Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Brummies Hollow Custom Dollhouse From Scratch

My new dollhouse is called Brummies Hollow.  I showed you my sketch in the last post.
So here is what I've done so far...
The house is 18" tall x 13" wide for now.  I used tempered hardboard for the walls. This is a material that doesn't warp. So you won't be struggling trying to straighten a sheet of wood for days.  It is super sturdy and holds up to most anything including moisture.
I cut the walls and windows and door with a scroll saw. I used to cut dollhouses with a craft knife or box cutter. It's possible! I did it for years. But you can find a scroll saw for under a $100.
Inside I did wood floors with Popsicle sticks. The ridged paper is cardboard from the scrapbook section at any craft store. You could also pull off the top paper layer on any cardboard box to reveal these types of ridges. The other walls are plaster sanded to a smooth finish. The trim is Popsicle sticks. Some of them cut lengthwise to get a thin strip.
Here you can see what the plaster looks like after it's applied without any sanding. The bare wall will get some decorative scrapbook paper. Scrapbook paper is a great option because it's usually a thicker quality paper.
To see links to products I use go to my Resources page.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How I Start a New Dollhouse Build

Getting started is often the hardest part of building a dollhouse. Where to begin? This is my #1 asked question.  I go through a certain process when I decide to build a new dollhouse.
First,  I gather ideas. Usually I look through Pinterest. Sometimes I get an email from a store with a photo that sparks my imagination. It doesn't mean I'm bound to these particular photos. It's just an overall feel the photos have. I will interpret these with my own style.
Then I draw my plan for the house. Nothing fancy. Just a little sketch with possible ideas written on there too. It also helps to make a list of everything you want to put in the dollhouse.

For this house, I'm using a product called tempered hardboard. It's very strong, doesn't warp and comes always as a perfectly straight sheet. We've all tried to straighten wood! It's nearly impossible. I used 2 sheets at $4.99 each.
I also gather things I want to use like a ready made door stairs, maybe a pre-made window. It all depends on my project.  For this house I saw a door on an email by Pottery Barn. I decided to replicate it.
You don't have to do things in any particular order. This time I did the front door first. Sometimes I make the chandelier or a piece of furniture. No rules in dollhouse building!

I draw out my house walls, floor and roof on the tempered hardboard. And cut them out.

I use a scroll saw. It seems to be the most stable saw to cut the straight lines. And you can also have very thin blades that won't rip the wood and make a big mess. The brand doesn't really matter. The cheapest will work. I have a Ryobi scroll saw. The only part I don't like is that the space where you turn the knob to change the blade is soooo small!  I have skinny fingers and it is very impractical. But it was under $100 and it has worked impeccably. So it's really a small inconvenience.

I put the walls together with hot glue. This keeps everything together without having to use clamps or tape. Cover each hot glue seam with a bead(line) of wood glue. Now everything is stuck together permanently. If you plan to wire the house with electricity, now is the time to run wires.But I use battery operated kits.

My next step is putting in the woodfloor downstairs. I use Popsicle sticks. I like to glue them from the front of the house to the back. I think it gives the space a more open look.
Next, you'll do your walls and ceiling. Before doing the upstairs floor you will want to run your wires for the battery operated kit. I have the links on my Resources page. Then you'll do your walls and ceiling upstairs.

My advice is Just Start! I promise building a dollhouse is very simple.  You don't have to make your first one complicated. Just a one room house to learn will be perfect. Once you see how therapeutic it is you will be hooked! 
I'll see you all in a week or two when I start a new project. Have a fantastic week!