What’s a Dollhouse Without the Dolls?

By Sammie Seamon

This year has been very different than the rest. Well, technically every year is different than the last, less so in elementary, but nevertheless, this year was different in good and bad ways. Algebra, more projects, more friends, different electives. And also PLTW. This year we worked on modules, and then our Maker Project, which was a dollhouse, that we presented the Make-o-Rama. Now we are working on a skateboard project.

Throughout the year I have been frustrated multiple times, sure, but the time when I wanted to cry was when I was making the dolls for our dollhouse. I have made several different kinds of dolls; cats, gingerbread men, traditional humans, mice and monsters alike. The night before the Make-o-Rama I was on Pinterest, and Lauren shared with me a doll made of wire, with little clothes on them. It was already pretty late, but I persuaded my mom to drive me to Walgreens to get wire and something to make the head. I already had cloth, so that was no problem.

I got to Walgreens and looked through the aisle a bit. My favorite cashier, a nice old lady was managing the aisles so I asked her if they had any wire, non electrical. She shook her head no, and as my face fell I explained to her my doll dilemma. She said she didn’t have any suggestions for me, but I should look around. So I walked around aimlessly with my mom until she suggested we just use coat hangers! It was brilliant, but I still needed a head. I looked in the medical section and saw this kind of toe bandage. It was thick, foam, round, and covered with this felt material with an adhesive backing. I thought, “Good enough..” and went on my way. I could draw faces on the felt, and attach it to the wire body frame. I also had some tools at home to shape the clothes hangers.

When I got home I looked in my closet for plain wire clothes hangers and found plenty. I took my stash back to the kitchen and set up the hot glue gun. I cut the clothes hangers in half, but when I tried to bend them with the tools, they wouldn’t bend very much even if I worked at it really hard, much less into arms and legs. I tossed them away, now with no wire. I thought we might have some craft wire to make bracelets, but if we did, I had no idea where it might be.  So I looked and looked, and found some wire in a cardboard box behind the albums. I tried bending it with the wire, but it wasn’t stable enough. It was extremely flexible, and when held up straight, it would fall over. It wouldn’t work. So I looked some more and found some silver wire for home appliances. It was the perfect thickness and flexibility. So I got to work. After a while I managed to make one body frame attached a head. I left the sticker that you peel off the adhesive on, just to be safe and minimize stickiness. Then I had to worry about the clothes. How would I make them? I didn’t have time to sew anything good, and couldn’t show the wire frame anyway. Then I had a brilliant idea. I could cut strips of cloth and wrap multiple layers over the wire to give them volume and clothes. So I cut strips of a pretty yellow polka dot cloth, and wrapped them around the “arms” and hot glued the ends so it wouldn’t unravel. She had a shirt! Then I did the same thing with black fabric around the “legs” and “waist” for pants. Now for the face and hair. I cut out red fabric in the shape of hair and hot glued it on the adhesive side. Then on the tan felt, I drew a face with sharpie complete with eyebrows, eyes, nose, and red lips. Then I repeated the whole process with the second doll, except I gave her a long skirt instead of pants, and did a design on them with fabric hearts. But horror of horrors; I put the skirt on backwards! Now instead of the tan felt, the white backing that covers the adhesive was the face! And the white backing was coming off, so I took it off and hot glued it back on. So I was forced to glue the hair on the felt and draw the face on the white backing. Good quality or not, I was done, it was late, and I was tired. So I put them away for the Make-o-Rama, and went to bed.

It was very frustrating. And the fact that it was almost midnight and I wanted to go to bed made the situation worse. But I did get them done, after tons of variations of different dolls. Since they had wire frames, their limbs were movable into different poses, which I thought was neat. I really wanted to trash them and go to bed, but I continued to improve them to the best of my ability. I am really glad I finished them, because what’s a dollhouse without the dolls?

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