Welcome! Artfully Musing is a blog dedicated to sharing art and the techniques and products used. I'll be showcasing collage, altered and mixed media art as well as miniature. I hope you'll check back often and are inspired. Thanks for visiting! Laura

Friday, November 27, 2015


It’s Christmas time in Victorian England and Mr. Brimble’s Toy Shoppe is filled with things to delight both young and old.  The village children wait in anticipation to see what new toys will fill the windows.  Checkout the mini wood dimensional nutcrackers on the sandwich board.
You can see inside the store through the door and it looks like Mr. Brimble has already put up the Christmas tree.
I used transparency film printed with a window pane custom sized to fit the bay windows.  You’ll find it to download at the bottom of this post.
Things are looking so cheerful at the shoppe.  Notice the lovely lighted lamps above the bay windows.   So many wonderful toys fill the windows.  Looks like Mr. Brimble is pulling out all the stops for this holiday season!
Now I will let you in a little secret and I think you’ll be surprised.  This Toy Shoppe is constructed from pre-made chipboard kits which simplifies the construction process tremendously.  If you can paper, paint and glue you can make a toy shop!
The basic structure is one kit that fits together with tabs and groves. I also used three Bay Window kits attached to the front and both sides.  Then I went crazy with paper and paint.
The bookcase is pre-made and I simply jazzed it up with paint, paper and paper clay embellishments made using a mold.
Per usual, to decorate the store I mixed collage sheet images with 3D objects.
There are also fun items like a puppet theatre and a dollhouse that opens.  And every shop needs a cat!
And there is Mr. Bimble at the wrapping table ready to wrap your purchases in festive holiday paper.

For this project, I’ve created 5 new sheets, two of which are a set.  Included are lovely ladies in their winter fashions, lots of children, all sorts of vintage toys and games and architectural details to create a Toy Shoppe.


This collage sheet features vintage children and toys.  


The kit comes with 6 pieces.  There is a base, 2 sides, a back, a top, and a front.  For my Toy Shoppe, I assembled the kit exactly as pictured with one minor change which I’ll cover below.
NOTE: I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the how the pieces fit together before gluing them in place.
First glue the sides to back and the base to the sides.
Then, paper the inside being mindful of the tabs and notches (notice how I stopped the paper before getting to the tabs).  I used parquet paper for the floor, the Victorian paper for the bottom of the sides and back and then added a striped paper from the Yuletide paper to the top of the sides and back.  I used holly berry tape to create a border between the two papers.
I decided to paint the inside of the top piece (what will become the ceiling).  I painted it an off-white so that it reflects light making the inside as bright as possible.  Just as with the paper, don’t paint the tabs as it will create bulk and the tabs won’t fit in the notches. 
I decided to paper what will be the roof side of the top but waited to add the paper until I glued the top on the structure.  By waiting, it allowed me to cover the notch and tabbed area with paper.  I thought that paper was a better choice as it hides the notches and tabs much better than paint.

If you are not going to add a light you can now glue the top in place and cover the roof with paper.  If you are going to add a light it’s easier to install the light before gluing the top in place.

If you aren’t installing the light you can skip this section
The light comes as a fully wired kit.
First, decide the placement of the light fixture and mark where you want it to hang from on the ceiling.   I chose to hang it to the side so that it would not block the decorative center of the bookcase.
The chain is quite long so I decided to swag the light so that the light would not hang too far down.
There are two mounting pieces, one is attached to the chain and wire and the other is loose in the kit.  The loose on has a loop.  I used an eye pin to connect the loose piece to the chain at the point where I wanted it to swag.  Notice the photo below with the red arrow.
Using a box cutter I cut a hole large enough to push through the mounting piece that has the wire and plug.  This hole will be a short distance from where you are going to mount the light ceiling. 
You could just make a hole large enough for the plug and glue the mounting piece over the hole but since you will not be able to see this part of the ceiling or the hole I took the easy route and just made it big enough for both.
In the picture below you can see where I pushed the mounting piece (with wire and plug) through the hole and then glued the other mounting piece to the ceiling in the spot I originally mark.  
Next, glue the unwired mounting piece to the ceiling and pull the wired mount out of the hole – you’ll see why in a further step.
Glue the ceiling in place (to the back and sides).
Cover the roof with paper and re-poke the hole through the paper.  This is why I had you pull the mounting piece out of the hole so that we could cover the roof in paper.
Now insert the wired mounting piece and plug up through the hole in the ceiling.
Below you can see the hole from the top or roof.  
Below you can see the papered roof, wiring for the light and the battery power supply.
You can also so that I covered the sides (and also the back) with cream colored cardstock.  Even though the bay windows will completely cover each of the sides and a big chunk of the what will be the front I decided to cover the chipboard anyway just in case anything peaked through.
In the picture, you can see the frame piece is attached to the structure so now I’ll cover what I did to it.
The frame piece is the only piece in the structure that I altered.  Using a box cutter I cut away the bottom section.  By cutting the section away I could create a larger space for the inside of the store.  As you have seen from the pictures at the beginning of this post, I added a base for the store and extended the flooring out beyond the walls of the structure.
Next, just like the ceiling, I used a cream paint to paint what will be the inside of the frame piece.  Once in place, you don’t see the inside of the frame.
I next, I glued the frame piece to the structure.
I then papered the front of the frame piece and the top bit that faces the roof.  The red is cardstock and the striped paper is part of the Victorian paper set.  To further dress up the frame I added gold lace and rose ribbon.  
NOTE:  You can add the bookcase as soon as you have the walls in place which is what I did so that I could determine where to hang the light.  I filled the bookcase with the toys before gluing it in place.
The final touch is a clock from the collage sheet.
Another note on the light, I used the bottom of the box that the Narrow Matchboxes come in to cover the lighting wiring and power supply.  I covered it in the same paper as the roof.  Using a box makes it easy to access the plug to turn the lights off and on.
The room box I used for the structure is specifically sized so that you can use the bay windows.  The finished size of the box sides is exactly the width and height of the assembled windows.  I decided to use 3 of the bay window kits and attach one to each side of the box and one to the front.  This gave the store a wow effect and also gave me lots of space for displaying all of the fun toys etc.
The bay window kit comes with 4 pieces.  The three smallest cutouts are the windows you see in the finished piece and the largest cutout is the one that goes against the wall.
I used the pieces a little bit differently than what you see in the product sample picture below.  I used the pieces with the tabs as shelves.  I did not the piece on the bottom right that is a roof.  The main piece is pre-scored and tabbed which makes it easy to bend into place and glue the tabs together.
NOTE: I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the how the pieces fit together before gluing them in place.
I started by painting what will be the inside of the window and the tops and bottoms of the tabbed pieces that will be the shelves.  The inside is the side without the score marks.  I painted the front window red and the side windows cream.  As noted above I ended up not using the roof piece without the tabs.
I add paper to the outside of the window covering the largest cutout as this will go against the wall and I wanted the decorative paper to show through the cutout.  In the picture below you can see the decorative paper showing through the back of the cutout.
I papered the top of the shelves (which is the side with the score marks) and the outside of the windows which are the areas around the three smallest cutouts and the outside top of the window.  Do not paper the tabs.  In this finished picture, you can see the paper on the outside of the window and the paper on the shelves.
In the construction picture below you can see the paper on the outside of one of the side windows, the cream paint on the inside and the paper behind the largest cutout that goes against the wall.  Notice there is no paper on the tab.
Below is a finished view of the side windows and you can see how the paper looks.

Skip this step if you are not installing lights in your windows.
First cut a slit in the top of the window on the outside.  You’ll be cutting through the top tab and then down into the front of the window.  The cut will approximately 7/8” (including the tab area).  This measurement is based on using the awnings on the collage sheet.
Now you can slide the lantern and its wiring down through the slit.  You won’t see the slit once the window is put together as it will be blocked by the lantern.
Wrap up the wiring behind the top of the window and tape it in place.  I used electrical tape.  Make sure that the battery and switch are not covered so you will be able to access them after the piece is put together.
First, prep the shelves.  I removed sections of the tabs in order to either not see them through the window or to prevent them from getting in the way of the large tab on the window that is the main closure.
Your shelves should be painted and papered at this point. The top of the shelf is the side with the score marks and should be the side that is papered.  There should be no paper on the tabs.
The bottom shelf is glued to along the bottom of the windows so that the shelf is level with the windows.  For this shelf use the guide below for removing parts of the side tabs.  If you don’t remove this part of the tab you won’t be able to glue the final large tab in place.
Below is pictured the large tab that holds the window together.  
The top shelf will attach somewhere in the middle of the window.  Here you need to remove some of the side tabs to them from interfering with the large tab and so you won’t see it through the window.  If you want to see it through the window you don’t have to cut so much away but I thought it looked better without the tabs showing.
Next, I glued the toys etc. on the shelves as it seemed like it would be easier to do before gluing them in place.

I then glued the bottom shelf in place attaching it by the back tab.  Next, I glued the top shelf in place attaching it by the back tab.  Let this dry before moving forward.

Finally, I applied glue to the side tabs of both shelves the front tab of the bottom shelf and the large tab on the window (using E6000) and glued and put the windows together.  The only thing you will not glue together is the top piece where we need access to the light switch and battery.

In the picture below of a finished window, you can see how the bottom shelf is flush with the bottom of the window.  You can also see that the top shelf is somewhere around the middle of the window and there is no tab in the front window and you can’t see the small pieces of the tabs on the side windows.  You can also see that I framed the windows and the side edges with paper tape.

I decided to paint the cabinet green.  Another option would be to stain the bookcase if you wanted a wood look.  In the picture below you can see the painted cabinet, the clay pieces I molded, the paper I used to cover the base and the tape I used for trim.
To jazz up the cabinet I used paper clay to create decorative molding.
I cut 2 different sized circles and then cut them in half.  I used the larger circle for the center and the smaller circles for the sides. 
I glued the decorative molding to the half circles and then painted them green.  I also added decorative pieces to the cabinet and also painted them green.
As a final touch, I brushed on Inca Gold Gilders Paste.
To attach the circles to the bookcase, I added blocks of wood to the backs of the circles and then used the wood to glue the circles in place.  No need to paint the wood as you will not see the back of the bookcase once it is in place.
I wanted the bottom pieces to look like cabinet doors.  I added paper to the indentations and used a pin to mark a line in the center of each of the papers giving it the appearance of being two doors.  Next, I added a jump rings with a connector on top of each jump ring to create pulls. 
Also, note the paper tape I applied as trim.
Next, I filled the bookcase with toys and lots of games and books from the collage sheets.
The books are from the Victorian Tiny Little Books collage sheet.  After cutting them out I inserted pieces of foam core board to make them look like 3D books and then painted the edges of the foam core with a cream color.  It was a fast way to make the book dimensional and once they are glued in the bookcase you don’t really see the edges but they look 3D.
To hang the puppets I used Glossy Accents to glue thread to the back the hands, legs, and head.  I gathered the tread together and glued the threads behind a hitch fastener and then glued the fastener to the bookcase.
As noted previously you can add the bookcase to the structure as soon as you have the back, floor, and walls in place and papered. 
I had so many wonderful mini toys to work with like the metal rocking horse and wooden train set.  The soldiers in the bookcase are charms which I painted and snipped of the loop.
The bunny in the corner is something from my stash.
The hobby horse is made using the horse head images from the Vintage Toys collage sheet, a wooden dowel, and a round wood ball.  I used faux leather strips to make the reins.
For the games that you’ll find on the Vintage Toys collage sheet, to make it look like a box I glued the image on a piece of foam core board that I painted.  This is also what I did for the Folding Dollhouse you see in the picture below.

This sweet mini dollhouse is just the cutest thing!  It came already painted an assembled.  All I did was add images from the Tiny Dollhouse Scenes collage sheet. 
I decided they would look better and be easier to see if they were popup from the back.  I added pieces of wood to the back of the dollhouse and then glued the images on top of the wood.
I also glued images on the inside of the front.  Check out the tiny 3D fireplace with stockings and a wreath.

The puppet theatre is one of my favorite things.  The Tiny Paper Theatre Blocks collage sheet is just packed with little theatres.  I love these so much would have made more if I had more space!
To create a 3D theatre I printed the theatre twice.  By cutting out the theatre twice I could use bits from the second one to pop up on the first one and it also gave me extra stripped paper for covering the block of wood.  For structure, I used a block of wood and then legs to give it height and charm.
I covered what will be the back of the block with the extra stripped paper, painted the legs a matching color and glued them to the bottom of the wood.
Next, I glued the first theatre (you can see how things are popped up on the front) to the block of wood.  
I cut the paper away from the front of the theatre down to the wood then folded the paper down and glued it in place thereby covering the top of the wood.

Now is this cute or what!  This is something every vintage store needs.
The dispenser comes with a roll of brown paper.  I cut away the part that is pulled away from the roll and then glued on wrapping paper from the free collage sheet that you’ll find at the bottom of the post.
As a stand, I choose this lovely min plant stand.  I liked it because it is pretty and it had the pieces on the bottom where I could add rolled up wrapping paper.
The package on the stand is a button.  I also used these in the bay windows and in the cart, the boy is pulling in front of the store.

To complete the scene I mounted everything on a foam core base that measures 14” x 18”.  This gave me more space for inside the store and area in the front to set the scene.
As there are 4 sides to this piece I glued the base on top of the Lazy Susan hardware.  This allows me to easily turn the piece to enjoy all of the sides.  This hardware runs around $2.00 and can be found at hardware stores and online.
By using the foam base it gave me a good way to add foliage as all I need to do is to poke a hole in the foam core and glue the stem in place.  The final touch was snow from my stash.

Below are the window panes I used.  They are sized to fit the bay windows. When printing the windows panes on transparency film, make sure that the film is made for use in a printer.
Feel free to download and use the Mini Wrapping Paper Collage Sheet below.  The papers on this sheet are great for wrapping the narrow matchboxes, wood blocks and wooden hat boxes to create mini presents.

Victorian Toys – Collage Sheet
Toy Shoppe Collage Sheet Set
Victorian Ladies Collage Sheet
Victorian Children Collage Sheet
A Child’s Christmas Collage Sheet


Carmen Conners said...

(Open mouthed...no words...can't stop staring...thinking just when I thought Laura couldn't blow me away anymore...)

ike said...

OMGoodness - this is just super AWESOME !!!! I have just picked my jaw up where it clanged to the ground at the sight of this stunning creation. AMAZING !!! :-D

IKE xxx

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Kerstin F. said...

Wow, this is really fantastic, love the many vintage details, amazing and stunning and many, many thanks for your detailed Tutorial. IT's always a pleasure to visit your blog!!!

smokeysmom said...

OMG Laura! This "Toy Shop" is so amazing! I have said it a hundred times before: You never cease to amaze me with your artistic talent. I wish I had the skills to create this shoppe, but it looks way too difficult for me. Although I do appreciate your tutorial. Girl, you are so TALENTED! Best holiday wishes.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

Oh, I want to go shopping here! I could spend hours! What a beautiful, fun, fanciful, intriguing and romantic scene you've created. It is so clever the way you put things together ... you must have one heckuva village created in your house by now!

Helen said...

Wow!!! I just don't know how you keep coming up with awesome project after awesome project! I am in awe of your creativity! Thank you so much for not only showing the finished product, but for the tutorial as well. This Victorian Toy Shoppe is just AMAZING! I know I will keep going back to look at it again and again.

Elizabeth S said...

It looks exactly like an old-fashion Victorian Christmas Card or a scene from the story "A Christmas Carol".
So much heart and soul has gone into this project and I feel once again inspired by what you have done! Totally Awesome !!! :D

johala said...

Hello Laura!
Simply.....FANTASTIC !!!!! LOVELY !!!!! WONDERFUL !!!!
Hugs and kisses

Linda Knox said...

Your creativity has sent me spinning again. WOW!!

Lucy said...

I cannot believe this. Your Halloween village was so intricate, so detailed I didn't think there was any way you could come up with something like this in time for Christmas. It is truly inspiring. I just love looking at all the delightful details.

Terri said...

Oh my Laura! This is the most amazing project you have done! Wow! All the detail and lovely vintage feel really make it original. Thank you for sharing with us how to do it!

Chark said...

Amazing! Can't say this enough!