A well-built dollhouse can survive for as long as an actual dwelling and entertain generations of youngsters— and adults. This chapter will show you how to put the finishing touches on the type of dollhouse you can build from a kit. The emphasis is on producing a realistic and entertaining house, one that will be sufficiently well-designed and sturdy to withstand the only real hazard to which it will have to endure: the busy hands of its owner.
Building and adding accessories to a dollhouse require a unique skill—the ability to work in miniature. The chapter will examine the most important considerations, including scale modeling and using specialized dollhouse-making tools (page 89), wiring the interior so that lighting can be installed (page 90), and adding interior flooring and roofing shingles (page 92).
As with any woodworking project, proper planning and preparation are essential. Keep a few tips in mind. If you are
using a kit, be sure to read the instructions before removing the parts from their packaging. The components usually come in sheets of stock that must be sanded on both sides with a 200-grit wet/dry paper; for best results, use an orbital sander. Also sand the edges of the individual parts once they are removed from their sheets so they will fit together cleanly. And before gluing up the parts, test-assemble them with tape and make any necessary adjustments before applying adhesive.
Decide how you you will finish and paint the dollhouse before you try assembling it. It is a good idea to paint the trim, for example, before installing it. Use fast-drving acrylic paint rather than oil-based products. And remember to sand painted surfaces between coats, to smooth any raised grain, ensuring that the next coat adheres properly. lastly, wood surfaces should be painted on both sides; otherwise they may end up warping.
Except for its miniature scale, a classic dollhouse, like The Jefferson model shown at left, could almost pass for the real thing. Available in kit form, this project includes doors, windows, shutters, siding, and a shingle roof