How to: doll-size crate bookshelf (new design)

Back in 2020 I made a crate bookcase for my dolls and, on that post, I mentioned I had more ideas for different designs. I didn't get to make any of those designs I mentioned, unless we count the crate console I made last year (and that seriously needs a re-do). I almost forgot about this idea until a few months ago, when it started creeping up again. I also had all this colors I got on Christmas that I hadn't had the chance to try yet, so I thought this could be the perfect excuse to use them. 


Since I've done quite a few posts on how to make crates, I won't go super in-depth with the explanation, as I don't want to bore my usual readers. However, if this is your first time here, you can always go to my previous posts linked above for further clarification. Between that and the photos, I think you'll be good to go.

First, we need to plan out our design. I'm a very visual person, so, to get an idea of the size, I piled up some crates and took a photo next to Victoria. I was torn between making it 3 crates or 4 crates tall. Because of the way I take photos, I decided to make it 4 crates tall, as it would cover more wall space. 


I start the crates as usual, lining up 5 popsicle sticks to make the base. I made these crates 8 cm wide (3,15 inches). Glue them together using two popsicles going across. Make sure those popsicles are slightly shorter than the base.



Now let's do the wider side. I'm doing a slightly different design than the regular crates, so the larger part is going to be completely solid. This is the same design I used for the crate console, but larger and with a few tweaks. We start by taking 4 popsicle sticks and cutting them the same size as the longer side.


Glue 2 sticks going across. It is quite important that you glue them on the edge, as this is where we're going to put the glue once we start piling them up. As usual, you need to make 2 of these.


Glue them to the longer side. Make sure all the sticks going across are facing OUT. Also, glue the side on the outer part of the base (imagine it as going around the base). Take your time on this part, to make sure it is glued at a 90º degree angle. 


Connect the sides using sticks. I like to do this while the glue from the previous step is still tender, so it's easy to make any adjustments if needed. Make sure they're the exact size of the crate or slightly shorter. If not, you might have some problems piling them later on. I recommend gluing the top and bottom first, and leave the middle one for last. 


You will need to make 3 or 4 of these crates, depending on the design you have in mind. Or even more if you want to make a larger piece. 

Once the glue has dried down, it is time to start painting. I wanted a color that would stand out more than the light colors I already have. I don't want to use a neutral, but I don't want it to be too bright either. So, I chose Desert Cactus by Americana Acrylics


On this type of crate furniture pieces, I recommend painting the crates before you assemble the furniture, as it would be much harder to do so later on. 


Once the paint has dried down, it's time to assemble. You can stack them all going up, like a regular bookcase, or try different designs. Here's an example of another design you could try.


To glue the crates together, I'm using white glue suitable for wood. I'm just putting the glue on the sticks going across, pressing for a few seconds and letting it air dry. 


Now that the glue has dried down, it's time to see how it looks in a scene. For this scene, I used the Sea Glass wall and a few props. While I was painting the bookcase, I thought that this color looked like a darker version of Sea Glass, so I wanted to try somewhat of a tonal scene. 


Those "vases" you can see on the top shelf are a quick experiment I did while working on this craft. My shelves tend to look quite empty, so I wanted to make something quick to fill them up. The pink one is painted in the color Terra Coral, and the light one is Light Buttermilk. I thought those colors would add a nice contrast to the green of the shelf. 


The color looks slightly darker on camera than it does in real life, but I still think I made a good choice here. I also wanted to try how it would look against a neutral wall, so here's a quick photo of Lea with a wall in the color Light Mocha. It is a sand color with a pink undertone, and I think the pink really comes out against the green. 


Overall, I think it turned OK. I feel like it is slightly tilted to one side, but when I put another bookcase next to it, it is barely there, so it might be an optical effect. Had I made it just 3 crates tall, it wouldn't be that noticeable. If I make a second version, I will make it with 3 crates and add legs, to give it some extra height. Probably I won't make a new post for that, and instead will film a tutorial for YouTube. But that will take a while. 

I would like to point out that I used this crate design because I wanted the shelves to be completely smooth on the inside. You can, of course, make this using the regular crate design, and it will probably work as well. I just had a specific idea of how I wanted it to look, and this was the way to go.


As for future projects, I have lots of ideas, and not so much time to execute them. In the long run, I would like to make a semi-permanent diorama, with permanent walls, ceiling and flooring; and then create some pieces of furniture to switch things around. But before that, I need to run a couple of experiments, in case things don't work out. I would also like to try making furniture using balsa wood, which will be more challenging than the popsicle sticks. So, like I said, chances are there won't be more crate-furniture tutorials here on the blog, at least not for now. 


Although I would love to make lots of things, I don't want to get too ambitious. I'm going back to school in a month, so I won't have as much spare time as I do know. I'm going to take it easy, do what I can in my spare time, and if a craft project takes me a month instead of a week, so be it. I'm starting to make peace with the fact that 2022 won't be the year I make a lot of craft projects. 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know what you think. Also, tell me if you would like to see a quick tutorial on how I did the "vases". They're very easy to do, but I think I need to work on the sizes. 

Hope you're all doing well, and I'll see you very soon. 

Monster Crafts


This post was first published on themonstercrafts.blogspot.com. If you see it published anywhere else, it has been reposted without my consent. 

Comments

  1. Hi MC, I love your new furniture, and the colour you used. It looks great with the colours of the walls and the vases. The first photo is wonderful , but I like them all
    🙂
    Take your time, your studies are important too. I do look forward to seeing what your plans are with the balsa wood in a few months.
    Lots of hugs!

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    1. Thanks Linda! Usually I go with whatever color I feel like using that day, but this time I took into consideration the colors of the items I already have.
      I'm trying to find balsa wood at local stores, with no success so far, so I might end up buying it online. I have a few simple ideas in mind, but I won't be able to properly plan them out until I see the wood in person.
      Hugs to you too!

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  4. I like your new bookcase, and your color choices are great, as usual. If you are going to keep cutting narrow pieces of wood, you might want to buy something like the Easy Cutter. I've seen several hobby makers recommend it, although there were some bad reviews on Amazon. I wonder if they recently started manufacturing in China, and the quality went down. An art store here also carries the Easy Cutter, so you might be able to find one locally and check out the quality some before you buy.

    There's a saying that goes "You can do everything, just not all at once." Going to school and having homework, etc. sounds like a lot to keep you busy beyond the everyday tasks of life. I hope to still see you around the online doll world, but doing a lot of crafting does sound like a lot with everything else.

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  5. Thanks Barb! Currently, I use pruning scissors to cut popsicle sticks. I have never seen that Easy Cutter tool before, but I will keep an eye if I see something similar at the craft store where I buy supplies. I am planning on getting a Cricut Maker in the near future (Christmas, hopefully). I think it would be worth making my own wood planks out of balsa wood than buying tons of packs of popsicle sticks, just for half of them to be crooked.

    I already know I won't be able to do much in during the school year, at least not during weekdays. But hopefully I'll find a couple of spare hours here and there during weekends to work on some simple projects. The diorama for sure will have to wait, probably until next summer.

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