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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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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 26

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Revisited Week 3

Since I have already blogged this dollhouse, I am going to focus on more building tips and changes I made to the finishes, rather than the step by step assembly process.

This dollhouse comes with instructions for bashing the interior to make a more open floor plan. This requires for the second floor staircase to be omitted. I will not be doing this as I already have furniture for this dollhouse that requires the floor plan to remain the same as it was on my first Willowcrest. I also like the intricate interior of the original dollhouse floor plan. Though it might limit the interior space, it adds character to the dollhouse. Remember, tab and slot dollhouse's aren't just about displaying furniture and miniatures, the dollhouse itself is a display on its own.

This dollhouse may be a difficult assembly, but the good thing is that it is made of multiple sub-assemblies and you can always work on those first. That way they are ready for you when you need them, especially since they need so much work. The sub-assemblies do not have to be assembled in any particular order since they are not going to be installed in the dollhouse right now. You can work on any of them you would like to first, put them aside and install them later when the instructions say so.

First Floor Staircase
The first sub-assembly I chose is the first floor staircase. This is another elaborate, detailed and complicated, winding staircase which is typical of Greenleaf Dollhouse models of this size. It needs a lot of work.

I decided to make mines a two tone staircase, with white moldings, rails and risers and stained steps and bannisters. Because of this, I had to finish the risers and steps before assembly.

This staircase is great because you can finish it entirely before installation, unlike the Beacon Hill Dollhouse, which requires for you install the railings and trim after the staircase is in place, making it very difficult to hide all of the gaps and do touch ups.

Just because this staircase has it's good points, it also has it's bad ones and that is gaps. This staircase has a lot of gaps once finished. The main, most observable ones are the gaps in the sideways risers. These risers are the ones with tabs that go into the step slots. They create the winding feature of the staircase but for all their miniature beauty, the gaps are terrible. This is why I chose a runner for the staircase of my first Willowcrest. I figured it would hide some of the issues going on in the staircase. It works, so feel free to choose the runner option if you don't want to devote too much time in correcting this issues.

For those that do not want a runner though, you will have to hide the gaps if you don't want to see them. The gaps are too large to be hidden with spackle. The best way to cover them is laminating a piece of siding over them.

All you have to do is cut the siding piece to size and glue it right over the problem riser. Glue the siding piece with hot melt glue, do not use tacky glue because the siding will warp and become a bigger issue. Make sure you cut the siding piece large enough to hide the side gaps in the risers.

The siding is great for this because it can be stained, if you wish to stain your entire staircase. Since I painted my risers white, I could have also used thin cardboard in the exact same way. I did this for all of the sideways risers because they all had gaps. You can also use this method to hide gaps between the floor and the first riser and any other staircase mishaps you might encounter.

Now my staircase has no gaps but this doesn't mean that I didn't have to pop open the spackle cannister, because I did. Spackle is great for hiding very small gaps along your staircase, especially along the joints of the staircase trim. If you're using wood stain for your staircase, keep in mind that spackle does not stain. Luckily I don't have to worry about that because I am using my own faux stain and it happens to go right over spackle pretty well.

I had to make my own staircase back since I seem to have misplaced the one that came with the kit. This is one of those reasons why new builders should not punch out parts from the sheet before the instructions tell you to. No matter how careful you are, you can end up misplacing something. New builders can become stuck at this point but missing parts are easily made using balsa wood.

The way this staircase fits into the dollhouse, will make you wonder why you even wasted your time detailing it since it will be mostly hidden from view but just because you can't out right see something, doesn't mean it shouldn't be finished properly. Remember, you can see most of these areas through windows and open doors. I wouldn't recommend you buying an expensive runner for this staircase or spend much time stenciling it but do finish it properly. You never want to leave any parts unfinished because if your regret it later, after installation, you will not have any more access to fix it. You do not have to finish the areas on this staircase that go against a wall.

Besides, I am going to think up of a way for this beautiful winding staircase to achieve more visibility. I just have to figure it out first. For now, this time consuming sub-assembly is done.


Lady Jane said...

What a lovely staircase, a job well done.

shannonc60 said...

Thanks again Gina. Some interesting tips. I have this still in it's box, itching to get started but can't as I have too many projects on the go and not enough space. But reading your tips is helping me with planning my attack well before I start.


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