Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Painting Haley's House

Welcome to the beginning of Haley's House. It all started in Aug. 2010.

This house is the RGT kit Victoria's Farmhouse. It has milled "clapboard" MDF walls. First, I had to square up the window openings. Justin helped me with that.

I gave each piece a light sanding and wipe down with a very slightly damp cloth to remove the dust. I used Behr interior latex paint with primer tinted a nice soft pink.

All the exterior surfaces were sanded and painted three times for super-smoothness. Justin showed me a cool trick to make a sanding block.  Get a scrap of wood slightly wider than the MDF clapboard lap. Wrap 150 grit sandpaper around it and use that to sand each lap individually. Don't sand too much on the edges to prevent hollowing out or rounding the corners.

After the second coat of paint, use a finer grit sandpaper, about 220 grit, to smooth out the last little bumps and grooves. I like to sand, wipe off the dust, then test the smoothness by touch. It should feel very even, smooth and satiny. The third coat should go very smoothly and dry with few imperfections. Carefully stir the paint so there are no bubbles in the final coat.

Next, assembling the house foundation.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Scrapbooked it

I was in a scrapbooking frenzy for a while. I digitally manipulated tons of things into scrapbook layouts.  Annika's House became one of my pages.

Cute, huh?

(Digital scrapbooking files for purchase are available from Cottage Arts, Scrap Girls and Happy To Create)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Haley's House in the Box

I easily lose track of when I start projects.  I realized that I've had Haley's house sitting around for one year longer than I thought.

I ordered it in July 2010. It's the Victoria's Farmhouse by Real Good Toys.

It is huge.  You could say, I overestimated how much house I wanted her to have.  The kit in the box weighs roughly 60lbs. When it's all finished, it will probably weigh a bit more, depending on the finishing techniques I use.

Look how little Haley was, she was just shy of turning two and Topaz (the puppy) was only about 2 months old.Yes, that's me in the background opening the dollhouse the day it arrived.

Just a few days ago, I got the pieces of this house spread out on the table so I could work on it some more.

It's funny what got me started.  I was sitting at the computer and Haley walked up to me and asked where her dollhouse was. I said I still had to build it, that it wasn't ready.  So Haley said "Yeah, you need paint!"

It was all downhill from there. I got the parts spread out, found the can of paint and got back to sanding the last few pieces of exterior wall that needed paint.  Haley was perched on a chair next to me, watching everything. She even warned me "Watch out! Don't get paint on your shirt!"

More to come!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Annika's House

I have been toying with the idea of posting dollhouse and miniatures somewhere for quite a while now. I am starting up this blog to document my miniature projects, especially those for my children.

Sometimes, taking the first step can be the hardest if you don't know where to begin. I have so many things to share, but I'm going to start this blog off with a bang. Instead of one of my many "in-progress" houses, I'm going with a finished one.

This is Annika's house. Annika is my niece. I started her house in 2005, when I was pregnant with my son. I finished in 2008. Not the speediest project, but I like to take my time and do things well. I skipped taking pictures of the very early stages because I never thought that I would want them. Somewhere in the middle, I remembered to get out the camera. By the time I was finishing it, I wished that I had taken pictures all along.

A reminder to anyone who happens across this, get out your camera and take lots of pictures. You will be happy you did.

I began with a kit, the Orchid dollhouse by Corona Concepts.  It was inexpensive and small. I have found that inexpensive kits made from "luan" plywood are hard to work with. Pieces are frequently warped, they splinter, and generally do not fit together well. They require a lot of wood filler and sand paper to smooth out imperfections.

I bought milled MDF siding and applied it to the base of the house and painted it pink. I applied individual fishscale shingles to the gables and painted them a creamy yellow.  I smoothed out the dormers with wood filler and painted them a dusty raspberry pink. The roof was covered in individual square-butt shingles. I left them natural but sealed them with a few coats of water-based polyurethane.

I applied wallpaper and flooring prior to doing the exterior siding.  I used scrapbooking papers instead of pricey and completely boring dollhouse wallpaper. I had to very carefully glue them with wallpaper paste. Since scrapbook paper is not treated for this, you have to be careful to lay it out exactly so because it will crease and bubble horribly.

I changed out the window trim. I cut everything from basswood because the luan plywood pieces supplied with kit were not the look I wanted.  All trim was painted bright white.

Inside the bedroom, I covered a piece of foam with heathered purple cotton fabric to make a window seat.

I did use a piece of molded vinyl tile flooring for the bathroom. It was just perfect so I couldn't pass it up. The other floors are scrapbook paper that I coated with a decoupage glue, something like Mod-Podge. I don't remember the name except that it was not actually Mod-Podge.

The kitchen turned out well. I eventually decided to leave the staircase out because it was too junky and awkward in the space.

I also added a cushion for the living room bay window.

The finished house turned out very well.  I was happy to have another project finished and sent off.

I did not add the gingerbread trim to the roof peaks. It was not the look I wanted. Instead, I butted the shingles together to form a tidy edge.

I really liked how the front gable fishscale shingles overlapped the gingerbread trim below.

Keep watching because I will post more dollhouse and miniature projects soon!