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The Looming Deadline

September 13, 2010

Three weeks.

That’s how much time I have to get the dollhouse finished.  And I am nowhere near finished!  The kitchen floor tiles are on order.  New ceiling beams must be picked up, stained and installed.  Every single wall and ceiling needs to be sanded and touched up. The wiring needs to be run.  The hardwood floors need to be installed.  The child doll is on back order.  The father doll needs to be wigged and clothing needs to be made for all the dolls.  The bedding needs to needs to be sewn, as well as the curtains.  The curtain rods need to be installed, and so does all the furniture.  I can see a lot of late nights in my future!

But, oh, it looks so real!  The very best idea I had, was to create the ceiling beams.  It adds a tremendous amount of miniature perspective.  The hardwood flooring looks spectacular due it it’s labor intensive finishing.  I found the technique in a marvelous book I recently purchased, Magnificent Miniatures: Inspiration and Technique for Grand Houses on a Small Scale. The book has stunning doll houses and furniture.  I also have The Doll House Book, featuring a more historical tour of doll houses, and that one taught me about Nuremburg kitchens, which I decided to copy in my doll house.

One thing I have learned is that renovating an existing doll house is a lot harder than decorating one that is unassembled.  I have to do everything in situ, that is, on site.  Trying to stick a paint brush into a room no wider than 5 inches is pretty challenging.  I created some special finished for my doll house that you might find useful, if you choose to make your own doll house.  Stucco, for the exterior, is a mixture of wood filler, a combo paint/primer, and wood glue.  Since my exterior was already painted I wanted to make certain the new coating would stick, thus the wood glue. Mix until it has a thick consistency, like icing, and apply with an artists painting knife.  The white stucco on the interior is  made from a combination of easy sand wall spackling, Tacky Glue, and white ,matte paint/primer combo.  A soft whip cream thickness is what you’re shooting for.  I applied it with a stiff brush, but the brush marks will need to be sanded off, and a few trowel marks will be added with the artists knife afterwards.  The reason behind all the texture is when the rooms are light with the miniature lamps, the texture will be amplified, and so will the illusion of reality.

All the beams were measured, cut and stained with a walnut stain/sealer before installation.  They were glued in place before the stucco was applied, but that was a real pain, since I had to mask off every beam.  Pretty hard to do since I couldn’t see the inward facing parts of the beam, and I had to apply the masking tape by feel!

The flooring is purchased unfinished doll house wood flooring.  I stained them with first an oak stain, then a walnut stain.  Sanded with 00 steel wool, another coat of oil based polyurethane, another sanding, then 2 coats of floor wax.

The bathroom has a “modern” hex tile floor.  It came as an all white sheet of plastic.  If you have ever seen this flooring in real life, you would know it has dark grey grout in between the tiles.  I added several coats of gray acrylic paint to the tiles, wiping of the top of the tiles. It looks satisfyingly realistic.  Just in case Amalie decides she wants to clean with water (God forbid!), I sealed the floor with a clear, gloss acrylic sealer.

As I wrap up the walls and ceilings, I must think about lighting.  Lighting means electricity.  I’m scared of electricity!  When I was a child on a summer trip to Germany I had the bright idea to pet a cow.  I accidentally touched the wire fencing around the field and ZAP!  An invisible hammer slammed into my hand and my arm went numb up to the elbow.  Unlike the US, electric fences were common in Europe, and there were no warning signs.  Since then I have developed quite a fear of being electrocuted.  More to come on whether I overcome my little phobia…

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