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Friday, April 24

Limited Edition 2015 Creatin' Contest Kit Week 6

We have finally reached the end of the dollhouse assembly. You can see it was very simple and had nearly no issues. The best part, decorating it, is still to come.

Side Windows
Like with the front windows, you need to finish them before they are installed. They are also pre-assembled so the finishing can be difficult.


Make sure you apply thin, even layers of paint. I painted mines while they were open first, and then when the paint dried, I closed them to paint the rest of the areas. Paint drying time is key to prevent painting your windows shut. The thinner the paint you use, the less drying time. Too many paint layers will inhibit the movement of the window so paint them using the same method as the front windows.



Until the paint thoroughly dries and the wood shrinks, you will have impeded movement but as the days pass, you will see significant improvement in the operation of your windows.


These windows do not have a right or wrong way of installation. I installed mines through the exterior and I trimmed the interiors with the provided trim pieces. The windows swing to open to the interior or the exterior, regardless of how they are installed.



Transom Window
This window is a little confusing. First, finish all trims before installation.

The long trim piece goes under the top part of the roof beam. The trim is positioned with the wide part, flat against the beam. I took a picture of the trim unfinished and in position so that the contrast makes it easier to see.


The side pieces are positioned the same way. This causes a frame on the interior where you insert your transom window glass into.


The sliding door frame already has the bottom notch of the frame for the transom window glass so make sure your top, long trim is even with it. That way the transom window glass will sit straight and not lean outwards or inwards at the top and bottom.


There is no trim for the interior of this window. It doesn't need it. Because you can see the exterior trim through the window, it gives the appearance that the interior has trim as well.


Sliding Door
Again, finish all parts of this assembly before installation. I recommend you only apply one coat of paint to the railings, both of the trim and the door panels. Too much paint on the railing will snag the sliding movement of the door.

Glue the L shaped trim, through the exterior, to the right side of the door frame first. Make sure the railing is on the bottom.


Then you can glue on the left side trim. This trim is smooth and does not have railing.


The top railing trim must be inserted with your door panels in place or they will not fit later on. Insert the door panels onto the rails of the top trim. Do not glue or the panels will not be able to slide on the rails. You are just dry fitting them in place and you will have to temporarily, manually hold them there.


Slide the top rail a couple of times on the door panels to smooth out any paint that might snag them. Notice how the door panels are positioned. Each one is on it's own rail and the notched sides are facing outwards, on either side. This allows for there to be space between each panel so they can slide along side each other.


Apply glue to the top railing trim, with your door panels still held in place. Match the door panel notches to the bottom railing and insert them in place. Slide the top railing trim into place, along the top of the sliding door frame. Press firmly in place. Make sure it is even and flush with the side trims.


Gently slide your door panels side to side to make any adjustments before the glue dries the top railing permanently.






Roof
You must paint your roof panel on the interior before installation, especially if you want it to be a different color than your roof supports. I found a lot of Alaskan cabin photos online and found that there is a preference for green roofs. This is why I decided to paint mines green. I want the green on the interior as well, for that woodsy feel. The exterior can wait to be painted after installation is complete.


Finding the pre-drilled holes on this roof is not easy. If your eyes are as bad as mines, it will take you a little while but once found, you can easily open them a little more with a thumbtack. Do not open them too much. You want your nail heads to hold the roof in place, not go through the holes.

Follow the instructions on installing the roof. The best way to align your roof is to position it flush to the front rafters and then equally spaced on the sides. It is very important to align your roof correctly because when it is, the nails will go into the roofs front and back beams. If you do not align it correctly, you might drive your nails into visible areas on the interior of the dollhouse and cause damage.


Follow the pre-drilled holes and use the support block provided in the kit to temporarily hold the roofs back beam. This will prevent the hammering of the nails possibly damaging the back roof beam. Keep this support block for future assemblies. It can be used as a square in other builds. Drive your nails in straight, avoid bending them.


You can use a roof cover to hide the nails and notch lines on your roof but I happen to like them. I painted my roof green on the outside, like I did the inside. I really like the contrast of the dark green against the dark brown. I plan on adding some decorative touches to this roof later on, that will hide the nail heads.

Corrugated cardboard is a great way to create a faux metal roof. The roof is also large enough for an added skylight or solar panels for a modern effect. A chimney would be very easy to create with stripwood pieces.

Because the front of the dollhouse is taller than the back, you can add a small sleeping loft to one of the front sides. Just include one of the front windows into your loft. There is plenty of space for a small ladder to the loft by facing it towards the back of the dollhouse, against one of the side walls. You can use the area underneath the loft as a sitting or storage area. All you need is a basswood slab and a couple of dowels for supports. You can make the railing around the loft out of dowels and strip wood, a basswood slab or with miniature railing.


So there you have it. The assembled 2015 Hobby Builders Supply Creatin' Contest Dollhouse.



Monday, April 20

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Revisited Week 15

Today I worked on the living room bay wall, first floor.

Siding and Windows
I sided up to the porch floor roof and then installed one of the windows. It's the same process as with the front of the dollhouse. The only difference is that this window has a window sill, unlike the front French window. It's pretty easy to install so there were no problems there. I recommend sanding the slots on the sill very well and then tapping the sill in place with a mallet.

Living Room Bay
The living room bay is very plain on this dollhouse so I had to dress it up a little. I added the stained glass ceiling to it. I just glued my finished stained glass over the opening I had created and used the dollhouse kits living room bay roof trim to frame it. I added an extra trim on the back edge, against the sided wall.

I added Victorian trim along the tops of the roof fascia. It gives it a more detailed look.

I installed the exterior bay window trim and even though there is no siding on these walls to cause a gap, I still spackled and finished their inside edges. You want to make sure there are no gaps there, no matter how small, especially when using white trim color.

I added white dowels between the windows, at the bay wall joints. This is a way to add more detail and depth to this otherwise plain bay. It also strengthen the structure and hides the gaps without the need of spackle. You want to avoid spackle in areas like these where it would be difficult to sand down smoothly. It will cake and cause the windows to loose detail.

Again, I wanted to incorporate some of the architectural details in the Morley Dollhouse so I framed the bay, under the windows with strip wood, similarly to how the Morley's front bay is framed.

I then used a stencil and spackle to create the raised designs on the inside of each framed panel, similar to the Morley's bay design.

Foundation
I decided to make my own foundation trim because the dollhouses foundation trim is very rough and uneven. It also does not meet at the corners in some areas so using your own, balsa wood strips, will create a nicer finish.

Finally I used a printed brick paper for the foundation and decided to wrap it around the bay as well. This was not my first choice of stone but it was the only one I could find. I had wanted a lighter color and a stone more similar to the Morley's foundation stone. I just couldn't find a similar enough one to print out. I had thought about buying a plastic, styrene sheet but the thought of wrapping plastic all along the bottom of this complicated foundation, turned me off from the idea. I also thought about using Paperclay but I didn't have any handy and again, the thought of working with Paperclay was not a pleasant one. It would also add extra thickness to my foundation, which wouldn't work. So, gray brick it is. In the end, I like the way it turned out and since it's thin paper, if I can ever in the future find the right stone to print, it will be easy to re-finish.

 

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