There’s a thread on Figurvore about one’s first attempts at set pieces compared to one’s current efforts. It got me thinking about how I used to make sets.
When I first started in 1:6 scale, I built movable sets on my desktop or more permanent ones in bookshelves. I had very few backdrops and/or set pieces, so I mostly made do by repurposing commonly available items. One of my favorite examples of such reuse was the jelly bean seat.
To make the jelly bean seat, I started off using a short cylindrical container for binder clips. I brought it home from the office because it looked about the right size to serve as a table or ottoman or something.
When I got it home, I discovered that it was, in fact, the right height. However, the flexible plastic bowed under the weight of a doll, so I needed something to balance, solidify and add support.
It being in the vicinity of Easter, I hit upon the idea of filling the container with jelly beans. Hey, why not? I reasoned that they were attractively colored and also unspoilable [being made mostly of wax :p ]. I filled the container with a pleasing series of jelly beans, then glued the top on with my best friend ever, hot glue.
Almost a decade later, I do purchase set pieces specifically made for 1:6 scale, but I also still make my own pieces with creative thinking and HOT GLUE. In fact, the latest survey of my set pieces includes quite a few that I have made/reused myself: stools [carpentry scraps], bookcase [bamboo drawer organizer], counters [wooden boxes], door [photo album], fainting couch [jewelry box], sink [paperclip holder], toilet [novelty gag], bed [doll box covered with 1:1 scale pillow case], chair [cell phone holder], ottoman [music box], table [plastic jar lids and carpentry scraps], window shade [bamboo placemat]…and probably some other stuff that I’m forgetting.
At this point in my life, I will only buy a set piece premade because I can’t approximate it myself [or I’m too lazy to]. Though I have many nifty pieces that were commercially manufactured [I adore my yellow Rement side table with working lamp!], I almost always prefer my simple, homemade approximations. For example, I recently found myself saying, "Why do I have this Kitchen Littles counter unit with drawers when I have two homemade counter units made from wooden boxes fronted with cardstock that do the job just fine?"