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Whether you're an experienced builder or new to the hobby, I've gathered material from all over the web to produce the most complete, tab and slot, dollhouse assembly blog you can find.
Tip: 1. Read through all of the instructions that came with your kit first. 2. Find your dollhouse in this blog by using the drop down menu below. 3. Read through the building process in its entirety before beginning your project. Happy building!

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Friday, March 27

Limited Edition 2015 Creatin' Contest Kit Week 2

I am going to try to finish the dollhouse structure before I decide on the finishes, in case anyone out there joined the contest and needs the tutorial. Posts for this kit will publish Friday since most people will work on their dollhouse on the weekends.

If you have never assembled a structure before, this dollhouse would be a good start. If you are intimidated by it, don't be. It's inexpensive and this is a pretty easy project that will get you familiar with some of the tools needed in dollhouse assembly. It will especially help you in getting to know how to apply finishes. Later, you can move on to more difficult assemblies.

Remember, that the assembly of a cabinet grade dollhouse is much different than a tab and slot but it's still a good starting point to build confidence. After making my very first two tab and slot dollhouse disasters, I tried a cabinet grade one and I am thankful for the experience. After that one, I continued tab and slot assemblies with a boost in moral.

This week I began assembling the foundation. The parts are MDF so they do not need sanding. None of the parts are labeled but they are pretty much self explanatory at this point. There is a good illustration of how the foundation is suppose to go together but that will be the only illustration you will have for this assembly. Good thing you all have my blog with pictures, because so far, it seems pretty simple but it will become a little more complicated as we move along.

I am using wood glue to assemble the shell of this structure. So far, the instructions are not calling for nails and I am little skeptical about how these bulky, heavy, interlocking pieces will hold up with only glue. They don't seem to have much support at this time but I will just continue to follow the instructions on this.

Like with other cabinet grade dollhouses, the parts are square so you don't need to use any special tools to make this foundation line up. As long as you join all of the parts, flush with each other, the structure will end up square.

The small plastic clamps work very well with this structure and I am alternating the use of the hand held weights at the corners. Four more of these weights would have been perfect for this part of the project.

Main Floor
Once your foundation is dry enough to be moved, you can glue on the dollhouse floor. This is where is can become confusing because there are no illustrations to guide you. The floor does not cover the entire foundation. The porch floor goes on separately, later on. So, this is basically the main floor of the dollhouse.

It goes flush to the back of the foundation and evenly spaced on the sides. The foundation has to stick out from under the floor, 1/4", on both sides. These two "sills" of the foundation will hold the walls. Clamp your floor down with weights until dry. This structure is sturdy and thick so you can create weights out of anything you like.

When this structure is dry enough to turn over, do so and run a line of wood glue along all of the joints between the foundation and floor. You don't have to worry about being extra neat. This is the underside of the structure and will not be visible. Keep everything clamped until dry.

As you can see, now that the foundation is done, this is a pretty large dollhouse. Much larger than I thought. It seems to continue getting larger with every new step.

At this point, you can start having several ideas of what this could be. There is a lot of space in here to make a loft for a bedroom, add a kitchenette and living room to the main floor and you would still have an area for a huge stone fireplace. I am not far along in the build to know for sure, but I think there are going to be exposed beams in the ceiling.

All of this makes me think of one thing, Alaskan cabin house. Even the sloping roof lends well to the feel of Alaska. If you were looking for an excuse to use a mini outhouse in one of your displays, this would be it and there's plenty of them in Alaska, so go figure. You can almost imagine the outside mountains visible through the large sliding glass door and maybe a lake.

This was certainly not my first idea for this dollhouse. I didn't have a solid idea but I was leaning towards a terrace or an outdoor room of some sort. Something I could tile, stucco and make look like it was sitting in California but that's not what this dollhouse wants to be. It wants to be in Alaska so in Alaska it shall be.

Monday, March 23

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Revisited Week 11

I wallpapered the living room and kitchen.

I had already added ceiling paper to the living room area when the dollhouse was upside down. I have to admit that I have done some dire mistakes in choosing wallpaper for this dollhouse but that's because I had totally forgotten how difficult it is to finish its maze-like interior. This paneled, living room wallpaper is really pretty but not compatible with this dollhouse. There are way too many window and doors openings in this room and so you don't get to see the pretty panels. There is just no way to position them so they don't land in an opening and you don't want to patch your wallpaper unless absolutely necessary.

I also forgot that this living room has a bay. I should have gotten four sheets of this wallpaper but only had three and I barely made it. I have none left for touch ups so I am going to have to be extra careful with this wallpaper during the rest of this assembly. Always get extra wallpaper for rooms with bays because you would be surprised just how much you need for a small bay. Because this bays ceiling is flush with the living room ceiling, the wallpaper does not need to be cut in half for easy positioning, like what had to be done with the Beacon Hill Dollhouse.

I was able to position two panels of the wallpaper on the front living room wall but barely. The front, tall window is not in the middle of the wall. It is slightly off to the left. This caused me to not be able to put the panels on either side of the window, as I would have preferred but at least I was able to get them in an area where they are visible, since the side walls didn't get any panels.

The kitchen and kitchen bay were not difficult to wallpaper at all.

Kitchen Tile Floor
I love Victorian tiles and was looking for the right moment to use a pattern I had found on the internet some time ago. This flooring may not be historically correct with this tile wallpaper and might even make you slightly dizzy, but I still had to use it. It is blue like the wallpaper so it some what matches. I printed this Victorian tile paper from the computer. I took it to my local office supply store to have it printed so the colors and pattern came out real rich and crisp.

Installing it was another story. The paper you print out from your computer, never prints out large enough to cover an entire area at once, even one as small as this kitchen floor. That's why I don't like printing my own paper for wallpaper but when you absolutely have to, like with this flooring, print it on normal copy paper. Do not print on cardstock or every patched seam will be visible.

I had to patch this flooring paper in about five different areas. I matched the tile pattern each time so the patches are invisible. Because the paper was printed on regular, thin, copy paper, the seams of the overlapped patches are invisible as well.

I glued down my tile floor using tacky glue, applied sparingly to the back. Do not try to use wallpaper paste on such thin paper. It will tear and become overly wet. This can cause your pattern to bleed. The ink from printers is not color fast. Be careful and always test a small area first to see how your chosen adhesive will effect the pattern. This holds true if you decide to use double sided carpet tape as well. This tape can cause ink to bleed as well.

The tacky glue will cause the paper to slightly wrinkle but as it dries, the paper will flatten out. Once it is completely dry, you can give it about three coats of gloss varnish and it looks like fancy, shiny, Victorian tile.

Aside from installing some baseboards and trimming the sky light opening of the living room bay, I began installing the floors on the first floor.

Vinyl Wood Look Flooring
I could not decide if I wanted dark or light flooring. The Beacon Hill already has light flooring, so I didn't want to use it again on this dollhouse but I also didn't want too much dark in an already dark interior. Why decide on one when I could use both? I decided to do just that. I used both light and dark colors to create a contrasted floor.

When you have an open walk way between two rooms, like this dollhouse has between the living room and foyer, you want to make sure your floors continue, seamlessly through out. I had to create thresholds for the kitchen doorways since the kitchen has a different type of flooring. They are basically created using a piece of flooring positioned sideways, between the doorway openings.

All doorway trims are added after the flooring is installed and you will have to trim them a little at the bottom to make up for the added height of the floor.

It takes a lot of touch ups around the baseboards, ceiling trim and doorways for the dollhouse to look properly finished. This takes a lot of patience and a lot of turning the dollhouse upside down and sideways in order to reach a lot of the nooks and crannies.

All inside edges of doorways have to be sanded, spackled and painted so they look finished and smooth.

This flooring can actually be touched up using paint, especially around the doorway trims. That is what I love about Greenleaf Dollhouses, vinyl flooring. It is specifically made to work perfectly with tab and slot dollhouses. It is true to scale and easily cut to fit around all of the architectural details on the floor plan of these dollhouses. You just have to install, the finish is already done for you.

The flooring hides any small gaps around the staircase. Now the dollhouse is starting to take shape.


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