Thursday, August 2

My Second Beacon Hill Dollhouse Day 1

Click on Newer Posts at the bottom of each page so you can see each day of the construction.

Today I prepared my work area. Remember preparation is extremely important for any assembly process but especially for an assembly like this one. Since I have very limited space to work in, I will be building this larger dollhouse in my dining room.

I bought a good quality thick plastic table cloth to cover the dining room table. I use masking tape to tape the corners to the bottom of the table. This will keep the cover from sliding around as I’m working with the dollhouse and it also protects the edges of the table.

I also prepared all of the tools that I will be needing. I used a drawer from my craft cart to put them all in downstairs. This makes it easy to find what I need because they are all in one place. I placed this toolbox on top of the chair. Now everything I need, including the dollhouse sheets, are in one area, so I will be better organized.

I opened up the dollhouse box and numbered the sheets with a black marker to find them quickly. After all the numbers were written on each sheet, I propped them up. I found a good area to lean them on. I also put them in sequential order for easier location. I kept the box underneath them so any loose parts that fall off the sheets will not be lost. Propping the sheets up helps me turn each sheet like pages in a book to find the one I want. It is much easier than trying to lift heavy sheets on top of each other.

Some builders believe that propping up the wooden sheets this way, rather than laying them flat, can warp them but I have not experienced this in all of the times I've assembled wooden dollhouses. The main key to not have your sheets warp, is location of assembly. Always assemble your dollhouse in an area that has low humidity.

I cut out the kit box picture with a box cutter. You need the front and back view. The kit box photo does help enormously, so take the time to keep it.

Remember to keep the plastic dollhouse windows away from your work area until you're ready to use them. They can become scratched and damaged very easily.

Today I began building the foundation sub-assembly, a simple task. Clamp it square and tightly and set it to dry.

This next assembly is basically the dollhouse shell itself. Put it together according to the instructions. I find it helpful to glue along the way. In other words, I dry fit the pieces together and lift them up a little to allow gluing and clamping together. This keeps glue from running everywhere and dripping away from the area I want to glue while trying to fit the pieces together. You will need a lot of masking tape for this process. There will be very few areas for the clamp to grab.

After the structure is together, use more glue to reinforce the joints. All of the glue will be covered with wallpaper, flooring, etc., so don’t skimp on it. If this structure is not strong, your entire dollhouse will be weak as this shell is all load-bearing.

You also have to make sure that you have all of the joints tightly joined together and flush. All tabs have to fit inside of the slots. There should be no gaps anywhere. If this part of the dollhouse assembly is not completely straight, flush, square and tight, you will have problems as you continue building. The staircases and partitions will not fit right. This structure has to be perfect. Use the mallet to tap stubborn tabs into place.

After you have the shell together, move it out of the way. Before you set it to dry, double-check that nothing has shifted. Make sure that everything is still tightly together and give the foundation bottom support beam a second look. It has the tendency of shifting during construction and handling. If it's leaning a little, straighten it. You can access it from the front of the dollhouse, under the porch. Don’t lift the dollhouse to look at it or it may fall off.

Right now I’m only able to apply extra glue on the wall and floor joints, but tomorrow I plan on laying the dollhouse on its back and applying glue to the wall to wall joints and wall to ceiling joints.

I began the staircase assembly. The best way to do the staircase is be measured and patient as you proceed. Only punch out the pieces they tell you to and mark them immediately with a pencil so you’ll know what they are. Sheet 12 of this kit is divided into sheet 12 and 12A. The schematics will not match these two sheets so you’ll have a hard time figuring out which are the threads and risers for this staircase. My advice is to not complicate yourself so much. Get 10 treads and 10 risers from wherever you want on the sheet. Just make sure you get the right first riser for the right staircase, which is marked on the schematics.

If you plan on staining or painting your staircase completely, then build the whole thing and stain it all at once after it has dried. I chose to stain with a mixture of varnish and acrylic paint. I was able to put the whole assembly together, with the risers and then paint the whole thing at once. I stained the treads and landings separately. I used some spackle to smooth it out and hide gaps. Remember, this whole assembly will be covered with trim.

I glued on all of the trim I could do before the staircase assembly needed to be installed but remember, always follow the instructions and add things to your staircase in the right steps. If you get ahead of the instructions and add parts that should be added after installation, your staircase will not fit into the dollhouse. I used the staircase punch outs to make little designs on top of the decorative trim of the staircase. While the staircase dried, I turned the entire shell of the dollhouse upside down so I can reinforce with glue all of the wall and ceiling joints. I did this for all joints and waited for them to dry.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm building my first dollhouse with my mom and my sister. I can't wait to get started now! Thanks!

southernfried01 said...

Gina, your blog is fantastic! My hubby gifted a Beacon Hill to me for Christmas, and I've been pooring over your blog this morning for my research into how to best build the house. Your advice and tips are invaluable! I really appreciate the step-by-step context and detail. Along with the manufacturer instructions, I'm confident your guidance will help me to build this magnificent house without too many issues. I'll be setting up my workspace later today, and if time permits, start on the foundation. I'm so excited!!!


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