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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, February 2

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Revisited Week 4

The next sub-assemblies I decided to work on are the windows and the barrel roof trim. If you are painting the layers of your windows and trims different colors, then you have to do that first, before laminating them together. All of the windows, doors and other trim on this dollhouse are made of parts that are layered together to achieve the detailed look of Victorian molding.

Since I am painting the windows and trim all white, I laminated them first so that they are easier to paint already assembled.

When you paint anything in your dollhouse white, you are enhancing every imperfection in the wood. White paint brings out all of the bad. It is also very difficult to achieve a nice smooth finish with white paint. The only white paint I use is the acrylic craft paint Folk Art Wicker White. This paint is thick and covers very well. The less water the paint has the less coats you will have to give your parts and this is a good because it means less caking and less wood warping. Just because this paint covers well, doesn't mean that your painted white parts won't require extra work, because they will.

My recommendation for achieving the smoothest finish in white is to paint the parts first, with one coat. Let it dry and then lightly sand the entire part. It's crucial to sand after the first coat of paint or you will not get a smooth, painted finish. Remember that white paint brings out all the bad? Well, this first coat of paint is going to enhance all of the areas that need spackle and/or more sanding. Address all of the areas that need work and then give the piece a second coat of paint. Remember to sand well any area you repaired with spackle because spackle has the tendency of caking when painted, if not sanded down as smooth as possible.

After the second coat, inspect your piece and if you happen to need a little more sanding, then do so. I find that after the second coat of paint, the piece is good to go but I rub it with my fingers and this somehow "sands" the painted part smoother. Strange but true. Remember the parts are hand finished wood so you will not get the finish that you would using machinery. Your parts will not look plastic. You will still be able to tell they are wood up close but they will at least be as smooth as they should be.

Do not paint any of your components with a glossy paint. That will cause disaster. The shine will enhance all of the flaws in the wood and when you combine that with white, the result won't be good.

Exterior Windows
For windows, I recommend you paint all sides, including the side that goes against the wall. The openings are never exactly the same size as the windows themselves and when looking through a window, you will be able to see unfinished, raw wood along the opening edges if you don't finish the window on both sides. Door trims do not need to be finished on both sides.

Most of my windows were broken but now that the are assembled, the repairs are invisible. Binder clamps are best for holding the laminated windows together while the glue dries. The clamps hold the laminated parts tightly in place, reducing gaps and the need for spackle.

Barrel Roof Trim
Though I am adding some realistic architectural details, I still like for the dollhouse to be a dollhouse so I like to add whimsy here and there. I added a cameo to my barrel roof trim. I happened to find this jewelry cameo in my fabric bin and it was so pretty that I really wanted to use it somewhere. I dry fitted it to the barrel roof trim and decided that I would use it there. I painted it to match the dollhouse's color scheme. Once painted it looks like it's made of wood, just like the dollhouse.

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