the great green room: bed

Beginning Bunny’s bed

Beginning Bunny’s bed

I love the simplicity of the bed in the great green room. I used 1/4 x 1/16-inch basswood for the sides, and 1/8-inch for the legs and headboard. I cut the base and the mattress of 3/16-inch foam core.

Once again, there are many options translating an illustration into a 3-D object, and my first instincts are not necessarily the best solutions. The mattress has a layer of Thermolam for loft, cut just to the size of top + sides and glued. This is covered by a layer of old fine cotton sheeting that I must have folded and mitered the corners of a dozen times each, trying to reduce bulk but still suggest comfy bed.

First coat of vermillion

First coat of vermillion

Sand, paint, wait to dry, sand; paint, wait. Sand. Fix broken glue joint. Wait. Paint. Learn that the tiny blotch of stain from the Sea House Pavilion that you thought was just a smudge or something will show through paint no matter what and of course it’s on the side facing out. Decide that you can live with that. Mostly.

The “dressed” bed and tiny placeholder Bunny frame

The “dressed” bed and tiny placeholder Bunny frame

I used green felt for the coverlet, again cutting and gluing to just cover the sides and barely wrap to the bottom of the mattress. The pink blanket looks deceptively simple, but I went through several iterations before arriving at a passable solution. The mattress assembly is still loose for now. It and the pillow will be mashed and glued into place once Bunny is complete.

Current thinking is to needlefelt Bunny’s head and paws. I got my new order of fabric for the curtains and jammies printed on cotton.

Next up is the dresser and table. Then curtains. Then… the one million other details.

the great green room: fabric fail

In which I learn the hard way that polyester is not well suited for miniature draperies.

In which I learn the irksome ways my fabric is not well suited for miniature draperies.

I had been quite pleased with the “silky faile” fabric choice I made from Spoonflower for the draperies in the Great Green Room. Turns out the “faile” part is prophetic. For although the weight and feel is just right, polyester is not at all suitable for crafting miniature drapes. I should have known, having read numerous curtain tutorials, but somehow I was only thinking the “silky” part. Polyester resists both glue and bonding strenuously. So after sighing a lot, I’ve re-ordered it to be printed on basic 100% combed cotton. It’s what Mr. Hurd would have done. *sigh*

And while I was at it, I re-ordered the blue-and-white striped pajama fabric as well, because “performance knit” is also 100% polyester. At least I tweaked the width and color of the stripe on that one, so it’s not a total do-over.

My new tiny Clover iron works really well, though.

the great green room: tiger skin rug

In the great green room is a tiger skin rug, but it is not said goodnight to

In the great green room is a tiger skin rug, but it is not said goodnight to. Discuss.

The tiger skin rug has deviled me from the start. First of all, the whole idea makes me very sad. Then there is the truncated illustration, and as always, ineffable questions of interpretation and medium.

My first solution is literal; my task is but to replicate. As with the fishing bunny picture frame, I fiddled with tracing it in Illustrator and Photoshop, but determined that a freehand interpretation was truer to the spirit of the great green room, and WCHWD.

I hated it. It’s black Sharpie on a yellow microfiber cleaning cloth. It may be too soon to depose it, before I’ve got the rest of the bedside pieces made, but when I look at it, I flinch. I put it on the backburner of things to consider.

Time is running short of the mid-March completion date. I thought, perhaps go literal a different way, and I bought a quarter-yard of a tiger skin print fabric.

Printed tiger skin?

Printed tiger skin?

I didn’t even have the heart to cut it out and ponder edge treatment.

I had always considered doing a needlepoint version of the rug because, hey, I love needlepoint, but I am also keenly aware of the time constraints. And also, WWCHD? There are a few miniature tiger skin rug charts out there, but when I happened across Susan McBaine’s Miniature Needlepoint Rugs for Dollhouses, something went, um,  something inside.


The design has an integrity seemingly missing from other charts I have seen. And if I’m going to depart from pure re-creation of Mr. Hurd’s illustration, there has to be a compelling — or whimsical — reason.

Trouble is, the charts are drawn by hand and smudgily printed in black-and-white (the book was published in 1976, a simpler time), and reading them is harder than stitching on the 49-count silk gauze I will use. My solution: photocopy and enlarge it, then color in with Prismacolor pencils. Very 8-bit :)

Bigger and more colorful!

Bigger and more colorful!

I think I’ll have an easier time stitching from this chart. It’s 150 stitches wide, which translates to 1.5 inches (38 mm) on 49-count, which is a bit wee. I need to order the two tiger-colored threads (I have the black and ecru) from Red Rock. What to do, what to do?

the great green room: a little toyhouse

v2, next morning

v2, next morning

I scored and cut out the revised pattern, reversed this time so the joining seam would be on the far side. Later I realized I could have reconfigured it slightly more so that the joining seam would be on the back of the far side, and not visible at all. Dammit and oh well.

Handheld dry fit

Handheld dry fit

I ran a red marker on the cut edges to cover the white paper, from the white side so that if my hand slipped, I wouldn’t scribble on the red cardstock. (Lesson learned from v1.) The addition of roof flaps made it far more stable. I had exactly enough lace left to make the new curtains. The interior is left white to reduce contrast with the curtains, because after all, it is unfurnished :)

A little toy house

A little toyhouse in the great green room

For the door, I duplexed black and red cardstock so that the black made an outline. The porch is 1/16-inch basswood covered in yellow cardstock and edged with green Sharpie marker. On the back wall of the house, I punched three holes for the lights. The roof is still unglued to allow access; I’ll attach the chimney after that’s done. I’ll drill a hole in the foamcore wall for the wiring, but for now I want to keep the walls movable.


Lights on!

And here it is illuminated. I like the shadows cast by the net curtains. Very cheerful, yes?

the great green room: a little toyhouse

little toyhouse mockup

The little toyhouse mockup

After working out the basic size of the little toyhouse, I started drawing construction plans in Illustrator. I decided to use cardstock because I think I can cut the tiny windows more square and more easily than I can in wood. After spray mounting a print out to the card, I scored and then cut out the pattern.

Mr. Hurd drew the little toyhouse in the great green room like this:

Clement Hurd’s illustration of the little toyhouse

Clement Hurd’s illustration of the little toyhouse

Next step was to mess about with the window treatments.

Curtain decisions

Curtain decisions

I considered yellow acetate with Sharpie line drawings (most accurate), but since the little toyhouse will be illuminated, I decided that the yellow = light, and moved on to contemplate the mullions, transoms and curtains as literal things. I tried cut yellow cardstock for the woodwork, but to achieve the proper scale was stupid hard. Such a difference between 2 and 3 dimensions. I then moved into the interpretive realm, and worked with a beautiful length of lace to suggest both.

Interpreted curtains

Interpreted curtains

I am happy with my eventual solution, even though I cut away most of the “beauty” of the lace. It suggests mullions and transoms, and light lacy curtains, in an uncomplicated way that works with Mr. Hurd’s style.

Little toyhouse problem solving

Little toyhouse problem solving

I was hoping my first real model would work, but there were a number of structural errors and builder flubs that eventually disavowed me of that notion. I made notes and revised my drawing, then poured a glass of wine :)

I’ll begin again fresh in the morning.

the great green room: curtain fabric

Good Night Moon curtain fabric

I replicated the curtain fabric for the Great Green Room

Very pleased with the way the curtain fabric for The Great Green Room turned out. I “designed” it in Illustrator and matched PMS colors, then learned Spoonflower uses RGB hex colors — a simple conversion. They print on a dozen different fabrics; I chose their Silky Faille for weight, drape and brightness. I’ll do a test with the pins-and-hairspray method of curtain construction to see if it discolors the fabric at all.

Being able to custom print fabric (and wallpaper!) is a significant opportunity for miniature builders. Many ideas swirling around my drafty little design brain. Check Spoonflower out!

the bookcase

Goodnight Moon bookcase

An RGB library

Since they’ll never be taken out and opened, I made cheater books to fill the bookcase from 1/8- and 1/16-inch wood, covered in paper. I thought of printing actual titles of my imagined bunny child’s library, but opted to mimic Mr. Hurd’s style. (When in doubt, I ask WWCHD?)

The copy of The Runaway Bunny, however, I decided to do “real”. I had to make an even smaller version from my first attempt to fit the bookcase, just a half-inch tall.

A wee and more wee “Runaway Bunny”

A wee and more wee “Runaway Bunny”.  Also really scary sandworm fingers.

For the painting on the wall, I used the art (converted to grayscale) from The Runaway Bunny, “If you become a fish in a trout stream, said his mother, “I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”

The frame is hand-drawn and cut from a double thickness of cardstock. I tried to trace Mr. Hurd’s picture in both Illustrator and Photoshop, correcting for perspective and whatever, but found my sketching hand was more clever than technology in reproducing a workable likeness. Refreshing!

Great green room picture frame

Pretty sure I want to make a full size frame that looks like this.

Goodnight Moon great green room

Furnishing the great green room

Think I’ll work on the little house next.

a basket of logs

great green room logholder

I have “interpreted” the log basket

How to make a three-dimensional object from a painting and remain true to its 2D styling? For the basket of logs, I decided to go woven paper and real logs. After painting cardstock with the match yellow acrylic, I wove half-pica wide strips, then cut out the basket shape on the diagonal. (Yes, I switch measurement systems willy-nilly. Wood is almost always in inches, but my long years of graphic designery allows me to think and see in picas. It’s basically base 12, and very handy in 1:12 scale noodling.)

great green roon Goodnight Moon logholder

I wasn’t going to tell you these are half-pica (6 points) wide strips of painted cardstock

There are two other divergences from Mr. Hurd’s illustration: I stabilized the basket with an edging, and currently there are five logs in it.


I just liked the way it looked better. I toyed with the idea that five logs in the basket makes sense as the prequel to the great green room as famously pictured… I will probably go back to three logs.

Goodnight Moon log holder

Before the fire has been lit, so *of course* there are five logs in the basket

We’ll slide more down the slippery slope of logic and time as the build progresses.

new build: the great green room

Goodnight Moon great green room

The great green room in “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, with pictures by Clement Hurd

Goodnight Moon captivates baby Madeline as much as it did her mother, so for Maddie’s first birthday I’m building a roombox of the great green room. Here’s a picture (taken at dawn, actually) to mark when the idea came to me — and to show those of you unfamiliar with great modern literature and art — what the great green room looks like.

One of the notable features of Clement Hurd’s pictures is his use of flat, vibrant color. After several color studies, turns out it’s pretty much kelly green, vermillion and bright yellow. The how of the colors — whether to use paint or paper or polymer clay — is a figure-out-as-I-go-along. Similarly, what will be crafted from cardstock, built of wood and painted or modeled in clay. I am printing custom fabric for the curtains at Spoonflower. I briefly considered trying to 3D print some of the objéts, but there’s not enough time for me to learn the technology before her March birthday. (It has prompted me to enroll in a 3D class at Skillshare, though :)

For the walls, built of foamcore for lightness, I chose cardstock to cover, but I painted the floor.

great green room floor


great green room building

Many color and materials decisions were made.

Windows are trimmed in painted 3/16 x 1/8-inch basswood. I edited the views of starry night sky in Photoshop and taped them behind the plexiglass, temporarily for now.

The fireplace is built from cardstock, with a wood mantle. The fire will be illuminated.



Here you can see my sawdusty fingers holding the mantle cut from 1/16 x 1/2-inch basswood. I matched the pinky-gray color and painted the assembly with acrylic paint.

Goodnight moon roombox build

The great green room before the Bunny family moved in

You can see in the window trim gaps how not-90° I cut the foamcore, *cringe* but the curtains will (mostly) hide that imperfection.

Next is the bookcase, built of 1/16 x 1/2-inch basswood. When I was matching the yellow to paint, I noticed that the inside of the case is gray. What a curious detail. But hey, true to the great green room as painted by Mr. Hurd am I.

First coat of paint(s)

First coat of paint(s)