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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, October 12

The Vermont Farmhouse Jr Week 08

This dollhouse came with Real Good Toys original wallpaper. If your edition did not bring the wallpaper and you would like these original designs, you can purchase them directly from Real Good Toys.

You would think that because these rooms are square and easily accessible, that wallpapering them would be relatively easy but these rooms have their own sets of issues. First, the accessibility of the rooms can work against you, as well as for you. Though this feature makes applying the wallpaper easier, it makes every little flaw visible. These original patterns are mostly striped patterns and striped wallpaper is harder to apply, flawlessly. If you are a perfectionist, like me, you are going to have a bit of a hard time.

You want the stripes to be straight and this is the first priority. The good thing is that these rooms are square, so it makes it easy for the wallpaper to turn out straight without much difficulty. Joining the pattern at the wall corners is a little harder but just do the best you can. Don't let nitpicking become an issue for you, like it does me. It will take the joy out of dollhouse assembly since rarely, if ever, does anything come out perfect. You just need an overall good look. You do not want any blatant flaws, like crooked lines or patched areas. In reality, no one will notice the slight defects, unless they assemble and finish dollhouses themselves.

Now I had a few issues with my wallpaper which have nothing to do with the dollhouse or its assembly. I will mention them in this post, just in case you happen to go through something similar, whether in the assembly of this dollhouse or another. Its always good to know a few tips for these common problems.

Running Out Of Wallpaper
The wallpaper that came with the dollhouse consists of two sheets of each pattern. This is more than enough to cover the rooms and still have wallpaper left over for repairs. But, I had an issue. The Red Gingham pattern that I want to use in the kitchen, only brought one sheet. One sheet is not enough to cover the kitchen, even though it is a smaller room. If you're missing any part of your store bought, retail dollhouse kit, you can contact Real Good Toys directly for replacements. I didn't want to have to do all of that just for one missing wallpaper sheet though.

I tried to find gingham scrapbook paper at the craft store, to no avail, so I had to print out more of this wallpaper. The best way to do this is to go with the original wallpaper to the office supply store and have them make a color copy, on a similar grade paper, as the original. Depending on the amount needed, you can get it printed on a letter sized paper or a legal sized paper.

The copy will not be exact. The hue will be slightly different. You will use this print on a side wall, preferably where doorways or other architectural features are. Once applied, it will be very difficult to make out the slight hue difference, since side walls always have a different hue, simply because of the way the light falls in the room. What you don't want to do is patch or join, your printed pattern, to the original wallpaper and of course, that is exactly what I had to do as you can see on top of the interior doorway.

You really want to avoid this at all costs because printed patterns and original patterns can not be joined invisibly since they are slightly different. The ideal scenario is for these two different sheets to join at the wall corners, not in the middle of a wall, but I didn't print out enough paper to cover the whole wall. I had to make the joint over the interior doorway in order to try and minimize the damage. You can still tell there's a join line there, but not too much.

Running Out Of Paste
Not only did I run out of wallpaper but I also ran out of wallpaper paste. Again, you want to avoid these situations but when they happen, you have to find alternatives.

Yes Paste was easy to find at one time because it was available at every Michael's Craft store but unfortunately, that is no longer the case. I have not seen the paste at my local Michael's since they went on clearance many months ago. I do not know if they will be carried again. Yes Paste is also not available at any other craft store I have been to. You can still find stores online that sell it but I am not about to place an online order and wait a week for delivery on a project I am working on now.

So, its off to find something, anything, that will work. Hobby Lobby as wallpaper mucilage but my Hobby Lobby store is kind of far. Mod Podge is found everywhere but it's very hard to work with. Tacky glue will work better than Mod Podge and you should already have it on hand. Plain white glue will also work.

All you have to remember is to apply tacky glue sparingly and spread it as best you can with a foam brush, so it covers the entire back of the wallpaper piece. This method works but it is unnecessarily difficult. The glue dries very quickly on paper, especially if it's used sparingly. You can only apply it sparingly because if not, it will over soak the paper with moisture and wrinkle or buckle it before it's even on the wall.

Because the glue has to be applied sparingly and it dries so quickly, it makes the wallpaper very difficult to apply since you do not have enough time to slide it into position. The glue will hold the paper in place, practically seconds after application. This is why I never recommend this type of glue for the application of wallpaper, especially if you are new to dollhouse assembly. Just because it works and gets the job done, doesn't mean its the best option out there. I just want to emphasize that because I know a lot of newbies get a lot of conflicting information when they try to seek direct answers.

I am using tacky glue right now because I have wallpapered dozens of dollhouses before, so I already know the problem tacky glue poses to this process. This is not recommended for those new to dollhouse assembly. Make sure you have enough wallpaper paste, before you begin your project. If you don't and you're new to the hobby, you're better off going to the hardware store and buying wallpaper paste. It will work find on miniature projects.

Using tacky glue is not one of my favorite things to do for this. It was quite difficult to keep the pattern lines joined at the wall corners because of the inability to slide the paper around but it didn't turn out too badly even though so far, all of the wallpaper patterns have stripes. Stripes are difficult to work with as is but using an uncooperative glue, makes it even more challenging.

When using tacky glue, always wait to cut out windows and door openings, once the wallpaper is thoroughly dry. If you try to cut these openings out with the tacky glue still wet, the wallpaper will rip.

Interior Doors
I had purchased working interior doors for this dollhouse from Hobby Lobby. They bring trim for both sides of the doorway. Working interior doors for cabinet grade dollhouses are pre-hinged using a pin hinge. You can also purchase interior doors for this dollhouse directly from Real Good Toys.

To keep the door from snagging or being painted shut, you have to make sure you use paint sparingly and wait for each section to dry before you continue. A thinner, lesser quality paint will work better than a thicker, better quality one. You're better off applying thin coats of paint in sections, than applying one thick coat that might cause problems with the operation of the door.

The doors are never perfect. Sometimes you will find certain sides of the door sitting closer to the frame than others and this can cause snagging. Just sand down whatever areas are giving problems.

Always lightly sand between paint coats. You can use a fine grit sandpaper or you can also use the paper bag method used previously for the exterior pre-milled siding. Just crumple a much smaller piece, that can be easily used for the doors.

Door Knobs
These doors are thick enough for you to be able to tap in doorknobs, on both sides, in the same location. It is just much harder to open the starter hole because the doors are so hard.

These doors happen to be about a 1/8" shy in height of the door opening. This causes a little gap between the threshold and floor. This can easily be hidden later with trim.

Interior Trim
I used store bought strip wood to trim the ceilings and floors. I used little thicker width than I usually do because these dollhouses are slightly larger and the thicker trim looks nicer on them.

You can certainly use real miniature, interior mouldings in the one inch scale size. Miniature mouldings are made to work well with cabinet grade dollhouses, so you dont have to worry about them looking larger than they should.

As I stated in a previous post, this dollhouse has an optional, pre-cut interior moulding set that can be purchased directly from Real Good Toys.

Back Edge Trim
The back edges of the walls and floors, of this dollhouse, are very smooth, so you might be inclined to finish them by painting. I recommend you still use back edge trim. The reason is that the edges of your ceiling paper and wallpaper will make the smooth back edges, a little hard to finish properly and cause them to become rough looking.

I used the same strip wood that I am using for the interior trim, to trim the back edges of this dollhouse. It happens to be as wide as the thickness of the walls and floors.

There is no doubt that appling trim to the back edges, will give you a nicer finish than just painting them.

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