Had a talk with Lolly from Lolly's Dollhouses and she went through the sequence of steps with me. For any of you doing a fixer-upper dollhouse this might be helpful:
1. Purchase windows to replace broken ones.
2. Adjust window openings to fit. I’ll be cutting some openings bigger and getting wood of the same thickness as the house walls and wood gluing it in to make some of the openings smaller.3. Primer the entire house, inside and out, except for any floors I plan on staining. The primer will be a good base for glueing the siding on without the glue absorbing into the wood. Lolly tried to talk me into doing stucco. She showed me a gorgeous grey mansion she stuccoed with white window trim and navy shutters. All you do is put sand in your paint – very realistic looking. But, I’m attached to the idea of light pink wood siding.
4. Attach unprimered, unpainted siding. Hopefully you have the siding with a groove that lets the top piece lay seamlessly on the one beneath it. If not you can bevel the underside edge with an exacto. There is a magical glue (Beacon Multi grip glue) that must be used for siding. Put the glue on back of siding in a zig-zag fashion. Place on house and mush it around to get the glue evenly spread. Pull the siding away from the house so you have drippy strings of glue hanging in the air. Wait 5 seconds and put back down in permanent place. Lay very heavy things on top of it! Primer and paint siding after it is all glued on.5. Wire the entire house. The siding must already be on to support the hammering in of the doohickeys. Do all wiring first so that wallpaper goes over it. It’s carried by thin ribbons of metal so you won’t see it under the paint/wallpaper. Even though I won’t have purchased the fixtures by now I should have the wiring go all the way to the location of each light. I also must remember to take a pic of the house all wired so if there is an electrical problem in the future I will know where the lines run. Lolly said it would be about $80 to wire the whole house.
6. Do not put windows in yet. Put in crown molding first, then wallpaper, the window holes can be razor bladed out so that there is no working around window trim.
7. Put in windows. Inside trim of windows.
8. Floors – paint, hardwood, tile, etc.
So, waking up, the morning after ripping off all of the siding, it was really hard to breathe--like I slept in a house full of cats. On the sides near the bottom there was some white mold. Lolly said if the mold is white or green you are fine, but “if it’s black take it back!” She said to wear gloves and a mask, make a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water and scrub/wipe the entire house with it and then set it in the sun. At least I know that the dolls that used to live there didn’t have a tiny little meth lab in the basement!
Dearest fans--all 3 of you :)--you've been with me through thick yarn and sport weight, but I've moved on to a new craft. Dollhouse miniatures! On Craigslist I found a woman whose mother had a dollhouse custom built for her in Chicago 35 years ago. It was one of those that you are meant to finish--paint the siding, put in the stair rails, install the chimney, etc. She was never really into it, so it sat around for 3 decades.
As you can see it is a fixer upper, but it's a HUGE Colonial with spacious interior and so much potential. I figured it was a good place to start instead of trying to build one from scratch. Of course, after ripping off the siding and removing the hot glue from it for hours I'm questioning that decision. Also the "builder" did a number of things unevenly so they will have to be evened up. Above was a look at the furniture that came with it. A number of good pieces and some items that could use a revamp.
Note half eaten dark chocolate bar in bottom right corner. For emergencies only. Siding in pretty bad shape. Lower right window unable to be saved. TONS of hot glue that had to be scraped off so I can reuse the siding. Voila! Siding-free house ready for work.