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Common sense versus instructions


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I just spent the morning putting together the porch railings for Victoria's farmhouse. If I had followed the instructions it would have taken much, much longer. It says to paint the rails and spindles before assembly. There are 148 spindles and numerous railings. When the railings and spindles come pre-assembled as in the Allison Jr. they are not painted. Anyone new to dollhouses would be having a fit trying to paint 148 spindles without them getting gloppy, or sticking to whatever could be devised to hold them upright as they dried. No wonder so many houses are taken to the thrift store. Some instructions are really not helpful at all.

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It's funny you mention this... I've found the Beacon Hill instructions to be mind-blowing at times. Often they will mention when you should glue certain parts, but not when you should glue others. So it's almost a mind-game to figure out when you should be gluing certain areas of the building once you've long passed that stage.

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Instructions??? You're supposed to read the instructions??? :blink:
Psst, Ann, I think they're new...

The instructions can actually be sort of helpful if they correctly identify which plywood sheet on the schematics the parts for a particular step can be found. Otherwise they're often clear as mud, which is why I think Benjamin has been given the thankless task of rewriting them all (an exercise in futility if he doesn't grab a glue bottle, a roll of maskng tape & a small kit and get some actual hands-on experience + a splinter or two). I often follow the instruction, just not necessarily in the order they're written. That's one of the purposes of the dry-fit.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I totally painted the spindles individually for my Georgetown... which is why I'm ditching the porch railings completely and bought pre-assembled railings from HBS. It was such a pain! But hey, it's my first house, so it was and is a learning experience!

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  • 1 month later...

Yes "fooey" on instructions! When I was actually trying to follow them on the Willow build, they just caused me grief and confusion. So, they are now drop sheets for painting! Except the schematics of course.

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Generally, I use instructions as a guide for building the shell. Once the shell is done, I improvise, according to what I'm going to do with the house.

As far as spindles, I would paint them individually ONLY if they are to be a separate color than the rails. If a railing assembly is all one color, I assemble, THEN paint.

For a large number of spindles, I lay them out on newspaper and spray paint them. If they are such that they will move around during spraying (from a can) I use my airbrush.

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I'm like Sally....use them as a guide for the shell, then improvise! When I have to paint spindles this is how I do it. I take a long piece of wood - take masking or double sided tape and run it around the long end of the wood and stand the spindles in the sticky part of the tape and paint away! Let dry and you've got painted spindles. I do this with all kinds of small parts. Much easier, and far less messy. Of course the fastidious would cover that wood with waxed paper first and then add the tape - but I don't have time sometimes to be fastidious! LOL

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I'm like Sally....use them as a guide for the shell, then improvise! When I have to paint spindles this is how I do it. I take a long piece of wood - take masking or double sided tape and run it around the long end of the wood and stand the spindles in the sticky part of the tape and paint away! Let dry and you've got painted spindles. I do this with all kinds of small parts. Much easier, and far less messy. Of course the fastidious would cover that wood with waxed paper first and then add the tape - but I don't have time sometimes to be fastidious! LOL

An excellent idea!! I'll have to keep that one in mind!

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Thanks all for getting some input on Victoria's farmhouse before I even start! It's in the box as my summer project! Pat, I wish you would start a blog so I can learn from you master!

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When common sense says something different than the instructions...I say go with common sense. I just think about it really hard first and see if there's an alternative. I'm glad I listened to common sense on my newburg. Painting is much harder to do once some of the pieces are glued on, like the window frames. Paint first, then glue. Trust me. My common sense kicked in after I had glued the outside ones on. What a pain in the back side to have to paint assembled. Oh a suggestion, use an index card to protect the side of the house. At least I was smart enough not to glue the acetate and then try to paint. Just wish I had painted the inside walls before assembly. It's a good thing I have small hands.

Oh, since this is the RGT subforum, I'll pass on something I found out yesterday on another topic. Seal mdf with a non-water-based sealer before you paint it with a water-based paint. Water-based primer and paint will make the fibers swell and you will NOT be able to sand them down and it will look awful. I think the topic was on what do you use for paint.

Terri

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To paint spindles, I put them in spring type clothespins and paint one half, then turn them over and do the other half.

Putting them together and spaying them would be a lot easier though. (I just am not good at spraying).

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  • 5 weeks later...
For spray-painting small parts the masking tape strip is the way to go! and definitely for the base color.

spray paint <333

i spraye primed the orchid and sprayed all the trim the only thing i did paint with a brush was the 10 spindles i used on the porch. :)

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When I painted the spindles for a staircase, DH suggested that I poke small holes down a strip of corrugated cardboad, and then stick the small end of the spindles in the holes and spray them. Worked like a charm. I did stick the newel posts to tape as Wolfie suggested and that worked as well. I have an old piece of cardboard with macaroni stuck to it (Grandkids had a fun time) and I put small pieces on these to dry, or spray pieces firectly on the board. Keeps them from sticking. Of course, it doesn't help my poor spraying techniques when I get drips.

Shirley

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:) I think I learned really quick that I did not use the instructions much when I started blogging here. Blogging made me HAVE to look at them more and I would realize I went a step or 2 ahead doing something. I also learned while doing that, that most of my most frustrating issues had to do with me not reading the instructions (In the correct order :blink: ) . When I don't blog, I very seldom read them. I always learn something new (Like why I should not do this or that to achieve the look I want). Or, I discover a easier way to do it.

I like to use spray paint for the trim work because that way, you do not get brush strokes and the finish is smoother (Not to mention it's faster too) :(

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

Well, being my first dollhouse I decided to try to make my Woodstock look like a painted lady. I painted each spindle separately and used two different colors. My friends would ask me how the spindles were going, and I just kept telling them that I was STILL working on them! It took alot of time!!

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Ive found that sometimes the instructions will make you do some very hard and unnecessary steps. The more recent experience I had with that is with the Willowcrest instructions. It tells you to leave the second floor staircase for the very end. Yeah right! Thats why its so good to dry fit as you go along so that you can make the best decision for you on how to proceed. If I would have left that staircase for the end, I would have had to hammer the walls apart to get it in there. I put the staircase in before the rest of the walls and it worked like a charm. Use the instructions as a guide only, dont follow them down to the T.

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I always felt like I had some sort of learning disability when it came to instructions. It's like directions written on a piece of paper. I do much better with pictures and maps. I know I finished at least one dollhouse and never did read any of the instructions, but that one had particularly good pictures.

You know, you could always paint the bottom of the spindles and then place them upright on a piece of newspaper. They'd dry stuck on the paper (why not, God knows everything else does) and then you could paint them individually to your heart's content. Of course, then you have the joy of peeling them off the newspaper afterwards. :p

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I always felt like I had some sort of learning disability when it came to instructions.

Some words in an instuction isn't translatable (sp?) either as they are sort of an special expression in this particular contect but it takes some schematic looking, puzzling and fiddling to "see" it....

You know, you could always paint the bottom of the spindles and then place them upright on a piece of newspaper. They'd dry stuck on the paper (why not, God knows everything else does) and then you could paint them individually to your heart's content. Of course, then you have the joy of peeling them off the newspaper afterwards. :p

Otherwise run a piece of double sided tape along the newspaper page instead, and stand whatever piece you want on that, start with painting the top bit first and allow to set just a little so that you can hold it gently with the tip of your finger when doing the sides, that way you can pull away the things without having to pull off any paper stuck.

Hugs

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