ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cottage Style Dollhouse Furniture: Distressed Ivory

Updated on January 30, 2014

An Antique White Finish for Doll Furniture

Distressed ivory is an antique white finish that looks stunning on shabby chic or cottage style furniture -- either full scale or miniature. It is particularly well suited for doll furniture (especially if a collector has a tight budget but a taste for realism). Distressed ivory finishes can give cheap manufactured furnishing an elegant one-of-a-kind look, and make mismatched pieces look matching, or at least almost matching -- which is actually more true to the "shabby chic" look than true uniformity. It's a finish that also looks good with the quilts and knick knacks that miniature collectors are drawn to.

This particular antique white finish is made by applying a cream colored paint over a darker one, allowing some of the dark to show. Pieces often have raised molding or ornamental details and a lustrous sheen. The technique is relatively easy as far as faux finishes go. Precision isn't necessary. With patience -- and a light touch -- a person can create doll furniture that's beautiful to look at.

On this page, I will share tips for creating faux finish doll furniture in distressed ivory.

Take a Look at Some Distressed Ivory Furniture - On YouTube

From office chairs to little girl's dream furniture, here are a a variety of shabby chic and French style furnishings in distressed ivory. The furniture in these videos are all real (full size). They're elegant pieces, though, that may give you inspiration for your own miniature collections. You can get a sense of not only what the finished project will look like, but how you can get there. What decorative details or findings might you add to your doll furniture before painting?

Which Dollhouse Furnishings Will Look Good in Distressed Ivory?

Selecting and preparing dollhouse miniatures

Most bedroom, living room, or dining room dolls furniture will look good with a distressed ivory finish -- at least most of the cheap packaged pieces. Furniture with carved or raised details will look especially nice. You will probably want to avoid pieces that are too sleek or modern.

The doll furniture doesn't have to be new, just relatively clean. It doesn't matter if there is an uneven paint job or minor damage and you don't have to remove every trace of paint. If the paint has a matte finish, you're ready to go; if the finish is shiny, it's good to sand and/or add a surface preparer. (Sometimes you can paint slick finishes without a surface preparer, but you have to build layers very slowly, a little paint at a time, with ample time to dry in between.)

Speaking from experience -- look closely at the pictures in the intro and Polaroid! -- this miniature bedroom set from Hobbybuilders looks nice in distressed ivory, provided you prime the surface and/or build the layers up very slowly, allowing ample drying time in between. Laminated or shiny surfaces are harder to refinish than either unfinished wood or regular paint. At points along the way, these furniture items were a bit of a muddy brown mess -- but the finished product was as I'd envisioned.

Distressed Ivory Cabinet

Distressed Ivory Cabinet
Distressed Ivory Cabinet

Creating a Delicate Distressed Ivory Finish - With acrylics or stencil cream

Distressed ivory is created by applying a warm cream color over a brown background. Traditionally, the top coat is sanded to reveal the brown underneath.

For miniature items, I find that it works well to drybrush or stipple the lighter colored top coat with stencil cream or a thick ivory colored acrylic. It may seem paradoxical at first, but if you apply very thick paint with a stiff bristled brush, you get a whisper soft finish. Do use a light touch -- you can build layers slowly.

Put a little less color on corners and raised decorations. You may want to do a bit of sanding at the end to make sure that raised areas look sufficiently browned and worn.

Viva Decor 1.7-Ounce Paper Soft Color, Cream
Viva Decor 1.7-Ounce Paper Soft Color, Cream

Apply with a small sponge brush to create delicate ivory color .


Adding "Carved" Embellishments - An inexpensive, but convincing illusion

Distressed ivory furniture often has raised details or embellishments. You can create your own with jewelry findings or scrapbook embellishments. It doesn't matter that they don't appear to match your furniture -- give them the same antique antique white finish, and then they will!

Investing in a few simple materials will help make your project successful. You will probably want to give your embellishments a primer or base coat; this is quite inexpensive, especially if you buy a small bottle that is intended for crafting. You will also need a glue or putty that's designed to bind nonporous surfaces. (Hot glue guns are an option for attaching some filagree, but are difficult to use with some tiny pieces.)

Giving Your Faux Finishes a Lustrous Shine

Distressed ivory does a good job hiding minor flaws. Still, the most realistic finish for dollhouse miniatures is not varnish, but polish. If possible, get an antiquing polish sold for small craft items.

More Shabby Chic Inspiration - A Dollhouse Photo Reference

Thoughts to Share

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      5 years ago from Ljubljana

      So many great homes for dolls! Beautiful presentation!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      By the descriptions and pictures, it looks like some really attractive dollhouse rooms can be created with distressed ivory Cottage Style look.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      8 years ago from La Verne, CA

      A shabby chic dollhouse would be very fanciful.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)