Building this dollhouse is a nice "puttering around" project...paint a bit, then go putter around while it drys...glue a bit, then go putter around while it drys...I got quite a bit of unintentional housework done this weekend.
I got the fireplace sub-construction done, the stairs started, and the finish work on the foundation started. Keep in mind when you look at the fireplace sub-construction that I've taken into consideration where the fireplace surrounds, mantels, side walls and trim is going to be when the house is done.
I made my first mistake...well, actually my second really, I made my
first on the foundation. I was looking at the foundation after I had
it all glued together and saw one of the little 1/2"ishx1/2"ish pieces
didn't fit well, and the grain in the wood was going the wrong way.
Then I said "SHIT! I put it in sideways!" It wasn't glued to the
sides very well at all, because it was sitting a little crooked, so I
thought I could pull it out, sand off some spots of dried glue, then
put it back in right...so I tugged and pulled, but that baby wasn't
going anywhere...wood glue is some strong stuff! I snipped off the end
of a couple of flat toothpicks, used an emery board to sand a little
shim for each side, and glued them in...then I glued on a little
toothpick strip to the 'bottom' of the piece so it would sit flush with
the ones next to it. Whallah, mistake fixed!
So, anyway, the other mistake... I used hot glue to adhere the three hearth side pieces in the fireplace construction, because there was no way to clamp them in place while wood glue dried. I was very careful to glue the back side only, where it's not going to be visible. The hot glue worked pretty good, so I used it to put on the right and left fireplace sides too, since the glued surface would be hidden out of side inside the fireplace. Only it's not all the way out of sight...there are three hearth side pieces, two for the second floor and one for the first...the second hearth side on the first floor is actually the fireplace side piece, which I slathered hot glue all over. Sigh.... I relaxed when I realized the corner with the hot glue smear is the corner with its back to the viewer, so it won't be seen unless somebody can see inside the fireplace by looking through the windows on the opposite side of the house...I figure the chance of that happening is slim to none.
Before I finished the fireplace sub-construction I looked up what I'd need to electrify the dollhouse. The cost to have one light in each room is $186.37...it's another $42.95 to light the fireplaces (or $159.84 for realistically lit fireplaces). I'm not going to electrify...the cost just isn't worth it for me. I think I will cut a little hole in the floor under the chimney when I put that in...I might be able to run a string of cheap LEDs through the chimney to have lit fireplaces...that will light up four of the rooms...hmm...and I might be able to sneak the strand under the house and into the underside of the stairs to put a light in the stove hood. I have to ponder the idea...
Let's see, where was I? Finishing work...
Have you ever used spackle? I never had until yesterday...it's pretty cool stuff...it's like cake frosting. I want smooth walls, so am sanding, spackling, sanding, spackling, sanding, painting, sanding, painting... It's amazing how every little flaw is exaggerated when you're working in miniature.
Painting is taking a lot more time and effort than I expected. I used a sealer on the wood so that I'd have a nice surface to paint on, only it makes the paint go on really thin and streaky, so it takes a bazillion coats to get good coverage. It's taking a lot more paint than I thought... I'm going to end up buying more, I think. Wallpapering is super easy, if I can't manage a nice paint job in the rooms I'm painting I may just put up solid colored paper instead.
"Painting" my hair this weekend was much easier too...a base coat of Party Time Pink with a top coat of Vampire Red...it looks really good.
I decided to paint the library instead of papering because I want a lighter shade of green...I decided, of course, before I figured out how easy papering is in comparison to painting. I really like the shade of green I'm using...so much so that I'm considering painting the exterior this color instead of gray.
I think it's going to be easier to make the fireplace surrounds and mantles now, before I glue the sub-construction into the house, while it's flat on my table. There is a built in bookcase on the side of the fireplace on the ground floor...according to the instructions the shelves aren't to go in for quite a while yet, but I'm going to put them in now...and I'm going to use thinner, better wood for the shelves than what came in the kit. I'll have to trim out the bookcase, the edges of the wood walls look crappy. I have to go to the hobby shop...
I've gone as far with the stairs as I want to until the add-on components I ordered get here. I bought a second stairwell, so that I'd have one going from the second floor to the attic, but I want to use the nicer stairwell on the ground floor if I can, and the not-so-nice stairwell on the second floor...I have to wait to see if it's possible. I put the stringers on the risers that came with the kit, but I didn't put the treads on yet because I want to stain them, not paint them, and want to use better wood. Gluing the stringers on was a pain...I ended up (after it fell apart the first time) using a combination of wood glue for strength and hot glue to hold them in place because there isn't enough surface area for the wood glue to hold it together on its own. After I get the staircases finished and know which one is going where, I have to cut the top part of the staircase wall off to get rid of the yucky banister section so that I can use my own.
I sanded, spackled, sanded, then painted two coats on the foundation. It looks like crap. It needs to be sanded, spackled and sanded some more...only I'm not sure how much work I want to put into making the foundation perfect. I'm planning on making a square "grass" covered platform on a turntable to sit the house on, so I can put bushes and flowerbeds along the foundation.