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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.
Tip: 1. Read through all of the instructions that came with your kit first. 2. Find your dollhouse in this blog by using the drop down menu below. 3. Read through the building process in its entirety before beginning your project. Happy building!

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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, May 5

The Beacon Hill Dollhouse Revisited Week 7

First Floor Staircase Assembly
Always make sure your staircase looks identical to the instructions photos. This staircase must wind in the right direction or it will not fit your dollhouse. Make sure all parts are straight, flush and square since this is the best way to guarantee fit.

Notice that I assembled my staircase in it's entirety, which deviates from the instructions. The instructions suggest you do not install the F Trim and D Trim (railings) until the staircase is in place inside the dollhouse. This makes installation much easier because you slide these two large trim pieces through the second floor slots, with the staircase already in place.

The drawback with this process is that you will not be able to finish the staircase properly. (This is where assembling and proper finishing clash.) The railings will make most of the staircases treads and risers inaccessible. Because the staircase is in place and you will be unable to turn it at different angles, it will prevent you from filling in the gaps between the staircase and the railings. These gaps will be visible depending on the angle your staircase is viewed from and the finish you used on it. Entirely stained staircases, will not have this issue but painted ones will. Paint causes all gaps to be highly noticeable, especially white paint like the one I'm using.

Assembling the staircase in its entirety before installation, like I did, is convenient for proper finishing but will make it extremely difficult to install into the dollhouse and increase the chances of damage to the railings. The way that I bypass this potential issue is by cutting the railings at the second floor level, installing the staircase and then rejoining the cut railings, once the staircase is in place. I will post photos of this process once I am ready to install the staircase.

First Floor Staircase Finishing
Since this staircase is assembled and finished away from the dollhouse, you have access to all areas of it during assembly. This means that you do not have to finish parts before assembly even if you're using a combination of stain and paint on your staircase.

Assemble and then finish the steps and risers before installing the trim for a two tone staircase. If your only painting or staining the entire assembly, you can do so after the trim has been applied.

Staining The First Floor Staircase
If you're staining the entire assembly, you do not need to use anything to fill the tiny gaps between risers and steps, etc. The stain will make them invisible. If you try to fill them with stainable wood filler and/or puddy, you could be doing more harm than good. Stainable wood filler will not stain in the same way as your surrounding wood will, making it visible and unsightly. These areas are also too tiny to sand properly so your wood filler will look rough and globby.

Tab and slot dollhouses are made up of many different wood sheets, each having different grains and hues. This can be a problem when trying to stain your entire staircase. Your treads may have come from a different wood sheet than your risers and so they may vary in grain and hue. This means they will take stain differently. I suggest you try to hide this by keeping items with the same grain and hue together. Place the ones you want out of sight, further up the staircase, so they are not as visible.

For this reason I always recommend faux stain for your dollhouse. You make it yourself from a mixture of acrylic paint and acrylic varnish. You can choose your varnish to have a matte, satin or gloss finish. Faux varnish stains evenly, even when the wood grains and hues differ since it has better coverage. It also stains over glue pretty well.

Faux stain may differ slightly from real stain but for all intended purposes it gives you the look of a stain without the drawbacks that real stain could have for this type of project.

Painting The First Floor Staircase
If you're painting the entire staircase, then you should use light-weight spackling compound (spackle) to hide all of the gaps. The best way to see where the gaps are is by giving the staircase its first coat of paint. This will bring out every area that needs a touch up. Fill in all gaps with spackle and sand lightly once dry. Then you can give the staircase its second coat of paint.

Painting And Staining The First Floor Staircase
This is the option I chose. I painted the risers and stained the treads. For this process, you want to fill in the gaps with spackle first but you want to keep the spackle neat around the areas you want to stain, in this case its the treads. A good way to remove any spackle before staining is to just sand it off with a fingernail file if it dried or wipe off with a moist cloth if its still wet. Again, faux stain prevents glue and spackle to become an issue.

After the risers and treads were complete, I went ahead and installed the side trims which are basically the staircase railings. There will be gaps between the side trim and the tread and risers. Since I stained my treads, I only applied spackle to hide the gaps between the risers and the side trim. You do not notice gaps between the treads and the side trim because the treads are stained. Remember to avoid wood filler.

Keep In Mind
This staircase is the focal point of this dollhouse. It will be visible from the back of the dollhouse and through the windows. It will also be visible from the front if you hinge your front doors.

Prepare to work on your staircase for quite a bit of time. It takes a lot of detailed work to finish the staircase properly. This includes sanding between paint coats and touching up with a fine tip paint brush.

Apply spackle to tight areas with a fine tip paint brush. It makes an excellent spackle applicator. Sand with a fingernail file to make getting into small areas easier, especially in the railings.

Do not install the hand rails or post trims until the staircase is installed into the dollhouse. They will not allow you to fit your staircase in properly if installed beforehand.

Make your first floor staircase strong because you will need to apply a lot of pressure to it in order to fit it into the dollhouse later on. Remember to assemble with tacky glue and go over joints with wood glue, just like you do the dollhouse shell. Apply the wood glue into the inside joints of the staircase, which will not be visible once installed. Do not apply the wood glue to the areas you plan on finishing.

Always allow your staircase to dry thoroughly before trying to install it into the dollhouse. The more you allow the staircase to dry, the stronger it will be and the more resistant of damage to the finish.

1 comment:

Debora said...

It looks beautiful!
I love watching your builds.


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