I bought 48" dowels that are 1/4" in diameter. I needed a bunch of them, because the shelves are 26" wide, which left me with a lot of "waste" (more on that shortly). I measured one, tapered it, fit it into place, then measured all the others against that.
For each dowel, I scored around the circumference with an X-acto knife, then with my thumbnails on either side of the scored line, broke the dowel to length -- very quick work. Then, each end was tapered in the pencil sharpener. Because the dowels are thin, they bend nicely to be fit in place.
|Broken to length|
|Tapered with the pencil sharpener|
|Fit into the pre-drilled holes|
|And it doesn't look bad, either|
The "waste" pieces, I am going to experiment with finding a good (inexpensive) way to keep the figures from falling over in the first place. (Doll stands, even the small ones, run about $1.50-$2, and if I can make my own from scrap, yay me.)
UPDATE: The balsa wood and scrap dowel does indeed work to make a doll stand.
|Princess Gwenevere can barely stand on her own with her teeny feet in those high heeled boots.|
That's 1/4" balsa, a piece of the 1/4" dowel, some floral wire (heavy) and a little wood glue. It's very light weight, and the wire makes it a little top-heavy since the balsa is so light. BUT, the balsa cuts with an X-acto knife, "drills" easily with the tip of the blade, and sands quickly with an emery board.