Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wanna Know A Secret?

I have a form of dyslexia. Apparently that happens with spina bifida. Mine doesn't bother me when I read... only when I spell and try to deal with numbers and equations. This sometimes can cause problems when I'm building rooms and furniture.

Kim of flowers and art mentioned a way to plan a mini room setting that she's figured out in her most recent blog post. She's making mock ups of her furniture to see how they fit into a room before she builds. I think it's fantastic!

I shared with her a trick I learned from my engineer mother and I after I posted the comment decided I should share it with everyone.

Measure your existing dollhouse room, or start with your measurements to build from. Either way it works. Get some quadrille graph paper and sketch up a scale version of your room. Calculators and rulers are both my friends and enemies. This part always takes me a while as I check and recheck my figures.

Make sure you mark where your doorways are and which way the doors need to swing to open and close. Very useful to know. Mark where the windows are and make notes of their height and how far up the wall they begin. Remember that you're working in only 2 dimensions (length and width) and you need to remember height.

A "footprint" is the term for the amount of floor space a piece of furniture takes up. I measure my furniture pieces or again use the measurements from the furniture design and make shapes from the quadrille paper that correspond to the furniture's footprint. I can move them around a floor plan and end up modifying my furniture designs to fit the room.

Remember that this trick works if you have a room and furniture or not. You can use it as a complete design tool. It's also cheaper than fancy software and you can store your furniture footprints in a box or baggy for use again on other floor plans.

This trick works great for moving into a new house too. Get room measurements and make the footprints of your real furniture to figure out how your furniture will fit into the new house. It takes a bit of time but think of the energy you save rearranging furniture! ;-)

I think any technique or trick that can be used to help visualize an idea for a 3-dimensional structure is awesome. Some of us need to see what we're working on. We just can't do it all in our heads.

Kim's got a get way of seeing things. Does anyone else out there have any tricks they'd like to share?


Caseymini said...

Kat, I will second all that you said. I have used quadrule pads as long as I can remember. Great tip to pass along!

MiniKat said...

Quadrille pads are my friends! ;-)

rosanna said...

Hi Kat, I do exactly the same thing both for mini and real houses. When I furnished my 1/1 home I drew all the footprints of furniture on the floor using masking tape. It took some time but helped a lot. Even though everyone was mocking me at the end they realized that it was not so foolish. Hugs Rosanna

Mary said...

Thanks for this post! The pointers will be great help as I work on my project.

Alice said...

My mother introduced me to "graph paper" (quadrille paper) at an early age. When I wanted to rearrange the furniture in my bedroom, she helped me measure and draw a floor plan of my room and we drew the furniture too and cut them out. I could move the furniture around on the plan before we moved the real furniture in my room. My mother's brain was/is stronger than her back!

I suppose I have my Mom to thank for teaching me about scale.

Regarding miniatures, a trick I have used when I was working out the layout of a room, when I didn't have the furniture built yet, was to build the furniture out of Legos. The size of the Lego "furniture" is never quite right, since things can be build only to the nearest Lego Unit, but things can be built 3-D, which can help with visualizing the area and how it will be filled.

MiniKat said...

Gotta love how great minds think alike!

Alice: Love the lego idea. What a great way to get a 3-D element in a room.

Tiffany said...

Oh my, ya'll are way to technical for me! Measuring and drawing and checking. . . I guess why that's why your stuff turns out perfect and I am ripping out walls and lowering ceilings right about the time I think I'm done. ;-) I just don't have the patience for all that MEASURING! Winging it is just my style, I guess.

I do use that graph paper stuff (it starts with a Q, right?) for my shingling. I glue it down on the roof and shingle right over it. This keeps the lines perfectly straight, as long as you glued your paper straight, and also when you remember how many boxes you are supposed to move up each layer. That's not a given for me! Maybe next project I'll give this p-p-p-p-planning thing a try. Or not.