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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, August 10

The Willowcrest Dollhouse Revisited Week 31

Finishing Touches

Shine
I applied a coat of satin acrylic varnish to the painted siding of the dollhouse. This gives it a nice sheen and prevents fingerprints.

I recommend you add this after the dollhouse is fully assembled and finished. Varnish is a like a sealer and will prevent the adhesion of glue so it should not be applied during assembly. I also found out that I had accidentally bought craft paint, with a satin finish. I had no idea they even made it that way. I had to return it and get it in flat. Again, you do not want to assemble the dollhouse using paints with glossy finishes. They will inadvertently seal the wood and since the dollhouse components have to be finished before assembly, you will have a hard time getting your glue to adhere.

Apply the shine to the main walls only. Do not apply to bays, unless they are sided and never apply it to any components. Glossy finishes make every flaw visible and this is why you do not ever want to have flossy windows or doors.


Using a flash light or some other type of spot light you can move to different angles, will allow you to see what you have already varnished and what you haven't. Use a fine tip paint brush so you can get around components easily. It's a little tedious but it will be worth it in the end.

Mishaps
There is no such thing as a perfect dollhouse assembly. You might be able to do one with a quick build, cabinet grade dollhouse, where all of the components have been pre-assembled for you, but never on a tab and slot dollhouse. Tab and slot dollhouses are truly one of a kind. They are completely hand made, all the way down to the individual siding strips and shingles. You can try and make them as perfect as you can but there will always be things here and there you might notice. Most of the time, the builder seems to be the only one that notices so don't become discouraged and don't feel like you have done something wrong.

Mishaps happen. Sometimes they can be corrected by redoing a certain process or, my personal favorite, camouflaging the defect.

Camouflaging is the one thing that all dollhouse builders need to become very familiar with and not feel ashamed of doing it. Most times its the only way to solve certain issues with a dollhouse that have nothing to do with how it was assembled and everything to do with the nature of the materials themselves. These dollhouses are not square nor straight. You have to make them appear so and if they takes placing a trim piece at an angle, then that's what you do.

I had a lot of mishaps with the Beacon Hill but this one didn't have too many.

Porch Roof
My first mishap is in the porch roof. It is not in the middle of the front wall. Unfortunately, it sits slightly off center. This was completely my fault. I have no idea how it happened and its difficult to notice but I certainly noticed it when applying the corner trim. Even worse, the framing trim. On one side, the framing trim fit perfectly but on the other, it had to be cut and joined again underneath the porch roof. Hard to tell because I camouflaged it well.


Cornice
The cornice trim's wavy dance, is another. The same thing occurred in the Beacon Hill. If the cornice is wavy or bent, it will not allow the fascias to sit evenly underneath, which is turn will make your brackets not line up. The wave of the cornice is magnified the more components are added. I fix this by making sure the fascias are straight and if this leaves a gap between them and the cornice, I just fill it with spackle. This, I can say, is not my fault. Remember, the dollhouse is not precision cut. Even when tabs and slots fall in there place, some walls will still be slightly higher than others. When you place a cornice on top of them, you get the wavy problem.

Fascias
Fascias, not lining up at the corners to make a nice, sharp, square corner. This is also not my fault, it seems to be an issue with every tab and slot dollhouse. This is why I made my own vertical, corner trim but I did not replace the fascias. All you have to do is add a blob of spackle to the corner ends, wait over night for it to thoroughly dry and then sand it into the shape of a sharp corner.

Wallpaper woes
It was a little difficult to obtain the wallpaper prints I wanted for this dollhouse. A lot of them were out of stock and appear to be on the verge of being discontinued all together. It was vital I got the bedroom wallpaper print, Blue DuBarry, because I have a custom bed that was specifically made to match this print.

Something went terribly wrong with the wallpaper in the second floor stairwell/hallway and I was terrified the defect affected all of the prints. Thank goodness this area of the dollhouse is barely visible. Not that anyone would take notice of it anyways because the only one that knows what the color of the print is suppose to look like, is me. This wallpaper print must have come from a bad dye lot because, once wet, it became darker than what it's suppose to be. It has almost like a grayish, blotchy appearance. It is very hard to tell but like I mentioned before, I know.

At first, I thought it was the wood or the wallpaper paste. That would have been disastrous since I wouldn't be able to fix the wood. I would have had to make templates of all the walls in order to apply the wallpaper to them instead. I also would have really hated to toss out my wallpaper paste. Yes Paste is so easy to work with.

Since I was unable to re-create the same look on my other wallpaper prints, I could safely assume, this was not being caused by the wood or the paste. This just simply was, that sole print. I don't know how I ended up using it in the non-viewable area but I am sure happy I didn't decide to use it in the attic.

Front Wall
During the assembly I mentioned that the third floor refused to meet up with the front wall. This is typical of this kit. I had the same issue the last two times I assembled this model. The third floor meets fine with the side walls but comes short reaching the front one. All of that is hidden underneath flooring and ceiling paper.

Staircase
Single staircases will never come out straight. Good thing they are hidden between walls and this one has a lovely back wall to make it all the less noticeable that you could roll a marble from side of a step to the other without touching it. Hope my mini people can hold on to the hand rails well.


Siding And Shingles
They will rarely meet at the corners and at times, they can appear even slightly crooked but you can always cammouflage it away with additional trim. Extra trim breaks the eyes from following lines, especially crooked ones.

Also, remember that back edge trim not only smooths out the exposed back edges of floors and walls, but they also straighten out crooked ones. Just apply your back edge trim straight and magically, all of your floors and walls will follow suit.

Even with a mishap here or there, you end up with a beautiful heirloom dollhouse that no one would ever guess has even one flaw on it and you get all the credit.

Browse through this dollhouses gallery here.

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