Little Painted Lady / Little Free Library

Our family wanted to put a little free library outside our painted lady Victorian house in San Francisco, and we decided that we wanted to replicate some of the ornamental style of our house in small scale. We knew we weren’t going to be able to translate all of the details down to miniature size, but we wanted to include enough so that it would fit in as a little painted lady.

Oh, and if you’re interested, you can see more pictures and follow our activity on Instagram at @paintedladieslibrary.


  • We started by doing some rough measurements of lengths and angles.


  • Then I designed the shapes to cut in Illustrator.


  • Next, we cut out all the pieces on the Glowforge. Other than one redesign of the dentils, I was shocked that everything fit on the library perfectly the first time!


  • Here’s a closeup of the detailing after painting. We later added some scalloping to the little eave across the bottom. Everything except the round pieces (just little wooden caps from the hardware store) was made on the Glowforge. The dentils (little teeth-like things under the soffit) were made from alternating flat shapes stacked on top of each other and then glued together.


  • Finally, we engraved a wooden sign to hang in the window.


  • Here’s a shot of the finished result in front of its much bigger inspiration. Pretty happy with how this project came out, especially with our 3 kids (7, 5, and 8 months) “helping” out along the way! We managed to make it a fun family project, with everyone chipping in on the painting (except many the littlest one — she mostly provided moral support).


Some more pictures lower in the comments. vvv

64 Likes

Very nice first post! I look forward to seeing more of your projects! Welcome to the community!!

I love how you styled it with the house and process you went through!

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Ohmygosh, this is amazing! I love all the detail and that it matches your house. Of course your neighbors will be wanting one too. Maybe they can specialize in something different, like canned goods or something.

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Detailing is superb!

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Very nice work! Enjoyed the write up as well :slight_smile:

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What a fabulous first post! Such fine detail - love what you’ve done.

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You did an amazing job. It looks fantastic.

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Fantastic! I love a Little Free Library and yours is one of the nicest I’ve seen!

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Nice! Got a full frontal shot? That angle is cool but a bit hard to see your work.

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Love this project. Very nicely done.

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Thanks everyone for the kind feedback! I have always admired the polish that others have achieved in their projects, and since I have literally never painted anything before (“Excuse me, but what is primer and do I need it?”) I really wasn’t sure if this was going to come out how I hoped. Here are a few more pictures if folks are interested:

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Wow! I love the additional photos and comments! Great job!!

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That is really gorgeous! I love the detail!

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Make sure your neighbors pay you for the ones you make for them.

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This is everything about San Francisco that I love. I wish I lived there. Your project is brilliant.

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Absolutely spectacular!!! I have wanted a little library outside our home for many years. You have inspired me!!!

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That all looks fantastic and just like the pictures.

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Beautifully matched!

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It’s so delightful when the little free libraries reference their surroundings, really well done!

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What a delightful invitation for others to read! It’s just beautiful!

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