Friday, December 18, 2009
I've mentioned before that I'm building a dollhouse for my daughter mostly due to the exorbitant costs of buying them. Most that I have seen cost several hundred dollars and are cheap plastic or flimsy thin wood affairs. Neither of those options appealed to me and so I started searching the web for plans. I was instantly rewarded with thousands of hits for dollhouse plans, all of which wanted money or kits that fell into the exorbitant cost for flimsy thin wood category. So I decided that I would just make it up as I went.
I had a couple third sheets of quarter inch plywood from some project that I no longer remember. Perhaps they are one of the gifts left behind by the previous owner. From these, I decided on how big I could make my dollhouse and settled on 1/12th scale. In other words, one inch of the dollhouse would equal one foot of a real house thus making things easy to layout. I settled on a design of a two-story house with a hinged front door and a hinged half of a roof to give access to 'attic' space.
Since I only have a contractor type table saw that allows me to rip things only 12 inches wide or less and for a two story house at 1/12th scale I was looking at 16 inches, I just cut out the pieces with my jigsaw using a wider flush cut blade. I just glued the pieces together and held them in place with clamps and duct tape until the glue had set. I divided the floors into rooms by gluing in interior walls with glue and more clamps cutting doors in the lower floor. I figured the upstairs would just be bedrooms and a bathroom and didn't need doors since the entire front wall hinged out anyway.
I ripped some thin pieces of plywood 1/4" wide to glue to the walls to give me something to glue the second and attic floor too. The only thing in these first two pictures that I had to buy so far were the small brass plated hinges which I picked up for something like $3 for a set of four at a woodworking shop in the urban jungle.
I had been mulling over what to do for shingles but in the end, took the easy way out. While picking up some dollhouse furniture that would take me years to make, I saw that you could buy bags of precut shingles and picked up two of them. I spent an afternoon gluing them on with my daughter's help and after it had dried, applied some leftover stain that I had lying around. I had a glue drip that I didn't notice and couldn't get cleaned up due to the roughness of the shingles, which accounts for the lighter spots that you can see. Stain doesn't penetrate wood glues but perhaps it just adds character.
I'm still debating on what to do on the outside. I think I could just paint it and it would look great but I've been thinking of ripping thin scraps of wood that I have lying around and making some siding. I also haven't thought two much about windows or doors but may someday do something about that. Like I mentioned previously, my aim is to just have it playable by Christmas. I'm hoping my daughter and I can work on it in the year to come.