Well, this is it–the dollhouse is finished! I feel like I should be throwing a party or something to celebrate; I can hardly believe it’s done! I started this project on December 29, and twelve days and $125.88 later, I am the proud owner of a spiffy, new house. Here’s a little photo tour of the final steps, along with my thoughts on the project as a whole and what I would do differently next time.
I wrapped up the final stages by first applying the last of the shingles, and the tower roof was definitely testing my patience, because there were two angled corners that required custom cut shingles. If you were to look closely, you could tell where I finally started to get the hang of things, because my corner shingles are much neater in the upper rows. Ah well, unless I plan to shoot a mouse version of King Kong, I doubt that section of the house will get much face time in my storybooks.
After the last of the shingles were glued in place, all that was left to do was to paint and attach the gingerbread trim and fluteposts to the roof and one of the roof overhangs. I did my best to space them evenly, and once I was happy with the position, I taped them in place to ensure a tight seal as the glue dried.
Oh, wait! I almost forgot: the front step needed to be glued in place. Ta da!
Learn From My Experience…and Plentiful Mistakes
Overall, the project went off without a hitch, although there were certainly moments that were a tad bit frustrating. Here’s what I learned that may help you with your dollhouse projects:
- Take the time in the beginning to count and label all of the parts in the kit. You don’t want to find out that you’re missing something crucial halfway through the project, and just as important, the process of labeling everything helps you familiarize yourself with all of the parts, making it much easier to understand the instructions.
- Plan ahead! I decided before I even glued the first piece that I wanted to paint the interior walls and floor, so I had to do a great deal of painting before I started assembling. Decide whether you’re going to wallpaper (which is done after assembly) or paint, and if you’re doing the latter, try to complete as much of the painting as possible when the pieces are still loose. With very few exceptions, this makes the task so much easier, because you don’t have to worry about taping edges to get clean paint lines or getting a paintbrush into hard-to-reach nooks.
- Use tape to hold everything together as the glue dries, and pay attention to ensure that any sections that need to be flush are properly lined up. Off center or otherwise crooked pieces in the beginning can make for difficult fits later on, so it pays to line everything up carefully and to use tape to hold it in place.
- Save paint in case you need to make touch ups when you’re done, and when you’re completely finished, make sure you make note of the paint brands and colors that you used in the project, in case you decide to install an addition later and you need to match the colors, or if you need to do repairs.
Aside from the above, I think the most helpful thing that I found while working on the dollhouse was to set aside time every day (or very close to it) to work on the house. Once you lose momentum, it’s easy to let the project fall to the wayside, but if you keep at it, you’ll be surprised how much you can finish in a short amount of time. And, there’s nothing more motivating than to see the house taking shape before your very eyes, and I found it hard to put down the glue bottle a number of times, simply because I was so excited to see the finished house.