Saturday, 22 July 2017

Library Trims

 I used to add the three pieces of trim you get with a door in situ, but I now find if I join them first and add them as a unit it is easier and I get a better balanced result.

trio for a doorway

Sometimes you can get a badly fitting corner with a gap like this.

nasty join

I keep a small jar of sawdust collected from any sawing I do

need to cut some wood stock is getting low

 I dip a brush in paint and then in sawdust and push it into the gap

shove it in

Let it dry and rub it over with the usual fine buffer, clean it up well and give it another coat of paint. I do this with any bad corner joins in coving and skirting too.

still needs a bit more cleaning up before painting again
When painting trims like skirtings and coving try to do it with the thinnest of coats - two or three thin coats are so much better than one gloppy one.  The first coat really is a primer and the wood needs denibbing when its dry before adding the proper coat.  Be sure to be scrupulous about removing any dust from the sanding process.  Wipe with cloth and use a dry brush to clean any grooves.  Usually, if your paint is good, a second coat will see the job done.

First/primer coat

So, when all prepped and painted, trims go in place.

tidied up door trim now looks fine
The small cupboard trims were nice and easy to saw through.  In the photo below the joins need going over with paint to finish them properly.

I thought that the white skirting and coving that I added to finish the room looked very 'contrasty' and not at all what I wanted so I just painted over it - very, very carefully - in the same colour as the shelves and everything went much calmer, including me.

I could not figure out any way to make the convex coving around the top of the shelves meet the concave ceiling coving in a neat join - two completely different profiles.  In retrospect extending the shelf coving might have been a better idea. 

I thought I might need about a hundred more books but decided I should check properly so that I didn't end up buying too many.  Huge joke - it seems about five books occupy one inch of shelf and by the time I had multiplied out my inches I actually need about 500 books.  (My first calculation came out at 2,000! and caused a bit of a panic)  This is the moment where I really, really regretted the idea of a small library.  Hey ho!


It has only taken me five years to realise that a small box on your desk pretending to be a rubbish bin is really, really useful!

desk bin



  1. Great tutorial as always, about painting and love the idea of keeping some sawdust around to fill in gaps! Your library is wonderful as I knew it would be. In my opinion your shelves don't have to be filled 100% with books. You could add "knick-knacks" here and there, perhaps a vase or something to break up the space. I know I would be intimidated if I had to make 500 books! Good luck and beautiful job!

    1. By the way, your utube video on how to make miniature books was one of my favorites!

    2. Quite right, I will be adding some nick-nscks .....on the one hand I like the idea of a library stuffed with books and really that is how this one should be.....on the other hand I think nicky nacky noos add interest. Must go visit my videos, have almost forgotten them its been so long. Thanks as always, M

  2. Five hundred books is certainly a grand number to make but done over time it would be a wonderful accomplishment...of course as Beth (above) says you could always add various accessories to the shelving to 'fill the gaps' until you get to the finished look of total books. A real library would be books, books and more books! An inspiring project to say the least...looking forward to seeing more of its progress. Installing the door trims in once they are put together is an ideal method of ensuring an accurate fit...good ideas shared! Cheers, Alayne

    1. Thanks Alayne, I have done the books now and it was really quite a nice task so I will know if I ever have to make a lot of them again not to be nervy about it. I really do find the door trims easier to do this way.M

  3. The built in shelves came out beautifully, Marilyn! I love the green above the door as well. I suspect that even tho 500 books is a major task, you've rounded the corner now to the really fun part - adding all the personal touches to turn the dollhouse into a lovely home! Eagerly awaiting the next installment...

    1. I have a few bits and bobs for the room but it will be fun finding others to make it an interesting space. Nice to see you as always. M

  4. Even with its empty shelves, this room is already my Favorite! ♡
    I am surrounded by shelves filled with books (and STUFF) inside my studio, and as claustrophobic as my workspace often becomes, I can't image not having the pleasure of looking at the books displayed side by side and/or flat stacked, as I work. Which is why I a am not only Delighted to see your lovely library shelves, but also the BEAUTIFUL finished painted trims surrounding them. An OUTSTANDING job thus far EM and I know that you'll easily knock off 500 +/- books in record time to fill them. ;D


    1. This might well be your favourite room so far, but we have the music room to come and then the top floor modern apartment..... 'what japes, Pip!'..... In real life I am useless at gathering stuff...I am neat to the point of borderline obsessive so even in mini world can't do clutter.....and I would love to. I love arty houses crammed with interesting things but suspect it will never happen for me. It seems you can't escape your nature even when making another imagined life. M

  5. Hello Marilyn,
    It is such a beautiful library. the trim really makes a nice, clean finish to the bookcases. It is gorgeous even without the books. I love the serene colors you chose and I adore that wallpaper. Thank you for the sawdust tip...that will come in very useful as I am working on the kitchen cabinets right now ;)
    The thought of making all those books is quite daunting...I keep putting it off.
    Keep up the amazing work, and your posts are wonderful and always full of great tips. It is MUCH appreciated.
    Big hug

    1. I think the wallpaper is a Chinoiserie one, I know you use them. Lovely quality and print and perfect scale. Shame to only need a couple of bits here it demands to be used properly. I have matched some silk to the red in it for the drapes or seats or something but can't really do it justice. Thank you for dropping by. M

  6. Never thought to use sawdust to as a gap filler. Great idea! Thanks for sharing. Your Library is lovely.

    1. Thank you for visiting. I think the sawdust idea could be expanded on, maybe mix it with wood glue and really use it like a filler? I have never bothered as I just find shoving it in any cracks, mixed with paint, works just fine. Proper woodfiller is just too much at this scale if you only have hairline spaces to fill. M