Dollhouses seem to come in two types: ones for collectors and ones for kids. The ones for collectors are: expensive, cramped, and often focus more on the exterior than the interior. Others are essentially galleries, showing off tiny works of art. They're gorgeous but as a place to live...you'd SHOOT the architect!! For example, many put the only washroom on the third floor. Eight foot high ceilings are not suitable for chandliers but that's what you see in some of the fancier dollhouses. These houses are mansions, castles, palaces, Victorian, Georgian, Gothic, etc. Visually stunning and anything but livable.
Playline doll houses: expensive, cramped and cheap looking. Frequently have the appliances, or cupboards, painted onto the walls. Missing walls are the rule. No rhyme or reason but plenty of imagination required.
So, I decided to make my own for my particular needs. A doll house that looks REAL and can be photographed from almost any angle. This doll house could work for collector or child. I think. It's my original design so it hasn't been tested. I chose a simple floor plan and here it is. This is the floor plan of a real house, designed for real people to live in. 20th century so if you want to add Victorian gingerbread, or whatever, that's your problem. I mean aesthetic. LOL
It was a plain sheet of white paper but the flash made it look weathered. Just as well on a white background. As you can see, this is a simple two bedroom, open concept, bungalow. The frame is to be made out of 1/4 inch square acrylic bars. There is a gap of 1/4 inches between the outer and inner frames to permit the walls to be inserted. The whole will be 40 and 1/4 inch long and 30 and 1/4 inches wide and 15 and 1/2 inches tall. The circles represent the corners where the pillars will go. Each pillar is made from three 15 inch pieces (of 1/4 inch bar)glued to form a V.
List of 1/4 inch square bars required to make the frame:
40 inches = 4 pieces
39 inches = 4 pieces
30 inches = 4 pieces
29 inches = 4 pieces
16 inches = 4 pieces
15 1/2 inches = 4 pieces
15 inches = 76 pieces
14 1/2 inches = 4 pieces
7 inches = 4 pieces.
My Christmas present: the materials to build my doll house. The foamboard, the acrylic pieces, the glue, the paint, a couple of doors and a window. The rest of the doors and the windows hadn't arrived by Christmas. (The doors and window I do have will have to be painted as the wood did not stain evenly.) So, I'm good to go!
This is really exciting. It should work out but it's an experiment, not a kit. It will only work if I've designed it properly....okay, I'm a little scared. It's a challenge.
Here's the base! Looking square and even and just about perfect. I have a really good feeling about this one. The blue baggies are under the acrylic because the glue doesn't stick to them. I don't want the acrylic to stick to the foamboard, not yet. I can slide a piece down the middle between any two pieces. I've also got the pillars glued together, all 24 of them. Hopefully they are all level and will be strong supports. They will need to be.
Second view of the base and the pillars, from the other side. Everything will set for a day before I try putting up the pillars and the connecting rods.
The space between the rods is vital since the walls will slot down into it. That way when I want to photograph the interior I can simply lift out a wall, any wall.
So, enough for one day. Let the glue dry hard and strong before I continue.
The frame is up and square! Yes!! It took a few days of positioning and gluing but its up and looking good! It all fit together very neatly.
Two different views, back and side. The acrylic is a bit tricky to work with since it is both hard and flexible at the same time. The glue sets quickly but then takes over a day to reach full strength. I put some 15 inch pieces along the length of the outer rectangle to help support the weight of the bars. There not glued in yet as I have to position the doors and windows.
Once it has set, I'll take the frame up to my craft room. It can't stay here in the workroom but it was great to assemble it here where I could easily borrow tools. Not that I needed many, since I had the pieces all cut for me by the manufactor, Parker Plastics. They even gave me a couple of extra pieces, ends, which was a very nice surprise.
Now, on to the painting. The inner doors finally arrived and the windows. As you can see from how multi-coloured the smaller doors look, staining them would give me a very patchy result. (As it did wiht the large front door. So, starting with the big outer door, I'm going to paint them. Hopefully, once they have had two coats, they will look a lot better. Each door will be glued to a piece of 1/4 inch bar the width of the base to ensure it slots neatly into place. A 16 inch long piece of the same 1/4 inch acrylic bar will be glued along each side. My house will have five doors and five windows meaning I will need 20 of the 16 inch bars. (Purchased along with the other pieces.) Being taller than the rest of the house, even if the bar sags the insert will stand tall and firm.
Once painted and dry, the next step is to put on the acrylic bars. Have to be very sure they are level and even. Don't want to mess up my dollhouse now.
Here, I've positioned the windows and doors. I need them in first because I need the exact measurements before I cut the foamboard that will make up the walls. Have to be careful and measure exactly. While I think I do have some extra foamboard, I really don't want to run out. In a pandemic, it isn't always easy to go shopping. My house is starting to take shape.