Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Singing ELF's praises again and a mattress

I have no shame in praising ELF Miniatures once again....

I love this bed which I bought as part of a complete bedroom set from Elizabeth/ELF ages ago - apparently it wasn't a big hit, so I  suspect there aren't many of them around.  It is beautifully made

Look at the amount of pieces used to make the base and the lovely joints

Just a little bit of shaping to the legs adds a mile of style

Gently waxed stain finish perfectly in scale, with just enough sheen to finish the wood.

.... and so to the mattress kit.

I am capable of making a mattress for the bed having done so a few times and in different ways.  I have used thin foam and cardboard rectangle covered with fabric; have sewn a box shape mattress and down filled it and buttoned it and have made other methods depending on the needs of the bed and the time in history.

This time I saw Elf's mattresses and bed linen sets in her sale (you can still snaffle a couple if you are quick) and thought why not reduce the labour and go for a couple of kits.  She also sells them ready made.

Here are the components of the mattress kit......

Lovely clear instructions as always.  They never assume any previous knowledge so are very detailed and helpful.

There is a balsa wood base, fabric to wrap round it and a piece of iron-on fabric to neaten up the wrong side when you have finished.  She also incorporated some webbing so you don't even have to use glue if you don't want to.  Iron the fabric.

Oops, my bad, never thought to check the size of the 'double', forgetting that I had a bit of a special bed......

Easily remedied, I just cut and added a bit more balsa - leftover from my bookmaking period.  A bit of wood glue added and a couple of clamps and off to put on a bolognaise sauce and throw it in a slow cooker so I can work on uninterrupted.  By the time that was done the two pieces were well glued and I was ready to crack on. 

Instead of balsa wood you could use stiff card and thin foam or, indeed any material which is firm and gives you the depth you want.

It looks a bit crude but works perfectly well.

I then picked up some soft 'wipes' of some sort that I had kept as a 'just in case'.  I have no idea what the fabric is - very light and soft and fuzzy and came in some sort of medical pack ages ago.

I had a notion that the wood edge might look too 'sharp' and though this might soften them up.  Take care if you add bulk that the end result will still fit the bed.  Mine was a very close call.

If you are any good at covering books or wrapping parcels this is as simple as that.  Basically you are wrapping the wood with the fabric keeping the corners as neat as you can.  Fray stop is excellent for doing just that.

I had a bottle of Fray Stop which is 'going off' - the glue is getting thicker and less usable so I stirred in a teeny speck of water, mixed well and used that to glue down the fabric, starting with the gauze stuff.

Glue down two parallel edges then trim off the unwanted fabric like this, ready to turn over the last two edges with no excess

Here it is from the good side, looking a little softer and more inviting to sleep on.  I did iron the cotton from the pack but clearly never ironed this!

Place this, right side down, on the bottom sheet fabric.  Ideally any fabric you use for minis should be washed first to remove the starchy finish in it so that it will drape better and always cut off the selvedges as they are very unforgiving when trying  to mould round things.  Fortunately this didn't matter in this instance as I was dealing with a straight edge.

Trim this top fabric in the same way to remove excess.  You can see the first cut here, the second cut would remove the excess fabric ready to make the turn.  You are basically cutting out the rectangle of fabric in the corner that is not needed.

This is the finished back with the fabric neatly folded around the base. You can leave it just like that as it will never be seen once it is on the bed or....

Glue on a finishing piece to cover the raw edges.  This kit has a piece of iron on cotton to do the job easily.  It is a bit too small as I had to enlarge the base.

Eh, voila, one Ikea type mattress in one Ikea type bed.

Thank you Elizabeth at ELF.


  1. A very clean and neat job! I think that the gauze is a terrific idea, which I am filing away for reference, as it really adds to the look of a real mattress or box spring.


    1. Yes, the gauzy stuff did just soften the edges enough. Boy was it a tight fit at the end though.

  2. That is a gorgeous bed! Great work on the mattress as well. :D

    1. Thank you. I love the bedroom set but I do remember Elizabeth saying if wasn't popular so wouldn't have any more. She liked it too. Besdie the actual style I love the work I can see that has gone into it. Drawers all open, wardrobe opens. Do need to add a rail and some clothes in there.

  3. A reminder that saving items to use in later projects has its benefits...the mattress looks so much cozier with the gauze covering! Cheers, Alayne

    1. I really had no idea why I was keeping that stuff, it just looked as though it should be useful for something and it was. Saved me a trek out somewhere hunting down thin batting which would probably still have been too thick. Down side is I would have to be sent home from hospital with some kit including those sheets to be able to find it again. Think its back to batting after all. Marilyn

  4. Lovely clear instructions Marilyn. It's a perfect fit. I laughed at the "my bad" - get you!!

    1. Hi Irene, Thank you. It was a really simple task of course but sometimes seeing it done is comforting if you've not tried it. Cheeky thing, as if I am not 'down with the kids'.... actually 'mea culpa' is much more me but I suppose 'my bad' is a fair translation! Marilyn

  5. I always make mattresses with foam and it's an absolute pig getting the fabric to stick to it. I can see the appeal of balsa! Is the Fray Stop any good?

    1. Hi Pepper, Short answer to the Fray Stop question - it does the job, BUT I am convinced that the majority of glues are simply PVA in different thicknesses. I have found very slightly watered down PVA to work just as well. Mod Podge is one I return to all the time for all kinds of things including sticking fabric and tacking down edges - but again I am convinced it is just a simple PVA. Think the best answer is the really obvious one - try PVA on some fabric you don't need, see if it sticks it to something and if it will hold down the fraying edges. I did 'fray-stop' all the edges of my rugs after I cut off the fringes and they don't fray and the glue doesn't show. I am suspicious of any product that won't tell you what its made of!!!! Can't for the life of me discover what Fray Stop is. Marilyn

  6. Hello Marilyn,
    That bed is gorgeous. I have always loved Elizabeth's modern items. The mattress looks very realistic and thank you for showing us how it goes together. I want to go back to bed now.
    Big hug

    1. Pavlov's dogs come to mind - show you a bed and you want to sleep! Yup, totally get that. I do love Elizabeth's stuff and she is just genius at making any idea you have come to life. I can't claim credit for this bedroom set, but love it nonetheless. Marilyn


To prevent spam your comments come to me first. I will be as fast as I can to post them and reply. Please do leave a message.