Saturday, January 9, 2016

How to Use Game Pieces in a Dollhouse

Calico Critter house DIYs was the most popular search for my blog in 2015.
This post is all about doing just that with pieces from board games.
Last night Patrick and I took my niece to this adorable toy store downtown called Poor Richard's.  As you can probably imagine, she loved everything about it and, in the expected two-year old fashion, wanted all of the toys.
Thankfully, we avoided a meltdown when she found this charming little bunny Calico Critter and named it Ewok. Now, she's only two so I doubt she has any idea what an Ewok is. I most likely misunderstood her trying to say something else, but the name Ewok is going to stick because it's funny.
So anyway, Ewok needs a house and he (or she, I can't really tell) inspired me to write this post about using board game pieces, accessories, and furniture. The Goodwill Outlet Center has been a great source for game pieces, both newer and vintage.
I don't know exactly what games all of my pieces derived from, but here are a few popular board games to work with:
Monopoly
Clue
Don't Break the Ice
Sorry
BINGO
Scrabble
Checkers
Perfection
Risk
Chinese Checkers
Pass the Pig
Hi Ho Cherry-O
Trivial Pursuit

 It's fascinating to me how objects with one purpose can read as something completely different just by changing the environment.  When I set this pink stacking cube on the miniature dresser, I immediately see it as a tiny bottle of lotion and the Monopoly iron seems right at home.
I photographed the game pieces with Calico Critter brand accessories and furniture (both new and vintage),  traditional 1/12 scale dollhouse items, and a few treasures I painted during the summer for my ETSY shop Little Supi's Cottage.  I realized that I'm drawn to incorporating eclectic little things, even in tiny houses, because a variety of textures and styles are pleasing to the eye and more closely resemble a real home. 

Small plastic chips and disks make ideal dishes and brightly colored checker pieces flip to become fun bowls to hold fruit and other treats.  Good news: I believe both of these items were collected from cheap dollar store games.
Use wooden BINGO tokens as trivets under hot pans and that ominous knife token from Clue will cut your miniature loaf of bread nicely.
 White plastic cubes from Don't Break the Ice stack to form a modern bookshelf.  
Fill with a variety of toys: the Monopoly dog and colorful houses from Monopoly Jr, a petite pink pig from Pass the Pig, a teeny tank from Axis & Allies, balls from a BINGO cage and Hungry Hungry Hippos, and a fun little die from some game I don't recognize. The bear is from a preschool counting set and the cat is from an adorable 1980's game called Kitty Kat Alphabet BINGO.  Almost anything will read as a tiny toy if it's bright, don't you think?
Cheerfully colored pie-shaped pieces from Trivial Pursuit become art supply caddies.
They could also hold utensils in the kitchen or tools in a tiny workshop.
 Miniature interior decorating may be the easiest way to incorporate game pieces as accessories and wall art.  
I have have no idea what or where these brown and green painted disks are from, but I am in love with the colors and designs. If they were bigger, I'd absolutely hang them on my own living room walls.  Scrabble tiles and wooden vintage Monopoly houses add a rustic feel (you can actually buy oversized versions of these items for your real life home on ETSY).  Monopoly charms and a cannon from Risk bring a touch of class into this teeny space, but my very favorite detail is the set of candelabras from Clue on either side of the fireplace.
 In the bedroom or bath, checkers pieces make detailed little vanity trays for bottles, brushes, and trinkets. The trinket on the tray below is a bag of money from a Monopoly game.
 Snip the peg off a Perfection piece with wire clippers and turn it over to create a basket or bowl with a unique shape.  Use it to hold miniature bottles or treats.  Little plastic pawns stand in as fancy bottles of lotion or perfume, and this quirky Altoid tin token (from Electronic Banking Monopoly) reads as a jewelry box on the dresser.
For a garden center, detailed chess pieces magically transform into elegant stone statues and tiny buildings become bird houses.  BINGO tokens are perfect for planters and Monopoly thimbles work well for pots.  An outdoor garden bench is also a great place to utilize the wrench and rope pieces from Clue.
  Planes, cars, and boats (think Monopoly, Battleship, Axis & Allies, and Life) serve as ideal outdoor entertainment, and the orange cones (I wish I knew what game they're from) add a nice touch.  Itty bitty cubes from Risk or Rubiks Cube Shaker and dice become blocks to stack, and BINGO markers transform into pintsized frisbees.
 Clip the stems off cherries from Hi Ho Cherry-O and ta-da! 
You have a basket of tiny apples for a picnic.
Please, please, please send me a few shots of your clever little game piece dollhouses. I can't wait to see what you come up with!



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