A Doll Post Office

Monday, July 9, 2018

Quite awhile ago I showed you photos, Dear Reader, of a doll Post Office Quinn and I had made for my mother-in-law Melissa as a Valentine's Day present. I had planned to share with you all the particulars of making said Post Office but we were busy and I never got around to it. Until today that is!

Melissa has been enchanted by dolls since she was very young: She was gifted her first Madame Alexander doll as a Christmas present from the local drug store when her presents had not arrived in time by the post. Since then she has been collecting and putting together her own delightful doll house which now resides in a big wardrobe upstairs in her room.

She introduced me to Tasha Tudor and her amazing world of miniature shortly after we first met, and we have been fawning over her dolls ever since!

Tasha made what she called "Sparrow Post" with her young children, where they would send minuscule letters back and forth with the dolls that lived with them. In one of her books, "A Time To Keep" you can see a painting of what one such post office looked like:


The Tasha Tudor website has a tutorial for making a mini post box, but I wanted to make mom something on a bit of a grander scale, and something more similar to another Post Office pictured in a different book of Tasha's:
(Image taken from Tasha's website)

This Post Office was large enough to fit the dolls, which is exactly what I hoped to accomplish! With Quinn helping, we set about to make a pattern and a list of materials. I kidnapped one of the dolls from mom's wardrobe (for size reference) and started work!

I had scoured over Pinterest looking for easy and inexpensive ideas for the Post Office, and had come up with quite a few. I wanted the building to be light and easy to carry, but strong enough to stand the test of time and playing. We chose thick cardboard for the walls and floor and doubled it up with hot glue. I would wallpaper the inside with high-quality wrapping paper with a wainscoting of balsa wood painted white. The floor I was most proud of: large popsicle sticks with the rounded ends cut off stained to look like floor boards. They turned out perfectly!
I wanted the windows to look pretty so I drafted some designs and then went crazy and wanted to have one wall sort of stick out  like a gazebo style window. This was hard to figure out but I love how it turned out in the end! And doesn't the floor look marvelous?!

I made a tall cabinet for the back wall for the dolls to sort mail. I made this out of cardboard and masking tape and then covered it with spackle and paint to give it more wood-like texture. Quinn made the front desk for the Post Office out of extra balsa wood and a little bit of cardboard. Greta of course, was always a big help... 


The project took longer than we thought, and our hope of giving it as a Valentine's Day present turned to hoping to give it as an early Mother's Day present (which we did). 

Wallpapering the walls was rather difficult because the paper was so finicky, but patience prevailed! The last things to do were to spackle the outside of the cardboard walls, paint them, and then install some stonework along the bottom, thanks to Quinn! He likes to make miniature terrain for games he plays with his friends, so he was already an expert at carving rock walls out of foam, lucky me!

Decorating the Post Office was of course the most fun. I made lots of tiny packages and parcels, and found a template online for printing off tiny envelopes! This Post Office would need some mail after all...
By the time we gave mom her belated-Valentine's present, I think the cat had gotten out of the bag about what it was, but I think she was still thrilled. All in all it took us several weeks to finish, but we were by no means working on it every evening so I certainly think we could have made it sooner if we had been less busy. But tell me Dear Reader, what do you think of how it turned out?
To make the front edges look cleaner, I hot-glued some lace to the cardboard (as you could see the edges of the wood paneling and the floor boards and they weren't the prettiest). And let me show you a photo of the lovely rock wall Quinn carved!
He painted it and everything - didn't he do a marvelous job? The trellis idea I got off of Pinterest, and there's also a larger one on the opposite wall:
I think the dolls really love their new Post Office. It must be so nice for them to be able to send packages and presents to all their friends far away, wouldn't you agree?
The Post Master for Tasha's Office was named Augustus Sparrow, a very robust name indeed. In Juneau, ravens are more abundant than sparrows so Melissa has a Postmistress named Miss Minerva Raven. She does a very good job of helping customers and no letter is lost under her watchful eye. 


A large number of pretty stamps, as well as envelopes and greetings cards are available for purchase at the Post Office.  Mail delivery isn't yet available (Miss Raven is currently looking for a quick young robin to take the job, but as of yet none have applied), but the walk is quite short from the doll wardrobe to the Post Office. 


Quinn and I had a grand time making this present for mom, and I hope you are inspired to create something on a smaller scale as well today! I don't yet have a large doll collection of my own, as Melissa does, but I am lucky in the fact that she lets me play with hers whenever I like! 
May you have a wonderful day!

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