Project: Mod Doll Furniture

I bought this well-loved copy of the book Nomadic Furniture (published in 1973) at a junk store years ago because it had some pretty damn good ideas in it. Nomadic Furniture gives instructions on how to build lightweight furniture that folds, knocks down, stacks or is disposable and can be recycled. Despite the hippy-ish hand-drawn illustrations, this book offers some interesting and rather modern furniture designs. Design Within Reach isn't exactly within mine, but if I can diy my own reasonable facsimile, I'm pretty happy.

I'm a complete chair addict, so the instructions for chairs caught my attention first. I found a great chair design that looked rather cool and relatively easy to put together (see above). Since the chair is composed of four pieces that lock together, there's no hardware or adhesives involved at all, so yay for that, but there were a couple of big problems- I don't have any power tools and even if I did, I wouldn't know how to use them without losing a few digits in the process. I have no room for extra chairs anyway. Well, not the big, adult-sized ones. What I do have is a three year old daughter with dolls and wee stuffed animals out the wazoo- couldn't they use some chairs?

What you'll need:

  • Corrugated plastic board or cardboard
  • X-acto knife

I could have used plain cardboard, but chose instead to make the chairs out of more durable, corrugated plastic board. I had to do some major math to get the new smaller measurements figured out, but I'll spare you my final measurements. If you'd like to make your own version, you can calculate your measurements from the above illustration. I'm just too embarrassed to show you mine because I'm pretty sure they're off a little. Once I made the calculations, the rest was simple, I just cut them out and assembled them. Ikea should take note! No allen wrench required! They were so easy, I ended up making two.

I stopped short of making the little fabric-covered foam pillows for the chairs that the instructions suggest because even though it's lunacy to spend an hour making furniture for my kid's dolls, I'm just not crazy enough to consider their comfort level as well. Because I believe that good things come in threes, I also made a wee coffee table to go with the set of chairs. The base is a long rectangle folded into four sections plus a small tab that fits into a slit cut in the section where it overlaps. The top is an lozenge shape cut out of the corrugated plastic and taped to the base.

The verdict: One toddler-sized and one mama-sized thumb, both way up. Even if you don't have kids, you could make an even smaller version to act as a cell phone or iPod caddy. Not quite as fancy as the Vitra miniatures, but far more affordable and far less precious. Someone (not me) should get these things mass-produced and sell them at Modernseed.

Poopscape is written by Claire Chauvin, a craft-obsessed mother and photography teacher living in Houston, Texas. If you have a question or a compliment, have tried one of my projects and want to share with me, or just want to chat, please email me at claireATpoopscape.com.