Monday, January 17, 2011

The Real Deal: A Doll House

Remember this guy? I made him during "snowmageddon" when I was snowed in at home (thankfully with power) by myself with 2 toddlers, without a computer or tv, and a hubby who's flight couldn't get in for almost a week. If you're really bored you can revisit it here.

This baby withstood the test of time and children... it was sturdy, fun and cheap.  But then we moved. Sadly it didn't make the cross country cut.

So I decided it was time for the real deal...

Thank you google for finding me this wonderful website.  Go look NOW!
There are some amazingly talented peeps out there and it's like there's a whole little culture out there of doll house fanatics... I love it! I am by no means as talented as some of the amazing doll housers (great word huh?!) out there!  I'm merely dabbling in a culture and moving on. :)
This little diva just turned 2 and the little princess in the background just turned 3, and they both deserved a great doll house.

So doll house they got!


And Hallies...

Wanna make your own? While time consuming- it's easier than you think! So head on over to Let's Build a Doll House and make a plan.  I don't want to call this a "tutorial" because I most definitely followed the plans found on the Let's Build a Doll House site, but I'll share my process and experiences with you here.  Make sure you visit the Let's Build a Doll House site for all the details. 

Head on over to Let's Build a Doll House and print off the cut plan

I then headed to my local-not-so-local home depot with kids in tow.  We were all excited!!  I threw the kids in the "car cart" (Thank you Home Depot, you are brilliant! Why do all stores not have these!?) grabbed 2 3/16" sheets of plywood (because I was making 2, if you only make 1 doll house you'll only need 1 sheet), found an always willing big orange employee and showed him the plan I had drawn up on graph paper.  We brainstormed and came up with a great cut plan.

So while he cut, I wrote...

The next day I put the kids to bed and began my work. 

I measured and drew lines. Angles for the roof, guidelines for the windows, and the doors.  The instructions are all laid out in the plans found here and here. This part was time consuming, but worth it for even measurements.  You'll have lines all over your plywood, but that's ok you'll paint it soon enough.

Next, I recruited some help, drilled holes to begin windows, learned how to use a jig-saw, got booted from using the jig-saw because I was too slow, and cut out all windows and doors.
You'll take your 1/2" molding and use wood glue and some heavy duty staples.  Our doll house differs here a little than what Jennifer shares on her site.  We added a strip on the bottom for extra stability when assembling the house since the houses would soon be at the hands of 2 toddlers. 

We then began to assemble the house.  Wood glue, brad nailer, and heavy-duty staple gun were our best friends and it's much easier if you have 2 sets of hands to assemble. You could probably do it by yourself with a few clamps, but WAY easier with another set of hands- so do what you gotta do and get a helper there!

Add sides to bottom, followed by the front to the sides

Then add middle floor, any room dividers, and finally the top floor

We used a lid and ruler to create the shape of the roof and cut it out with the jigsaw.  Then attached it with our trusty glue and nailer.

I then painted the floors, which would probably be much easier to paint before assembly- so learn from my mistake.  Next add trim, you can use either Popsicle sticks or better yet balsa strips.  Most definitely paint these prior to gluing in.
Paint your beauty.

Next step was to add the shingles.  Grab your huge box, were talking 300 Popsicle sticks huge, of large Popsicles, pop in a good movie or 2 and begin cutting the sticks into about 5 equal pieces.  You'll want to use a pretty heavy duty pair of scissors- I used kitchen shears, and boy did my hands hurt! Yikes!

And that was even with alternating between cutting and gluing.  I used a hot glue gun to attach the shingles to the roof.  I found it worked best to do a glob of glue for each shingle and I did a row of about 4-6 at a time and then quickly attached the shingles before the glue dried.  Make sense? No? Let's try again... glue a row of globs on the roof, then attach shingles quickly before glue dries.  Don't worry too much about the strings, clean off what you can and the spray paint with disguise the rest. 

Tape off your house and spray paint the shingles.  Then enjoy your rockin' real deal doll house!

Next step- better furniture...

Whew! If you made it this far I'll add the disclaimer that I started this post way back in September! Wow.  So if this post doesn't flow well- that's why!

Love it, Hallie loves it, and the post is finally done- I'm a happy camper! :)

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