Sunday, March 2

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Day 1

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Don't forget to read all our How To Guides, listed to the left, for proper dollhouse assembly and finishing information.

The Willowcrest By Greenleaf

Advanced assembly and finishing tips for experienced builders can be found here.

This dollhouse has several sub-assemblies that can be put together and set aside until they are needed in the construction. I plan on building each of these sub-assemblies first, before I begin the actual shell of the dollhouse. That way when they are needed, they will be ready to install.

Constructing these sub-assemblies first DOES NOT affect the construction of the dollhouse. What it will do is reduce the amount of parts on the sheets. The more parts you can get rid of, the easier it will be to find other ones. For instance, the staircases themselves are so elaborate and have so many pieces to them that by the time they are constructed, a few sheets will be gone from the dollhouse kit. Same goes for the windows and doors. Building the sub-assemblies first will also help in reducing the confusion of so many parts especially when they start falling off the sheets and so forth.

You need careful planning before you begin building this dollhouse. There are so many inaccessible areas inside of it that if you don’t proceed with caution and wallpaper, paint and trim as you go along, you will not be able to do so later.

I’m going to label each subassembly part, punch it out of the sheet and put them in bags. That way they don’t become confused with each other and I know that all the parts will be in the bag when I get ready to assemble each part. I’m not going to worry about sanding or anything else right now, I’m simply separating subassembly parts for now. Follow the schematics carefully and label each part with a pencil. You can erase the marks later. Label each bag with the name of the subassembly it contains. This will reduce the amount of time taken from your build to find each small piece in the sheets.

I’m starting with the first floor staircase. As I find the parts, I label them in pencil and then punch them out. I then scratch them off the schematics and the instructions. This will help you know which parts you already removed. Put the parts in a gallon sized zip lock bag labeled and sorted by the subassembly they belong to. If the subassembly parts are too large, put them in a small garbage bag, just make sure you label the bag so you know what’s in it. I punched out the second floor staircase, porch and chimney subassemblies. I labeled, scratched them off and bagged them the same way as I did for the first floor staircase. I punched out all of the exterior and interior window and door trim as well.

Sometimes you get a dollhouse kit with a lot of brittle wood like this one has. The parts are delaminating and splintering. This usually happens to older kits that have been stored for a long while. This kit happens to have been stored since the 1980's. I had to repair those parts by gluing them back together and clamping them until dry. After they are dry, it looks like they were never broken. So if your parts break, they can be easily repaired. Of course avoid breaking anything as much as you can but.


carolyn m said...

This is great stuff. I love to hear that other people will go to the grave scarred by wood fragments just like me!

Paula B. said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It's helping me through the first difficult moments and the dissapointment of finding the bad wood quality, the poor pre-cutting, and the vague instructions.

Jennifer said...

I'm preparing to build a Willowcrest, and this helps so much!

Liduina said...

Hi Gina,

Thank you for your detailed description of the making of the Willowcrest. I fell in love with this house a few years ago and managed to obtain a kit from a dutch internetsite in second-hand goods. I got really discouraged when I openend the box but thanks to your helpfull guide with lots of pictures, I now plan to start builing as soon as possible. You made your house a lovely and inspiring one!

Gina said...

Thank you Liduina. Good to know that my blog is helping you in building such a great dollhouse as the Willowcrest. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me. I will be happy to help. said...

Just found your blog. I, too, do the same with pieces and parts -- identify them and put them in bags. I also do the subparts first and set them aside. I feel good that you do this, too. I look forward to reading the rest of the steps!


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