9 February 2008

Dollhouse Restoration

A couple of weeks ago we visited a friend who's daughter had received a beautiful dollhouse for Christmas. DD really enjoyed playing with it, and it has promoted me to pull out my own dollhouse and restore it for Ezri. This doll house was the one my father made for me for Christmas when I was ten, so it's over 20 years old! It's not in the best of nick. Just to set the benchmark, here are the photos we took when we first pulled it out.

The tape marks are from where we've taped the doors closed in our many moves. This dollhouse has moved 11 times with me!

And here's inside. DD has been playing with it, and the rooms are filled with sand and sticks.

The first job, obviously, was to clean it up. Then we stripped back the dark maroon paint. Best way to do this is with a heat gun! Even so, it still took quite a while, and lots of hard work. Here is DH and his dad beginning the job.

Here's the finished back.

We thought the sides were going to be easier, since they were smaller, but the were fiddly, and it was harder to hold the dollhouse steady. We decided not to even try to do the doors. I found some MDF for $4 a sheet, and we're going to make new doors instead, with the added advantage that we can make them standard sizes for windows and doors.

Next it was on to painting! I picked out a light pink, called, appropriately enough, Fairy Den. DD of course, had to help with the painting. I snuck out after dark to do the second coat, just so I could get it smooth. Of course, the paint dripped after I'd finished, so it still isn't smooth anyway.

My next job was the roof. I had ordered some Canadian Red Cedar shingles off eBay, and was worried they were going to be too small, but they've turned out beautifully, albeit very fiddly to put on.

First, I decided on the placement of the first line of shingles. I wanted just enough overhang to hide the edge of the blue ply roof underneath. Then I ruled a line for the rest of that line of shingles. The instructions said to rule the rest of the lines at 1 inch intervals, but when I tried that, it was too far apart for me, and it would also leave my last row ending above the edge of the roof. So I got a piece of paper the length of the remaining space, and folded it into eighths, which gave me good spacing, and ended the last row of shingles at the very top edge of the roof. Then I ruled the lines (OK, so I didn't rule them all at once, I marked them all, then ruled as I went.)

Before you can put the first row of tiles on, you need something to lift the edge off the wood, to keep them at the same angle as the second row, who's bottom edges will be resting on the first row. I had heaps of shingles (1000!), so I cut some of them into thirds length ways, and stuck those to the edge of the wood.

Here is the first row completed.

To do subsequent rows, I ran a line of glue (I used aquadhere) just below the line I had drawn (so I could still see the actual line), and a row on the top of the previous row of tiles. Then I stuck the first whole tile at a position that would place it above a join of the previous row of tiles, with the edge on the line I had drawn.

Then I cut the edge of the next tile off with scissors (cutting from the bottom stops it from splitting), and stuck it next to it. Sometimes I destroyed several tiles getting the angle right, and then I was glad that I had bought the 1000 pack, not the 500!

Then I cut the last tiny piece, and glued it on too.

Then it's just a matter of gluing tiles along the line to the end, where a few required cutting again.

Rinse, repeat, until the roof is finished.

Looks good doesn't it?

Of course, inside still needs some work. I haven't finished the back of the roof yet, as I had to find and glue the chimney back on, then paint it. I'll hopefully get the roof finished tomorrow. I also plan to go out to the hobby store and buy windows and a door, and maybe some stairs.

No comments: