Affordable 1/6 scale furniture for Barbie dioramas

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Hi everyone,

Today I want to share some fun pieces of furniture for Barbie sized dolls that I’ve come across recently.

You might know if you follow me on Instagram, that I have a Kidkraft loft apartment dollhouse in the works for a renovation. I’ve been quiet about it since November because I hit several road blocks (I am notoriously bad at DIY), but I’ve since overcome them and I am finally ready to start renovating again.

My favourite part about the dollhouse situation is obviously buying new furniture, so that’s what I’ve been doing. And although my wallet is not happy I certainly am!

Here are some of my favourite picks of 1/6 scale furniture:

1/6 Scale Handmade Wooden Cabinet

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I recently bought this really nicely made wooden cabinet, which actually looks better in person than in the photo. I also bought the lamp from the same seller (it really works too!)

Here is a picture of both items in a diorama:

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You can find the cabinet here.

1/6 Scale Floor Lamp

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It takes a little guesswork with the assembly, but this modern design has me shook. The best thing about this floor lamp is that it actually has a switch and turns on. Here is a picture I took with my terrible phone camera (but you get the idea):

working lamp for dolls

Check out the lamp here.

1/6 Miniature Chair for Barbie

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I have been eyeing this chair for a while, I think the soft pink looks so nice and really complements the neutral feel I’m going for in the dollhouse. I am waiting to see whether it will work for this house, but chances are I’m gonna buy it, because—why not?

You can check it out here.

1/6 Scale Leather-look Chair

1:6 scale chair

For something with a little more class, this maroon chair makes for a great addition in a diorama or dollhouse. I love how it comes with a pillow!

You can buy this chair here.

1/2 Scale Green Banana Plant

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While this is 1/12 scale, it can still work for Barbie, it will just be a little smaller. Many of Barbie’s homewares and accessories are 1/12 scale and it doesn’t seem to be a problem. I’m not sure that plants count as furniture, but they’re certainly a nice addition to a dollhouse or diorama.

Check it out here.

1/6 Scale Single Sofa Chair

doll arm chair

This is a high quality well made chair and suits a modern dollhouse, there is also a two-seater which I will eventually buy, but for now—I’ll make do with just this one. Here is a quick picture for reference:

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You can buy this glorious chair here.

1/6 Scale Purple Cloth Sofa

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This set looks like it’s fit for royalty… It might not work for the dollhouse, but for dioramas it would make for a pretty sweet set up. Check it out here!

1/6 Scale White Cabinet

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This is a beautiful display cabinet that I am sure many doll enthusiasts would love. For now though, it lives in my wish list.

Check it out here.

There are so many amazing furniture pieces on places like Aliexpress and Etsy, it’s hard to pick just one theme to go with. What do you think of these furniture pieces? Will you be buying anything for your dollhouse?

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A new Steffie beauty

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Introducing the latest addition to my doll collection — Barbie Basics #03! She has the gorgeous Steffie face mold which is arguably one of (if not the) best faces on any Barbie doll, ever.

Uncovering the secrets behind Barbie’s Instagram @barbiestyle

If you’re part of the doll community on Instagram, chances are you follow the much revered and highly inspirational @barbiestyle Instagram. Unlike her official brand account @Barbie, which seems to cater to a younger crowd, @barbiestyle showcases Barbie’s seemingly perfect life through aesthetically pleasing, finely curated images.

It’s here that she shares with us the highlights of life, including attending glamorous events, going to the gym (in the latest gear) and even rubbing shoulders with A-list celebrities. The beautiful composition and charming attention to detail have made this account very popular, not just among dollgrammers but also the mainstream public. The account has 1.9 million followers as of writing, and each post garners anywhere between 20-50k likes and hundreds of comments. It actually receives more engagement than Barbie’s “official” Instagram account.

But what’s the story behind the account? Why does it exist? Who runs it? These are all questions I wanted the answers to – so I did some research. And by that I mean, I Googled and came across this 2015 article from the now-defunct RACKED magazine. I thought I’d share it here, in case for some reason this site disappears and we are once again, left in the dark about @barbiestyle’s true identity. Here are some notable tid-bits:

“The @BarbieStyle Instagram began, and largely remains, a pet project for Culmone, Barbie’s director of design Robert Best, and Zlatan Zukanovic, who serves as the creative and photography lead for the account.

The idea started percolating when Culmone, a self-described “very late adopter of social media,” finally gave in to Instagram and created a personal account for herself. She followed a few friends, a ton of magazines, and, of course, @Barbie. While the official brand Instagram worked as a marketing platform for the brand, with its product shots, event promos, and fan regrams, Culmone saw an opportunity for Barbie to be a part of a different Instagram world—the beautiful, art-directed one she saw on all those magazine accounts.

We talked a lot about having a second voice out in social media to speak directly to an audience that’s interested in art, culture, and fashion,” she explains. “We thought it was a strong enough part of who we are that it deserved its own specific feed. @BarbieStyle is a curated, very specific story about Barbie’s role in pop culture today.”

Then came the question of how exactly this second voice would differentiate itself. The team settled on making @BarbieStyle entirely narrative and from the point of view of a “contemporary girl with an aspirational lifestyle.” This wouldn’t be an account for kids or parents, but rather for trendy twentysomethings who very possibly hadn’t touched a Barbie in a couple of decades.

There are moments in Barbie’s world where she is a fantastical princess or a mermaid or whatever—this is not the place for that. This is firmly rooted in reality,” says Best. “Now, that reality can sometimes be over the top, like staying in the Bristol in Paris or going to the Golden Globes, but that’s what makes it fun and exciting. People love the glamour quotient. Whatever it is, it’s gotta be glamorous.”

There’s a charm in everything—a shoebox, a water bottle, a passport—being scaled down to doll proportions, and an uncanniness in how lifelike Barbie appears in front of the camera. Part of this is due to using a doll with full limb articulation (you can purchase this model at retail, though Mattel also sells dolls that can’t bend their arms or legs), and part of it is because the team is obsessive about how they style and photograph her.

“I’ve seen comments where people are like, ‘OMG, Barbie has a staff of people whose job it is to carry her around!'” says Best. “I’m like, ‘No she doesn’t! She just has the three of us!'”

@BarbieStyle is very much outside their 9 to 5 duties; it’s a side project that has them working weekends and texting off-hours about which clutch they should use the next day or whether Barbie should have bangs or a braid.

You can read the rest here.

I think many dollgrammers would agree, that the (highly talented) individuals managing this account are pretty damn lucky. Taking photos of dolls all day as part of an official Barbie Instagram project? A dollgrammer can only wish.

The @barbiestyle account has fascinated me since I discovered it back in 2017. Mostly because Barbie has an insane amount of clothing and accessory options that just don’t exist in the real world. If you look at the comments on any of her pictures, you’ll find people asking the same question: “why can’t we buy these amazing doll clothes!?” Mattel is yet to release an offical response.

What I find most interesting about this account, is that Barbie is, in essence, what she always has been. A style icon, an activist, someone who has their sh*t together and who lives the kind of life we all secretly aspire to (even if we really don’t)… we all know it’s not real, yet we still follow her. Barbie may have faced relentless criticism over the years, but this account is proof that we still love her for being perfect.

Live action Barbie movie starring Margo Robbie

Mattel has recently announced they are partnering with Warner Bros to make the first live action Barbie movie, which is set to star Aussie actress Margo Robbie.

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I haven’t been able to find any more info about the film, such as the plot or when it will be released but I am very curious! I also wonder whether they’ll release any merch/dolls for the movie (that would be amazing)!

I haven’t been interested in many new Barbies lately (with the exception of the Puma Barbie) and I’ve given up on finding Fashionistas that I actually like. Some of them are nice, but the lack of articulation just makes me not want to bother. I am hoping that they revive at least some of what Barbie used to be, but I am not sure they will at this point.

It saddens me to think that despite Barbie’s iconic existence over several decades, the brand seems to have fallen out of favour with a lot of people. I recently watched a documentary on SBS On Demand called “Reinventing Barbie“—if you’re a Barbie fan it’s definitely worth watching. It gives an insight into what it’s like working at Mattel, and what went into their decision to create dolls of various sizes and ethnicities. It was very interesting! It also gave me hope for the future, that perhaps if they continue to head in the right direction they might be able to save Barbie from disappearing from toy shelves (although I think it’s unlikely that Barbie will ever go away!)

What do you think?

My love/hate relationship with Bratz

Ok, hate is a very strong word when we’re just talking about dolls, but I’m gonna be honest: I haven’t always been a fan of Bratz.

I think their alien-like proportions look strange and I can’t get over the clip-on feet thing. Is it too much to ask for a doll to come with permanent feet? I’ve always been more of a My Scene girl for this reason.

I never understood the fascination with Bratz, including their fashions which to me seem to have come from the mind of a 3 year old who has decided she wants to choose her own outfits from now on.

But recently, I came across a bunch of dolls including four nude Bratz at the Salvos and one look at their faces made me rethink my stance on these dolls. Could Bratz dolls actually be… pretty!?

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It’s hard to tell in this photo, but they have really beautiful make-up up close.

The only thing was, as is common with op shop dolls none of them came with feet and I don’t own any Bratz shoes. Which got me thinking; would I like these dolls more if they had Barbie bodies instead? It would certainly make their proportions more realistic and they could even share Barbie’s wardrobe. But would a small Bratz head be able to fit on a Mattel body?

There was only one way to find out…

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Soften the neck hole with a blow dryer, and you’re good to go!
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A longer neck makes the face appear more structured

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This doll is quickly becoming one of my faves!

The answer is yes, a Bratz head does fit on a Mattel body and it looks amazing!

I know Bratz fans may not agree, but I think this body brings out the doll’s facial features. Sure, they still have crazy exaggerated features; large wide eyes, pouty lips and an enormous head but I think they look unique in comparison to some other Bratz I have seen.

What do you think of Bratz? Are you a fan?

Problems with collecting and my thoughts on minimalism

In a society that’s moving more towards minimalism and downsizing, collecting is becoming an increasingly misunderstood hobby. In fact, I have considered the topic of collecting time and time again without ever reaching a satisfying conclusion about whether it’s a good or a bad thing.

But it’s fair to say, collecting isn’t cool anymore.

When I Google the phrase “collecting is” the first auto-suggestion that comes up is “a waste of money”. And one of the first results for this search is this article by The Minimalists titled “Collecting is Dangerous“.

It is a very short article and makes no argument as to why or how collecting is dangerous. I suppose in the context of their message it’s a point that doesn’t need to be proven or explained—The Minimalists is about living with less, and collecting is the complete opposite of that.

The main argument against collecting, from what I can see, is that it serves no real purpose. It’s just a bad habit that results in piles of stuff, stuff you’ll one day come to resent for taking up all the space in your home.

There was a time when I bought into all that new-agey junk about how to live your best life, but I think the world is too complicated to live by a special formula. At the end of the day, everyone is trying to sell you something. And if that’s the case, I’d rather decide for myself what to spend my money on.

To me, collecting is neither a good, nor a bad thing. There are various psychological and evolutionary explanations for it, all of which are interesting to read about. Can collecting get out of hand? Absolutely. Like anything, it has the potential to become stressful and interfere with your life in a negative way.

There are times when my collection gets overwhelming and I have to take a step back from it to focus on other things. Collecting doesn’t always make me happy, and when I find myself feeling anxious, or concerned that I am running out of space to put things I try to deal with it in a healthy way. I put stuff away, sell a few things and move onto something else to occupy my time until I am ready to face it all again. Decluttering and minimising are great ways to give you both the physical and mental space to overcome the burden of collecting.

Other times, collecting makes me happy, especially when I find something I’ve wanted to own for a while. And that happiness is not always fleeting, I can look at something I’ve had for years and still experience that same sense of joy as when I first bought it.

Collect experiences, not things

You might have seen this quote floating around the internet, “collect experiences, not things”. The idea behind it is that experiences will enrich your life far more than any material object. On the surface it’s a very nice quote—of course the happy moments you share with your loved ones are worth far more than say, an expensive car.

But if you treat experiences as something to be collected, you will run into the same problems as you would if you were collecting things. You’re just after the next thing, and the next—never truly being present in the moment. You won’t be satisfied until you’ve checked off everything on your list, a list that’s constantly growing. Your life becomes a mission to do things, rather than to have meaningful moments with the people around you.

It’s the same dangerous mentality that turns collectors into hoarders.

I think if you’re a well-adjusted person, collecting things should not get in the way of having meaningful experiences. Of course, the people you love should come first above all, but you should never feel ashamed for wanting to collect things. For some of us, it’s a relatively harmless hobby that makes life just that little bit more enjoyable.

Anyway, I’d love to hear your opinions on the topic of collecting—is it a bad habit? Or  harmless and fun? Leave a comment!

Marnie goes to the Melbourne Cup

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Over the last year, Marnie has gone through a number of changes. Firstly, she’s played by Twirling Ballerina Teresa now. When I started her account, she was Dancing With The Stars Paso Doble Barbie.

Paso Doble Barbie is a gorgeous doll, however her articulation was very limited and since I took her everywhere with me (including on a trip to the Hunter Valley) I noticed she was starting to deteriorate—her joints were obviously designed for display rather than play. Because of how unusual and rare she is, I decided to retire her from Instagram and replace her with Teresa on a made to move body.

It was an agonising decision, as weird as that sounds. But I am so glad I did it, because now that Marnie has more realistic and flexible movement, she’s able to pose in so many different ways. Of course, the made to move body does have its downsides; e.g. it is rather athletic-looking (especially the arms) which doesn’t always suit the outfits I want her to wear. But that’s just me being super fussy.

Anyway, at the beginning of this week I decided I wanted to create a Melbourne Cup Instagram post, because I hadn’t seen anyone else do anything like that and I thought it would be fun. I made her a fascinator out of cardboard, scrapbook paper and some veil-like material I had lying around and basically just stuck a pin through her head to hold it in place.

I had several outfits to choose from, but this one just felt right. Paired with some black heels, a black and gold clutch and a fancy backdrop—she was ready for a day at the races!

What do you think of her outfit? Will you dress your doll for the cup?

Throwback Thursday: Barbie Magic Hairstyler

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For my first ‘official’ post I thought I’d do a throwback to one of my favourite childhood games: Barbie Magic Hairstyler!

Barbie Magic Hairstyler was a 1997 CD-Rom computer game, where you could give Barbie and her friends Teresa, Kira and Christie makeovers and completely transform their look.

First you select a character (I always picked Teresa) and then you choose an event theme: costume party, dream date, wedding or career. Each theme gives you different options to create a unique look.

The wonderful thing about this game is that you could do virtually anything you wanted to Barbie’s hair (cut it super short, give her bright yellow streaks) and makeup (bold green eyeshadow, face tattoos). You had the creative freedom to do the kinds of things you wanted to do to your real Barbies, but couldn’t without ruining them forever (’cause Barbie’s hair doesn’t grow back once you cut it, you know?)

And no matter what you did to poor Barbie, she was always happy with the result, “thank you for making me so beautiful” she would gush during her first date.

Here’s a quick play through.

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Only Barbie could get away with wearing star-shaped glasses on a date.

While the graphics are incredibly dated now the game itself seems timeless to me. One thing that I remember wishing when I was a kid was that you could pick her outfits too—but I suppose there’s only so much you can do with a 90s game about “magic hairstyling”. My guess is that it took a long time to make this game from concept to production back when gaming was just taking off—so it’s pretty impressive to look back at now.

What do you think of Barbie Magic Hairstyler? Did you play any similar 90′s PC games?

An introduction

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Hey everyone!

So, I decided to start a blog for no other reason than I want to share more than just my photos on Instagram. I want to be able to discuss things and write about doll collecting in general. I think the doll community is fairly small at the moment, but it’s also a great community to be part of. Without it, I don’t think I ever would have discovered my love for dolls.

I started collecting dolls only about 2 years ago. Before that, I just lived a busy, normal life like everyone else. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had hobbies, I didn’t really know what I enjoyed—apart from seeing my friends, reading books and watching movies.

I have always loved Barbies though, and when I got my first real job at 22 years old one of the first things I bought was a Barbie doll (she was the Paso Doble Barbie, nude, unboxed from eBay). I bought another doll soon after, but at the time I didn’t really know why. I was living with my parents, and I had barely enough space for two dolls so I kind of… left it at that. This was back in 2011, when Instagram had not quite taken off and I wasn’t using social media all that much.

Eventually, I discovered the doll community by pure chance and decided to create marnietells—a persona not based on me at all. Dollstagram has fuelled my interest ever since, allowing me to try my hand at customising dolls, giving them new outfits and even buying them a house. I admit, sometimes I play with my dolls and give them “interesting” backstories.

My hope for this blog is that I can share some of the things I learn about doll collecting including fixing up dolls, DIY projects if I manage to find the nerve (I have the worst patience in theworld) and also where I source doll clothes and accessories.

I know that dolls are not everyone’s idea of fun—some people might even think it’s odd or creepy to be into toys when you’re an adult. It can be hard to have a hobby that’s not as common or socially acceptable, but one thing I have learned is that there are so many doll people in the world; collectors, artists, crafters and creative folk who channel their creative energy into this hobby. And they all have something magical within them, something that didn’t die when they grew up. And I think that’s something worth talking about!