Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Designing Dollshouse Wallpaper

I have for the last little while been engaged in designing and printing off some dollhouse wallpaper. This exercise has taught me quite a bit about ‘Photoshop’ that I didn’t know before, and has (I believe) produced some interesting results. This enterprise was provoked because we could not seem to find on the Internet the type of wallpaper we needed with which to decorate the grand Georgian style dollshouse that my daughter has been building. We needed some striped wallpaper for the halls, and could not find any. So I set to work and soon had a few templates set up from which to make several varieties of striped paper. Here are some of the results.

At first, I opened a simple blank canvas, about an inch and a quarter wide and ¾ inch high, 300dpi. I set the rulers to ‘pixels’ and drew some vertical lines at intervals which might produce a good effect. I then coloured in the bands of various widths which had been produced. The result looked a bit like your grandfather’s war medals. Next I dragged those ‘template’ forms onto a bigger canvas and pasted them in side by side to make a wide horizontal array. Then I ‘flattened’ the image, rendering it all into one background layer. Using ‘Free Transform’, I ‘stretched’ the image vertically, to produce a page of stripes. All that remained was to select colours for the stripes of different widths, so as to achieve a pleasing effect.

To dress the paper off nicely I needed a frieze to paste along the top, for use in case we didn’t have a molded plaster cornice in the area in which we were working. For this I made another template, this time with horizontal stripes. After blocking out the various bands with colours to match the already made wallpaper, I was left with a central field needing some decoration. In this area I inserted elements that I had designed and created years ago for a totally different project ~ a photo of a plaster urn, a roundel, and a swag that I had made in the Georgian style to decorate a fireplace. I photographed the details of this fireplace and extracted the architectural elements. After enhancing them in Photoshop, I cut and pasted them in at intervals to produce a long band.
Last fall, having anticipated a need for pictures of floral elements, I had taken a number of photos from stems taken from a bunch of yellow roses. Now I worked with those pictures to assemble a variety of ‘Rose Stripe’ papers.

Some other papers I produced by photographing existing old wallpaper from the Victorian era and ‘restoring’ it by cleaning it up ~ in effect repainting an area of the paper, then re-assembling a page from the restored illustration.

As I proceeded, I began to learn new techniques, such as working with layers and textures. Ultimately I found myself able to build completely original paper designs that looked to me very professional. With a little more effort, I think we shall be able produce some finished papers which may be enjoyed for generations.

I have posted more pictures on my ‘Flickr’ photostream, showing aspects not illustrated here.

1 comment:

Monica Roberts said...

Hi Andrew .... just sitting here enjoying a trip through you blog, and wondering if you sell pieces of your wallpapers, or am I supposed to run them off on my printer? Would love to see some pix of your daughter's dollshouse, or does she have a blog of her own. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely art!