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Custom Rehab Week 01

This upcoming project is a little different from my usual ones. This is a rehab. This custom dollhouse belongs to a neighbor and she was ...

Monday, January 7

Custom Order 06 The Sugarplum Cottage Dollhouse Week 2

Trim
This dollhouse, like the Buttercup Cottage, does not come with complete interior trim. All interior trim must be custom made using wood strips. The windows and bays are square so you will not encounter problems adding trim to these areas. The door is arched and so is the door window. These trims have to be cut to fit or trimmed in some other way.

You will be tempted to use a 1/8th" thick basswood or balsa wood slab to create your trim with. After all, you can use the exterior half timber trim as a template. I found that this did not end up looking right. The exterior half timber trim is very wide and the interior top of the front door sits pretty close to the ceiling. You would have to cut your trim narrower than the exterior template. I also found that balsa wood cracks and breaks when you attempt to create the archway, leaving jagged edges. This happens no matter what type of cutting knife is used. Your best bet would be to use a rotary tool and see if the results improve.

I also tried with left over scraps of the exterior half timber trim cardboard and once again, I was unable to get a nice look. The edges again looked jagged, even when I attempted to cut the arch with scissors. The cardboard also does not stain well, it must be painted.

I decided to go with wood strips along the sides of the door, finish them with wooden finials at the top, right where the arch begins. I then left the arch as is but with a nicely defined line. I left the interior door window as is as well. In the end, it didn't turn out badly. It looks finished and neat.





Attic
Both of the Buttercup Cottage and the Sugarplum Cottage Dollhouses have angled attic walls to create the second floor attic room. Do not attempt to wallpaper these once the dollhouses are assembled. You must wallpaper the interior of all roof pieces before assembly for a proper finished look. This is the case for any dollhouse with angled attic walls.


Half Timber Trim
Unlike the larger Tudor dollhouse models like the Harrison Dollhouse and Glencroft Dollhouse, the Sugarplum Cottage does not bring wooden half timber trim for the exterior. The trim is punch out cardboard pieces. Though the cardboard is white, you can paint it a different color. Even if you were to leave the cardboard white for white half timber trim, you will still need to paint it as the edges of the cardboard trim are not white but brown like the cardboard's backing.

Place your pieces on wax or parchment paper and paint them like you would if they were wood. The first coat will be blotchy but let it dry thoroughly. Once dry, it will become the base for your second paint coat to stick to.

Do not let your painted trim pieces dry on the wax or parchment paper you painted them on. If you do, you will be left with a lot of over hanging dry paint to scrape off all of the edges and these trim pieces have a lot of edges. Once you paint, transfer the trim to another piece of wax or parchment paper and let the pieces dry there. Give them a second coat of paint and transfer them again to dry on a clean sheet of wax or parchment.

I have only used acrylic craft paint to paint this cardboard trim with. I do not know how latex paints will adhere to it as they tend to be watery. You do not want to paint your cardboard trim with very wet paints because too much water can damage the cardboard.

If you prefer a stained look, you can create it with this cardboard by simply applying one coat of paint. Keep your brush strokes even so you do not create a blotchy effect but rather a stained one.





Stucco
You will be tempted to add stucco to the exterior of this dollhouse but be careful how thick you apply it. Too much texture and thickness in the stucco mixture can cause for the cardboard half timber trim to not sit flat against your walls. Remember this trim is very flexible and thin. Little hills and valleys on your wall texture can cause lumps in your half timber trim or for hard stucco to poke through it. I suggest you use stucco very lightly or not at all.

Furniture Kits
This dollhouse kit comes with a few tab and slot furniture pieces.

Even if you do not wish to keep all of the pieces, you can certainly use the corner hutch piece to create built in shelving for your dollhouse. It can be finished in anyway your interior trim is. Though it does not feature a movable door, you can bash this item very simply by adding a backing to the bottom portion made of 1/8th" foam core or wood and then hinging the front panel to create the door. If not, you can do as I did and simply add a door knob or handle to create the illusion of a working bottom cabinet.


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