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Whether you're an experienced builder or new to the hobby, I've gathered material from all over the web to produce the most complete, tab and slot, dollhouse assembly blog you can find.
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Sunday, March 8

The Garfield Dollhouse Day 8

I have to prepare the floors before the walls can go up. With the staircases in the way, it will be very difficult to paint the ceiling after the floors are installed.

I drew the floor board design on the second and third floors just like I did the first and then I stained them. I then turned them over and painted them white since this side will be the ceilings.
After they are dry, I began putting in the walls. Follow all the instructions so you can put the walls in correct sequence or you will have problems later.

This part is very difficult. The walls are very large and they all go up with very little areas to hold on to and keep from falling over. Your glue will be wet so it will not adhere immediately. Each wall that’s put up, causes pressure on the previous one and more chances of it toppling over or coming out of place. Clamp with masking tape as you go along to try and prevent that from happening. Keep your eye on all of your joints, tabs and slots so you can correct any shift in position as you build. You don’t want your glue to dry on a misaligned part.

The instructions say to glue only when your told but you don’t have to do that since your not using hot melt glue. You can apply glue on all joints because it will take a while before you glue dries. This will allow for the parts to still have leeway as your building.

Don’t stop building until I tell you to. You must continue putting parts up before the glue dries and doesn’t allow you to have movement in the structure anymore.

Go over your floor joints with wood glue as you go along in your build. Leave the wall joints for later.

This process is very hard. You have to have patience. Re-position walls that come out of place because of pressure or hammering of other walls. You will need a hammer for this. Make sure all joints are tight and all tabs are fully in slots.

Since I’m bashing the tower top, I cut all of my tower sides at the third floor mark. The third floor will not have tower walls because it will be a gazebo instead. It's easy to tell where the third floor mark for the front panels of the tower are but not so for the side panels that have no windows. I had to dry fit them in order to see where the third floor begins and then cut them. I’m not sure how the slots of the third floor will be but we will see what havoc I caused when we get to that. For now, it's all looking good.

I didn’t throw out the cut pieces though. You never know if they will be needed because of some mistake. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about dollhouse building is to never get rid of anything until it's all done.

Right after you put in the Third Floor Back section and right before the Second/Third Floor Stairwell Partition, you have to STOP. You can't proceed or you won't be able to wallpaper the dollhouse.

This presents a dilemma. Since you have to stop, your glue will inevitably dry making the structure loose its flexibility to move. If you don’t stop, you can't decorate the interior. If you try to wallpaper now with the glue wet so you can continue, your structure will fall apart. This is where dollhouse builders are caught between a rock and a hard place and the only thing you can do is throw your hands up and let the structure dry so you can wallpaper it. You have no choice. The finishing is more important than the potential struggle of a non flexible dollhouse.

The non flexibility will make it harder to put in the remaining walls and staircase but you literally have no other alternative. The only thing you can take solace in is that if all your tabs and slots are in correctly and your joints are aligned properly and tightly, the dollhouse should be able to take the pressure. You shouldn’t have too much of a problem down the line.

I made some mistakes during this process which I had to fix.

1. I forgot to put in the Kitchen/Dining Room Corner Wall. No big deal, I was able to get it in there even though all the other walls were already up. I simply slipped it into place through the third floor. I hammered it down until it reached the first floor and the tab went into the slot. This happened because its very easy to skip a step on this long wall assembly process. Make sure you don’t skip anything as you move along. It's very difficult to keep the walls together and also read the instructions so take it more slowly and double check that all the steps have been followed in order.

2. I cut the wrong end of the Right Tower Side. Since it has no windows, I accidentally cut the piece at the wrong end. I had to mend it back together and cut it properly. This happened because I didn’t dry fit the piece first, as I suggested you should do, to see how it went before cutting it.

3. The top riser of the staircase fell out and I had to glue it back in place. The pressure of fitting it into place can break a piece. Make sure that your staircase is very sturdy and well glued and be careful when inserting it into place. If the riser would have fallen into the staircase, I would have had to make another one because it can not be taken out.


Sandy Miller said...

Okay, I'm stuck here! The directions say that step 1 and step 8 are different, and they are. No problem with step 1. But... step 8 is notched on the opposite side from all the others. That's not the way it looks in any of the photos here, and I'm stymied. Help!

Gina said...

Sandy, it has been a while since I built this dollhouse so I am kind of confused as to what exactly your saying is notched. If you can take pictures, send them to my email. Just click on the Contact Us on the top of this webpage. You can also better describe to me exactly what problem your encountering through email. I will try my best to help you.

Sandy Miller said...

Oh, Gina, I'm sorry. I just saw your reply! But, at 3:00 am that morning, I woke up with the solution! Thank you! I'm coming down to the wire on my build, just have the roof and the porch to do -- and, of course, a bunch of details!

Jeff said...

Okay, I need some help with my build. I am just finishing up painting all my window and door trim pieces. But, I wanted to add oak floor boards to every room except the kitchen and bathroom. When is the best time to glue down all these floor boards? As I am putting up the walls and partitions or wait until they are all up then do the floor boards? And when I put up all the walls and partitions, they should all have the window and door trim already attached, correct? Should I also attach the doors as well at this point? The directions are unclear about this. Hope you can help me out. Thanks.

Gina said...

Hi Jeff,

I have written in detail the correct way to assemble tab and slot dollhouses under the Dollhouse How To Guide. You would need to review the Shell Assembly Guide and the Flooring Guide to before familiar with the correct sequence of installation.

Flooring should be installed after the dollhouse shell is completed unless there is going to be an inaccessible area later on. The Garfield has inaccessible areas, so you have to keep those in mind so you can put the flooring in before you seal these areas out of reach.

Window and door trim should also be installed only after the dollhouse shell is complete.

lionel2100 said...

Hello, At what point do I put on the curtains on the windows? Should I wait until the end or until the shell is complete? I still want to be able to reach the windows and not have to reach into corners and what not to put on the curtains. I am on part D-14 of the instructions for the Garfield. I believe I have to glue the closet wall in the back bedroom above the kitchen. Thanks, Jeff

Gina said...

Hi Jeff,

If the window is in a location that can not be accessed later, you will have to install the curtain as your building. All other windows that can be accessed later, install after you are done.


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