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Dollhouse (in progress)

1517 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  ddollevoet
Started working on a dollhouse for my daughter's 3rd birthday earlier this year. Had a couple false starts where the design wasn't as stable and toddler-proof as I wanted, but the current design is going well.

The dollhouse is going to be open on most sides, like those modern KidKraft designs. I drew it out in Sketchup and have followed that (about 90% - some minor mods).

These pictures weren't all taken at once.

The base is two sheets of 1/2" plywood with 1.5" fir "beams" between them. The main frame sits on top of those beams, so there is support all the way to the bottom. I realized the weight and so there are six wheels on the bottom, which are screwed into the beams. So weight transfers all the way from top to wheels.

The frame is connected by 2.25" countersunk screws at every point, plus glue. It's very stable and the plywood floors give it rigidity, too. Frankly the structure is built like a tank, so it should hold up under toddler abuse.

Most of the construction is 1/2" plywood. The railing is gallery rail from Home Depot (I didn't carve that :) as is the moulding. In the end, it's all going to be painted bright colors and poly'd so I'm not worrying about the finish at this point.

Cutting the windows has been challenging. What I did was drill a hole and then use a jigsaw to cut. That still left them a little rough, so I added moulding at the edges, and then jambs and sills made out of...paint stirrers! Yeah, they are just the right width and thinness to work perfectly.

There is a pool in the "backyard" which is sunk into the base. I painted the inside light blue and poured a 1/4" of epoxy resin in the bottom to make it look like water (it's covered in these pics but looks pretty cool). The diving board is doweled and glued in.

I've got some more walls to finish, and then a lot of little details. Once it's built, I'll paint (which will probably take forever) and put in pergo, carpet, roof tiles, etc. One challenge has been finding things like pergo and roof tiles in small quantities - stores want to sell boxes and I only need a couple square feet.

A friend took one of the inside walls and is painting a mural. I'll probably do some wallpaper and other art. We'll put in sets from the Fisher-Price Loving Family series.

This has been a great learning project. I don't have a table saw, so I've gotten very familiar with my circ saw, jig saw, and mitre saw (definitely my favorite!), as well as various sanders. I've never built anything even remotely this complicated. There are a few spots where I wish I'd done things a little differently or there is a little gap in the wood, but I suspect my daughter will not complain :)

Must be done by November 3rd for my daughter's birthday. On track at the moment!

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Cool looking doll house. I know she'll love it. Looking forward to seeing it all done. Be sure to post pics with the happy owner!
Here's an update. Everything is built, though I have some things still to glue (it's easier to paint while they're apart).

I'm actually painting now, which is a pain because I hate painting and there's a ton of different colors.

Left side bottom is living room and dining room. Middle floor is parent's bedroom (with balcony on back) and nursery (back wall is missing as a friend is painting a mural on it). Top floor is office and older kid's bedroom on right, with a hole in the roof and ladder to get up to the attic. The roof has a large open space in the middle that will be a patio, and then the right attic has skylights. The trim at the top will go all the way around - I haven't glued it yet.

Front door is actually oak, as I had a small piece. There's a lot that hooks into it - front door handle (in actuality a cabinet handle), hinges, cabinet magnetic catch so it stays closed. Yes, there is a big knot in the front but you won't see it after it's had three coats of bright pink :)

That's gallery railing from Home Depot. The windows were jigsaw cut and then I used some molding around the edges. Finally, there's jambs and sash made of...paint stirrers!

The pool has some blue painter tape on it as I was painting. The pool has 1/4" or so of epoxy in the bottom to simulate water. I'll be covering the backyard with a flat green tile carpet to simulate grass. Astroturf and that stuff is too spikey and you can't stand dolls on it. The diving board may break...it's glued with a 1/4" dowel.

See my first post for construction details. The main frame is cut so that the frame and floor come out at the same height. They'll be covered either in thin peel-and-stick pergo-type stuff or carpet.

There are six wheels (corners and in the middle)

OK, so your typical house doesn't have a chapel, but this one does :) My daughter's namesake is my late aunt, and I have a cross from her that I will mount inside.

The top floor has a laundry and a small library (or anything else - it's kind of a bonus room with no fixed purpose). The middle floor will be the bathroom. The bottom floor is the kitchen. Of course, it's her house so she can reassign rooms at will!

Those attics are not glued/screwed in yet. I thought about trying to find some kind of plastic bubble material for the skylights but decided to just leave them open because she can reach in, etc. The top of that clamp is where the ceiling hole from the older kids' room is.

Finally, here is a look at the kid's room "door to the attic". That's just 1/4" hardwood dowling. I'm concerned it might break/snap but if it does it's not a huge thing to fix.

This is the trim that will go all along the top. I am not an artist. That is molding I bought at Home Depot with that leaf pattern cut into it. I just painted it.

All the paint is flat, as I'll be using glossy polyurethane to cover everything.

Next up is painting everything, then gluing/screwing the roof in, and finally pergo/carpet.
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Looking good! I built a dollhouse for my daughter in the spring. It is amazing how much detail goes into building one of these things. I'm sure your daughter will love her dollhouse as much as my daughter loves hers.
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