Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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Using Found Objects by Valerie Towers


You may think this is rubbish, but you’d be wrong!  This is a valuable resource.

I find the parts of a liquid soap container very versatile.  The tube, which is fairly easy to pull off, I call Viagra for straws because they make your downpipes firmer and less likely to collapse.  A small piece of tube also makes the “glass” funnel on a Victorian oil lamp.



The tube on a spray bottle is stronger and longer and also a bit fatter, so keep a supply of these as well.  I haven’t found a use for the rest of the sprayer yet so ditch it!

To take the hand liquid container apart requires a flat bladed screwdriver pushed into the groove where the top two pieces are joined to lever the two pieces apart, do this on a board as it is quite stiff.



The flat part of the top will pull away and so far I haven’t found a use for that either, so bin it and you will be left with the parts in pic 4.


There is always a small plastic ball in these containers, sometimes white and sometimes green, keep them for a bowl of grapes. 


The two parts of the cap will make a very nice lampshade but you need the top of the fat clear tube to put them together.  Saw the piece off underneath where it has a zig zag shape and put the three bits back together.  You need strong hands for this or maybe a hammer if you have wimbly hands like mine.






You can also make bottles from the fat tube, just cut to size with a saw.  Glue a small button or disc on the bottom and fill with a coloured substance, I used small bath salts but I expect food colouring or nail varnish or paint will do. Pour the paint or nail varnish in and then out again to leave a coating on the inside of the bottle. Let the nail varnish/paint dry and glue on a suitable top.  




If you like you can use the complete inside, minus the top two parts, for a street lamp.


Pieces for a street lamp, L to R: button, lid from a small tube of Savlon or similar, top ring of soap dispenser lid, complete tube from a soap dispenser, Olbas oil bottle lid, larger tube (eg spray bottle), top from a tube of flea treatment (I used our dog's Advocate flea treatment; nothing is wasted in this house!)



If you want a working lamp you need a grain of what bulb on a wire.  Drill a hole in the flea treatment top, the top of the Savlon lid, and another hole in the side of the Savlon lid.  Thread in the wire, the bulb sits neatly in the “lamp.”


Every make it article says paint before sticking but if you use Glue Fix All Purpose, if doesn’t seem to repel acrylic paint.  Stick the top ring from the hand wash container to the top of the Savlon lid lining up the holes, and poke the wire through the side hole in the Savlon lid.

Use Blue Tac to attach the assembled pole in the top ring. ( This didn’t work, so I had to glue it!)  This is because you may need to change the bulb in the future.  For the same reason, the top cover of the lamp needs to be loose. 

Fix a heavyish button to the bottom for stability and paint in your chosen colour (I painted mine black), leaving the Lamp part clear.


The top was made from the lid of a small bottle of Olbas oil but you could use an eye dropper top.  Make a hole in the top of the Olbas lid, I used a bradawl and a hammer, find a suitable sized bead and push a small piece of cocktail stick through the bead.  With the pointed end to the top of the bead, push the other end of the cocktail stick into the hole in the top of the lid and glue the bead in place on the lid.   To make the lid heavier I used a shaped ring from a dangly earring and a silver coloured ring from a necklace and stuck the lid into the silver ring and then onto the shaped ring, this ensures that it doesn’t easily fall off!

If you are making a Street Lamp, you will need a bar under the lamp for the Lamplighter to rest his ladder on.  Two pieces of painted cocktail sick with a bead stuck on one end will do the job!   There is normally a bar on each side of the pole, the bead stops the ladder sliding off and the Lamplighter from serious injury!



The pieces that are left can come in useful too, see lampshade support and painted bead.

I have only found a use for the spring on one occasion; I lost the spring from my floor mop and one of these did the job until the original was run to ground in the safe place where I had put it!

I am sure there are other uses for the parts but I will leave that to you to discover. Have fun!

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