagerecycling.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/am-davis-quality-cards.html

If you are interested in making paper based projects like this one there are a few more available on this page

Finally:
I have always said my photographs are awful, but this has to be a new low point.

open_house_miniatures_dollshouse_farm_and_garden_a_m_davis_original

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open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_sample_raspberry_pink open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_sample_pale_pink open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_sample_blue

Here are some examples of a decorative design that I created from sample of old fabric.

They are 300 ppi and they print on my Canon Pixma home printer (via Paint Shop Pro 8) at exactly 1.5 inches (approx 3.75 cm) square each.

The little thumbnails above have been compressed by WordPress and will not print very well and, especially if you click on a thumbnail to see the full size version, they may well look much larger than 1.5 inches on-screen.

If you would like to print a sheet of paper, so that the pattern is the “right” size at 300 ppi, the pdfs are here –

Fruit_Baskets_OHM_130308_raspberry

Fruit_Baskets_OHM_130308_pale_pink

Fruit_Baskets_OHM_130308_blue

(The A4 sheets are enormously ink thirsty, so please do not waste your ink – print a sample to get an idea of the colour first.)

The photo below shows why I used 300 ppi samples and not 72 ppi samples.

open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_a

ppi matters !

I know I always say this but – whether or not the papers print well and are useful to you (or not) will depend on the paper, ink and printing method used.

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I had a chance to talk to someone who works as a commercial printer earlier this week and I asked him if there was any way to recreate, at home, the non-smudge result found in colour printed books.

SPOILER – Don’t get excited – according to him there isn’t…

After he had stopped laughing – he is a nice man, really he is – he suggested that I have a look at Shackell Edwards website, and then he calmed down and explained a bit…

The universal problem is, it seems, not only getting the ink onto the paper, and in the right place, but making it stay there.

The print finishes that we see in magazines, books, wrapping paper, etc are created by a combination of the paper, the ink and the finishing coating.

It is at this point that I am probably about to become temendously tedious to a great many readers so, dear readers, if you find the following dead boring please skip to the bottom of this post and vote for something more interesting.

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I was asked, a couple of posts back, if I recommended using spray-on fixative to protect the surface of an ink-jet print.

I have heard of this being done and, as it seems to be a widely recommended method, it must work for some people.

I have tried fixative sprays in the past but, as the ones available to me are for fixing looses surfaces like charcoal or pastel to paper, they were not particularly effective on ink-jet ink.

This does not mean that fixative sprays do not work on ink-jet prints, only that I have not yet found one that does.

Anyway, after my conversation with the printer, and imbued (yet again) with the (mad) idea that there must be a way to “fix” ink jet ink to ordinary paper, I tried a little experiment this week.

I printed two samples onto 90 gsm photocopy paper and very carefully applied glaze of  –

  • Ronseal varnish (this would not smudge on coated paper inkjet paper)

and

  • white, water based, washable,”craft” glue for children (this would sit on top of coated inkjet paper and dry unevenly – it is good for crackle glaze and not much else).

With the following results –

open house miniatures

Glue v Varnish on photocopy paper

Admittedly I had chosen to work with a raspberry pink colour that I know, from past experience, runs and smudges far more easily than most other colours.

So nothing daunted I printed another sample and got out my favourite white, water based glue –

Evo-stick

This is excellent glue.
If it has one fault it is that it dries very rapidly.

– and tried with that –

open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_nikwax_evostick-glue-2

I wasn’t nice and careful, I simply wiped the thick glue over the print with my finger. This darkened the ink and smudged it a little bit.

Then I got creative with water proofing for clothing (if you lived in the middle of England, you would probably have a bottle of this under your kitchen sink too !)

open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_nikwax_nikwax

The Nikwax effect was… interesting

open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_nikwax_evostick-glue_v_Nikwax

although I have to say my favourite part was the crumbling, aged effect on the  back of the paper –

open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_nikwax_reverse

After the Evo-stick and the Nikwax had dried overnight, I tried the water test…

open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_nikwax_experiment

and came to the conclusion that –

open_house_miniatures_ppi_matters_still_ looking

I still hadn’t found the solution…

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A very big thank you to everyone who voted and left comments. I appreciate your help very much indeed.

Here are the results of the poll – equal first are the Circus Procession book and the papier mache Easter egg.

I will not, unfortunately, have time to make two slideshows next week, so I think it will have to be the Circus Procession next week and (if everything goes to plan) the papier mache egg for the Easter weekend.

open house miniatures poll results

Please bear in mind that, although I can run through how I make the papier mache eggs, I cannot do a digital download for the mold !

In case you are wondering, I did vote.

To test that the poll was working properly, I voted for the basket for an Easter egg!

 

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