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Monday, February 23

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Revisited Week 7

I began assembling the dollhouse shell today. This dollhouse is a bit complicated and you have to watch your shell assembly very carefully as it comes together because there appears to be some missing steps in these instructions. That can cause you to leave out some walls that will be difficult to install later. Remember to refer to my Willowcrest Dollhouse Blog for details of this assembly process.

Quick rule of thumb, the shell is glued using tacky glue and wood glue is applied to all joints. Let the shell dry over night because you will need it to be nice and sturdy before you add additional pressure to it by adding more walls, floors and staircases.

You must finish the foyer after the second floor is installed because the first floor staircase must be installed at this point or you will lose access to it later.

I have gone over the assembly process of tab and slot dollhouses before but this shell merits going over some important points again. Remember that the instructions for assembling your dollhouse do not take into consideration finishes. So even though the assembly instructions require you to not glue certain walls and floors together, in order to have movement for easier installation of staircases and/or other components, this is not possible if you're applying finishes to your dollhouse.

You can not apply wallpaper, flooring and/or ceiling paper to glued items that are not thoroughly dry. You also have to wallpaper certain walls that will not be accessible later and you can not install and glue staircases or other components to wet wallpaper. Because of this, by the time it's time to install your staircase/component, the dollhouse structure will be completely dry and very rigid. This causes a very tight and difficult fit of your staircase/component and a lot of struggle to get it in place. This is one of the main problems new builders are presented with when assembling a tab and slot dollhouse. The new builder will think they did something wrong or that something is wrong with the kit but this is not the case. It's just an unavoidable fact when assembling these dollhouses.

Installation Of The First Floor Staircase
My recommendation for this staircase is for you to remove all of its tabs. They will make installation very difficult and they are not needed since this staircase is held inside of three walls and two floors, which are more than enough to hold it in place. I suggest you dry fit your staircase, before you apply wallpaper to the foyer, to see which areas will be very tight and problematic. Take care of those areas now. I recommend intensive sanding to give the staircase some leeway along any problem areas. My problem area was at the second floor landing. I had to sand down the edge that goes against the top staircase railing so that it would fit properly. Even so, have your mallet ready when it's time to install. This staircase will not go in easily.

After you get the hang of how to insert the staircase, you can go ahead and prime, then wallpaper the foyer. I bought a very large bottle of store brand, flat, white, acrylic craft paint for priming. That way I do not use any of my better quality white paint, which I will be needing a lot of for this dollhouse as all trim is white.

I also decided to use a wallpaper that has a border at the top. Don't make the same mistake. Borders will be very difficult to do in a room like this. Just choose a heavily patterned wallpaper.

Do not apply ceiling paper to the foyer yet. Wallpaper the walls only. The ceiling paper will not allow you to install the staircase. All ceiling paper and flooring has to be applied AFTER the staircase is installed.

Wait for your wallpaper to be thoroughly dry before attempting to install the staircase. No matter how much you prepared it for installation, it will most likely damage your wallpaper and if it's still wet, it will take the wallpaper completely off. Waiting for 24 hours is recommended.

After your wallpaper is thoroughly dry, insert the staircase. Glue the staircase to the first floor only. If you apply glue to the sides, which touch the wallpaper, you will cause more damage to your wallpaper.

Once your staircase is in, carefully check it and the foyer. Make repairs and do touch ups now because you will not have access to this area later. Repair wallpaper by matching and patching the pattern but glue the patch with tacky glue or a glue stick. This will give you a flatter, tighter result which will make the seam less visible. Try to face seams away from you as often as you can but given that the foyer can be viewed from different sides, this might be difficult to do.

Use spackle to fill the joint between the staircase and ceiling. Then paint.








 

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